I feel like I should start this off with a warning that this may go down as the longest blog post in the history of all posts. Or at least right now that's how it feels like it's going to be! I originally didn't think I would have that much to talk about, but after writing (and then publishing) the last post on our trip to Maui, I started thinking about all of the things I wanted to share. And it was a lot. So, now that you've been fully warned, let's get right to it!

Where we stayed:
Days Inn Maui Oceanfront - Kihei
Sheraton Maui Resort - Lahaina / Kaanapali

To us, our trip felt like it was seperated into two parts because we stayed at two different places/ locations while we were there. Since Maui isn't that big, by doing this we didn't lose much time checking out of one place and then driving and checking into another (I think the drive itself was only about an hour). We absolutely loved how we planned this trip and it was probably the one thing we did that we were the happiest with.

The first five nights were spent in Kihei (pronounced key-hey...I figured I'd give you that little lesson considering it took us right until the end to finally get the hang of how to say it!). We actually got the recommendation to stay here on Jillian Harris's blog for those looking to stay somewhere on a budget. After doing a quick Expedia search and seeing the prices of hotels and rentals, we quickly realized that we were, in fact, going to be on a budget. And my imaginary BFF did not let us down. While the rooms were small, the hotel was sitting on the perfect beach in the perfect location. We loved Kiehi, and we also loved having Wailea right next door (there were many drives taken in Wailea so we could admire all the houses and how beautiful everything there was). It was during our time here at the Days Inn that we made sure to do some of the bigger things we had planned to do on the island.

By saving a bit more on our first hotel, we decided to splurge a little more on our second place where we'd be spending the last three nights. We figured since the Sheraton was a resort (a beautiful one at that), we'd want to spend more time here just relaxing by the pool and on their beach, which by the way had ahhhhmazing snorkelling. Like amazing! I have never seen so many colourful fish, and we actually got to see and swim with two ginormous turtles there. We left our last few days at this hotel completely open, and it was the perfect way to end our vacation.

While there's no comparison in terms of which hotel was nicer (the Sheraton for the win!), we're both pretty torn on which area we liked better; Kihei or Lahaina. Beach access seemed a bit easier in Kihei (in terms of finding a million to chose from), but Lahaina had some cute little streets with great restaurants and shops. But again, we loved both, and regardless of where we stayed, everything was pretty accessible from both areas. I'd highly recommend both of these places if you want the best of both worlds!!

The top three bucket list things we did:
The Road to Hana
Sunrise at Haleakala Summit
Luau at the Old Lahaina Luau

(1) The Road to Hana

If you've ever heard anything about Maui, I'm pretty sure then you've also heard about the Road to Hana. As the name suggests, it's a road that leads to the town of Hana, but ironically Hana isn't the main attraction; it's all the stops along your way that makes this the number one recommended thing to do in Maui. It's an all day event, and trust me when I say it's a very long day. But also trust me when I say it's so worth being trapped in a vehicle for the majority of that long day while navigating some of the craziest roads you probably will ever experience. Maui is so beautiful, and you really get to see just how beautiful it is along this road.

Since we're both not big on doing tours, we decided to brave this journey ourselves. We were told that if we wanted to tackle the Road to Hana in one day that we should leave at the crack of dawn. So, by 6:30 we were at the nearest gas station fueling up, grabbing coffees and buying the Road to Hana audio cd that was recommended to us. While it got annoying sometimes having to stop or rewind the cd a bunch of times, we could not have imagined doing this without it. While the road itself is very straightforward (not literally, might I add), there are so many amazing stops to make along the way that we would have never known existed if it wasn't for the cd.

Towards the end of our time in Maui though, we got to talking to some regular Maui visitors who have done the Road to Hana multiple times, and they all told us they enjoyed the day much more on the tour than when they did it themselves. While we loved experiencing the day just ourselves and on our own time, I do feel like there may have been some benefits by going with the tour. We realized later that we accidentally missed some pretty good stops along the way. And there were other stops that we purposely missed because we had stopped so much at the beginning, we were so pressed for time towards the later part of the day. Like I said, it's a very long day and knowing how to prioritize the stops is important!

But again, the drive is totally do-able on your own! Yes, the roads are very narrow and very windy, but that's definitely half the fun! We were told to turn around at Hana and drive back the way we originally came because the roads continue to get even worse, but apparently we love a good adventure so we decided to keep going. But they were right, the roads got even narrower and a lot more windy. And not to mention we met some of the speediest local drivers on this road!! Thank goodness Todd was driving because I'm pretty sure I would have drove us off a cliff!

If we ever get the chance to go back, I would love to do the Road to Hana again because I'm pretty sure it would be completely different doing it a second time around. There's just so much to see!

I'm not going to get into any detail about some of the stops we made (because I'd need at least another month to write all about that, or in my blogging timeline, a year!!!), but here's a great blog post if you're interested in finding out more about the Road to Hana.

(2) Sunrise at Haleakala Summit

This is another thing that I think the majority of people will tell you to do when going to Maui for the first time, and I have to agree, although it's something I think you'd only want to do once. To see the sunrise at the summit, it obviously means you have to get up early...super, super early!! I believe we were left our hotel by 4 that morning. Yikes! But, thankfully we still were not adjusted to the time difference, so it wasn't quite as bad as what it seemed! The day we did this was the day we switched hotels, and it worked out great because we were checked in and settled away at the Sheraton before noon and then we had the rest of the day to relax (and nap) by the pool!! Thank you, cabana! 

Here's a few things you need to know about going. First, and most importantly, you need to buy tickets before going. We did not know this before we got to Maui (apparently this was only put into place a month before we were there to ensure the summit doesn't get too crowded), so when we found out while we were there and went online to get tickets, they were all sold out. Luckily they put out additional tickets 48 hours in advanced for each day, so we made sure that at 4:00pm we were online to get them! We would have been super disappointed if we had of missed this.

Second, make sure you give yourself enough time to get there early. Even by leaving at 4:00, there were times along the drive (especially once we reached the summit) that we felt rushed and worried that we were going to miss the sunrise. If you're getting up that early, you at least want to make sure you get to see what it is you missed those extra hours of sleep for.  And lastly, it's freaking cold at the summit!! I remember reading about how cold it can get beforehand, and my first thought was "hey, I'm Canadian, I'm pretty sure I can handle some cold Maui temperatures". Lemme tell you, I was so very wrong. With only leggings and a sweater on, I perished! I knew I was in for a treat when I saw the majority of people there with winter jackets and gloves on! I had to run in place for the entire time we were there to try and warm up. Thankfully I had a pretty amazing view...

(3) Old Lahaina Luau

Ahh, the Luau, the night I was probably looking forward to the most, and probably the thing I enjoyed the most! If you really want to feel like you're in Hawaii, then you definitely have to go to a Luau. There's so many ones you can chose from on the island, but since we heard the Old Lahaina Luau was the best, we made sure to buy our tickets a few months beforehand.

There was plenty of fun entertainment, a delicious Hawaiian buffet, and an open bar...hello unlimited mai-tai's! We had a front row seat on the floor...literally! We ate sitting on a pillow on the floor!! While it was super fun for the first little while, after about two hours in, once the show had started, we found ourselves sprawling out and leaning against the nearest brick wall in no time!!

So, now that you know where we stayed and some of the things we did, let's talk right quick about the best part....the food! We got to try a lot of different places all over Maui and there were some we absolutely loved.

Our favourite places we ate:
Monkeypod - Wailea (a must for dinner and drinks!)
Kihei Cafe - Kihei (cute breakfast spot!)
Ohana Seafood & Grill - Kihei (the Ohana burger was so good!)
Flatbread and Company - Paia
The Gazebo - Lahaina (great breakfast food)
Kimos - Lahaina
Ululani's shaved ice

The number one place we wanted to try in Maui was Mama's Fish House, but unfortunately we didn't make it there. Mama's is supposed to be the top restaurant in all of Maui; one that's known for the experience just as much as the food. We were hoping to go there on our last night, but after a full week of running up a major food bill, we decided to opt for something a little closer to our hotel and a lot more budget friendly. It actually worked out pretty great though, because while looking for somewhere to eat, we discovered there was a whole other bustling world just a quick walk up the beach from us - Whalers Village.

Well, I think that's about everything I wanted to chat about! Phewwww, I'm done!!! Are you still around? God bless you if you are! :)

Until next time.