Thursday, January 1, 2009

Maui wowie

Well, since Cam and Cory are going to Maui to honeymoon. And Melissa and Jim are teetering with the idea of a trip, I think now is a good time to post about our trip to Maui. We flew from RDU to Maui, stayed for six nights, rented a car for the week and did it ALL for $3,000. (That was my trip budget, and I was determined to go to Maui. It's totally doable!)

First of all, I spent a bit of time on VRBO.com. Here, you can view and reserve condos directly from the owners, as opposed to paying rates through a resort property.

Then, I consulted with the Westers, whom have all either lived or visited Maui in the last few years. They recommended West Maui - specifically Lahaina or Kaanapali.

My criteria for the location:

- Lots of places to eat.
- Swimmable, snorkelable beaches.
- Bars within walking distance.
- Shopping would be bonus points.

Kaanapali and Lahaina both fit the bill.

For those considering a trip, Kaanapali Beach is gorgeous and excellent for swimming and snorkeling (especially Black Rock). This area is literally a strip of big resorts. There is a lovely sidewalk that goes down and connects all of the resorts in this area. And smack dab in the middle is a mall!

Lahaina is an older, quaint little sea town. There are no big resorts here, but there is a little harbor. This is where all of the snorkel trip boats, parasailing, etc. trips leaving from. There are lots of little shops, bars and restaurants.
I found a resort in Lahaina called Lahaina Shores. I found a studio mountain view condo and got six nights for about $600 by renting directly through the unit's owner.
Lahaina Shores' location allowed us to go shopping and get groceries, pack picnic lunches and coolers for day trips around the island. We could walk into the town of Lahaina to watch surf lessons, eat dinner, see a show, etc. It was perfect! There's even a luau next door (you can see it from the beach)! The beach was small here, but we just drove and parked at Kaanapali Beach during our beach days.

And since I've mentioned the room rate, I should mention that our flights were about $500 each. So, we're at $1600 now. :)

Rented a car for the week. That was under $100. And this is a must! Don't you dare go all the way to Maui and not explore this amazing island!

This left us with about $1100 to frolic about for the week.

Must do's:

- Buy the book Maui Revealed. Read the book front to back and tag the things you like best. There are all kinds of insider hints and trails to areas that are not tourist traps, so to speak. Literally, you will be able to find waterfalls and have them all to yourself!

- Drive the road up the Western coast of Maui. Hike down to the Nakalele Blowhole, but be careful. The ocean is powerful! Pay special attention to this portion of the book. There is a lot to see, including tide pools and blowholes!

- Drive the Road to Hana (block off an entire day for this adventure). See all of the amazing waterfalls and experience a road like no other through a tropical rainforest. Get started early in the day to beat the others. It's one lane and winds up and down and all around. Be sure to stop at the black sand beach. Visit the lava tubes. The book will tell you how to find little hidden trailheads to get to the bottoms of some of the falls. Like this one, called Three Bears.
Maui is gorgeous. Truly stunningly gorgeous. We wanted to explore the island, and the picnic lunch/condo route worked great for us. And it fit my budget. :)

I'm sure I'll think of something totally important that I left out, but this should be enough to get you started. Seriously, go get the book. And please shout with any questions! Be sure to check out any hotel or resort you are considering at my favorite Web site: TripAdvisor.

1 comment:

Melissa Lynch said...

AWESOME! Thanks Kira! You need to start your travel business on the side...$$$$

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