It’s no big secret that Maui (and Hawaii in general) tops most peoples must-do trips, and departing from a frozen tundra country like Canada there’s clearly no better time to see Maui then in the dead of winter. I’ve had the pleasure of going to Maui a few times, most recently last dead of winter (aka Polar Vortex of ’15) and I can attest to the instant gratification that is sunshine, palm trees and actual smiling people. Maui is surrounded by all this, and rugged natural beauty, sprinkling six vastly different sub-regions of varying climates all on this one glorious island. Bored of the beach? Climb a crater, and pack a sweater- it’ll be roughly 10- 20 ºc cooler up there (10,000 feet up give or take). From the jungle like rainforests (and fantastic waterfalls) that dot the Hana Highway, to the pristine beaches like Makena Beach, here’s my best bets for the best that Maui offers.
Like any good real estate agent will tell you, it’s all about location and while Maui is compact in size (a mere 1,884 km²) you still want to maximize your vacation by choosing a spot that speaks to you. Into golf? Consider staying near Kaanapali Beach. Paia, on the North Shore is the top pick for surfers with it’s reliably massive waves. Lahaina is kitschy, cutesy and adorable, but ultimately a little too touristy for me. I prefer staying south, in Wailea, at Ho’olei.
Renting a house is not only a comfortable and spacious luxury but it can also be a more cost effective choice when traveling with a family. My two daughters shack up and share a room, and in past trips we’ve shared a house with grandparents, nieces and other extended family members (let’s face it- free babysitters).
One of your biggest expenses in Maui will ultimately be food and drink. The prices fluctuate, but reliably are inflated- almost everything (other than local grown food) has to be shipped in- at great expense. A box of Lucky Charms can set you back $12 US, which seems steep until you see the prices at the nearby restaurants. Shop smart (there’s a Safeway in Kihei) and eat out sparingly. We end up buying tons of local fresh produce from farmers markets and snapping up biggie sized fresh tuna steaks for easy meals back at the house. The houses in the subdivision are all tricked out- elevators, lanais on both top and bottom floors (if you can swing a higher up house you’ll be afforded with panoramic ocean views, which all but guarantee whale watching from the comfort of your bathrobe). Service is outstanding at this resort, they will even grocery shop for you prior to your arrival, ensuring a well stocked fridge full of favourites when you *finally* land. The concierge will take care of all your bookings, luaus, surfing lessons, restaurant reservations, they will take care of everything.
While Ho’olei has their own beautifully landscaped pools (and hot tubs!) just adjacent is the spectacular Grand Wailea resort, with it’s sprawling pools, bars and restaurants. We always ‘opt-in’ and rent a house that comes with full pool privileges, and end up spending a ton of our time at the water slides and sipping Wailea Splashes pool side.
But resort life is for the weak and infirm. Or maybe I just get stir crazy after a few days…either way, Maui is super safe, the locals are friendly and out going and there’s too much to see and do so don’t linger poolside too long!
Stay tuned for part two! Where to eat and what to do!