Aloha, Maui

Honeymooning in Maui was probably the best decision we could have made “post wedding”. My grandparents lived in Kauai when I was little, and my parents took us there when I was maybe four (of course none of this I remember), so I was so excited to be able to go to paradise, and actually remember this time! As us ladies do when we finally nail down our vacation destination, the planning commenced immediately. Where we wanted to go, what we wanted to do, what we wanted to see... that lasted for about two days. I then realized that this was the one trip I didn’t want to plan for. I wanted to just show up and enjoy that “island life.” That’s exactly what we did, and it was perfect! With the right resources, Maui requires almost zero planning ahead.

We ended up staying at the Westin Maui Ka’anapali Resort. It was perfect, and after exploring some of the other resorts along the coast, I’m so happy we went with this one. As we entered their outdoor lobby, we were greeted with this beautiful waterfall that was surrounded by a huge koi pond. Our room wasn’t quite ready, and after an exhausting day of travel, we sat in their crazy comfy chairs facing the waterfall, sipping our complimentary citrus water (so fancy), staring at the scene in our relaxed, blissful, and married state.

Any time I travel anywhere, I tell myself, “We’re only eating a local ‘ma and pop’ places.” However, the day we arrived we decided to lay low and eat at Westin’s “in house” grill called Relish. It was the best food I’ve ever had. Seriously. It may have been the six hour flight talking, but it was SOOO good. We ate more of their fish and chips and burgers that I’d care to admit…you can only eat there if you’re staying at the Westin, and I’m SO glad we were. I could go on and on about how delicious this food was.

When we weren’t eating at Relish, we ate at little local places near our resort, all of which were within a five minute walking distance in Whaler’s Village, or near it. A friend had recommended purchasing the “Maui Revealed” app for a local’s inside scoop on all the best places and activities. It was SO helpful! A man and his wife wrote this travel guide. They are so funny and super honest about everything--the good and bad! They give you really helpful directions, best places to park, their favorite dishes at different restaurants, fun activities to do and where to go to get the best price. I really don’t think we would have had such smooth travels there if it wasn’t for this app.

 
 

Something I especially loved about our resort was that it’s literally on the beach. Count to thirty and you’ll be from the sidewalk to the water. Being from Tucson, the only ocean I’ve ever experienced is in San Diego, and you don’t really go to the beach there to play in the “warm” water. Tyler and I just couldn’t get over how warm the water was, but also that is wasn’t a bajillion degrees outside. The weather was perfect and the water was perfect, and if I close my eyes long enough, I can almost transport myself back!

By the third day we had recuperated enough from the excitement of the wedding and traveling, and were ready to do a bit of exploring. Tyler surprised me, and signed us up for a sunset cruise on the Teralani II. It was about two hours on the water, with food, drinks, music, and of course a beautiful view. I have an overly dramatic aversion to wind, and it happened to be particularly windy that evening. Just know, this is not the time to “dress cute” and put any amount of effort into your hair. Baseball hat and shorts all the way! The food was pretty good, our captain was so sweet and fun, and the view of the sunset as we came back in was SO worth it.

That next morning we went to Slappy Cakes. This is a breakfast restaurant with a location in Maui and Portland, Oregon. You buy the batter and make your own pancakes at the griddle on the table! It looked SO fun, but Tyler and I were starving and needed more than an 8 oz. bottle of pancake batter. I went with their “Truck Stop” dish. Holy moly it did not disappoint. It was some of the best breakfast food I’ve ever had, and their staff was so friendly.

Later that day we decided to do some paddle boarding. The Westin has their own little hut to rent from by the hour (which an hour was plenty for me!). The gentleman who worked at the rental hut was this awesome ex world champion surfer from Puerto Rico. When he told us how much lessons would cost Tyler said, “That’s okay, I’m sure we can figure it out.” I’m staring at him with my new “wife” eyeballs thinking, “Of course we have to get lessons!! We can’t just go out there and figure it out!” Well, pretty much you can’t get on those boards without a quick lesson, so this overly tan, and overly kind ex-surfing champion gave them to us for free. There wasn’t much to it, but there was no way I was going out there without knowing what I was doing! We had a blast, mostly laughing at each other as we’d lose our balance and fall in. We returned our paddle boards, walked a few feet and hoped in the pool to relax for a bit!

That evening was our luau! Everyone we talked to who had been to Hawaii said that we HAD to go to a luau. I was having a hard time picking which one though! We were also told that you get what you pay for. I wanted an authentic experience, but I also didn’t want to pay an arm and a leg. Fortunately for us (and unfortunately this doesn't help you all out), Tyler had quite a few credit card points saved up and we were able to redeem for one of the top (and most recommended) luaus--The Feast at Lele. I’m so glad we were able to attend this one--the food (and free unlimited drinks) was great, the performances were even better, and my favorite part (Miss Anti-Social)-- we got our own table. So worth it! 

The last big adventure we took was driving the road to Hana. It was an all day (and exhausting!) trip, but an experience that was beyond worth it and one I will never forget. Beautiful doesn’t even begin to describe it. The views are truly breathtaking, and we kept saying over and over, “Oh my gosh, is this real?!” I brought my "real" camera, and my film camera (something I've been practicing with), and boy I'm glad I did, because a phone would not have done this place justice. We downloaded the “Road to Hana GyPsy Driving Tour”, which made things a million times easier, and a ton of fun! The man (who is from Maui and Hana) narrates the trip with really interesting stories, and is great with directions. He’ll let you know things like, “In about a quarter of a mile you’ll see a beautiful waterfall. If you’d like to stop and take a look, keep driving because there’s a pull out half a mile up.” He gives great history lessons and tidbits along the way. There’s no way we would have known to stop at any of the places we did without this app. AND! It doesn’t require wifi or use data along the way! Well worth the five dollars. We would stop and take mini hikes, drool over waterfalls... We stopped and had some banana bread and frozen yogurt at some random little stand off the beaten path--SO good. We also decided to splurge and rent a jeep for the week, which made this drive that much more fun!

One of my two favorite places we ate at (other than Relish) was Lahaina Pizza Company. It’s a really cool and laid back pizza place right on the ocean. Be prepared--their deep dish pizza is like stacking three normal pizzas on top of one another. So. Good. But of course, our eyes were bigger than our stomachs, and we got a large… we each ate about a slice and a half (which if you know Tyler or me is not normal!). It all worked out because we had leftover pizza on the beach the next morning when no one was up yet and the waves were calm. So. Relaxing. I'm not going to show you a picture of Tyler and I stuffing our faces at Lahaina Pizza Co. because I don't think that would be beneficial to anyone.

Our next favorite place we discovered on our last day! It was called  Down the Hatch in downtown Lahaina. I loved it because you have to walk downstairs off the main street--it feels “hidden,” like you’ve just discovered this awesome secret place. It’s this really cool outdoor “grill,” with the best shrimp tacos and fish and chips EVER. It was the perfect place for us to kill some time before our evening flight home. I wish we had discovered this sooner, because I would have loved to eat there a couple times! We spent our last day wandering around the rest of downtown Lahain, eating Hawaiian Shave Ice, checking out the Banyan Tree (which takes over at least an acre, but is all one tree), and enjoying our last day of paradise.

I am so thankful that Tyler and I were able to take such an extravagant honeymoon. It was so worth it paying a little more for a resort, and not having to think about or plan anything (other than booking our luau--definitely do that in advance)! Let’s just say we’re already planning our trip back…

My biggest piece of advice is whatever your “food” budget is… double it. It’s crazy expensive to eat there. We packed a lot of breakfast bars and snacks, and we still probably spent at least $75 a day on food. And that’s not including drinks--Tyler and I aren’t big drinkers and stuck to water most of the time. But we couldn't have asked for a better honeymoon. Maui is the perfect balance of urban and rural--plenty of hiking, plenty of shopping, plenty of nightlife. And did I mention how amazing the weather was in October??

If you have questions about any of the places we ate or things we did, shoot me an email!