Recently, My Vacation Lady has had a number of honeymoon clients staying at 2 different hotels on the island of Maui. They wanted the resorts, dining and activities along the west and southern coast of Maui but wanted to get the real feel of Maui too.
Looking at the map of Maui, it looks like there are many more than 3 sides but in terms of resort areas, there are 3 main areas:
1. West Maui— Kapalua down to Lahaina
2. South Maui– Kihei down to Makena
3. East Maui — Hana
These 3 regions comprise most of the resort areas and some fabulous hotels, resorts and condo style hotels. Each is different. Even a couple of miles down the beach can make a difference in the feel of the area.
West Maui can sometimes feel like an island on it’s own. With the West Maui Forest Reserve as it’s backdrop, it’s set apart from the rest of Maui and connected by 1 main road, Route 30. With great golf courses, wonderful beaches, great dining options and some fabulous resorts and condo style hotels, West Maui is very popular with honeymooners, families, golfers and spa enthusiasts looking for great views and lots to do. This is the Maui that you’ll see on postcards with the jagged mountains, green valleys, gorgeous beaches and some of the most beautiful sunsets imaginable.
West Maui starts at the Kapalua area and goes all the way down to Lahaina. Kapalua has some of the best golf courses, wonderful beaches like DT Fleming Beach and and adventure center, including ziplining, hiking, ocean kayaking and tennis.
A couple of miles south of Kapalua is the Ka’anapali Beach resort area. This is where you’ll find the popular resorts like the Hyatt, Sheraton and Westin all lining the beach mixed with smaller hotels and condos. There is a walking path along the beach from the Hyatt all the way down to the Sheraton. With lots of restaurants along the walking path, as well as in Whaler’s Village, the Ka’anapali Beach area which was Maui’s first planned resort community, is very popular with honeymooners and families. One of the best snorkeling areas in Maui is in front of the Sheraton, near Black Rock and don’t miss the sunset cliff diver who lights the torches along Black Rock and then dives off it.
The main town in the region is Lahaina which is a historic whaling and fishing village that has been transformed into shops, restaurants and art galleries. You can still feel the history of Lahaina by taking a self guided walking tour. For those vacationers that want a nightlife, Lahaina is the place to be after the sun sets. With 2 of the most popular Luau’s in Maui, as well as a theatrical production showcasing Hawaiian culture and a magic show that is part comedy and part magic, plus lots of restaurants and shops, Lahaina is worth a visit or two for anyone staying in Maui. It’s also the harbor for the ferry to the island of Lanai and Molakai, fishing boats and whale watching boats.
South Maui is the warmest and driest coastline on Maui. Wailea is likely our favorite part of the island. The beaches are wider and the resorts are more spread out than in the Ka’anapali area. With 5 star resorts like the Four Seasons, Fairmont Kea Lanai, Andaz and Grand Wailea, it’s surrounded by 54 holes of championship golf, fantastic beaches and a 3 mile long beach walk that starts at the Fairmont and ends past the Andaz. While known for luxury, Wailea is not out of reach for many honeymooners and families that want to treat themselves to a bit of privacy and serenity.
Some of the resorts offer shuttle service all around the Wailea area so you don’t have to worry about drinking and driving back. The Shops at Wailea is full of restaurants and shops that has everything from the ABC store to some of the priciest stores. We strolled down to the shops for dinner and then called the resort to send a shuttle to come and pick us up. It’s a short drive from Kihei, which is a town with lots of restaurants, shopping and strip malls. The restaurants here tend to be a bit more reasonable in price than those in the resorts of Wailea so we went to a lot of restaurants in Kihei during out last stay in Wailea.
East Maui has been made famous by the Road to Hana. This 52 mile stretch of road winds around 600 curves and crosses over 50 1 lane bridges. Driving along the Road to Hana is not for the faint of heart but it is a day trip worth making. If you have even more time, stay for a couple in the Hana-Maui hotel or any of the condos near by to relax and explore this side of the island.
Hana is 3 hours away from the West or South Maui resorts. We drove from the Hyatt Regency in the Ka’anapali Beach area almost straight through to Hana. Since we had made most of the stops prior to Hana on our previous drive along the road, we drove straight through to Hana, visited the Hana-Maui Hotel and then continued on to the 7 Sacred Pools. Called Ohe’o Gulch, it is actually only 5 pools and it’s part of the Haleakala National Park system. To get to the upper pools, fed by Waimoku Falls, it’s a 2 mile hike up and through a bamboo forest.
We made it up to Makahiku Falls (the smaller of the 2) but still beautiful and enough of a hike for us. We wanted go up to the Bamboo Forest but it was getting late (already 4pm and the sun was setting by 5:30pm) so we decided to turn around after we visited the Makahiku Falls. We were told that the rest of the way was easier but we’ll leave that for our next visit.
Maui is a beautiful island and if you are planning to visit Hawaii, a visit to Maui is a must. Since so many of My Vacation Lady’s clients are coming from the east coast, they want to see as many of the Hawaiian islands as possible. For those who only have 10 nights, we might recommend 2 islands- 5 nights each. For those who only have a week, spend the entire time in 1 island and really explore it.
You can easily spend 10 nights in Maui and still not get bored. The hardest part is probably deciding on which part of the island you want to stay and how much you want to see, do and experience.
As a Hawaii Destination Specialist, and the top rated honeymoon specialist located in New Jersey by the brides on Wedding Wire and the Knot, My Vacation Lady can help plan your dream vacation or honeymoon to Maui. We can guide you to the best resort location and the best resorts to stay in that will fit your dreams and budget. Then, we’ll make suggestions on what to see and do during your stay. By taking the personal approach to vacation and honeymoon planning, you’ll see the difference that we can make in your Hawaii honeymoon or vacation planning experience.
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