Aloha friends! Hope you are all doing great and you had a wonderful weekend. No, I’m not back to Hawaii, although I wish, I just want to share few of our Maui impressions over the next few days with you. And I just love saying ALOHA! It just spreads a good feeling, don’t you think? If you are following me on Instagram, you might have seen that we spent some relaxing days on Maui. Since we moved to San Francisco we have planned to make a vacation on Hawaii and finally we did it. Maui made the run and I can tell you, it is just beautiful. I can’t get over how amazing the nature is over there. All the plants, flower, trees, hills, waterfalls and beaches make me swoon. I loved even the clouds that hang above the Haleakala. We stayed in Kihei which is southwest and kind of a condo epicenter with mini malls you could also find on the mainland, but honestly, even if I’m super picky, I liked it a lot. Kihei’s beaches were beautiful and it was a good base to explore the island. There were lots of families and fit 50+ folks walking, running, surfing or board surfing already at 7am. And since Patrick and I always felt asleep at 10pm happy and exhausted from the day, we didn’t really care about the night life. We rented a condo at Kamaole Sands as we didn’t want to break the bank and also wanted to have a kitchen. And guys, I can really recommend the apartment we stayed at. It was super clean, nicely decorated, fully equipped, with a nice lanai overlooking the green lawn and right across a really cute sand-as-far-as-you-can-go-into-the-water beach. We would get up at 7am, make some breakfast and just hop over the street directly onto the beach. That’s vacation. Kihei also had some pretty good food spots, but we loved cooking at our apartment most of the time. Going to a local grocery and cooking for yourself while on vacation gives me always this feeling of being really there and diving into the local life.
FAVORITE KIHEI FOOD SPOTS
Eskimo Candy – amazing poke and other delicious and fresh sea food.
Three’s Bar & Grill – a very good place for some lunch with good food and reasonable prices. I always took the fish of the day.
Kihei Caffe – a breakfast spot open from 5am to 2pm. Get’s you loaded with scrambled eggs and hash browns for a day on the road.
Da Local Banana – hand-dipped frozen chocolate bananas with toppings like coconut flakes or peanuts. Definitely my favorite dessert on Maui. Feels like you are making a healthy choice.
Kihei also wasn’t short on activities. You could go for a run on the beach, try out some stand up paddling or surfing, go kayaking, snorkeling or play volleyball. Something for everyone.
And if your shopping heart feels the urge to spend some money, there were funny souvenir shops, surf fashion stores and shops with lots of locally made products , everything from soap to coffee. I think if you are looking for a bit better shopping experience Lahaina in the west and Paia in the north are your destinations and if your budget allows you then I would say check out Shops at Wailea only 10 minutes drive east from Kihei.
Our first discovery when we arrived was the Big Beach about 15 minutes east from Kihei. Waiting for our check-in time we cruised a little bit around and came across this fine sand and perfect blue water beach in the middle of a forest. There are no shops, not solid rest rooms at Big Beach – only a taco food truck and some porta potties. You walk through a small forest path and the beach awaits you. On that day the weather was warm but cloudy and a big fat dark cloud was hanging just above the beach and made such mystique, calm atmosphere. I love being on the beach when it’s cloudy. It feels so peaceful. I tried only to dip my feet into the ocean, but the warm water, the color and the waves were just too magnetic. There was no time for changing to swimsuit. Going into the ocean with my clothes on was the best way for me to kick off the vacation. It feels so liberating guys, I can only recommend do it from time to time. During our stay we only made it one more time to this beach, but if you find yourself in this area don’t miss it. After having dry clothes on again we drove to the Eskimo Candy for some lunch. This sea food restaurant and store has amazing quality and taste. The sitting place is limited, we were lucky that it wasn’t so crowded, but I think most people order something for take-out. We had some sea food chowder and fish&chips and both were amazing – plus reasonable prices. I think is one of Maui’s hidden food gems. So keep it in mind. Later the day we checked-in into our apartment, strolled the beaches and the streets of Kihei and in the evening we drove to Whole Foods Market, which is in Kahului, about 20 minutes drive north from Kihei. We made our big grocery shopping for our stay there, but when we needed to grab something quickly we would go to Foodland in Kihei – similar to Safeway. And yeah, the food IS expensive on Maui. It felt like everything was $1-$2 more expensive than in SF. But on the other hand restaurant prices were pretty standard. Sure, you could get your steak for pricey $50, but there are many places with amazing food and average prices between $12-$18. So no panic, it’s not all that expensive. We ended our first day on Maui with some home-cooked dinner on our lanai and a stroll on the beach watching the sunset. There is no more to say to this. Maui can get pretty expensive, but you can also find affordable options to have an amazing stay there – it depends on what you are looking for. I think it has something for every budget. If you are interested here are some figures and side notes about our trip that may help you plan your vacation:
$490 – Flight tickets – Roundtrip from Oakland for one person with Hawaiian. We chose Oakland as it had a direct flight to Maui.
$38 – Shuttle from SF to Oakland airport for two
$430 – Rent-a-car for 8 days
$70 – Fuel
$1380 – Apartment for 8 days
$35 – Resort fee ( access to pool, etc.)
$400 – Food ( restaurants & groceries)
$80 – Shopping
$160 – Snorkeling for two
$30 – Park fees
$80 – if you look out yourself from the car on your way to Hana somewhere in nowhere, this is the price you pay the local tow truck service to open your car if you don’t have AAA. (optional)
Total: We payed about $3,700 for two for a 8 days stay. I think you can definitely go up and maybe even a little bit down with the price, but from my research this is a good middle.
Tip: If you are taking a shuttle to and from the airport book both in advance. We didn’t booked the shuttle from the airport and ended up paying around $70 for a private shuttle, which is still less than a cab, but if you arrive on a busy day, you might wait forever to get a ride home.
Please is you have any questions about our trip, let me know via comments or drop me an email. Happy to answer and I hope you will find some inspiration in this Maui guide!
In the next few days I will share with you our Road to Hana experience, the trip to Haleakala sunrise, Maui’s upcountry, Iao Valley & Lahaina tour and my first time snorkeling at Molokai. So stay tuned!