December 2017 – Maui is the second largest Hawaiian island. Our cruise ship, Pride of America, docked overnight in Kahului. The first day we explored the eastern side of the island via the Road to Hana. The second day, we drove south and west to make a loop around that portion of the island.
Before our trip, we downloaded the Gypsy Guide for this island. We liked it so much, we ended up downloading the guide for the other islands we visited as well. It is an app that narrates based on your gps location, and it provides historical information and sightseeing stops along the way.
We spent an entire day on our Road to Hana drive. We began by picking up our Dollar car rental, after a free shuttle met us at the pier to take us to the airport office. We drove for a little while before stopping at the Huelo Lookout for the best fresh fruit smoothies I’ve ever tasted. Fruit smoothies and banana bread became staples of our diet during this trip. Aunt Sandy’s was our first banana bread stop, and it also had a nice view of the rocky coast. Several tour buses were stopped here, though, so we did not spend too much time.
We made a couple of other stops at lookouts before arriving at the Wai’anapanapa State Wayside Park, which is famous for its black sand beach. This was our number one, must-do stop on this road, so we decided to drive here without stopping very much and take in more sights on the return trip. We ended up spending a couple of hours here, walking along the cliffs and rocks, taking in the views. The black sand against the green vegetation was a striking contrast and made for one of the most dramatic beaches I’ve ever seen.
We had hoped to make it to the Pipiwai Trail, but we were running short on time and had to leave it out of our adventure. We did visit the red sand beach in Kaihalulu Bay, which took a short walk to reach. It was nice and quiet, but I did not find it as impressive as the black sand beach.
On the way back, we took in a few more lookouts and waterfalls. We also spent quite a bit of time at the Nahiku Marketplace, where we ate our dinner of fish and chips, did a little shopping, and sampled some coconut candy. The marketplace was fairly busy but had several hand-crafted items that we later regretted not purchasing (we were not able to find the same quality later in the trip).
Returning that evening, we parked at the airport in the paid lot and took the Dollar shuttle back to our ship for the night. The next morning, we returned by the free shuttle again and headed south. This was Christmas Day, although it did not really feel like it, and we stopped for a bit in Lahaina. We found a free parking lot and visited the famous Banyan tree in the town square. We strolled among the vendors in the courtyard and then stopped in the courthouse to check out the exhibits and gift shop. We followed that up by getting shave ice at Local Boys and enjoying the beautiful, sunny weather outside.
Once we were back in the car, we continued northwest to Kaanapali Beach. We found this area to be way over-crowded. We quickly walked a few yards down the beach and then back to the car to continue on. Driving northwest and then east through more rural areas, we stopped for more fruit smoothies. The road around the island was very narrow and twisty for several miles, but the views from the pullouts were amazing and mostly empty. We left the crowds and tour buses far behind as we continued around.
Sadly, our time in Maui came to a close and we had to reboard the ship to head to the Big Island. Maui was definitely one of my favorite places, and I will return in the future for a longer stay.