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We had only stopped briefly at Mokapu Beach on our previous trips to Maui, but knew we wanted to spend some more time there. It’s located in south Maui, with a parking lot on Ulua Beach Road near the Wailea Elua Village. The parking lot leads to a turnaround between Mokapu and Ulua Beach Parks and direct access to the Wailea Beach Path which connects all the amazing Wailea Beaches. On our first visit to Mokapu beach we watched a beautiful sunset and captured some photos of the beach and palm tree silhouettes. On our last day of the trip I was finally able to try out the snorkelling. The water was clear and there was lots of fish… mostly in the shallows right along the rocky point.

A self portrait silhouette we took during the sunset at Mokapu Beach…

Mokapu Beach Sunset Silhouette Maui Hawaii Wedding Northern Pixel Photography

View of the sunset from the water…

Mokapu Beach Sunset Maui Hawaii Wedding

View from the water looking towards the Rocky Point between Mokapu and Ulua Beaches…

Mokapu Beach, Maui

Some of the coral, sea urchins, and fish in the clear water at Mokapu Beach…

Mokapu Beach Snorkelling Fish Coral

Mokapu Beach Snorkelling

The view looking north towards Mokapu Beach from the rocky point…

Mokapu Beach, Maui

And the beautiful sunsets…

Mokapu Beach Sunset

Mokapu Beach Sunset Hawaii

With beautiful sunsets, great snorkelling, and even a wedding on the beach one evening we were there, Mokapu is definitely one of my new favorite Maui Beaches.

You can follow our blog to receive notification of our new posts – we have lots more to come as we sort through the photos from our trip – or leave a comment below if you like the post or have any questions. Thanks for reading!

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We heard about Cafe O’Lei on TripAdvisor prior to our trip. It was one of the top rated restaurants in Kihei, so we really wanted to try it out. We ended up eating there our first night since it was relatively close to our condo at the Maui Banyan. Although it was closed when we first got there, as it was only 4:15pm local time. We were pretty hungry after the long flight and had hoped to find an early meal. We went to the coffee/smoothie bar next door and had a nice cold smoothie to help cool us down – we were struggling to adapt to the +28’C heat since it was still below zero when we left home that morning. It was actually a pretty good find, and we went back here four more times during our trip.

We went back up the stairs to Cafe O’Lei at 5pm, and were one of the first groups to be seated. The waitress actually just took our drink order and had to leave for a bit, to take part in their pre-dinner meeting to learn the specials for the night. The special was the swordfish, which sounded good to me. Shauna ordered the Asian Short Ribs and my mom ordered the jumbo prawns.

Asian Short Ribs:
Asian Shortribs at Cafe o'Lei, Maui Hawaii

Our drinks came out quickly, and we happily enjoyed the fresh baked bread that was still warm. Since we were one of the first groups there, our food came out pretty quickly. It was amazing and we were certainly very happy to be back in Hawaii once again.

Swordfish:
Swordfish at Cafe o'Lei, Maui Hawaii

This was the first place we ate during our trip, and ended up being the last place we ate as well – not that we planned it that way.
My brother and I both tried the Ahi tuna on our last night – it was amazing. I wasnt sure about all the spicy sauces that came with it, so I got them on the side, while he ordered the way it was supposed to be. I ended up adding almost all of my sauce on to my plate anyhow, so I might as well have gotten it like he did. But I liked that the waitress offered to bring it the way she did, just in case.

We will definitely be back to the Cafe O’Lei during our next trip to Maui, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a good meal in Kihei.

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The Hana Highway is one of the most popular drives on the island of Maui. We had driven all the way around during our previous trip, and knew that we wanted to do the same again this time. However we did some more planning for this trip, and decided we wanted to hike the Pipiwai Trail this time as well (trail post to follow). Since the trail is located near the Haleakala Kipahulu Visitor Center on the far southeastern shore of the island, we knew that we had a long day ahead of us. We decided to leave early in order to make sure we had enough time for all we had planned. We left our condo at the Maui Banyan at 630am, in order to take advantage of as much daylight as possible.

Since we mostly wanted to hike the trail, we decided to try and take the most direct route possible to get there – which looked on the map to be in a counter-clockwise direction. This is not the standard route that most people take, so we were not sure how it would turn out. We were concerned about the condition of the road, and whether it would even be open, but decided to take the risk and headed up towards, then past Kula. It was not long into our trip before we started stopping to enjoy the amazing views and take some photos. It was a beautiful clear morning, so we could even see the Big Island of Hawaii off in the distance.

Here is a view along the highway:

Scenic 'Highway'

This is definitely not a drive you would want to make to try and make up some time. The road is still very windy and quite bumpy – with a lot of broken pavement, and even some unpaved sections. The scenery is spectacular however, and definitely worth the trip. Although I would most likely travel in a clockwise direction next time, as most of the traffic goes that way. The main benefit would be to avoid many of the oncoming vehicles, which we always seemed to meet at the many narrow points, one lane bridges, or blind corners.

One Lane Bridge

View of the coastline looking back towards the Sea Arch:

Kipahulu Highway

It was nice that we left so early however, as we encountered much more traffic in the afternoon. This made it easier to stop and soak in all the scenery…

One of my favorite views along the coastline:

South Maui Coastline

Mile 30

One of the many pullouts:
Pullout

View from the pullout of the black sand beach below:
Rocky Beach

View of the coastline looking back towards the pullout:
Scenic Coastline Drive

One of the many signs along the way – falling rock:
Falling Rock

We eventually made it to our destination – the Haleakala Kipahulu Visitor Center. It was just before 10am when we got there, so the parking lot was mostly empty. We stopped briefly at the Visitor Center to ask about the trail conditions. She told us the trail was in good shape, and that one waterfall was flowing and one was likely not. From there we headed up the trail. It was about four hours later when we returned to the parking lot and headed back out on the road. By this time the parking lot was pretty much filled up completely.

We continued on in our counter-clockwise direction, and proceeded onwards toward Hana. By this time there was quite a bit of traffic on the road. We encountered numerous vehicles coming at us. The section of highway between Hana and the Haleakala Kipahulu Visitor Center was by far the most stressful section of the day. Very narrow, very windy, and lots of traffic. We just took it slow though, and continued enjoying the scenery. As we got closer to Hana we took the road on the right leading to Hamoa Beach. What an amazing beach it is… this might be the destination we look to spend the most time at during our next trip:

Hamoa Beach

Not far down the road from there is another scenic beach – Koki Beach. There is a small beach park here, that was quite crowded during our previous trip. This time the beach was almost empty however, with one person on shore watching the one surfer in the water. What a relaxing beach:

Koki Beach - Maui

By this time we were feeling quite tired. It was a good nine hours since we had left our condo that morning. So we didn’t even stop in the town of Hana, and carried on our way. We made a quick stop at Wainapanapa State Park to check out the amazing Black Sand Beach. There is a great trail system through the park, but we just headed down to enjoy the beach and the sea cave:

Honokalani Black Sand Beach

Wai'anapanapa State Park

By this time the weather was starting to take a turn for the worse, and the rain started to fall. However the traffic had thinned out considerably, so we were able to take advantage of the many pullouts along the way that had been full during our previous trip. Unfortunately due to the rain it was only to have a quick look or take some quick photos:

Three Bears Waterfall - Maui

Hana Coastline

Hana Highway Waterfall

It really is an amazing drive with some spectacular scenery – and definitely worth checking out. There are a LOT of one lane bridges all along the road, many of them on switchback like corners. There was quite a few times where I was looking out the rear passenger side window to see if any traffic was coming from the other side of the bridge. The amazing Maui Coastline is the only place I can recall having to check my blind spot across a valley like this. I wanted to try and get a photo, but decided I should focus on driving (the others in the car agreed as well). I did find one spot to stop and take a photo of one of the crazy corners that are quite frequent on this drive:

Hana Highway

We also stopped at one of the food stands along the way (which I will add to the post once I can track down the name). We bought some fresh coconut and possibly the best smoothies we have ever had.

Overall it was one of the best days during our entire trip. We ended up getting back to Kihei around 730pm – eleven hours after we had left that morning. Very tired, but very satisfied with the adventure we had taken and the memories we had gained. Definitely a trip to be remembered.

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We had been to Palauea Beach during our previous trip – it was one of my favorite places to snorkel. Since I had bought a new underwater camera for the trip, I was really looking forward to snorkeling here again.

It is one of the many amazing and scenic beaches of Wailea, however there are no services (outhouses only – no showers), no lifeguards, and parking is along the street where you can find it. But once you walk the short path through the trees to the beach, you are treated to a pretty sweet view:

Palauea Beach, Maui

I was a bit surprised at the size of the waves this time. During our previous trip it was very calm here. We are good swimmers so we headed out into the water to check it out. But with the waves being so big it was not a huge surprise to find the visibility was very poor – we could not see much at all. We swam out quite a ways hoping that it would get better once we got out away from the shoreline. But the farther from shore we got, the water remained the same. It was not long before we decided to head back to shore.

Palauea Beach, Maui

We had come to the beach well prepared however, and had brought the boogie boards as well. (we learned our lesson from not having them at Napili). It worked quite well to go out about waist deep, wait for the right wave, and enjoy the ride. I got a few videos of my brother enjoying the boogie boarding:

Although the waves started to get bigger:

After swallowing a fair bit of water that became the last ride of the day. It was back to enjoying the sand and the scenery. The beach was not very crowded, but there were quite a few other people enjoying the boogie boarding as well. The waves were quite large near the rocky point where most of the good snorkeling is located. There was one brave/dumb couple attempting to snorkel out there. We were a bit worried about them, but they did make it back to shore safely. Definitely not a place I would be swimming though:

Big Waves at Palauea

I am definitely looking forward to checking out Palauea beach if we make it back to Maui again in the future. Even with out the amazing snorkeling we still had a lot of fun here – what a great beach.

Palauea Beach, Maui

 

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