An October 2003 trip
to Maui by Renee23
Quote: This was our first trip to Hawaii, and we feared we'd be inundated with cheesy tourism, but no! We found the people to be friendly and sincere.
The top activities my husband and I wanted to do were a luau, riding down the Haleakala volcano, seeing the Maui Ocean Center, and snorkeling at Molokini crater. We managed to do all these, much to our delight.
Perhaps naively, I was a bit surprised at the prices for dining out. Brace yourself for a sandwich! However, the food was of high quality everywhere we went. I had planned to indulge myself in the classic frothy, fruity beach drinks with umbrellas in them, and was again surprised to see that it’s more affordable to drink than to eat, ha!
If I could do it all again (and I hope to!), I'd visit the adventure company's websites and pre-book for a discount and guaranteed times. Also, a truly waterproof sunblock is a must!
I also rather wish we had taken the time to go off the beaten trail, if nothing else for some meals. There was a late-night noodle house off the 380 just south of Ka’anapali that looked promising -- I’ve heard good things about Pho.
Paying for parking in the lots was quite a different experience, as you have to shove the money through a small numbered slot (corresponding to the number painted on your parking spot) in a large metal box. Signs are posted warning that the parking lots are monitored constantly, and that you will be towed if you don't pay. I guess that is enough of a threat to pay in full, even if you never see a parking attendant. Apparently this set up is common in Hawaii, but I've never seen it elsewhere.
Hotel | "Kaanapali Beach Hotel"
There are several hotels along Ka'anapali Beach connected by a well-maintained walkway, and this hotel is on the north-most tip, very close to Black Rock. With the Sheraton on one side and the Westin on the other, both displaying a "Fantasy Island" feel, the Ka'anapali Beach Hotel is not as fantastical or luxurious, but it what it does offer is a dedication to the true historical culture of the Hawaiian islands, and a very competent and friendly, well-trained staff. Not only are they trained in the business of running a hotel, but they all are required to have hotel-sponsored cultural training, and can offer details at length about the local history and customs.
After being impressed with the staff, step through the lobby, and admire the clean soft beach, just yards away past the hotel grounds. Another thing I admire about the hotel is that they did not use up the property with lagoons, sandwich shops, and timeshare sales pits. Instead it is largely manicured grass and landscaping so they can host many Hawaiian cultural events like hula competitions (Hula O Na Keiki is a solo hula competition for children ages 5-17) as well as Hawaiian musical events, and others including the Best of Maui Festival.
The accommodations themselves are nice and adequate, with a small refrigerator, hairdryer, and optional safe available. The bed was very comfortable, and all in all I felt it was an excellent value for a primo location.
The hotel restaurant was quite good, and offered the more reasonable prices to be found on the beach. I plan to return to the Ka'anapali Beach Hotel when I come back to Maui.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 15, 2003
Ka'anapali Beach Hotel
2525 Kaanapali Parkway Lahaina
Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii 96761
Attraction | "Snorkeling in Molokini Crater"
We met at the Ma'alaea Harbor at 6:15am. The catamaran was fit and clean. There were about 50 folks on the boat, but it wasn't crowded (I understand some other tours take up to 100+, makes for crowded diving, if nothing else). We started off with a brief safety speech from the captain, coffee, juice, fruit, and fresh cinnamon rolls. Then we were off!
We were exceedingly fortunate to have a rare calm morning out, and it stayed warm even though we wore little more than swimsuits and tanks tops at 7am.
Soon we arrived at the crater. The captain gave us a short history/nature lesson, and told us to be sure to not touch the delicate coral, not to go past the curved arm of the crater, as the Hawaiian name for that particular current translates to "Go To Tahiti"! Then he gave us new snorkelers the basics, and lowered the stairs. I was more than a little nervous, but very soon I didn't want to take my face out of the water! NOTE: Put water-proof sunblock on your back *and* on the back of your legs!
I can't remember the names of the fish we saw, but there were lots of black hand-sized fish with backwards-looking fins so close to the surface that once you knew what to look for you could see their little dorsal fins protruding fron the water like hilarious little sharks! I know I saw a boxfish, possibly a small octopus, screaming yellow flat fish (my own name for them), and many others. It was so fun to float above the clusters of fish just a few feet away in the crystal clear water, minding their little fish business, when a stronger wave would crash around us and we'd all get pushed around back and forth, eventually ending where we began. After some time (hours? minutes? It went fast) we hauled ourselves back on the catamaran and sailed over to McKennett's (sp?) Bay, home of the Green Sea Turtles. Another quick history and legal lesson (FYI, it's a $20K fine + possible prison time to touch the turtles) and we were back in the water.
The turtles were very friendly and accommodating that day. They were especially friendly towards my husband, who had to swim backwards repeatedly to avoid the forbidden turtle contact. One even dove immediately below him and stayed there for a bit.
Eventually the scent of BBQ-ed chicken lured us out of the water and back on the boat. A simple and very satisfying lunch ensued, and afterwards we enjoyed a leisurely sail back to the harbor.
If you can do only one thing in Maui, do this.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 15, 2003
Trilogy Maui Ocean Adventures
180 Lahainaluna Road
Lahaina, Hawaii 96767
808 661 4743