Aloha!  Maui is one of the coolest islands on the planet.  It’s small, relative to the other islands.  If you’re up for the drive, and limited on time (like we were), you can actually drive around the entire island in a day.

Some highlights:

-haleakala sunrise.  AMAZING!  To this day, I have yet to see a cooler sunrise.  It’s a long and winding drive up towards the summit, and a then short walk to the very top.  Takes your breath away.  And I mean literally.  It gets a little harder to breathe, because you’re 10,000 feet above sea level.  Feels like you’re above the clouds.

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haleakala sunrise

-the road to hana.  Also amazing!  Most rental cars don’t permit you to drive on the more dangerous dirt roads, but we risked it, and I’m so glad we did.  It goes from a lot of sketchy cliff driving with barely any guard rail, to lush jurassic park-like scenery, to roadside chickens, to waterfalls, to farmland, and for us, a congregation of cows who would not be MOOved.  As if that’s not enough to sell you, the Atlantic ocean is the Sam to your Frodo- always by your side from beginning to end.

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road to hana

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“congregation of cows”

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road to hana

black sand beach.  Located in Waianapanapa State Park past mile marker 32 of the Hana Highway.  The dramatic black sands were created by lava flow several hundred years ago, also creating giant boulders along the coast line.  You can take a short walk through the park to explore the lava tubes, which are basically natural caves that at one time had molten lava flowing through them.

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black sand beach

-red sand beach.  This magical place, also known as Kaihalulu Bay, is a hidden gem.  From what I’ve read, there is no “safe” way to get there, and I’m pretty sure you’ll be trespassing on private property.  The path you have to take is steep and pretty narrow, but you will see other people doing it and hopefully decide it is worth the risk!  Wouldn’t recommend doing this with children, but if you are in decent shape and up for the trek, it is definitely worth checking out!  Here are the directions I followed.  Sidenote: There’s a really old looking Japanese cemetery nearby that is worth checking out, too!

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red sand beach

-garden of eden.  Roadside arboretum and gardens located, again, on the Hana highway.  They refer to themselves as a “botanical disneyland”.  The place is huge – acres upon acres of plant life.  They charge a $15 per person fee to cover the upkeep of the grounds, which once inside, you won’t mind paying for.  Personal favorites were the bamboo forest, peacocks, and overlook of Keopuka Rock aka the rock from Jurassic Park.

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garden of eden


down to earth.  An organic and natural grocery store and deli located in Kahului.  LOVED their vegetarian reuben and “egg” salad sandwich!  I think we actually ate here twice.

-d.t. fleming beach park.  Probably one of the best swimming beaches near where we stayed in Ka’anapali.  Off in the distance you can see Molokai, the fifth largest of the main hawaiian islands.  We called it the “leper island”, because in the 1800’s, when leprosy was brought to hawaii by the chinese, anyone infected was sent to the small peninsula on the north side of Molokai called Kalaupapa.  It became a leper colony for many years, although currently less than 20 residents call Kalaupapa home.  The peninsula is now a National Historic Site.

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molokai in the background

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hotel sunset

Overall, I’d love to revisit Maui, and see more of the Hawaiian islands.  Especially with the camera/editing skills I’ve developed over the years since our first visit.  Back then, I didn’t even own a dslr, let alone know how to use one in manual.  I follow a lot of travel accounts on instagram and everyday new interesting places are popping up on my feed.  Some of them being places I’ve been almost close enough to touch, yet didn’t even know existed.


MAUI, photography, travel

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