My lovely parents sponsored our trip and we met them over there. We all stayed at a privately owned condo for about a week in Kihei on the southern part of the island.
We had a pretty nice view!
Adam and I quickly realized that we should have done more planning before we went...we were so busy in the months leading up to the vacation that it was easy to just figure we'd deal with it when we got there! (Excuses, excuses...) So we had counted on being able to rent bikes...of course, it being Christmas, all bikes had been previously reserved so we couldn't have bikes! So, we ended up with these:
Scooters! Adam was pretty sure I would hate them, but I actually did OK (mostly that I hate going fast on a bicycle so I probably wouldn't like flying down the street on a scooter). I was a little timid but I did get used to it. Our main excursion on the scooters was going south from Kihei to this giant lava field with a trail in it (the road that goes through Wailea ends here):
It was pretty treacherous. Definitely need at least tennis shoes to hike in this! We saw one couple doing it in flip flops--no idea how they managed. We had read about a little hidden beach in this area so we set out to find it.
Here it is! The beach was great. No one else was there, and the area was sheltered so the waves were tiny and it was a good place to swim. We had brought our rented snorkel gear, so we snorkeled around. It was pretty awesome!
On the way out, we randomly saw this:
On another day, we borrowed my parents' rental car (THANK YOU FOR LETTING US USE YOUR CAR, MOM AND DAD!), and drove around the west side of the island.
We stopped to hike down to the coast edge to see a blow hole, where the ocean waves shoot up in a hole in the lava:
|Yes, I'm wearing the same outfit...it's vacation, OK? I can wear the same outfit for multiple days if I want to!|
Further along on the drive we stop at the Olivine Pools. They were really gorgeous, and we even got into a tiny pool and had our picture taken. The lady who took our picture was SUPER into the pools, she had been in all of them while her husband sat on a rock and watched. She was so excited to see someone else get in:
The pools get filled by ocean waves, and occasionally a big wave would come and splash over the rocks and into the pools. Just after this picture was taken, a HUGE wave came over and turned our little pool into a frothy jacuzzi. :)
Our last stop around the island was a little hike Adam had read about on the internet, which went to a waterfall. It was just an unmarked trail in a pull out on the side of the road. The hike was great, and so was the waterfall:
Next up, we did something I probably wouldn't have done without Adam: we took a surfing lesson! It was actually SUPER FUN. And we even kicked out some cash to buy the photos they take during the lesson...be prepared for white skin and ultra dorkiness (that's me) and less dorky, still whiteness (Adam)....(I'm blind without glasses on, so I'm wearing my prescription goggles! LOL..)
They put surf students on surfboards that are practically the size of garage doors, so it's almost impossible not to "surf" on them! The waves were like 1' tall but that was big enough for me! It was really fun. We used Maui Wave Riders for our class and they were great.
On another day, we decided to tackle an adventure that we had read about and heard about from a local (the guy we rented our snorkel gear from--thanks dude!). This hike took us past three waterfalls. One waterfall required that we scramble up a small wall with the help of a rope, then climb up a rickety ladder through vegetation. Lastly, after rock hopping for a long time, the trail ends at a pool. Here, Adam went ahead first and swam out of sight (around a corner up and the long and narrow pool)--and he came back to get me, assuring me that it was worth it. We swam up to another small waterfall, climbed out of the water and up the falls, and ended at this huge cavernous area with a very tall waterfall. It was amazingly beautiful, and worth the adventure!
|At the start of the hike.|
|Bamboo forest here, too.|
|This is me coming out of the rock wall scramble/ladder climb. There's a waterfall right there!|
|We came from around that little bend, swimming across the pool and to the base of a small waterfall (right at my feet).|
|And we ended up here, which was impossible for us to capture on camera. It's a huge area with a waterfall going into the big pool. The falls weren't gushing (at all) but it was gorgeous! The walls around us were really tall and green!|
We concluded our drive by stopping at a little roadside stop in/near Kahakuloa to buy banana bread. Delicious! And I should mention that we really aren't much of the "go for a drive" type of people, but the drive around the west side was fantastic--the road gets super narrow (1 lane) and twisty with lots of great views. Just don't be in a hurry!
The morning of our flight home, we got up super early and did the drive up to the top of the mountain to see the sunrise over the crater. It was really windy and cold at the stop, and the views were totally worth the drive! It was like looking at the sun rise on another planet!
|The wind was rushing up the sides of the crater so if you walked to the edge you could be blown backwards..of course I'm yelling, "GET BACK FROM THE EDGE!"|
|Yoga pose for artistic purposes only.|
So, we had a great time in Maui! We did learn some things, though: We aren't really island people...the tropical locale was fun for a week but we'll stick to the mainland (plus it's sort of claustrophobic feeling, being in the middle of the ocean!). If you think you want to rent something while over there (bike, car, scooter), do yourself a favor and reserve it before you go. And, our own personal preferences say that we would stay in a more resort-y area (like Wailea) next time, so more stuff is in walking distance. Kihei is cute but we really needed bikes/scooters to get around. We'd consider going back to Hawaii if we had small kids, since it's more of a kick-back-and-hang-out kind of place, not a hike around sort of place. (There really aren't that many trails on Maui that we could find, unless you want to be in the crater!)