Pardon my poor language, but holy shit! I just got back from the island of Maui in Hawaii (also known as The Valley Isle – perhaps for all its wind?) and let me be the first to tell you – it was..AMAZING!

So let me tell you about it…

For three+ years I have desperately wished to snorkel once again – as I did many, many years ago. Finally, my Hawaiian girlfriend made my dreams come true and we flew off to the island of my dreams on the third day of 2017. What a marvelous Christmas gift it was!

We snorkeled, we saw Molokini, we dined, ziplined, drove The Road to Hana, camped, slept in a van… And many more. The Road to Hana is something I’ve never done before and it was just absolutely breathtakingly beautiful. The many waterfalls, the greenery, the scenery, the bays, the bridges, the sea, the cliffs… It was unbelievable. Maile and I swam in a very, very, very cold waterfall pool called the Twin Falls on our last full day which was really awesome, but kinda dangerous! Another thing on The Road to Hana (still not 100% sure if I’m supposed to capitalize it) were the black and red sand beaches. The black sand beach sat at the bottom of our campsite which made for easy access, but the red sand beach was hidden under cliffs and caves! We eventually found the small dirt trail that lead to the cove and we were not disappointed by the view.

Another activity Maile was just dying to do was the swap meet. It was pretty small, but there was an abundance of things to buy! The only real downfall about the event is that they lacked food vendors and could have used (in my humble opinion) live music to attract more visitors. Here, Maile and I scoped out the ukulele scene and (as a hint to what went down) I did not come empty handed in that department! Also, I bought a Hawaiian shirt and some mediocre (but desperately desired) tacos – which is all part of the experience, dontcha think?

As for the main event, snorkeling was the best. What made it even more exciting, were the turtles that swam along side us like a Lilo and Stitch movie. We swam with so many kinds of fish on the shores of Maui and in the marine reserve of Molokini island. On the boat ride there, however, we did encounter a very large manta ray like it was Moana! (If you haven’t seen that movie, stop reading this and go watch it.) The whole holiday was like a movie. And it will be a movie once I figure out how to edit all my GoPro footage…

Anyway, there are so many things I could talk about, but quite frankly, I’ve decided to leave a list of things to do and places to go if you ever decide to take a trip:

  • Take a boat to Molokini Island (and Lanai if applicable)
  • Drive the Road to Hana*
  • Visit the swap meet at Maui College on Saturday morning
  • Take a wicked zipline tour (next time, I think I’d like to try the north shore lines)
  • Rent snorkel gear from Snorkel Bob’s (will prove very handy especially if you island hop – and they give you great deals on activities such as snorkeling trips)
  • Eat at Taverna (great Italian restaurant for people who haven’t looked at their bank accounts since they got there and are looking to treat themselves to a $250 5oz pour of white wine)
  • Eat at Da Kitchen (nice variety of local foods – much more affordable than Taverna)
  • Drive to the top of the crater (get a pin if you have a jean jacket like I do)
  • Eat Maui Chips (when you want the perfect snack on the Road to Hana, this should be your go-to – unless you’ve had your face in the sea for a couple hours – then your lips might not be so forgiving…)

Finally, here are some humble tips:

  • *There is an app called GyPSy that will be the best tour guide you could ever ask for on The Road to Hana. Actually, they offer more than just RTH, but we bought only that package and it costed a mere $4.99 and was super convenient and funny and educational and really darn helpful. This was easily our highlight (we’re very simple people..) – you won’t regret it!
  • To find the best deals on activities like ziplining and dinner cruises, try the guy at the swap meet who obnoxiously boasts about his clients owing him a thousand favors (though, ironically, it doesn’t seem to grately affect the deals made).. Anyway, he’s a haggler! Don’t be afraid to get him down to his lowest dollar. It’s a bit like Deal or No Deal as he calls his clients and talks like they’re the bankers.
  • Try to get your hands on a Turo rental car instead of an actual rental car. This makes driving ‘forbidden’ roads much easier (and far less illegal). If you’re unfamiliar with Turo, basically it’s where people like you and me rent out their own cars to travelers and it’s a much cheaper option! Go check it out if you’re going anywhere else.
  • On the driving front, don’t honk like an American – cool your jets. People all over Hawaii are super chill drivers that will let you through when they see a lot of cars behind them. Be patient.
  • If you’re lost (eg. if you can’t find secret beaches) ask the locals – they are so nice and will help you with whatever you need!
  • My last fun tip is – at the craft fair on Sundays there is a nice guy who sells handblown beautiful ‘pieces’, if you buy one, he’ll happily score you some pakalolo if you’re nice and chatty enough! (And if you’re into that sort of thing..) Wink!

I can’t think of anything else, but if I do, I’ll keep y’all posted! The most important thing of all is to have fun, wear sunscreen, and aloha.

(Pictures and video clips will appear here and/or on my Facebook page soon!)

Mahalo for reading!