Category Archives: Reviews – Travel

Road to Hana

We had to wake up early today for our trip to Hana. The Road to Hana is a famous drive in Maui with many attractions along the way. The road is known for it’s natural beauty all around, including waterfalls,cliff sides, and views of the Pacific. There are many guides online about how to do the road to Hana and I used a variety of sites to help plan our day. We only had a day, which was unfortunate, but we did see and do a lot!

After having our leftovers from Da Kitchen for breakfast we left Kihei around 7:30. The plan was for me to drive the way to Hana and for Don to drive back. We first stopped in the town of Paia. It was a cute, small town. It seemed a bit hippy-ish. We didn’t really spend any time here, just made a bathroom stop and we were on our way.

The drive was pretty cool. It was a bit scary at times, but awesome. The road was filled with areas that were only one way and hairpin curves. At times it would be rainy and then a minute later the sun was out. There were often lots of cars and people also.

 

 

Our first stop was Twin Falls. There is a small parking lot at Twin Falls but a lot of people will end up pulling over on the side of the road like we did. The hike down to Twin Falls was not long but it was slippery.

The next place I wanted to stop was a lookout point in a Wailua Valley. We thought we had missed it but then we saw a small parking area. The walk up to the lookout was not long and it was easy. The views were incredible. We could see a waterfall in the distance. This is what I always envisioned Maui being.

Waikani Falls was the next place we stopped. You can see this waterfall just by pulling over on the side of the road. There are many signs saying not to pull over, but many people were so we did. It was pretty awesome.

The highlight of the road to Hana was the Waianapanapa State Park. We got here and walked around a bit. Then we decided to have our lunch before we did much more here. We brought lunches we had picked up at the grocery store the night before. We had sandwiches, chips, salad, and even a couple of Longboards. We ate in the car because they were no tables nearby. Once we were done eating we changed into some swimwear because we knew there would be a beach.

The beach was formed by volcanic rock so the sand was actually black rock. It was called Black Sand Beach. It was very hot walking down to the beach, but it was overcast. We got into the water and it was cold but refreshing. It started to rain a bit. Supposedly, you should be able to swim out to caves in the rock but it was too rough to do this today.

Once we were done swimming we got out and continued our hike. There were really cool lava rock formations. The sun started to come out and it was so hot. We walked around for about 30-45 minutes, but I felt like I was going to get burnt and it was so hot so we turned around. There were just incredible views on this hike. The water at the beach looked calmer now that it was sunny and a few people were pretty far out snorkeling.

We made our way back to the car and Don started driving. We drove to the town of Hana. From the park it wasn’t far, maybe another 20 minutes. We didn’t really know what to do in Hana so we found a place to park where we thought there was a beach. We started walking towards the water and it was pretty much a walk straight down a cliff. Don ended up falling and luckily he didn’t get hurt. I didn’t want to continue because it was so slippery and the water below was so choppy with rocks everywhere. It was beautiful but I didn’t want one of us to get hurt.

This was taken 2 minutes before Don slipped.

We made our way back to the car and decided to drive back to Kihei. Don had a lot of fun driving. He felt like he was in a racing game. I started feeling sick because I often get car sick. We stopped at a shop and got some coffee and chocolate chip banana bread. The bread was so good! We also found the Hana Lava Tube Cave and even though it was set to close soon the guide let us and a few other people explore the cave.  It was a pretty cool cave and it was a self-guided tour. It took about 30 minutes and it was a little spooky at times, especially when you turned off your flashlight.

On the way back we wanted to stop at this restaurant area so we did but things were closing down and nothing looked that good. It seemed like a tourist trap. I did get an iced coffee and some cokes for the ride. I was able to take some Dramamine and I felt pretty good on the ride back.

We stopped at a lookout point that had incredible views of the sun starting to make its way down. There was a bench here with the name Sierra on it.

We made another stop by some cows.

Our last stop on the way back was a beach lookout. The beach was called Ho’okipa. The views of the sunset were awesome. Don noticed some people gathering on the sand down on the beach. They were looking at something. It looked like rocks on the sand but then Don realized they were sea turtles! The sun was starting to set fast but we wanted a closer look so we drove the car down to the beach and found a spot. The turtles were so awesome! They come up here almost every night to rest on the beach. A conservationist was there to keep people from getting too close. She told us sometimes there are over 150 turtles here a night. We stayed here until the beach was closing. Every day in Maui so far we have seen turtles!!

By the time we got back to Kihei we were both pretty hungry and the pizza place I wanted to try had already closed at 8. So we found a bbq place called Daddy’s Smokehouse and it was pretty good. It was a long but pretty awesome day.

 

Making Our Way To Kihei

Today we got up a little early so we could check out of Napili Sunset and make our way to Kihei. We had breakfast again at Slappy Cakes. I thought about ordering something different than yesterday but I couldn’t do it. I had the carnitas benedict again, but Don tried something new- the veggie omelet. I love Slappy Cakes!!

Carnitas Benedict

After breakfast it was time to check out some beaches again! The first beach we checked out was Airport Beach, also called Kahekili Beach Park. There was a strong current, so we went South so we could float North. It was a very pretty beach and the snorkeling was good. There were a lot of people snorkeling and even some scuba divers. The coral was beautiful. I spotted a turtle and we watched an eel for a long time. I’ve never seen one stay out so long.

After we were done snorkeling here I had a weird conversation with a woman about a bird. While in line for the restroom this woman started telling me how she just got an awesome video of a bird eating nuts from her hand. I was like that’s cool, but she just kept talking. She wanted to know how she could upload her video to YouTube so she could get “all the credit for it”. She told me about a guy who uploaded a video of a lemon rolling and it had over 40 million views. Then she told me she needs to upload it because she only has 4 GB’s of storage on her camera but she doesn’t have a phone. I told her she could use a computer to put it on the internet and her response was “maybe at the library?”. It was a weird conversation, but basically ended with me telling her to make a YouTube account and upload her video at the library. Maybe she will go viral?

Next we tried out Black Rock Beach. We were able to park in a parking garage here. We made our way to the Black Rock and it was pretty crowded with snorkelers and swimmers. The rock was pretty cool and people were jumping off of it into the water. The current around the rock was strong. We went around the rock and started heading towards what looked like a cave. The rock formations were so cool underwater but as I got closer to the cave it felt too dangerous so I quickly turned around. When I turned around there was immediately a giant sea turtle in front of me! I swam with it for awhile, navigating around the rocks. It was difficult to swim here because of the rocks but it was pretty awesome. Pretty good snorkeling day once again. We have seen turtles every day here in Maui!

Once we were done at Black Rock we made it back to the car to make our way to Maui Coast Hotel in Kihei. We stopped once along the way to take some pictures.

We checked into the Maui Coast Hotel and it is really nice. It has a resort feel. After getting cleaned up we decided to get some food. We tried a place we saw on YouTube called Da Kitchen. The food here was soooo good!!!! Best dinner so far!! Don got the luau special and I got the plate with katsu chicken and luau pork. Absolutely delicious. We even tried some of their chocolate pie. After dinner we walked around the shops here for a bit and then we tried the shaved ice place that was in the parking lot. The place was called Beach Street Maui. I didn’t really know what to expect from a shaved ice. I have had sno cones before but this was completely different. We shared the Firecracker. It was blue raspberry, pina colada, and strawberry with ice cream and haupia. Haupia is like a coconut syrup. This shaved ice was so good, so refreshing.

After this delicious dinner we went to Safeway to get things for our trip to Hana tomorrow. We hurried back to the hotel to watch the sunset at the beach across from our hotel. It was beautiful. And of course we ended the night watching Big Brother haha.

Honolua Bay, Kapulua Beach, & Nakalele Blowhole

This morning I had some coffee on the lanai and it was so nice.

We packed up some food and drinks in a cooler and then we attempted to try this breakfast place called The Gazebo at the resort South of us but the line was ridiculously long. I would recommend trying to get into this place because we heard it’s great but get there like at 5 am I guess because they can seat like 10 people. The view from this resort is really cool though so if you can’t get food check out the view.

After taking a lot of pictures near The Gazebo we decided to try a breakfast place we saw called Slappy Cakes. This place also gets crowded but if you can sit at the bar. This place was amazing–so, so good–I really don’t know how The Gazebo could beat it. Don had the Slappy Moco and I had the Carnitas Benedict. It was so delicious, thinking about it right now is killing me! We would highly recommend Slappy Cakes.

After breakfast we made our way to Honolua Bay. There is no parking for Honolua Bay; you just have to find a spot on the side of the road and hike down. The hike is easy and maybe 5 minutes. The bay is all big, round rocks, so it was a little challenging getting down into the water because it was slippery. The water was also kind of cold at first but it warmed up. We started on the left side of the bay and we went pretty far out, pretty much to where the bay opened up. On the way out the dull rocks changed to beautiful coral.

We saw a big green eel and a large school of fish, that was pretty cool. After the school of fish I spotted our second turtle in Maui! So cool, how did we get lucky enough to see a turtle again?!

I got a crazy cramp in my foot and had to stretch it out in the water for a good 10 minutes. Once I was good we decided to swim over to the right side of the bay. On our way we saw another turtle, although it could have been the same one.

The right side of the bay was awesome, lots of colorful fish and coral. We saw a huge sea turtle and it was eating. It didn’t care about us or anyone around it at all. We watched that turtle for a long time. We saw a lot of turtles here, maybe 6 different ones. It was amazing. We even saw an octopus! It was scurrying along the sea floor and once it reached a rock it changed colors instantly to camouflage itself. It was amazing and so quick! We also saw a small, almost iridescent sea snake. The snorkeling at Honolua Bay was amazing and by far the best snorkeling we have done in Hawaii so far.

Octopus!

After Honolua Bay we made our way to Kapalua Beach. Kapalua Beach is the beach just North of Napili Bay (our beach). There is a parking lot for this beach near the golf course. The beach had a lot of pretty coral and fish. There were even a few schools of fish, but no turtles. It was sandy and rocky and pretty good for snorkeling. We saw another small eel. So far snorkeling in Hawaii is in this order: Honolua, Napili, Kapalua, then Hanauma.

We didn’t spend as long here and  it was getting late in the afternoon so we decided to get back to our room. We got cleaned up and decided to try to see the Nakalele Blowhole. I was really nervous about driving here because the road looked a little crazy on the map. The drive was a bit crazy because it was near a cliff and curvy. There were some awesome views and when we got to the blowhole it was a pretty crazy hike down to it. I wasn’t really expecting a hike and I was getting worried it was going to get dark soon, but we decided to do it. There were a lot of other people making their way down also. The views everywhere were spectacular and the blowhole was pretty cool. Don drove on the way back so I could take in the views. We stopped at a view point and realized we were looking down on where we snorkeled earlier at Honolua Bay. Once we got back to town we ate at China Boat, most places were closing. It was pretty good Chinese.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 3: Oahu to Maui

This morning we were up early again for our 8 am flight to Maui. We took a cab to the airport after raiding leftovers in our hotel fridge. Our flight with Hawaiian Airlines was on time and it was so short!  I couldn’t believe we were served drinks on this flight because it was seriously like 20 minutes. We were up in the air at 8 am and landing around 8:20. The views on the flight were awesome.

Once we landed we had to pick up our rental car. The lady at Hertz wasn’t very helpful and she was kind of rude but we were in and out of there quickly. We had planned to drive straight to our condo in Napili and find something to eat along the way. About 10-15 minutes into our drive a light came on in our Nissan Sentra. The light was something about the emergency braking system, so Don called Hertz to ask if we should come back and they told us to. Once again we were in and out of Hertz quickly and our help there was a lot nicer. We went from a Nissan Sentra to a Nissan Altima, both felt like giant boats.

Since places were now starting to open for lunch I decided we should try a place that was recommended to me by Julia called Tin Roof. It was really busy and really nowhere to sit. We ended up sitting outside on a parking curb because that’s where other people were. I ordered the steak bowl and Don got the chicken bowl. We had a side of the pork belly. Everything was really good and I would recommend checking it out if you need a good place to eat near the airport.

After eating we started driving. I was surprised by the landscape; Hawaii seemed a lot more dry than I had expected, but it was beautiful. We arrived at our condo around noon and we were able to check in early. We are staying at Napili Sunset, which is in Napili Bay. The place seems nice, a little overcrowded with a lot of furniture but nice.

After settling for a bit we decided to check out our beach. We had to walk across the street but it was only about a 5 minute walk, if that. The beach was beautiful. There were a lot of people snorkeling, swimming, and boogie boarding. We decided to snorkel and we went pretty far out. There were a lot of cool rock formations and schools of fish. We were on the left side of the bay looking at the rocks when a giant wave crashed into us. It startled us a bit and we swam quickly away. When we got to calmer water we saw a turtle! I had read that you’re very likely to see turtles while snorkeling in Maui but I didn’t think we would be lucky enough to see one on our first day! It was cool, but it didn’t stay around for long. After this we decided to just relax in the water for awhile and float around. Then we came back to our place and checked out the pool. The water was extremely warm.

First Turtle! Napili Bay

After the pool we were getting hungry so we decided to check out Teddy’s Bigger Burgers in Lahaina. We had seen this place on a guy’s YouTube video about affordable, good places to eat in Maui. The menu at Teddy’s was a bit confusing because they have a lot of options.  We each tried a burger and after ordering one of their special ones I saw I could have just had an original one. That was a bit disappointing because it felt like they were pushing you to pay more and try one of their specialty burgers. The burger was good. We also tried fried pickles. Everything was good here and I would go again but just try their straight up burger. I can’t even remember which ones we ordered, but since we ordered a specialty burger it felt expensive.

After dinner we wanted to pick up some food for the condo so we went to a Safeway but we couldn’t find everything we wanted because it was under construction, so we went to a Food Land and a Walgreens. After getting some stuff we drove around to try to get a view of the mountains in the area. We did take a few pictures and the GPS took us through a neighborhood, which was kind of weird. Overall it was a pretty good first day in Maui.

 

 

Hanauma Bay & Exploring Waikiki

Today we had to wake up early to get picked up for our excursion to Hanauma Bay…like 5:30 early. Luckily we had a good breakfast that we picked up last night at the grocery store.

Chicken Katsu & KonaRed Coffee

We were picked up at 7 am by Snorkelfest. There was one other couple with us and it was their first time snorkeling so the driver went through the basics of snorkeling in the van. The drive was about 20 minutes and the driver would point out famous places along the way like Keanu Reeves’ house and Diamond Head. Snorkelfest is basically just transportation to Hanauma Bay, the  rest of your time there is self guided. I would recommend it though because unless you have a car you will have to rely on a bus or hope that an uber driver will pick you up from there after snorkeling. It was $60 for the 2 of us so I think well worth it. The views on the drive were pretty cool.

Once we got to Hanauma Bay we had to walk to check in and pay about $13 for entrance into the park. After we were checked in they showed us a short video about the bay and rules, then we were free to check it out. We purchased a locker to put our valuables in and then we got in the water.

The water was warm and shallow. At first it was really calm but since it was so shallow in spots it was hard to snorkel without brushing up against rocks and coral, so we decided to go further out. Our guide had explained earlier that going out far would be cool you just had to be careful of the currents. The current was really strong and I just felt like I was fighting. We haven’t snorkeled in a few years so I also didn’t feel as confident and I worried if I was feeling this tired and out of control in the beginning how would we make it back? So I panicked a little and wore myself out. It felt like a rip current because I had to swim to the side to move at all. No one else was really attempting to get out further so we decided to go back.

We got back to shore and took a small snack break and then we decided to go on the left side of the bay which if you look at a map of the bay this was called “Backdoor Lagoon”. We saw seals resting on rocks here and the water was more calm. We were able to go through the channel here and reach the deeper water. The snorkeling was much better here, lots of coral and fish. Hanauma Bay was beautiful but compared to other places we have snorkeled we didn’t see a lot.

Seals!

Once we were done snorkeling we walked around the beach a bit. It was beautiful and sand was sparkling! It was crazy. We took a lot of pictures here and on our walk back up to the parking lot.

On our drive back our driver gave us a lot of advice about where to eat. He mentioned Chinatown, Zippy’s, Rainbow Drive In, Tiki Bar, and Growler USA. Now we were hungry and ready to get cleaned up to eat!

When we got back to the hotel one of Don’s sandals broke, so on our walk to find food we stopped at Foot Locker and The Croc Store…he found shoes at both. We walked about 20 minutes to Rainbow Drive In but it was really busy so we kept walking to Zippy’s. Zippy’s is a fast food chain in Hawaii and you can get a lot of local dishes. They are also a bakery. I had chicken katsu which was so much better than what I had gotten from the grocery store and Don had Loco Moco. Loco Moco is a beef patty on top of rice with an egg and gravy. It was pretty freaken delicious.

On our walk back we stopped at Growler USA and the Cubs game was on so we watched it and had a few beers. This place was pretty cool and they had a ton of local beers. The Cubs were losing so we left before the end.

We wanted to check out Tiki Bar since our driver also mentioned that place for drinks so we stopped there and it was on our way. I had a margarita because it was happy hour and good priced. Don had a beer then we both had salads. Don got the Caesar salad which was the weirdest Caesar salad either of us had ever seen. I had a mozzarella salad. It was an ok place but it mostly just felt like a place to go for a good view. Here we learned the Cubs came back in the bottom of the 9th to win off of a Bote grand slam! We should have stayed to watch!

On our walk back to the hotel we sat by the beach and watched the surfers. We saw a lady on the beach carrying a bag with a cat in it. The cat looked pretty chill. Next the cat was out on the sand on a leash walking around. Then Don was like “the cat is in the water!” The woman was letting her cat swim in the water it was crazy! The cat looked like he liked it. The swimming didn’t last long and she dried the cat off and started walking away from the beach towards us. She sat down next to us to get her cat packed up again! We talked to her briefly.

Pretty cool day in Waikiki. Tomorrow we leave for Maui.