A January 2002 trip
to Maui by Chicago_Dave
Quote: This was our third visit to Maui, but first in almost five years. We wanted to re-visit our personal favorites, and try to find some new ones.
So what did we enjoy the most this trip?
- Mt Haleakala...during the day!
- Snorkeling and sunbathing at Kapalua Beach
- "Upcountry" and the backside of Mt. Haleakala
We stayed here 4 nights, and found it very comfortable; our hosts (Sande and Bob) provided a different breakfast each day (fresh fruit, granola, and yogurt were on the table each day as well). Breakfast was served on their lanai, which afforded a glimpse of the ocean. We had use of the lanai, and also had access to a common area which had a nice selection of books, maps, compact disks, and tapes for our use during our stay (we took advantage of "the Road to Hana" CD). They were also very flexible with breakfast. When we mentioned we would not be at breakfast the next day (due to a very early start), they set up a nice continental breakfast in their kitchen for us, so we could have something before we left. In the "small world" category, Sande is originally from Chicago, so we had a lot in common. I liked the location, too; in between Kihei Road and Piilani Highway, near the Kihei Gateway Plaza.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 19, 2002
Ocean Breeze Hideaway
Kalalua Place and Koki Road
We found the unit to be "well used": a number of the (older) appliances were missing knobs, the sheets and towels had certainly seen better days, and the toilet was plugged when we checked in (apparently housekeeping is in the habit of flushing used soap bars). We weren't expecting everything to be brand new, but were a little disappointed.
The location, however, was very convenient (we actually wanted to be north of Lahaina); a Star Market and new ABC store (for groceries and what-not) were within a 5 minute drive.
Member Rating 2 out of 5 on March 19, 2002
3959 Lower Honopilani Rd
Restaurant | "Longhi's"
3750 Wailea Alanui
Wailea, Hawaii 96753
+1 808 891 8883
Restaurant | "Kai Ku Ono Bar and Grill"
Moose's Pub and Cafe Kihei
2511 South Kihei Road
Kihei, Hawaii 96753
Ma'alaea, Hawaii 96793
+1 808 661 4600
Attraction | "Mt. Haleakala"
There are numerous overlooks on the way up to the summit, affording you eagle-eye views of South Maui, the mountains of West Maui, and the northern part of the island. You also get different views of the crater from these spots. Leleiwi Overlook will be the first overlook you encounter. The overlook is a short walk (about 1/4 mile) from the small, paved parking lot; the trail is packed dirt for the most part and is not a difficult walk. Interpretive signs at the overlook give you a better sense of Haleakala's history.
Kalahaku Overlook is the next stopping spot. A very short walk up a set of concrete stairs provides a breathtaking view of the crater. Guardrails allow you to peer over the very edge of the crater, and a partially enclosed viewing platform (again with the requisite interpretive plaques) let you soak in the views and get out of the wind.
The Haleakala Visitor's Center is further up the mountain. The Visitor's Center has a brief exhibit on the mountain environment, and park rangers are available to answer questions. Souvenirs (books, pictures, videos, etc) are sold here.
Two observatories are perched at or near the summit. The Crater Observatory is located just below the summit, directly on the edge of the crater (outstanding views, exhibits on the crater flora/fauna, and a topological map that demonstrates the size of the crater).
Pu'u 'Ulaula Overlook sits at the summit. A short set of stairs leads to the glass-enclosed overlook. Park Rangers conduct talks and lead tours (call for the schedule). From the summit you seem to be a stone's throw from the Big Island (to your right as you look at the crater); to your left the islands of Molokai, Lanai, and Kahoolawe will be visible if it is clear. The ever-present interpretive plaques make sure you know what you are looking at. To get the full effect of Haleakala, you can walk around the enclosure...the wind and cold will certainly get your attention.
It is no lie that the summit is cold and windy (coat, hat, gloves). Haleakala is a US National Park, so there is a $10 fee per car (good for 7 days) to enter the park (the National Parks Pass provides entry too).
Haleakalā National Park
Po Box 369
Makawao, Hawaii 96768
For snorkeling, the books all talked about Honolua Bay as being a great spot with easy access. Admittedly Honolua Bay is much larger than Kapalua. In fact, while we were at Honolua Bay, a catamaran on a snorkel excursion motored into the bay and dropped anchor...along with 50 or so snorkelers! Access wasn't really difficult, although you do have to find parking alongside the road and walk a few hundred yards through a dirt/mud path to the bay. There is very little sand on the beach at Honolua Bay; the shore and shallows consist mostly of fairly small, somewhat smooth rocks. There are no facilities here, either.
The challenge you have at Kapalua, on the other hand, may be getting there early enough to get a parking spot near the beach. You drive through the Kapalua Bay resort to reach the beach (past the golf driving range, tennis courts, golf course, and rental properties. So, "undeveloped Maui" this ain't (but if your head is underwater snorkeling, who can see the development?). There are restrooms and a shower next to the parking lot and the asphalt trail leading to the beach (the paved trail also leads to the hotel's swimming pool and resort area). There is an additional shower at the north end of the beach.
As mentioned earlier, Kapalua Beach has (we thought) the softest sand in Maui. The middle part of the beach has a few rocks, but other than that, getting in and out of the water is no problem. There was a very good variety of fish, fairly interesting coral formations, and a moray eel or two. Also, early in the morning, and later in the evening, sea turtles make their way fairly close to shore. Admittedly, it is unlikely you would see any larger fish here, as the water doesn't get very deep until further out (scuba trips from shore can be arranged).
There is an activities hut on the beach, which rents snorkel gear, boogie boards, and so on. They also rent a "seeboard", which lets a non-swimmer rest on the board and look at the sea life through a plastic window.
Attraction | "Maui "Upcountry" and "backside" of Mt. Haleakala"
One attraction on this part of the road is the Tedeschi Winery and Tasting Room. They have a fairly interesting exhibit on the history of the winery and the Hawaiian cowboys that used to run it; they also have a number of picnic benches scattered on the grounds that make a great place to have lunch. If you didn't pack a lunch, the Ulupalakua General Store is across the street from the winery, so you can get something there. The winery (and the wine) of course will not compare to anything in Napa or Sonoma.
The town of Makawao might not be considered "upcountry", but it has a couple blocks of very interesting shops, art galleries, watering holes (taverns), and restaurants. The commercial area is centered around the intersection of Baldwin Ave and Makawao Ave. As I happen to like spicy food, one store really caught my interest. Hawaii Hearth and Leisure (3460 Baldwin Ave) sells barbecues and stoves, but the surprising thing was the wall of hot sauces. Countless brands were stacked up on the shelves...some of the names gave us a pretty good chuckle. They also have a wide variety of spices. While certainly not "Hawaiian", I have never seen a store like it.