Maui is the second largest island of the Hawaiian Archipelago. Out of the 3 we visited, it is Bobby’s favourite. I hold it dear very much too but I prefer Kauai for a few reasons including its remoteness and vegetation. If you hesitate between islands, go have a look at my other articles about Oahu or Kauai.
Maui is called the “Valley Isle” and holds an important concentration of out-of-this-world landscapes. What really struck me is the variety of climates, fauna and flora. Not only did we enjoy the astonishing lush jungle but also the arid volcanic areas.
Just like on every other island, we picked our hotel in a strategic location to be able to go everywhere easily. Wailuku is located at a convenient 15-min drive from the main airport (OGG – Kahului) and right at the centre of the main island roads. Our hotel was a high-quality hostel called the North Shore Hostel. If you are on a budget, book a private room there. The location is great, the bathrooms are sparkling clean and the views from the balcony will make your mornings even better than the free coffee, pancakes and eggs they offer their clients. I would totally go back to this hostel if we come back to Maui without wanting to spend big amounts of money on lodging. The private rooms make you feel like you are in a bed and breakfast. It also has free parking – which matters in Hawaii.
Check out the beautiful gecko friend we made on their balcony as well as the views 🙂
If you do book a hotel through booking.com, don’t forget you can get 15€ or $15 with my code : Click here.
#1. Whale watching
I put this experience as the first one to do on Maui, because it particularly marked me and I have never done or seen anything as graceful and elegant. Please note whale watching can happen on most Hawaiian islands. Tours can be booked from various harbours and if you are lucky, you might even be able to see whales while you hike some overlook points on Kauai. But the shallow waters between Maui, Lanai and Molokai are considered to be the best destination to spot whales.
The Hawaiian whale watching season starts in November and ends in May with the peak season being between January and March. I was worried we would come too late and miss it but we ended up being the most fortunate. Humpback whales visit Hawaiian waters each year to have their babies and then migrate back to Alaska to feed in fish-, plankton- and shrimp-filled waters.
Humpback whales can measure from 15m to 20m long and are known for their magical songs, which travel for great distances through the world’s oceans. These sequences of moans, howls, cries, and other noises are quite complex and often continue for hours on end. A fun fact about them is that like our human fingerprints, each humpback whale tail is unique. You can find tons of interesting facts about whales on http://www.nationalgeographic.com
We booked a small-sized group tour for this experience as we did not wish to share it with a crowd. For this, I would recommend Blue Water Maui’s tours. They are excellent! We were around 10 guests on the boat, with 2 very knowledgeable guides. Our luck stroke because the whales came up very close to us. First, we saw a mother and her calf from quite far and they remained very quiet. After a few minutes, we moved further and spotted another whale. We went as close as the laws in Hawaii would let us and the rest of the tour was just magical. A mother and her calf + a male escort started giving us a beautiful show (spy-hopping, blowing and tail-/fin-slapping).
A few tips :
- We went whale watching on April 6th 2019. The season was not over 🙂
- We took a smaller tour with less than 15 people on the boat and I would highly recommend you put the extra $$$ for this upgrade. This is the kind of experience you don’t want to have on a crowded bigger ship. The whale adventure is $60 per person only!
- We booked a 9am tour and it was not too late to whale watch so don’t stress if you can’t book the earlier tours offered around 7am.
Check all the pictures in this article.
#2. Explore Lahaina, its Banyan Tree and eat lunch at a fish market
While visiting Lahaina, you should go and check out the banyan tree. This tree was planted on April 24, 1873. So not only was it planted the day my father was born (well.. a few years earlier of course haha) but it’s also 146 years old! Its canopy is a shadowy heaven and the tree grew to be a very important part of the city landscape.
Lahaina is a quaint American coastal city. It’s charming and crowded with small boutiques and delicious restaurants. We had breakfast at Sunrise Café : A small typical place where we tasted delicious fresh fruit smoothies. It’s tiny and so are the prices but not the plates 🙂 !
After walking along the streets of Lahaina, we stopped for lunch at Paia Fish Market. What a great spot! Fresh fish caught the exact same morning, prepared in a typical Hawaiian way : with a side of rice and veggies with a local kombucha. Do not miss this place when going to Lahaina.