Maui is a slice of paradise. Palm tree lined sandy yellow beaches, a surfers paradise, lush green valleys, a volcano, all wrapped up on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
But, visiting in 2021, it wasn’t without a string of precautions and provisions during COVID—19.
To get to Maui, The government required a negative COVID-19 test. Without it, you wouldn’t be able to explore its beauty until you quarantined for 10 days. Which for most folks, would completely ruin their vacation time.
Here are the Top 5 Things to do in Maui in no particular order.
- Driving the Road to Hana Loop
You’ve probably heard of the Road to Hana, but have you heard of the Hana Loop? The drive to Hana has 620 curves, 59 bridges and is bustling with roadside wonders and attractions. With that being said, it gets talked about the most and its extremely popular.
But, getting to know Maui takes more patience and persistence if you want to enjoy it’s most purist form. Keep driving past Hana for an unforgettable experience. The rocky and pothole filled roads require a bit of adventure and some savvy driving skills to complete the loop but its well worth it. I recommended you have a 4×4 vehicle but it’s not necessary in the dry season (April-September), it’s just more fun! Follow the gravel roads next to seaside cliffs around Mt. Haleakala and end with a handpicked wine at Maui Wines to finish off your day.
Make no mistake about it, the unspoiled country side is still the most beautiful region of Maui.
- Watching the Sunset on Mt. Haleakala
Another unpopular opinion in addition to doing the back roads of the Road to Hana- go to Haleakala for sunset. You can book a sunrise tour well in advanced. The National Park accepts $1 donations to secure a spot on top of the dormant volcano. However, at sunset, there are less crowds and it’s just as beautiful as sunrise.
What we did was pack a picnic, wine included! If you had time on the end of your Hana Loop expedition, you knew to grab some wine from Maui wines. What a perfect way to cap off a great day. And, don’t forget to pack warm clothes and maybe even a blanket, because it’s cold up there.
- Swimming with Honu (turtles)
If you’re like me, snorkeling with turtles is on your bucket list. Find turtles at any of these beaches!
Kapalua (Cliff house)
- Chasing Waterfalls
You can find waterfalls all over Maui but most are on the Road to Hana. My favorite waterfall is Waimoku Falls on the Pipiwai Trail. Just a 3 mile hike in, Waimoku Falls falls is over 400ft tall. And while the waterfall itself is beautiful, the scenery and thunderous roar from the fall is amazing.
Other waterfalls that are worth a stop or hike that are not on the Road to Hana, include;
One of the few West Maui waterfalls accessible by land, Makamaka‘ole is a series of two falls set against a lush, jungle backdrop. The full 270-foot falls can be viewed from a distance by hiking the Waihe‘e Ridge Trail, while the lower falls, approximately 60 feet high, can be seen from Kahekili Highway (Hwy 340) just past mile marker 8.
What You Need to Know:
Height: 270 feet
Access: One mile hiking up the Waihe‘e Ridge Trail or Kahekili Hwy (Hwy 340) just past mile marker 8.
Tips: Great stop to add if you’re planning the Kahekili Highway loop drive from Honolua Bay to Kahului.
Reputedly the tallest waterfall on Maui, Honokohau Falls is situated deep within an inaccessible West Maui valley. Only visible via a helicopter tour, the two-tiered waterfall tops out at an astounding 1,119 feet.
What You Need to Know:
Height: 1,119 feet
Access: Only accessible via helicopter
Tips: Choose the combined West Maui/Moloka‘i tour to view Honokohau Falls and the dramatic sea cliffs of Moloka‘i.
- Maui Sailing Excursion
Just imagine, you’re on a boat, swim trunks, flippy floppies and the wind blowing in your hair. The Lahaina coast is on your left, whale and dolphin watching to your right and The Big Island far off in the distance. Maui is gorgeous on land but you can’t appreciate its beauty unless you see it from the Sea. Your best bet for seeing whales is from Dec-April and early in the morning hours. If you want to catch a great snorkeling tour, morning tours are also best, because the water is the most calm and clear. Fancy yourself a sunset tour on a catamaran, Maui has those as well. Sip on a glass of wine as you stroll along the coast while watching the sunset.
Have something to add to the list? Let me know in the comments below.