25 Tips for Island Travellers

Start here for a perfect vacation—whether your idea of perfect is rugged adventure, a pampering spa, or something in between.


Compiled by Lehia Apana & Shannon Wianecki


1. Outrigger Paddling Tour of Koieie Fishpond

This 90-minute canoe ride along the Kihei coast opens with a Hawaiian chant, and takes you around Koieie fishpond and beyond. As you paddle, experts share the history and culture of the area. The ride is ideal for sightseeing, and for spotting resident sea turtles and winter’s humpback whales. Expect to get a little wet. Donations are encouraged, and support restoration of the centuries-old fishpond. Must be 15 or older, and able to swim. (808) 359-1172, www.mauifishpond.com

2. Proflyght Paragliding

Ditch those land legs and ride Mother Nature’s air currents. Equal parts adventure and meditation, this high-flying expedition will literally change your perspective. If there’s anyone you’d want to soar off a mountainside with, it’s the crew at Proflyght — Hawaii’s oldest full-time paragliding school — which also welcomes rookies looking for an endorphin rush and killer views. (808) 874-5433, www.paraglidehawaii.com

Maui helicopter tours3. Helicopter Tour of West Maui & Molokai

Soar above the West Maui Mountains with Blue Hawaiian Helicopters and explore pristine canyons and waterfalls, then head across the Pailolo Channel to Molokai, home of the world’s tallest sea cliffs and the historical, isolated peninsula of Kalaupapa. Blue Hawaiian pilots double as ambassadors of these islands, sharing local history and culture with every ride. Opt for an upgraded Eco-Star helicopter, which features quiet technology, extra wiggle room and unobstructed panoramic viewing. (800) 745-2583, www.bluehawaiian.com

4. Four Seasons’ Unforgettable Events

Challenge yourself — body, mind and spirit — at a Four Seasons workshop with the pros. Gourmet meals and five-star accommodations at this oceanfront Wailea resort are some of the extras that will have you pinching yourself, just in case. Previous camps have featured cross-island rides with Olympic cyclist Ryder Hesjedal, tennis tips from three-time Grand Slam-winner Lindsay Davenport, and intimate instruction with yoga pioneer David Swenson. www.maui.fourseasons.com

5. Waimoku Falls

Reaching this remote East Maui setting is like finding a pot of gold at the end of an already spectacular rainbow. Hikers traverse two-mile Pipiwai Trail, cruising past bamboo forests and waterfalls before reaching 400-foot Waimoku Falls. The trail isn’t hard, but unfavorable weather can make it dangerous. Heed warning signs and common sense — flash floods and slippery rocks can turn a gentle outing into something from a Survivor episode. Park at Haleakala National Park’s Kipahulu Visitor Center (open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.); then cross the road to reach the trailhead. The $10, 3-day pass is good throughout Haleakala National Park. (808) 248-7375; www.nps.gov/hale/planyourvisit/kipahulu.htm.

ANNUAL events » Adventure & Sports


Hyundai Tournament of Champions, Kapalua • www.kapalua.com/golf


Maui Metric Century Ride • www.southmauibicycles.com


OluKai Hoolaulea: SUP & OC1 races, Maliko to Kahana • www.olukai.com/Hoolaulea


Maui Race Series: windsurfing • www.mauiraceseries.com


Cycle to the Sun, sea level to Haleakala summit • www.cycletothesun.net


Maui Marathon •  www.mauimarathonhawaii.comHana Relay, Kahului to Hana • www.hanarelayhawaii.com


Xterra • www.xterraplanet.com/mauiMolokai Hoe: Men’s Moloka‘i – O‘ahu canoe race • www.molokaihoe.com


1. Waihee Coastal Dunes & Wetlands Refuge

Hawaiian Islands Land Trust purchased this 277-acre site in 2004, saving it from potential development. Every Friday morning, volunteers gather to restore this thriving ecosystem, home to an ancient fishpond and other cultural sites, and to birds like the aeo (Hawaiian stilt) and alae kea (Hawaiian coot). The Trust provides work tools and gloves; volunteers should bring a hat and sunscreen. We recommend packing a lunch and following the work session with a two-mile, self-guided hike through the area. (808) 244-5263 www.hilt.org

2. BlueAina Reef Cleanups

Beach lovers will literally go head over heels for this monthly reef cleanup of local surf spots. Surfrider Foundation and Trilogy Excursions host volunteers, who hop aboard, don dive gear, and scour the ocean floor for debris. The requested $20 donation benefits a different Maui nonprofit each month. www.sailtrilogy.com/blue

3. Olowalu Cultural Reserve

Spanning more than 74 acres from the West Maui Mountains to the sea, Olowalu was once a thriving ahupuaa (native Hawaiian land division). Today this classroom without walls features cultural and archeological sites, including nearly 70 petroglyphs — one of the largest collections on Maui. Volunteers help turn back the clock during monthly community workdays, building loi (taro paddies), planting native species, and restoring the reserve to its former glory. (808) 663-0378; www.olowaluculturalreserve.com

4. Friends of Haleakala

This energetic group takes care of Haleakala National Park as any true friend would, with three- and four-day service camping trips into the crater to hunt down invasive weeds, plant native species or maintain the cabins. But be warned that this isn’t your typical walk in the park — these overnight expeditions will have you marching anywhere from eight to twenty high-altitude miles by the trip’s end. www.fhnp.org

5. Sea Turtle Monitoring

Every summer, Maui’s baby hawksbill turtles face an uphill battle for survival, dodging human tracks, hungry predators and disorienting lights as they crawl from nest to ocean. Fewer than 100 adult females nest in the Islands. The good news? You don’t have to be a marine biologist to make a difference. The Hawaii Wildlife Fund welcomes volunteers; its nest-watch program holds nightly stakeouts that ensure these tiny turtle tots live another day. (808) 280-8124 www.wildhawaii.org


1. Surfing Goat Dairy

Pack up the kids and head to Maui’s only working goat dairy, where you can follow the cheese trail from pasture to plate. Popular with families are the Evening Chores and Milking Tours, 45-minute walks through the pastures during feeding time, capped with a hands-on milking lesson. The 42-acre farm churns out more than just cheese — chocoholics will delight in gourmet cheese truffles in flavors like Kona coffee, strawberry balsamic and tangerine. (808) 878-2870 www.surfinggoatdairy.com

2. Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice

Nothing says you’ve arrived in Hawaii like a mound of fluffy ice drenched in rainbow-colored syrups. Ululani’s has upgraded this simple treat to gourmet proportions, with uber-fine ice shavings and homemade syrups in exotic flavors. Our favorites include pickled mango and red-velvet cake — though not as a combo. Fun add-ons like sweet adzuki beans and tapioca pearls complete the frosty experience. Locations in Lahaina, Kihei and Kahului, (360) 606-2745 www.ululanisshaveice.com

3. O‘o Farm Dinners & Tours

Owners of Aipono Award-winning Pacific’O and I’O restaurants created this field-to-fork experience on Upcountry Maui’s fertile slopes. Start with a tour through 8.5-acre Oo Farm, where you can unleash you inner gatherer and select from seasonal produce that includes asparagus, chard and poha berries. The fruits — and veggies — of your labor land on your plate in colorful fashion, prepared by Chef Caroline and dished up along with stunning bicoastal views. (808) 667-4341 www.oofarm.com

4. Sushi School at Japengo

Put your fine-motor skills to work at one of these monthly sushi classes held in the Hyatt Regency Maui’s new Pacific Rim restaurant and sushi lounge. Chef Jay Ledee and his expert staff provide personal instruction and complimentary nonalcoholic beverages. Learn the fundamentals that will foster a lifetime of sushi exploration. Thankfully, the only exam is a taste test at the end. (808) 667-4796 www.maui.hyatt.com

5. Food Trucks

There’s a moveable feast every day on Maui, thanks to the island’s food trucks. As many as half a dozen park in culinary caravans along Kahului Beach Road, fronting the harbor. What these mobile restaurants lack in creature comforts (no seating or bathroom facilities), they make up for in taste and value. Some of our favorites include Tommy Lau Hee’s eponymous chicken hekka truck and the must-try Geste shrimp plates.

Annual Events » For Foodies


Hawaii Islands Land Trust’s Buy Back the Beach, Old Lahaina Luau • www.hilt.org/join-us/attend-our-events


Aipono Awards Gala • www.mauimagazine.net/aipono
East Maui Taro Festival • www.tarofestival.org
Maui County Agricultural Festival, Maui Tropical Plantation • www.mauicountyfarmbureau.org


Maui Onion Festival • www.whalersvillage.com/onionfestival.htm
Kula Holy Ghost Feast • kulacatholiccommunity.org/HolyGhostFeast.htm


Maui Brewers Festival, Maui Arts & Cultural Center • www.mauiarts.org
Kapalua Wine & Food Festival • www.kapalua.com/events/kapalua-wine-food-festival


Kaanapali Fresh • www.kaanapalifresh.com
Maui Calls, Maui Arts & Cultural Center • www.mauiarts.org


The Noble Chef • fornwall@hawaii.edu
Wailea Wine Festival • www.huinoeau.com/happenings/events


Hawaiian theater on Maui1. Ulalena

The Kumulipo (Hawaiian creation chant) takes center stage at Lahaina’s Maui Theatre, and launches viewers on a 75-minute journey through the centuries. Created in consultation with Hawaiian cultural experts, this unforgettable storytelling experience combines haunting music, eclectic dance, inventive costumes and special effects. Cirque-style aerial acrobatics are a crowd favorite. Complete the evening with a dinner-theatre package offered in collaboration with nearby restaurants. 
(877) 668-4800 www.ulalena.com

2. Hot Island Glass

Part artist studio, part gallery, this glass-blowing showroom is entirely mesmerizing. Watch artists pull molten glass from the glowing furnace and transform it into delicate works of art, or find your favorite piece on display. Owners Chris Lowry and Christopher Richards will gladly pack and ship your purchase home. Parents take note: Breakable goods abound; keep close tabs on curious youngsters. (808) 572-4527 www.hotislandglass.com

3. Keokea Chinatown Tour

You won’t find dim sum or bustling markets at this Chinatown. Maui’s version is set in the quiet of Upcountry, where early Chinese settlers forever changed the island landscape. Glimpses of that heritage remain, if you know where to look. Rekindle a bygone era through landmarks like the Kwock Hing Society Building, Ching Store and Fook On Tong Cemetery. Don’t leave without stopping at Sun Yat-sen Park, dedicated to the late Chinese revolutionary leader (and sometime Maui resident) known as the “Father of Modern China.”

4. Pi’ilanihale at Kahanu Garden & Preserve

It’s hard to imagine this massive, 55-foot-high heiau (temple) was once lost to the jungle. The three-acre structure, built of thousands of stacked stones, is the largest of its kind in the Pacific. In 1999, local families employed traditional techniques to restore this hidden Hana treasure, now a National Historic Landmark. A self-guided tour of surrounding Kahanu Garden — part of the National Tropical Botanical Garden — leads directly to the heiau. Please be respectful; no climbing! (808) 248-8912 www.ntbg.org

Maui museum5. Bailey House Museum

Located in Wailuku on the road to Iao Valley, the building that houses this trove of Hawaiian artifacts is historic in its own right — it was built in 1833 by missionary, educator, artist and inventor Edward Bailey. Arrive, and you can almost picture Olympic legend Duke Kahanamoku riding a wave on the 1919 redwood surfboard, or see paddlers powering the 33-foot Honaunau canoe, two of many pieces in the collection. The museum shop is another treasure, packed with island-inspired souvenirs and an impressive collection of books about Hawaii. 
(808) 244-3326 www.mauimuseum.org.



Maui Plein Air Painting Invitational, Lahaina • www.hawaiipleinair.com
Maui Open Studios • www.mauiopenstudios.com
Whale Tales, Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua • 808-572-5700 • www.whaletrust.org/education/education_whale_tales.shtml


Art Maui (thru April), Maui Arts & Cultural Center (MACC) • www.mauiarts.org


Celebration of the Arts, Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua • www.celebrationofthearts.org
East Maui Taro Festival, Hana • www.tarofestival.org


Maui Matsuri, UH Maui College Campus • www.mauimatsuri.com
Ki Hoalu (Slack-key) Guitar Festival, MACC • www.mauiarts.org
Maui Film Festival at Wailea • www.mauifilmfestival.com


Makawao Rodeo • www.thecowboycalendar.com


Ku Mai Ka Hula competition, MACC • www.mauiarts.org
Maui Fair • www.mauifair.com


Lahaina Plantation Days • www.lahainarestoration.org


1. Spa at Travaasa Hana

For pure relaxation, Hana is the ultimate destination. The rural Hawaiian town’s sole resort is now all-encompassing: spa treatments are included with room rates. You don’t have to think twice about visiting the sanctuary behind the lava-rock pool for a lomi lomi massage or organic body treatment. Surrender your tension to the spa’s skilled therapists, then head back to your oceanfront cottage, where the wind in the trees will finish the job. (855) 868-7282 www.travaasa.com/hana

2. The Sacred Garden of Maliko

If you’ve forgotten that you’re a human being, not a human doing, spend an afternoon in silence at this fragrant haven on Kaluanui Road, just below Hui No‘eau. Reconnect with your innermost self: walk the labyrinth, gaze at the abundance of tropical flowers, or find a comfortable spot to sit and journal. For an especially magical experience, visit the garden on the night of the full moon. Music starts at 7 p.m., followed by a procession around the labyrinth by torchlight. (808) 573-7700 www.sacredgardenmaui.com

3. Lumeria Maui

Guests at this idyllic Upcountry retreat meet in the morning for yoga and an elegant organic breakfast. Afterwards, it’s a tough choice: borrow a standup paddleboard and head down Baldwin Avenue to Maui’s north shore? Meditate on the giant lawn, amid bicoastal views? Consult with the on-site “alchemist” who will customize a juice cleanse to jumpstart your health? In this serene environment below Makawao town, anything is possible. (855) 579-8877 www.lumeriamaui.com

4. Hui No’eau Visual Arts Center

Give your left brain a break and put your creative muse to play in a watercolor class at the Hui, located a mile below Makawao town. The scenic grounds of this charming plantation-estate-turned-art-epicenter are inspiration enough for any novice Matisse or Renoir. Not a painter? Try your hand at jewelry making, fiber arts or graffiti. Resident and visiting artists share their expertise during workshops that range from afternoon introductions to six-week intensives. (808) 572-6560 www.huinoeau.com

5. Choice Health Bar

If you’re planning to indulge, why not indulge in foods that will make you feel stronger, healthier, and happier? One look at the glowing kitchen crew at this tiny, bright Lahaina café will convince you of the wisdom of this choice. Rev your morning engine with an acai berry bowl or a smoothie packed with superfoods and Ayurvedic elixirs. Midday, feast on an uber-healthy “plate lunch” of savory beet soup, quinoa, and raw-kale Caesar salad — crowned with a tiny coconut sweet. (808) 661-7711 www.choicemaui.com


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