Hawaii is usually a bucket list trip, and this is exactly how this trip was treated. I spent a full week in Maui with a packed schedule, and here are 5 recommendations:
There were six of us total on the trip. We had itineraries, spreadsheets, and spreadsheets for our spreadsheets to ensure we made the most of the trip. Here are five activities to consider adding in to your own vacation in no particular order.
Pst... There's also a video of highlights of the trip at the end!
If you don't snorkel in Hawaii, you need to re-evaluate your life decisions. The reefs are home to so much sea life! It's a completely different world that is well worth the experience. You can either rent you own gear or do a snorkeling excursion.
Doing a snorkeling excursion provides you with a boat to access Molokini, a crescent-shaped island formed by a partially submerged volcano. It also took us to a Turtle Town, which is accessible from shore as well.
We decided to rent our own gear as well as go on an excursion. I recommend doing both and using Pacific Whale Foundation. That tour provides you with breakfast, lunch, and drinks. The reason I recommend it is for the eco-friendly and conservation benefit of the organization. It's a great foundation to be supporting and there's educational piece with the tour guides that I found rewarding.
The water is crystal clear in Maui. Whether you chose to snorkel from shore, or take an excursion to Molokini, you are going to see plenty of wildlife and the clearness of the water provides a perfect opportunity for an underwater action shot. However, use goggles when snorkeling even if you take them off like I did for a photo. You'll be able to see the turtles a lot better.
2. Helicopter Ride
When I first learned we were going on a helicopter ride, I wasn't impressed to say the least. It's expensive and I can old look -- Not explore. However, looking back my view has changed, hence a helicopter ride making this list.
We traveled in a group of six. Not everyone was as physically fit to go explore, so it was an activity we can all enjoy plus Maui is a small island so we got to see the whole island on our tour. It was cool seeing the different landscapes and feeling like you understand the place you are visiting just a little better.
I got to see the bird's eye view of the island. I saw waterfalls I wouldn't have seen otherwise. I saw into Haleakala, the worlds largest dormant volcano. The coolest part of the tour was when the pilot flew through a canyon of waterfalls and rainforest. It was exhilarating and beautiful. It also made me realize I never want to be a pilot, but was thankful for and experienced pilot!
As far as cost goes, the helicopter seats six and was about $1500 total.
3. Drive up to Haleakala
Talk about something you don't see everyday... Haleakala is a shield volcano that covers about 75% of Maui and hasn't erupted since about 1500. The tallest peak is Pu'u 'Ula'ula (Red Hill) sitting just above 10,000 feet.
You are above the clouds. In fact, due to the clarity, elevation, and seclusion, it's a perfect place for astrophysical research. Most of its programs couldn't be done anywhere on earth. You can see the Haleakala Observatory from what looks like on top of the world. The Maui Space Surveillance System (MSSS) has a mission to track satellites and debris orbiting the planet.
4. Boozy Dinner Boat Cruise
This may sound like an elementary thought, but hear me out. This is a great event whether you are with the family or significant other. The over-all trip itself is expensive but this is an event, dinner, and drinks all rolled into one. It's reasonably priced at just below $70 per adult.
You get to see the coastline. Drinks are unlimited. And most importantly: The sunset on the water is amazing.
One tip I do have is to drink beer or wine. The mixed drinks aren't the strongest and you can only deal with so much sugar from a Mai Tai or Pina Colada. I started with a sweet drink, but that quickly changed. I'm sure there a lot of options, but we elected Pride of Maui for our trip.
Hawaii is one of the most unique and beautiful places on earth. A sad reality is that a lot of the land is being developed. The Flying Hawaiian Zipline provides 2.5 miles of zip lines across the West Maui Mountains, including Maui's longest zip-line. Oh, and it also serves as a conservation for native species!
You take an ATV ride up the mountain where you complete a brief safety training. Then you proceed to the first line... Great views and activity with an eco-friendly approach.
EXTRA: If I had to include a sixth, it would be the Old Lahaina Luau. The food is great and you learn a lot about the Hawaiian culture.
Other activities we did: Road to Hana, Deep sea fishing, Slaughterhouse Beach, Mama's Fish House, Fleetwoods, Da Shrimp Hale, kite surfing, Hawaiian shaved ice.
Thank you for reading and I hope you make the most of your Hawaiian vacation!