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Archive for March, 2012

We have been to Maui three times now, with a lot of great experiences, memories, and photographs. So I was looking back and thinking about all of my favorite activities we have done.  So of course it made perfect sense to add a blog post with our favorite Maui Activities. Although it was a pretty tough list to narrow down, as there are so many amazing things you can do there. Since we mostly travel the island on our own, there are not many paid tours on the list (although we would like to take a helicopter tour some day). Anyhow, here is the list, hope you enjoy it, and as always you can click on the color links to see the full post for each:

#1 – Of course our wedding is first on the list. Such a perfect day at Secret Cove Beach, and our favorite memory of all. Getting married on the beach in Hawaii is the best thing we could have done:

Secret Cove (Pa'ako Beach), Maui

Sunset at Secret Cove Beach

#2 – Whale Watching with the Pacific Whale Foundation. It is definitely worth going out just to see and hear the humpbacks, no matter what the distance. We were lucky enough to have them swim right up to the boat. It was an unforgettable experience.

Pacific Whale Foundation - Maui Whale Watching

Whale-Watching

#3 – The amazing Haleakala Sunrise. We have been up to view the sunrise twice now, and will certainly go back up again on our next trip. I also enjoyed taking photos of the night sky. But watching the sun slowly rise above the clouds was a sight to behold. But be sure to dress warm for this one, as that wind is something else.

Haleakala Sunrise - Maui

Lookout Tower- Haleakala Volcano Crater Sunrise, Maui

#4 – The Old Lahaina Luau. Another amazing memory from our wedding trip of 2008. It was recommended online as one of the best Maui Luau’s. Whether you choose this one or another, a luau is definitely something to experience on any trip to Hawaii.

Old Lahaina Luau

#5 – Snorkeling at turtle town. I love to swim, love to snorkel, and love taking photos. So I spent a lot of time in the water with my new underwater camera on our latest trip. Turtle town near Wailea is one of my favorite spots. If you arent comfortable swimming from shore there are a lot of tour boat options that will get you here as well, to swim with the fish and the turtles.

Snorkeling with Turtles

#6 – Driving the Hana Highway. An all day adventure with as many side trips and stops as you can manage. So many sights and stops and adventures to be had.

South Maui Coastline

#7 – Honolua Bay – One of our favorite places on the island of Maui. On our first trip he heard it was a great snorkeling location. We didnt know about the rainforest out there however – what an amazing place. And the snorkeling was awesome (when the surf isn’t up).

Honolua Bay

Tropical Forest at Honolua Bay, Maui

#8 – Hiking the Pipiwai trail. An adventure that might be best done while staying in Hana. But we made an early morning drive from Kihei and hiked this amazing trail. From the Infinity Pool, to the banyan tree, to the Bamboo Forest, to the 400 foot waterfall at the end, this was such an awesome hike.

Maui Bamboo Forest

Makahiku Falls Infinity Pool - Maui

#9 – Watching the sunsets on the beach is one of our favorite (and free) activities on the island. We especially loved the views from Secret Cove and Big Beach. The perfect way to end yet another day in paradise:

Beautiful Maui Sunset

Kamaole Beach Sunset

#10 – Kula Botanical Garden. We spent a great morning walking through the gardens here. Its a self guided trail where you can wander the trails at your own pace, and view the great variety of tropical plants and flowers. Definitely great for photos:

Crazy Flower at Kula Tropical Flower Gardens, Maui

at Kula Tropical Gardens, Maui

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed the list. It was hard to narrow down as there is so much to do. We definitely look forward to our next visit, as there are many more activities we would like to try.

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We found the Coconut’s Fish Cafe on TripAdvisor while looking for restaurants in Kihei.

It is a relatively new restaurant, that wasn’t here during our previous trip. They did an amazing job decorating the place:

Coconut's Fish Cafe, Maui

We stopped here for lunch one day,  and were very impressed. I had the Ono burger, Shauna had the Mahi Burger, and they were both awesome. The fries were very good as well.

Fish Burger at Coconut's Fish Cafe

We also at here for dinner after our long day trip around the Hana Highway and the Pipiwai Trail. It was after 8pm by the time we got back to Kihei that day, so we wanted something that would be fairly fast, but also very tasty. Since we had been here a few days before, we knew it would hit the spot after a long day of traveling – and it certainly did. My mom and brother really enjoyed it here as well.

We ended up wishing we had tried this place earlier on in our trip, as we likely would have eaten there a few more times as well, to sample some of the other great dishes on their menu. It is definitely a place we look forward to visiting again on our next trip to Maui.

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As with my top 10 beaches list, these are my favorites, so this list may not be the most well known or famous restaurants on the island of Maui, but they are still some of the top rated ones on tripadvisor. We tend to stay away from the ritzy and expensive places; preferring to eat at places that are affordable while still offering amazing food. The list is somewhat Kihei focused as well, since that is where we have stayed on each of our three visits to Maui.

#1 – Sansei Seafood and Sushi. One of the first restaurants we go to, and definitely the one we visit the most on each trip (usually at least three times a trip). Their fresh Hawaiian fish and sushi is amazing. Especially the rainbow roll shown below:

Sansei Restaurant, Maui

#2 – 808 Bistro. A newer restaurant right next to our condo at the Maui Banyan (and right behind Fred’s Mexican). We decided to give it a try, and then ended up going back again and again. The food was awesome and the portions were good.

Pork Chops @ 808 Bistro, Maui

#3 – Cafe O’Lei. One we found on tripadvisor and had not tried on our first two trips. Not the cheapest, but certainly not unreasonable. Especially for the great food and fresh fish.

Asian Shortribs at Cafe o'Lei, Maui Hawaii

#4 – Coconut’s Fish Cafe. Another newer place that was not here on our first two trips. But what an amazing place it is. The decor is certainly unique, and the food was awesome. We didnt know that a fish burger could taste so good.

Fish Burger at Coconut's Fish Cafe

#5 – Maui Coffee Roasters – One of our favorite places for an affordable breakfast. And Shauna’s favorite place for coffee – best coffee on the island she says.

Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict @ Maui Coffee Roasters

#6 – Fat Daddy’s Smokehouse BBQ. Another great restaurant in Kihei. Not a big place but the flavor is strong and the food is awesome. Cant wait to get back again for those ribs and baked beans.

Fat Daddy's Smokehouse BBQ, Maui- Ribs

#7 – Sea House – Decent food, and an awesome location. We have been here a few times for lunch. Eating here with the ocean breeze blowing and the waves crashing is something we look forward to once again on our next trip.

Update – we went here on a return trip and didnt enjoy it as much. But the view was still amazing!

SeaHouse Restaurant at Napili Beach

#8 – Paia FishMarket. Another great affordable place for fish and chips and fish burgers. Although we ate at Coconut’s listed above more this past trip, as Paia is a bit of a drive from our condo in Kihei.

Fish'n'Chips at Paia Fishmarket Restaurant, Maui

#9 – Waterfront Restaurant. We came here during our wedding trip of 2008.

Update – this restaurant moved, and has since closed.

Waterfront Restaurant, Maui

#10 – Kihei Caffe. A great place for breakfast. Their banana-macadamia nut pancakes are awesome. This place will definitely be higher on our next list.

Kihei Cafe - Banana Macadamia Nut Pancakes

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As with my previous Maui Beaches top 10 list, this list may not agree with other views of beaches on the island of Maui. This list represents the beaches I have enjoyed the most, and the ones I look forward to visiting on our next visit to Maui. And as with my other blog posts, you can click on the green hyperlinks to open the previous posts.

#1 – Secret Cove Beach – this one makes it to the top of my list since it was our wedding beach. It is always the first beach we visit once we have unpacked and settled into our condo. Its a small beach, and I have only seen one or two people swimming here in all of our visits. So without the sentimental wedding memories it may not seem like the #1 beach to everyone. But it will always be our favorite.

Maui Destination Wedding Beach Northern Pixel Photography

#2 – Maluaka Beach – an amazing south Maui beach, and one of my favorite snorkeling spots. We have spent quite a bit of time here as well. Great sand, great water, scenic for photography, its our favorite beach to spend the day.

Maluaka Beach

#3 – Napili Beach – the beach I would stay at if we ever stay in West Maui. Scenic, great sand, great boogie boarding, great snorkeling. Its a 45 minute drive from our condo in Kihei, but one of our favorite day trip locations.

Napili Beach Maui Wedding

#4 – Palauea Beach – another awesome south Maui beach in Wailea. No facilities or lifeguards, but the snorkeling is awesome. Although the water was a bit cloudy on our last trip as the wind was blowing and the waves were bigger than on previous trips.

Northern Pixel Photography Destination Wedding Canadian

#5 – Honolua Bay – the beach itself is rocky and not like the other beaches on the list. But the snorkeling (in the summer months) is amazing, with the clearest water I have seen on Maui (although I still havent been out to Molokini). In the winter months it becomes a very popular surfing location. Whether you want to snorkel or not, its worth the trip to enjoy the view and walk through the forest. But dont leave anything in your car, as there seems to be a lot of break-ins out there.

Snorkeling at Honolua Bay, Maui

#6 – Kamaole II Beach. Right across the road from our condo at the Maui Banyan, so we spent quite a bit of time here, and have a lot of great memories from this beach. It has been crowded on some days, and almost empty on others. But we have walked on the beach, explored the rocky point, and enjoyed the swimming, snorkeling, and boogie boarding. And of course it makes a great spot for watching the sunsets…

Kamaole Beach Sunset

#7 – Big Beach. We didnt get to spend a lot of time here on our latest trip. But what an amazing beach. And they have lifeguards here now too (last I heard anyhow). The waves can get very big though, so we haven’t swam here at all. But the sand is great and the sunsets are awesome.

Big Beach, Maui

#8 – Po’olenalena Beach. Another beach I wanted to spend more time at. There are two sides of the beach, and it did not seem too crowded both times I was there. Just around the corner from Palauea, so the snorkeling is supposed to be great as well (although the water was rough and not clear when I was there) Will be stopping here again next time for sure.

Maui Wedding Beach Top 10 Beaches

#9 – Hamoa Beach. Might have to spend a few nights in Hana on our next trip, so we can spend some more time at this amazing beach.

Hamoa Beach

#10 – Ka’anapaali Beach. I still didnt get a chance to snorkel Black Rock, so will have to keep this on my list for next time, based on my desire to spend some time more here. One of the most famous and popular beaches on the island of Maui.

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