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Hi, Hey, Aloha! Please fasten your seatbelts because we are ready for take-off to Maui, HI from where apparently God took an idea of what Eden should look like – at least what in my country we say.
Hawaii, by many, is described as a paradise of the Earth. A diverse world of plants and animals and where two completely different cultures meet. If you want to find out more about the beauty and wilderness of Maui, located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean far away from any solid land – let the journey begin! The adventures took place at the beginning of February. I flew from New York City to Kahului, Maui. After a long flight and an even longer layover in Dallas, Texas I finally got to the island of clear blue water with well-contrasting massive, dark-green, impressive mountains. Maui did an amazing first impression. Let’s see what else Hawaiian island holds for us.
I rented a vehicle that had been transformed into a camper. Although the word “camper” is a way too fancy description for my way of transportation/staying place. For my minimalistic sleeping needs, on a journey like this – it was beyond okay!
When I landed at Kahului Airport the day was about to end soon, so my friend and I decided to find a nice spot to park ourselves overnight. As two girls traveling alone, we felt pretty safe sleeping in the car. At that time, Maui wasn’t packed with other tourists and the locals were helpful, polite, and friendly.
Along with searching for a place to stay overnight, we drove to the city of Lahaina to grab something to eat. Definitely, we were looking for something local and a fish or seafood dish since Hawaii is a homeland to poke bowls and the leading place for best sushi. The city of Lahaina is located around 20 mins drive from the airport. It is a very touristic and charming place with many souvenirs shops, and local restaurants located on Front Street. There are plenty of beautiful sandy beaches and beach bars.
We picked an oceanfront restaurant. The balcony faced a beautiful view of the ocean, friendly staff, and food that were so flavorful, colorful, and tasty that we completely fell in love with this little, charming place. Later on, we were strolling around Front Street and made our stop at Lahaina Jodo Mission, where I discovered that despite the that Hawaii belongs to the USA, there is a strong influence on Japanese culture, religion, and tradition. For some could it be obvious, for me – wasn’t, until, that moment. At some point, I felt like I left the borders of the USA and traveled to Asia.
Sunset in Lahaina
Eventually, we found a remarkable place to stay nearby a beach where we could admire the most beautiful (as we thought at that moment; sneak peek: it was about to change!) sky of dazzling and intense colors of red, yellow, orange, pink, and purple when the sun was about to hide into the deep waters of the Pacific Ocean. The sunset sky was amazing and the warm colors were incredibly blended with all shades of cold colors of blue and green of the Hawaiian ocean water. When the sun completely went down, the darkness came quickly. And yet again, the sky did a huge impression. Millions and billions of stars winked at us from upstairs. There was something dramatic in this night sky, yet beautiful and inspiring. With staring at the night sky of Hawaii I drifted away to sleep.
Road to Hana
On day two on Maui island, we started very early in the morning. Our plan for the day was to drive around the island that is better known as the Road to Hana. It is an iconic tourist activity that allows seeing the diverse landscape of this wild volcanic island. Just don’t forget to download maps before as we did. You might miss the interesting spots, landscapes, and adventures along the way, and there is no internet connection.
Maui Twin Falls
Our first stop was at Twin Falls. We were there too early to experience all the goods that this spot offers – swimming in the lake, cliff jumping, and rope swinging but we did a refreshing morning walk amidst the tall bamboo trees accompanied by colorful tweeting birds above our heads. The first phase of the Road to Hana leads by literally a jungle. The road is very demanding and required a lot of focus. It’s devious and narrow to the point it’s hard to see the ongoing car or fit in on the road when two cars are passing by. Most of the road is high above sea level and in many parts, there is nothing to isolate us from falling. The views reward everything, though. Tall, dark-green trees. Massive mountains, and high waterfalls. The clear blue waters of the ocean, the cloudless sky above, and the sun trying to break through branches.
Waianapanapa State Park, Maui
When the road finally got a little bit less demanding we could see local spots nearby the street offering fresh exotic fruits, so we decided to have a picnic at our next stop – Black Sand Beach in Waianapanapa State Park – in my opinion, the most splendid place along the way! The contrast between dazzling green palm trees, deep-blue water, and black sand was ravishing. Far away we could see the mountain massive as well. Beach itself isn’t big and is located in a little bay. Luckily at this time of year, there were no people. We spend a few hours swimming and gazing at the ocean trying to spot a whale – February is the peak of their season. Unfortunately, we didn’t see any.
Later on this day, we spent some time swimming at Venus Pools and hiking at Pipiwai Trail which leads among the bamboo forest. The trial ends with a tall Waimoku Falls. Driving further, the landscape completely changed as we would have changed the island! Instead of a jungle, in front of us was spreading a huge flat surface of a foreland of mountains with all colors of green. We got stuck in traffic caused by a herd of cows that the cowboys (I guess, you can call them that) tried to scatter so we had time to look closely at the entire view. We ended our road trip in Kihei, where we could spot a crescent-shaped islet – Molokini.
Swimming with sharks
Visiting a Hawaii island is a great opportunity to try something new. Especially Lahaina or Kihei offers many adventures such as snorkeling, swimming with dolphins, sharks, or turtles, sky diving, and helicopters flying above the whole island. I picked uncaged swimming with sharks. The adventure took me around 3 hours, and the adrenalin rush I have been feeling to this day. It’s pretty amazing seeing one of the most dangerous fish in their natural environment and was worth spending money for.
Sunrise above the clouds
One of the most spectacular places we have visited was a Haleakala National Park. We went there very early in the morning to see a remarkable, and magnificent sunrise. We knew that there would be a lot of people that is why we decided to reach the peak of a mountain long before the sunrise. The important thing to remember is to book your ticket there the day before the adventure. Every day, around 4 pm the tickets are released. There is a certain amount of permits that allow wandering around the peak of the volcano during the sunrise and they disappear faster than they appear.
The second thing to bear in mind is to have extra warm clothes, covers, and even blankets. Even though the weather around February was decent, at the peak located over 3000 meters above sea level, the morning weather was cold, windy, and very unpleasant. The sunrise was gorgeous and I would mark this spot as a must-see of travel to Maui. When the sun was high enough and the clouds were less thick the Haleakala was giving off the vibe of Mars. Brown, and orange ground, here and there somehow accidentally thrown huge volcanic rocks and everywhere dry-lands, and no trees whatsoever.