If ever I need a place to escape, Hawaii will always be my number one destination. It is paradise. Having been to Oahu twice over the recent years — this time, I opted for a less crowded island, which equates to less wait times for poke and shave ice. Aloha, Maui. Let me re-create the one week of island life in April.
I’ve only ever been to one luau: Old Lahaina Luau on Front Street. It’s hard to recommend something when I’ve only tried it once but it was truly authentic and the hospitality was more than enough. Mind you, revealing the Pua’a Kalua, pork roasted in an underground oven, is remarkable. Lahaina is a quaint little town, and in the olden days a plantation, which resides the largest banyan tree in the United States.
Staying in central Maui was easy. Minutes from the airport, groceries, food trucks, hiking trails — the list goes on. My daily routine consisted of: scuba diving until 9am, head back to the hotel to shower (maybe take in a nap), drive out for a Poke salad, followed by shave ice with mochi and relax. Like Poke hit the spot each and every time. Ululani's Hawaiian Shave Ice did the same thing. Another must-do: Waihee Ridge Trail. Strikingly beautiful mountain ranges with peekaboo city and ocean views.
The Road to Hana, a 64-mile stretch on Highways 36 and 360 is treacherous even for those who love to drive. Worth it? Absolutely. I am always looking to avoid crowds so if that means a 6am start, I’m in. Must-sees include Twin Falls, Wai’anapanapa State Park (Black Sand Beach), Red Sand Beach and most definitely Waimoku Falls via the Pipiwai Trail. The bamboo and guava forests are so impressive in person, and way more enjoyable than Arashiyama in Kyoto! Point is, if you start the winding and narrow one-way journey, drive all the way to the end and take in the green and lush surroundings. It is more scenic than you could imagine. And don’t let a bit of rain or hail stop you — keep on going.
I had only one goal in mind throughout the trip: get PADI certified. Ever since I went snorkelling with sharks in Honolulu with One Ocean Diving about two years back, I have been obsessing over more underwater adventures. It is surreal how you feel, see and hear in the ocean. For a few days, I’d wake up at 4:30am and drive south to Kihei to scuba dive with B&B Scuba. Get a little bit seasick and see the most incredible little creatures. Best times of my life.