Maui Travel Tips & Recommendations

Come with us as we travel to Maui for a beach vacation to the beautiful island of Maui, Hawaii. We spent a long weekend here, and as always, jam packed it without enough beach time and outdoor adventures to satisfy any travelers wish list. 

If you’re thinking about taking a Maui vacation we have recommendations on the best places to eat, grab a drink, swim in the ocean, and sightsee. We even answer listener questions including “how much is a trip to Maui” which as you might image can be quite a lot! We share how we got roundtrip flights from San Diego for $50 for two! And share our tips for making Maui more affordable.

Listen to the episode to hear how Jamal really feels about Maui and gauge for yourself if you want to visit one of the most praised Islands in America.

Maui Travel Tips & Recommendations – Episode Transcript

1 (41s):
Prepare for takeoff. Welcome to this week’s episode of the Travel Squad podcast. Today, we are taking you on my birthday trip to Maui.

2 (1m 5s):
Now he is a Hawaiian destination I’ve wanted to visit for years. The lush jungle, the warm beaches, the low have vibes. They’re all calling my name, but I was not on this birthday trip. So I’m here with you. Squaddies to ask questions and take notes for my 2022 trip.

3 (1m 22s):
Yeah, so Maui was a fun island. No doubt. When we hear Maui, I think Maui is probably the number one island people go to and Hawaii. And so I had real, real high expectations thinking of Maui, like this was going to be this lush tropical paradise. And it was fun. I think a lot of people talking about it really, really hyped it up for me. But in hindsight, as I’ve come back and reflected, I enjoyed it more in hindsight than when I was on the trip, because I think I had a real high expectations. So I want to say this to anybody who hasn’t been yet to Maui and maybe has been to some of the other Hawaiian islands is it’s great, but everyone really hypes this up and it’s a great place, but I don’t know if it needs to be hyped up as much as people hype it up.

3 (2m 4s):
I’m going to be honest. I would hate to lie to our listeners and squatters here. So I’m going to throw out that tidbit of that’s my honest assessment.

1 (2m 11s):
Just keeping it real here on the Travel Squad Podcast. I

3 (2m 13s):
Have to keep it real. I can’t like be like, oh, Valerie, is this wonderful place? It did not let me down, but I had high expectations.

2 (2m 21s):
Okay. Setting the bar low. Here we go. Not

3 (2m 23s):
Studying it low, just stating facts.

1 (2m 26s):
So one of the reasons why we actually went to Maui was I wanted to go somewhere for my birthday and I wasn’t quite sure where. And then I started looking at flights and we had companion pass this last year. So if I bought a flight, Jamal got his flight for free. And I looked at flights to Maui and round trip. It was less than a hundred dollars per flight. So it was super cheap. And then Jamal was going to get his flight for free. And then they went on a sale. So literally for four flights round trip for Jamal and I, we paid about 110, $120. That is

3 (3m 2s):
How are you supposed to not go to Hawaii for that price? I mean, normally a flight to wise easily $300. One way, obviously you could get the sales, but we got a real fucking hard moment right there. And we had to hop on that for Brittany’s birthday.

1 (3m 14s):
Yeah. And they had a direct flight from San Diego to Maui. So we couldn’t pass it up. Well, direct flight, no stops. It was, it was amazing. So we left on a Friday night, we arrived in Maui and we stayed in Wailuku, which is only about 15 minutes away from the airport. And I would recommend staying in this area because it’s very close to a whole bunch of other places in Maui. If you stay on the north side, you’re going to be secluded. You’re gonna have to do a lot more driving, which is kind of what we did. Like if you remember back to our episode about Coogee, we stayed on like the Northern part of the island. So you then would have to do a lot more driving to get around the island.

3 (3m 51s):
Yeah. Why Luca was in the center part of the island. And I wouldn’t say that this area at all as touristy or resorty, so you’re going to get the real best rates, like in terms of places to stay here. However, if you are looking for the more resorty areas and wanting to stay close to the beach, this won’t necessarily do it for you. But I mean, it is a relatively small island, so you’re not far from these places, but more bang for your buck. But if you’re going for the resort style, feel you want to stay at one of the places on the north or west side of the island.

1 (4m 22s):
So whenever we heard of Maui or whenever I heard of Maui, I always thought of the road to HANA. Everyone talks about the Rhoda. Hannah, are you familiar with that, Kim? Oh yeah. So, you know, it’s like a must, must do. So we decided that we were going to do the rota Honda on Saturday, but we decided to do the road of Honda backwards. And the road of Honda is on the Southeast side of the island. And the reason why we wanted to do it backwards is because we wanted to hit the national park, Haleakala national park on that backside. And had we done it the other way, then we wouldn’t have gotten to that location to last. And we wanted to do some hiking first thing in the morning.

3 (4m 59s):
Yeah. So we went the back way as Brittany had said. So really unique way to go. Quite honestly, I really wasn’t expecting the scenic views that we got when we did this. It was like really jagged rock, not very lush or green. The road was paved terribly. Granted, this is at the park going to the Southern end of the national park, Holly Aquila, before you start the road to HANA, but real sketchy roads. If you know anything about the road to HANA, they always tell you to, they’re not the most safe. I want to say, not to say that it’s really dangerous to do, but it’s definitely narrow. And that’s what they say. But in this area, really jagged roads and rocks and things of that nature. And I was not expecting to see goats, Brittany.

1 (5m 39s):
Yeah, no one warned us about the goats. There were goats everywhere, black goats. And they would like be along the roadside. And we were afraid we were going to hit them, but like tons of

3 (5m 49s):
They camouflaged and not volcanic rock really, really good. I kid you not cam I almost literally crashed into five goats, five different times, like of them just jetting out into the road there. So I’m glad I avoided that. And I had no clue there were goats on the island.

1 (6m 4s):
Yeah. So after seeing all the goats, we finally made it to the national park and the national park on Maui. Again, it’s called Haleakala national park. And we wanted to do the PP way trail because it has this very, very, very beautiful scenic waterfall at the end. And that’s primarily what we were going for. And so it’s a four mile hike only took us about two hours, but there are more than one waterfall on the way. There was the first falls that we came across called Macau. He CU falls and this is a 200 foot horsetail waterfall. And it runs over like this Gulch area. And so you can just see how powerful waterfalls truly are.

3 (6m 47s):
And it was unique because at the time that we were there, you know, it was sunny and then the clouds would come in and it would rain. So we saw the waterfall and full force because of how much rain was really coming. But this area, the national park is on the Southern end of the island. So you can’t even get to this area of the national park from the other entrance that they have on the north side and center of the island. So it’s one of those national parks where they have different locations, but not one road that runs all the way through it. So this is truly the only way to get there is either doing the road to HANA and coming across it last or doing the road to HANA and reverse and starting on the south side and working up. And that’s what we did.

1 (7m 25s):
And there’s so much to see along this trail, just not the highlight of the waterfall, because we just saw that first waterfall that we just talked about. And then there was a very, very large Bonnie and tree. If you don’t know what a Bondian tree is, look it up. They’re a very huge, beautiful tree. And they get so large that they can sprawl out over an acre.

2 (7m 42s):
So I have never seen one. What exactly does it look like? Are they like draping down or very large and wide?

1 (7m 49s):
Very, very large and wide. And it almost looks like there’s multiple tree stumps that are like right next to each other. It’s just like really, really large and wide. And then the branches do come down pretty low. So you can climb on some of the branches and they do produce a good amount of shade as well. So,

3 (8m 7s):
And when you were talking Kim about like the lush jungle areas, this is the area of Maui where I felt that it was really lush and jungly.

2 (8m 15s):
Yeah. So I pulled up some pictures of the road to HANA and Jamal, I don’t know what you’re talking about because this looks amazing

3 (8m 22s):
In terms of what,

2 (8m 23s):
Just the jungle, the coastal, the waterfalls,

3 (8m 27s):
The road, I didn’t say the road to Honda. Wasn’t cool.

2 (8m 29s):
Like green cascading across all of the mountains and then gorgeous blue waters right below you

1 (8m 35s):
That’s if you take it the opposite way we went the back way.

2 (8m 40s):
Was that a decision you made to make or ma made by mistake?

3 (8m 44s):
No, no. We made it because we wanted to get to the south end of the national park first. So that’s why when we went, we didn’t do the road to Honda. The road to Honda is supposed to start like on the Northeast side and work your way around the island south to HANA. And further south would be the national park area where we did the PP way trail that Brittany is talking about. So what we did is we started on the north side of the island and worked our way, like Northwest to south. That way we can get to the national park first. And then we did in reverse. So what I’m saying is on that trail that we did before we started the road to HANA, like on the way to the national park, that’s where it was like barren, like really, really barren when you were at the road to HANA.

3 (9m 24s):
Yes, it does get lush. And that’s where your jungle area and everything is that. Okay.

1 (9m 28s):
So while we were hiking right after we got past the Banyan tree, it started to downpour, like literally not just drizzle, not rain, it was down pouring. Like we put on our jackets, our hoodies, we pulled out our umbrellas. Was it cold? Nope. Wasn’t cold hiking in shorts, but we got so she’s so, so

2 (9m 49s):
I could have used that backpacking umbrella that we had in our gift guide.

3 (9m 52s):
I thought exactly that thought Kim and I realized I should have it by now, but we had our regular umbrellas, which I was able to hold and do. And I don’t mind getting wet, like if I’m really committed, but I knew it was going to be in the car for the road to HANA and reverse after that for a really long time, didn’t really bring a change of clothes. So I was like, oh, I hate being like partially wet. And otherwise I could have fully committed for the hike if I had a change of clothes, but I did not. So luckily we had the umbrella, but I think the fact that it started to downpour on us really created a unique environment that we got to experience the hike and the national park. I mean, this hike, you start kind of like at sea level a little bit where the parking lot is in the national park. You see the ocean, you work your way up.

3 (10m 32s):
It starts to get really jungly. At some point, it flattens out and you hike through this tall bamboo forest. There’s nothing around you, but just tall bamboo shoots. And then it starts to get more jungly with trees and things like that. And then you come across this apex of this huge, huge waterfall at the end. And what’s really cool about the waterfall. And it’s called why MoCo falls. It’s 400 feet cascading and they have a picture of right when you get to the waterfall that shows what it looks like on a normal day when it’s not raining. And then what it looks like when it’s raining. And I’m glad we got to see it when it was raining, because I don’t want to say it’s barren, but I mean, you really get to see a gush. And so it’s funny that it was raining, but they have that photo right there looking at it that will show you the difference between the two.

3 (11m 15s):
And it’s a crazy contrast.

1 (11m 17s):
Yeah. And why Moku falls is a 400 foot waterfall. So it’s very large, very beautiful. And when we got to it, there was only one other couple that was on the trail with us at that time. And they did leave after they got their picture. So we did get to just be able to stand and stare at the waterfall for some time by ourselves, which is really nice, especially when you’re on a very, very popular trail that doesn’t happen very often. And Jamal did mention that you do go through the bamboo forest. What he failed to mention at that part is while you’re walking through the bamboo forest, you’re walking on an elevated platform as well, because that area gets very muddy. So it helps protect you and your shoes and you from sliding, but it just makes it really unique as well.

1 (11m 59s):
So we definitely have a ton of good pictures that we’re going to post. So do you recommend this trail to waterfalls, the bamboo forest, the Banyan tree and it’s within the national.

3 (12m 9s):
And so when we were done with that and was making the U-turn back, we did something that’s right at the start of the trail called Ohayo Gulch. I hope I’m pronouncing that correctly, but this area is really cool. And another awesome thing about the fact that it was raining at that point in time is this is where all that water runoff from the waterfall comes and falls into the ocean. So we’re sitting there at the edge of the water, and then we’re just able to see the river and stream that’s created from the rain as it’s flowing into the ocean. And normally when it’s not raining, they actually allow you to go in and swim in that area because it creates these natural layered pools. But when the water is so treacherous, as it was because of the rain, obviously you can’t do that.

3 (12m 51s):
I think if anybody got in there, they’d be swept out to sea. For sure. I mean, it was crazy to just see all that water, like rushing into the ocean from there.

1 (12m 59s):
But I would love to go back because it is called Ohio gold, but it’s also known as the seven sacred pools. So when that water is not running like that, and it’s more of a dry season, then you can actually swim and enjoy those pools a lot more. Hey, travelers, let’s take a quick detour to talk all about our Travel Itineraries that we’ve created just for you. We now have six different trip itineraries one week in Kauai

2 (13m 25s):
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3 (13m 27s):
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1 (14m 2s):
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3 (14m 16s):
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1 (14m 28s):
Jamal said earlier, we were doing the road Honda backwards. So Kim, as you were saying that you pulled up those pictures. That’s when we came across the lush greenness, we’re on the Cliff’s edge, very narrow road waterfalls around every corner that you go to. There’s tons of stops along the way. We actually followed a guide. It was an online guide called like the 17 stops to the road to HANA. So we did get to see some of those stops and highlights of the road. One of the highlights Being a stop at the halfway point to get some delicious banana bread

2 (15m 2s):
Banana bread in Maui.

3 (15m 5s):
Yes. And see, that’s one of the things. And again, you know, everyone talks about the road to HANA and the scenery around as beautiful and as cool as it was that it was raining when we were doing the hiking for the waterfalls. I think it kind of, I don’t want to say ruin the experience, but I imagine if we were driving through the road to HANA when it was sunny and I can see the coast and it wasn’t cloudy and the greens were a little bit more vibrant, it would have been a little bit more cool. But along the road to Honda, they have all those different stops that Brittany was saying at least 17 notable ones. And most of them are actual places to stop and do souvenir shopping or a place to get food. This one at the halfway point, the banana bread.

3 (15m 44s):
So a lot of it, I felt in the moment, hearing everyone say road to hunter road to Honda, the scenery’s beautiful, but everything along the way, I felt like almost as a tourist trap, the minute Diana bread was good, but here we were just paying now eight bucks to try the banana bread that this stand is famous for. And it’s like a little baby loaf and it was good. No doubt, but it’s just like, again, I almost felt that little sense of what is everyone talking about over here. But I think the weather played into that fact of the scenery, but the, the stops along the way I think can be done without, unless they’re the scenic stops of the waterfalls and jungle areas.

2 (16m 21s):
So the banana bread wasn’t good.

1 (16m 23s):
It was good, but it was hyped up to be like the best banana bread ever.

2 (16m 28s):
And you’re like, yeah, I had banana bread all over

3 (16m 30s):
And Brittany makes a killer banana. I mean, when you’re there, you got to try it. But it was eight bucks for a baby little loaf is what I’m saying.

1 (16m 37s):
Let me tell you what I didn’t regret getting, I got this coconut candy. They take some coconut, they shaved some coconut. They roast the coconut slowly with brown sugar and it becomes like a coconut candy. And it literally like melts in your mouth. It is so good and chewy and oh my God, I would highly recommend picking up some coconut candy for you.

3 (16m 56s):
And that was bomb. And they sold it at the halfway to Honda point where they sold that banana bread. So I would say maybe bypass the banana bread and get the coconut candy. Like I usually don’t like coconut shavings and stuff like that in general. But then when Brittany gave me a piece to try, I was just like, I was addicted to that. I was like, Ooh, give me more, give me more. They were so good.

2 (17m 15s):
So once you got back from the road to HANA, was there anything else that you did that day?

3 (17m 20s):
Yeah, so we went to this one little town along the way called . I don’t know how to pronounce it. I’m always so bad with Hawaiian names. So it’s spelled P a I a and we ended up stopping here because Brittany did a little bit of research and supposedly it’s really popular for their pizza and pizza pies. So we went here, we tried some really unique ones. We got a Kalua pork pizza. So the pork that they cook in the ground and do all that stuff. Yeah. Topped top of the pizza, it was really, really good.

1 (17m 51s):
And right down the street from the flatbread pizza place was a shave ice place. And you know, when you’re in Hawaii, you have to try shave ice.

3 (18m 0s):
We did have to try some shave ice and Brittany was real hard on her flavors. I didn’t really say anything to her because it was her birthday and I was letting her pick, but she picked a terrible shave ice topping if I’m

1 (18m 12s):
Completely honest

3 (18m 12s):

2 (18m 13s):

1 (18m 14s):
Well, I can’t remember exactly what it was, but it was coconut and I think Licia, and then it was snow-capped. So with like the condensed milk,

2 (18m 21s):
That’s the way to get it.

1 (18m 22s):
Yeah. But it wasn’t very colorful because coconuts white and leeches, you know, kind of like clear white. So Jamal was like, oh, you picked some terrible flavors. Oh my God. So we did ended up going back and redeemed it for Jamal’s experience.

3 (18m 38s):
Don’t say for my experience, I asked you straight up, tell me my flavor combination is not better. And you’re like, yeah, it’s better.

1 (18m 45s):
We didn’t stop there after the shave ice. We’re like, you know what? We’re in Hawaii. We might as well go to the beach because we hadn’t been to the beach really yet. And so we went for a sunset and there was a beach called K Waka poo beach. And it was a very beautiful white sand beach. We just laid out a beach towel, our Turkish towels actually. Cause that’s what

2 (19m 4s):
I also was on our gift guide for Christmas last year.

1 (19m 7s):
Yes. And I love the Turkish towels are super easy to pack. They don’t collect sand. They dry really easily. So we laid those down and we brought beers to the beach to enjoy as well.

2 (19m 17s):
Very proud of you guys.

3 (19m 18s):
Yeah. As beers from Maui brewing company. So, you know, on big island, they have Kona brewing on Maui. They have Maui brewing and they actually have a brewery out there that we were planning on going to and wanted to go to that night as a matter of fact, but we were kind of short on time. So we’re like, well, should we have the beer here or save that for tomorrow or pick up some beer from the store and actually go to the beach and watch sunset. And that was our option. And that was quite enjoyable, our first Maui beach experience. And it was definitely nice. You know, what’s funny is like, and again, this goes into the misconception that I had. I mean, everyone talks about Maui and again, where we stayed was not in a resort area at all.

3 (20m 1s):
And for us that worked out fine here where we went to the beach, this is where you start to get to the resort areas and see the beautiful beaches, the more expensive hotels and everything like that. And so it was a nice experience to finally get to see that part of Maui that I just hadn’t seen the entire time that we were there that day.

1 (20m 19s):
So squad hit for you guys Is to bring a collapsible cooler to Maui. We’ve talked about that on many of our other trips, but you know, it’s very hot. Some of the places we went to like on the road to HANA there, weren’t a lot of places to stop for food when we went backwards. And then when you go to the beaches, you might just want to bring some nice cold beer. So we packed our collapsible cooler. We’ve talked about it time and time again. And that cooler has made it all over the United States.

3 (20m 50s):
I’m waiting for its first international trip. That is to be determined though,

1 (20m 54s):
But Kim you’d be really proud of us because on that Sunday, we had an entire beach day. Ooh,

3 (21m 1s):
We dedicated the day entirely to the beach. And you want to know why? Because we looked up things to do in Maui. And there wasn’t a lot of things to do in Maui road to HANA is one of them. And they say that should take all day for you to do plus Holly Acala national park, which we also did the day before. And we knew the next day, which is Brittany’s birthday, which highlighted. And I can’t wait to get to this part of the episode, watching the sun rise at the top of the volcano, which we did. So we were like, all right, well, if Maui is famous for the beaches, let’s go ahead and find a list of top beaches. And we did that for the majority of the day. So you would be very

2 (21m 34s):
Proud venture, two different beaches.

1 (21m 36s):
We did. We went to, I want to say like three different beaches. We started south and made our wearing Knorr. So we woke up and we got a macadamia nut latte. And then we headed to the first beach, which is called McKenna beach, also known as big beach. And oh my God, they had some of the biggest waves and surf that I’ve ever seen.

2 (21m 59s):
How big are we talking?

3 (22m 0s):
I mean, they were literally up to 15 to 20 feet at some point, like crashing in and I’ve never seen waves crash like that. Normally outside of a storm of belong the beach. I mean, it was just crazy for the most part. The waves were definitely still high. I would say, you know, like five foot swells, but occasionally they would just, all of a sudden, randomly get 15 to 20 feet high. And we were trying to take photos of it when it happened or videos and it just wouldn’t even translate to our video. So we couldn’t even post it to Instagram. Cause it doesn’t look as good on the video. Is it doesn’t person? Like you just don’t realize how big it is, but it got so big and swelled at one point that we were super far back on the beach, away from the water and someone’s towel, not ours, but someone else who was at the beach was maybe about like 10 feet in front of us and probably 30 feet away from the water.

3 (22m 52s):
And the water came and soaked all their towels and all their belongings and we would just barely missed it. But they got that high that the waves crashing came like 30, 40 feet back from the beach edge.

1 (23m 2s):
Really, really beautiful beach, white sand beach, plenty of space to sprawl out again. It’s called big beach. There was like three different parking, lots to get to this beach. So there’s plenty of room for you to park. Get out, explore, walk the beach. We did get into the water. You just got to be careful because of swells can pull you out pretty easily

2 (23m 21s):
Where there are surfers out there.

3 (23m 22s):
There were surfers out there for sure, but not exactly where we were on the beach. So again, McKenna beach is one beach, but there’s two sections, big beach and small beach. And we were in the big beach section a little bit south of where we were. We saw more surfers and I think the swells over there were better for surfing than the area where we were, which is more like kind of layout and beach vibes and relaxed

1 (23m 45s):
Jamal and I laid out on the beach for awhile. Or

2 (23m 47s):
Did you get sunburned?

3 (23m 49s):
It’s actually pretty good this time, cam, I did not get sunburned. I did put on some sunscreen and I navigated and avoided that successfully.

1 (23m 57s):
Yeah. And we laid out, we were out there for a few hours. Kim he’d be really proud of us. So we worked up an appetite, we went and got some food. We got some fish tacos and calamari and coconut shrimp from a place called coconuts that was really good to stop into. And then we also stopped into Maui brewing for some beers there and it was all outside. It was really nice. The weather was perfect. So that was really cool. And then I had read up on a place called Leo sodas and they’re famous for their pies. So I was really craving their chocolate Mac nut pie, but they had a ton of pie, selections. They probably had like eight to 10 different pies to choose from. And so I’m really glad we had our cooler again because we wanted to take that to another beach and eat the pie while we were sitting on the beach.

3 (24m 44s):
Yeah. So we really wanted to take our pie to the beach, like Brittany said. So we drove a little bit north of where we picked up the pie and we went to CA and Nepali beach. And this is starting to get really more into the resort areas. Also, it’s funny, like in Maui, there’s two really resort areas on the very Northwest end and then on the Southern Midwest end. So this is going all the way to the Northwest end over here. And we went to this beach, it’s a three mile stretch of white sand beach and it was once named America’s best beach. And so with that in mind, I get there. I’m super excited and I don’t know how it was once voted America’s best beach.

2 (25m 22s):
What didn’t you like about it?

3 (25m 24s):
It was beautiful water. I could see for the lots of people, snorkeling. There’s probably cool stuff. What I didn’t like about it is the beach was really, really narrow. And by that, I mean that from the water to the point where it’s sand and then all of a sudden rocks and you can’t really sit or do anything, it was no more than about like eight feet. So you really have barely any space to like lay out a towel. Otherwise you are going to get soaked and you can’t really lay out and relax. So it made eating the pile a little bit hard, but I could see potentially why it’s rated or was rated. One of the best is because all the resorts are there. And if you’re not on the beach, you’re on an elevated position of nice manicured green grass and they have all the cabanas and stuff laying out.

3 (26m 6s):
So you have the views if you’re staying in the hotel, but if you’re just a regular patron coming to the beach, it’s really hard to lay out. And clearly if you’re not a resort guest, you can’t utilize those services that are out there. So I think that’s why it kind of made it difficult for us. Do

2 (26m 21s):
You think that you visited during a high tide?

1 (26m 24s):
I do think it was like a little bit of a higher tide, but do I think that it gets really low and then there’s a lot of beach space in general? No.

2 (26m 30s):
Well, I’m looking at pictures online. It looks like quite a bit of room, more than eight feet. So I’m thinking maybe you got it on a bad moment. Just like the rain. I think the weather and the timing just kind of skewed your

3 (26m 42s):
Pressure. And again, I’m not trying to rag hard on Maui. I’m really, really not. I just know. And I admitted this. Like I really had a high expectations because I always hear everyone say Maui, Maui, Maui. And so I expected a lot. And in hindsight, I’m looking back on the trip and I thoroughly enjoyed it and enjoyed a lot of what we did. I just know in the moment there, I thought to myself like I’m expecting more and that’s my own problem on why I had the perception of Maui that I

2 (27m 10s):
I’m also in denial that Maui can’t be not as great as everyone makes it out to be

3 (27m 15s):
Just like you were denial of when we said that Nashville isn’t as hot as people think it is too.

2 (27m 20s):
And it, it, it was better than you made it seem. I’ll be honest about that.

3 (27m 24s):
Is it great? Like people say, be honest, it’s not,

2 (27m 28s):
It has its pros like for live music and stuff, but is it as hyped as some people make it seem now?

1 (27m 34s):
Well, I think part of the problem too is the first island we went to was the best color white. You really can’t get it better. So then like, you know, maybe we should have started with like Oahu or Maui first and then saved quiet for last because now my expectation and the bar is so high that anytime we go to another island, I’m like, it’s not quite, but you know, now we, we did still have a good time. I just think that it wasn’t Jamal’s favorite island. I think people like Maui because there’s beaches and it’s different than the rest of the continental USA, because it’s an island and you know, it’s island life there and it feels different than home, but it’s not, it’s not anything special to us since we’ve been to other grander places.

3 (28m 19s):
And I think I know a lot of what it is also too, is what Brittany and I like to do on trips. If you are staying in the resort areas and which, like I said, we’ve drove through them to go to a couple of the beaches. You’re going to have a good time, but Brittany and I are not in the resort areas to like stay there and just be looking at the ocean all the time. We’re going on hikes doing this and just stopping a few places along the way. So it depends on what’s conducive for your style. And I can see why people like Maui, but I didn’t realize that like going in.

1 (28m 49s):
And so we went to our third beach of the day after we ate the chocolate magnet pie, we went to Nepali bay beach and this beach is really good for swimming, suntanning, snorkeling. We saw a lot of people snorkeling in the area, Jamal even saw a sea turtle, poke his head up at one point while we were on the beach as well. So that was really nice. And there’s a lot of outer reef in the area. So the water’s really calm, which is really nice.

3 (29m 15s):
Yeah. I really liked the Napoli bay beach. It’s a little bit difficult to park, but we were able to be fortunate enough to find parking. So if you’re going to be going there, try to get there early in the day to get a good parking spot. Otherwise it’s going to be difficult to park along the road and find one. We just got very fortunate that we saw somebody leaving, but lots of other cars were just going up and down trying to find a spot and waiting for that perfect moment.

1 (29m 39s):
So we realized we have tradition while we’re in Hawaii. And that tradition is to eat Thai food. Ooh,

2 (29m 45s):
I love Thai food. I think that’s just like a worldwide tradition.

1 (29m 50s):
So remember Kim, when we were in choir, we ate Thai food that first night. And then when we went to big island the night before volcanoes national park, we had Thai food there. And so we were looking at food to eat and Thai food came across and we’re like, well, it’s a Hawaiian tradition, got to have some Thai food.

2 (30m 8s):
And that was the highlight of the trip.

3 (30m 10s):
No, the highlight of the trip is coming in the next day here. And again, I don’t want it to seem like I’m ragging on it. I’m just stating my opinion on it. But the Thai food was really, really good. It was called my Tai Maui that we went to you like that little pun that they do my Tai, like a Mai Tai drink, but it was really, really good, super enjoyed it. I would highly recommend it if you’re looking for a different type of cuisine, if you’re done with the seafood or don’t want any of the other like Hawaiian staples and things, so really recommend that place.

1 (30m 39s):
So the next day was my birthday

2 (30m 42s):

1 (30m 42s):
Birthday. I was so excited. You know, I turned like 21. So

2 (30m 48s):
Congrats, finally legal, small, like some young.

1 (30m 53s):
And so what I really wanted to do and the highlight of the trip was go to Haleakala national park and watch the sunrise at the top of the volcano and have the sun rise above the clouds.

2 (31m 6s):
Only you blood on your birthday. Want to wake up at three, 4:00 AM to do something.

3 (31m 13s):
Well, we actually tried to do it the day before, but it was sold out on what I mean by that is you actually have to have reservations because the space at the top of the volcanic summit is limited. Again, you’re in the national parks. So if you want to make reservations, you have to make reservations@recreation.gov. They charge you a $1 and 50 cent fee to make the reservation. And it was sold out for Sunday. So we couldn’t do it. So it happened to be Monday. And we really, even though it was Brittany’s birthday, we really didn’t want to do it that day because our flight home was that day, mid day. And we’re like, oh, it could be a lot. But nonetheless, you know, when the opportunity presented itself as that being the only day, we obviously had to take it. So yes, we woke up at 3:00 AM.

3 (31m 55s):
We had an hour and a half drive and my God was the view from the top breathtaking for the sunrise.

1 (32m 2s):
Yeah. So when you get there, you have to have reservations, like Jamal said, you have to make them on recreation.gov. It’s only a dollar 50 to make the reservation. However, you need to do some research and find out exactly when the tickets are going to be released and be on the website at exactly that time. Because like Jamal said, they sell out very, very quickly. So the day that we were aiming for it, they were already sold out. So we got the Monday, which happened to be my birthday. And I’m actually really happy. It happened that way. But if you wait more than like two minutes to purchase, you probably not going to get your reservation. So when you go up, they do check to make sure you have the reservations. And we drove all the way to the top.

1 (32m 43s):
There’s two different parking lots. There’s one, that’s a little bit lower. And then the one at the very top of the summit and you’re over like 10,000 feet. And so everyone’s parking. Then you have to go up like these stairs. And there’s just this big area where everyone is just standing and waiting for this underwriter. And you want to get there like 45 minutes early in the pitch, black. And just start to slowly, see the sun start to peak up and start to rise. And you can start to see the sky light up a little bit. And then you see it just moving slowly and slowly. And it starts to just illuminate the entire sky and start to peak up over the beautiful clouds. And the clouds are just an entire white blanket layer. So it’s just really majestic and beautiful to see.

1 (33m 26s):
I have a coworker who went and did this exact experience. And when the sun rose, she cried because it was so, oh my God.

3 (33m 33s):
I mean, it was beautiful. I’m not at the point of crying. I cried during movies like a baby, depending on it, but I’ve never been moved by a sunrise that much but point being it is that beautiful really? And you know, Brittany described it well, you’re 10,000 feet above. And my favorite thing, even before the sun came up over the clouds was seeing the slow transition of the different colors in the sky because the sun is already up. But because you’re so high up and you’re in the ocean on the island of Maui, you don’t even get to see the sun truly rise until it passes the clouds, not even the horizon layer, that should be the water. So you see that slow transition of just different colors in the sky and the clouds. And then it is up there peaking. And it is an experience and sunrise not to be missed, if you can be fortunate enough to get those reservations.

3 (34m 17s):
But at the top of Holly Aquila, you are at the top of a volcanic summit. And one of the things other than the sunrise to do is the famous hike that they have right there at the summit called the sliding sands trail. And it’s been described as looking like you’re on Mars when you’re really out there because of the red color formations and just the desolate ness of nothing, no trees or anything like that. So we partook in a little bit of that sliding Sans trip.

1 (34m 44s):
Yeah. It’s normally 11 miles. If you do at round trip, however, you have to hike down into the crater and you actually, if you do the whole thing, it is a change in almost 3000 feet in elevation. So we knew we didn’t have time to do it all because we had to get back to the airport. It’s an pretty much several hour hike. So we did portion of it. It was really beautiful, very desolate. We had parts of the trail by ourselves, which is my favorite type of hiking. And because of the elevation, they say that you should give yourself double the time to go up then going down because you’re going to feel the elevation and lingered and be short of breath. But one thing we failed to mention at this point in time is we’re at 10,000 feet. And one tip that I read was to pack winter clothes to Hawaii.

1 (35m 28s):
And I mean, I packed, you know, few bathing suits, but then I also had a pack, a fleece gloves, beanie a jacket because it was so cold. It dropped like 50 degrees from where we were in our hotel to where we were at the summit.

2 (35m 45s):
So how cold was it up there?

3 (35m 46s):
I mean, it was in the low forties or mid forties at that point in time. I mean, when we left the hotel where we were staying at sea level around like four o’clock in the morning, it was already 75 degrees out there. And by the time that we got to the top of the summit, I mean, we were down in the low forties at that point. So definitely chilly. You’re at the top of a summit, you got that wind chill factor on top of it. It’s going to be a lot colder. So crazy disparity of, you know, being in Hawaiian packing normal kind of like tropical clothes. But if you’re going to be doing this experience, you need to bring winter gear. That is for sure. Otherwise you’re going to freeze your ass off at the top of it and maybe be crying for another reason other than the beautiful sunrise.

1 (36m 27s):
But like, we were so cold at the top. Like I had everything on the beanie, the gloves, the fleece, a jacket on top of that. I even brought out our Turkish towels to use as blankets or to sit on geesh. I was still freezing. So

2 (36m 43s):
California girl not made for that kind of weather.

1 (36m 46s):
No, but you know, I do enjoy it. And when we went on the sliding sands trail, it did warm up a little bit. The sun was fully out, warmed up a little bit. I was able to shed some layers. So definitely would recommend Holly Aquila national park. It was so beautiful, such a unique experience. You do have to have the reservations. It was definitely the highlight of the trip. I would go back to Maui to hike some more of the trails in the national park, of course, because that’s what I love to do, but I still enjoyed Maui. I just think that Jamal had higher expectations over.

3 (37m 17s):
Yes, I loved it. Like I said, in hindsight, I just went in with too high of expectations. So that’s why I’m just promise you. I’m not ragging on it. I just want you to not go in with high expectations if you’ve heard great things about it and haven’t den and have been to any of the other Hawaiian islands specifically Kauai.

2 (37m 35s):
Well, that is perfect timing because we are moving on to questions of the week And our first question coming in is asking which Hawaiian islands should I visit as a first time visitor

1 (37m 55s):
Maui, because then when you visit the other ones, you’re not going to be disappointed.

3 (38m 0s):
I would have to agree. So granted I have not been to Oahu yet, except for at the airport. So of the main four, I’ve been to three of them except for a wahoo. And I have to agree with Brittany sentiment,

1 (38m 13s):
But to be completely honest, you have to know what you want to do. Cause you know, now we is more like resort life. I think a wahoo is more resort life as well. You know, it’s very famous. It’s very commercialized, very like Waikiki and those sorts of things. If that is what you’re going for in your whole goal is to be resorty and just go to the beach. Those two islands are for you. If you’re going to be a little more adventurous, you want to do some hiking in the national parks. You want to be in more remote places of Hawaii. Then I would recommend big island or Kauai because of that, the lushness of greenness of Kauai, but it was more of a jungle feel. You can’t really get to some of the roads. So you have a different experience.

2 (38m 52s):
I’m going to disagree with both of you and say Kauai. And the reason is because not everyone can get back to Hawaii year after year. So why not see the best one? If that’s the only one you might have the chance to see ever, or at least for a long time. And I really think Kauai has it all. You have hiking in the canyon, you have resort beaches, you have more desolate beaches. You can bike, you have the food, you have the jungle. Like you kind of have it all

1 (39m 19s):
Except for volcanoes. And that’s

2 (39m 21s):

1 (39m 22s):
And it doesn’t have a national

2 (39m 23s):
National park. That is true. That is true. But you do have the grand canyon of the Pacific, which should be a national park.

3 (39m 29s):
It probably will be one day. If I’m being honest, I think it’s probably on the list of potentials. And

2 (39m 33s):
You have the Nepali coast, which is absolutely stunning. One of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. And I

3 (39m 40s):
Don’t know how that’s not a national park,

2 (39m 42s):
Right? That is just like, it’s unreal that it even exists.

3 (39m 46s):
Well, you know what, based off of your train of thought, I agree with you, but if you are going to be, and it is your goal to go to all the Hawaiian islands and if you’re not doing it on one trip, then I think Brittany and I send to Minnesota something, but you have a very good point. And I agree with it thoroughly, Kim, actually, if you’re going to go to want to go to the best one,

1 (40m 4s):
You know, we went to Hawaii and I remember Kim, you were asking like, should we island off, you know, go to some of the other islands? Like, what are we going to do for a full week in Hawaii? We didn’t have enough time in Hawaii. Well, we had the perfect amount of time in Kauai, but we could have done more if we wanted to.

2 (40m 19s):
That’s true. And part of the reason for why I was thinking that way is because there was not that much content on the web about Kuwait. It’s like a lesser known, hidden gem of the islands. Maui gets all this attention, Waikiki, Oahu, they all get all the fame, but COHI is the better one. And also part of the reason I was inspired to start a podcast and kind of get you guys on board is because of things like this, this content doesn’t exist in someone needs to put it out there.

1 (40m 48s):
Yeah. And someone has to be real with the content too. And like we’re trying to bring authentic experience. And so, you know, not every trip is going to be super hyped up because we’re just talking about our real experiences.

3 (40m 59s):
And what’s funny is when we got back from Maui, Kim, do you remember me telling you saying that, you know, I’m glad that we went to Kauai first and you were seeing your island hopping and we didn’t need to, but if we were literally to spend a week in Maui, I would have been like, oh, Kim’s onto something. We should be island hopping. I felt like we were done after three days. But again, that’s the non resort aspect of what we did on the island.

1 (41m 22s):
Well, that leads into our second question. Jamal. One of our listeners asks how much time should we spend in Maui?

3 (41m 28s):
If you’re not staying at a resort, I recommend no more than three days. My personal opinion. I think it gives you enough time to do the road to HANA and the national park and enjoy like a couple of the nicer beaches there. But other than that, I don’t know how much more time you can truly spend.

1 (41m 44s):
I would say three to four days. If we spent one more day, I would have gone on more of the Northeast side of the island. Cause that is a rugged area too, with a lot of hiking. So if we had a fourth day, that’s where I would have spent my day, but I would agree with Jamal. Otherwise

2 (41m 59s):
I can definitely see someone who lives in like the Midwest. There’s no beach nearby. They don’t see beaches. Normally they don’t take a lot of vacations maybe. And maybe you want to spend a week just enjoying the beach, enjoying island life.

1 (42m 14s):
I think, you know, when you look online and you look at recommendations, they do recommend a week. And if that’s experience you’re having absolutely. And I think you bring a great perspective is we live in San Diego. We are near beaches all the time. We’ve been to Hawaii before we’ve been to tropical islands. So someone who lives in the middle of nowhere and doesn’t take a lot of vacation and they have a week off. They want to spend it all in one place, relaxing,

2 (42m 37s):
The relaxing, chilling, having my ties. Yeah. I’m with that. Alright, Maui, take it or leave it. You decide. Thank you so much for tuning into this week’s episode. Keep the adventures going with us on Instagram and YouTube at Travel Squad Podcast, tag us in your adventure. If you go to Maui, send us in your questions of the week.

3 (42m 55s):
If you’ve found that information, this episode to be useful, or if you thought we were just playing funny, please be sure to share it with a friend that would enjoy it too. And as always, please subscribe, rate and review our podcast and tune in every travel Tuesday for new episodes,

1 (43m 8s):
Stay tuned for next week’s episode, we have some more amazing adventures and tips in store for you. I

2 (43m 14s):
Bye Squadies!

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