Maui: The Valley Isle (Part I)

I have been to Maui twice, and it has been my introduction to Hawaii. Overall, I loved it, because Hawaii is amazing, but between it and Kaui (the only other Hawaii island that I have been to thus far), it seems like the more touristy of the two. That being said, I wasn’t able to explore Maui as thoroughly as I typically like to on either trip, so my opinion may be somewhat biased. Some of the things that I really enjoyed about this place was the Iao Valley, Molokini, and the Road to Hana (all of which I will cover in the following posts). The primary thing in Maui that I missed out on was Haleakala. My family and I attempted to visit the mountain on our first trip out to the island, but some heavy fog thwarted our efforts. We ended up driving the mountain for less than 30 minutes, and then turning around when we couldn’t see ten feet in front of the rental car. It is a place that I think visitors to Maui should try to visit, as it is fairly unique landscape, and as far as I have seen utterly beautiful.

While staying in Maui, I ended up hotelling close to Lahaina. This town is a great place to stay in, and definitely worth visiting at the very least. The downtown area has some great shopping opportunities, lovely views of the ocean, and my personal favorite, the Banyan Tree in the Courthouse Square.

Photo from Wikipedia
Also, Lahaina is home to a bunch of different surfing schools. I took classes from the Royal Hawaiian Surf Academy on both trips, and I had a great time.

Lahaina also provides visitors with access to different boating tours, many of which will combine snorkeling and whale watching activities. My family and I ended up setting up a snorkeling trip to Molokini, a small, crescent- shaped island formed by a volcanic crater that submitted to the ocean long ago. Now, it is home to a thriving reef, considered to be one of the world’s top diving spots (though it has become somewhat crowded in recent years), and it is also a Hawaii State Seabird Sanctuary. The tour left out of Ma’alaea, which is a small town south of Lahaina. Ma’alaea is also home to the Maui Ocean Center, which before or after a day of snorkeling may seem a bit redundant, but it is a superb aquarium.

Photo from molokinicrater.com

Links:
Go Hawaii: Maui
Haleakala National Park
Royal Hawaiian Surf Academy
Pride of Maui (Molokini Tours)
Maui Ocean Center

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