Hawaii! It's one of these places I had on my bucket list for a while and when the opportunity presented itself and we started thinking about escaping NYC winter somewhere warmer I suggested to finally check out Hawaii. I once was invited to a wedding in Hawaii and I couldn't go because I was booked for another wedding here in the city but the thought of the going there always lingered on my mind. My hubby got his spring break time off from university and instead of the usual Caribbean getaway I was craving something a little more exciting and unique. When we started our search (quite late I should say!) I naturally gravitated towards the Island of Maui. After binge watching travel videos on youtube I was excited to explore the wild adventurous Maui where you can lay on the beach one day and go on a crazy adventure the next. I am happy to say my expectations were exceeded and can definitely recommend Maui for anyone in the mood to explore a unique place on Earth.
I have to say that I did my best documenting my travels with my Canon camera but there were some days I had absolutely no desire to carry my "big camera" around so you will see a couple of iphone 6 photos below to complete the story;)
If you do any research about Maui you know right away there is a sunny dry part on the West/South (Kihei, Wailea, Lahaina) and the rainy/windy part on the North and East which includes the famous Road To Hana. We started our trip in Paia - a small charming town for hippies and surfers. Paia is the official start of the Road To Hana so our trip down the windy road was supposed to happen in the first 3 days since it was simply most convenient and believe me the road takes a while to maneuver on so you need any extra time you can get on it. We did a small part of the road on our first day and visited The Twin Falls.
Mandatory Bamboo photos on out hike down to Twin Falls
It was raining one second and then would be sunny the next! Be prepared to have a rain coat or something to protect you from unexpected downpours especially if you travel between November and March;)
As it turns out after multiple rainy days there was a flash flood and we couldn't cross the raging river to continue all the way to the Falls. Instead we did a bunch of photos on the trail:)
I mean I will find a mural whenever I go;)
The bamboo is a common thing in the jungles of Maui!
I was telling my hubby what the heck are all these people down there staring at? And then I saw a beach full of Green Sea Turtles!
Maui has chicken and cats everywhere and I am not exaggerating:)
Our second day and the continuation of the Road to Hana was super rainy and stormy which was still pretty epic but we didn't dip in any waterfalls
Vlad almost dipped in the ocean though haha
Proof that iPhone photos can look really good sometimes:) Also, this is a snow jacket I am wearing. Definitely not the best for 70 degrees F but this was the only waterproof thing I had in preparation for our 10000 feet volcano hike so I had it the car at all times just in case! I recommend a light rain jacket for rainy season!
You can literally hop out of the car and go watch a beautiful waterfall when you are on the Road to Hana. Even if you are not prepared to hike (especially in the rain!) it's still majestic in every way
We went down a lava tube which is a natural tunnel within a solidified lava flow, formerly occupied by flowing molten lava. It was surreal and pitch black except for the flash lights they provided.
Our lack of planning resulted in a spontaneous hike in the town of Hana. Apparently there is a bigger more famous red sand beach on the other side of hidden trail but we still found a little piece of secluded red sand beach for ourselves
Another spontaneous stop at this black sand beach!
The next day we arrived in our second home away from home Kihei. This place was cute and conveniently a block away from the beach.
Dinner at Mamma's Fish House in Paia was so worth it!
The next day we decided to go to Upcountry to visit Alii Kula Lavender Farm and a local winery making Pineapple wine. Yum!
On our 4th day we finally ended up on a sunny beach:) For the next 3 days we surfed, dived and snorkeled with sea turtles. We also saw jumping whales right from the beach. It was an amazing break from windy roads of the previous days:)
One of the most exhilarating experiences was driving on Maui's "death road" (Kahekili Highway). We actually didn't realize we were driving on a one lane road on the edge of a cliff until it was too late. It was also pitch black so technically it helped the nerves:) If you ever decide to go see Nakalele Blowhole which is on the North side of the West Maui Mountains make sure to get to it from the West side and make sure you are 100% ready for the craziest drive of your life if you decide to continue to the East side. I would recommend to simply turn around and go back if you get nervous driving on crazy roads. Personally, I was ok and generally enjoy thrill roads but I wasn't in the driver's seat so it's hard to tell if I would feel any different. My husband also dived that morning so we found ourself in a tricky situation with not enough gas to go back and also nervous the elevation will be too high for him due to decompression. Thankfully it was just at about 1000 feet high as we googled later!
I don't usually take food photos but man Maui has some outstanding seafood and we ate ahi tuna every day for the last 4 days. Down the Hatch in Lahaina has the best ahi tuna burgers!
I realize I skipped 3 days in between but we were surfing/diving and snorkeling or simply relaxing on the beach and I was too lazy to photograph anything:) Hence, the second part of this post is mostly from our last most epic and mind blowing trip up Haleakala Volcano Mountain. We watched the sunrise and then hiked down into the moon like crater.
We hiked down 3000 feet into the crater valley and hiked for about 6-7 miles on a rugged rocky trail.
Hawaiian Silversword only exists in Hawaii. It can live up to 90 years and blooms once in its lifetime.
There are a couple of cabins inside Haleakala National Park near the crater but they are actually quite hard to access.
The best treat was seeing nene Hawaiian native geese! There are only about 2500 of them now in the world after the population was down to 30 in 1950s.
We ended our hike by climbing up 1200 feet on the side of the cliff. I could hardly walk afterwards but it was definitely one of the most memorable unique experiences of my life and so worth it!
I loved seeing this local woman come to the beach at sunset and take a dip and then do some kind of a ritual or meditation. I am not talking about any so called authentic experiences they do at the resorts. This was as real as it gets and it made me think about rituals in my life. Do I connect with myself enough on a daily basis and can i really release energy of the day like she did sitting in my apartment in Brooklyn? Hawaii is not just a beach vacation spot and I highly recommend not to stay at the resort if you want to experience the real life and spirituality all around the island.