Maui Recommendations

There’s so much to love about Hawaii. Besides the gorgeous scenery and laid back vibe, the food is one of my favorite things about visiting. Soooo much good food! My #1 that I eat as much as I can of when I’m there is Portuguese sausage, probably because I can’t find it anywhere in NY! The BBQ plates are also YUM – I always order double scoops of Mac Salad! 🙂

What to Eat in Maui

Other Hawaiian favorites, Spam Masubis, Kalua Pork (their slow cooked pig, they cook them underground at the Luaus), Poke, Mac Nut anything (cinnamon rolls, pancakes, etc.), Shaved Ice, Loco Mocos (basically some sort of meat, fried egg and gravy), and Malasadas (Hawaiian donuts).

Kalua Pig & Mac Salad Plate – Unfortunately the stand we got this has since closed 🙁

Kalua Pork and Mac Salad Plate – Maui

Spam Masubi

Spam Masubi

Where to Stay

There are a few areas of Maui that you can stay. I’ve stayed in Kapalua, Ka’anapali and Wailea. Of those, Wailea was my favorite. The weather in this area tends to be better and I have found has the best food options close by.

Regardless of where you stay, you’ll want to rent a car. If you don’t need the space, convertibles in Hawaii are always fun to get the best view of the scenery. Make sure you wear a hat, the Hawaiian sun is very strong or you’ll end up with raccoon eyes 😛 And make sure you park in a covered garage or remember to put the top up.

I’ve listed recommendations based on areas of Maui starting near the airport, Kahului. If you plan to stay in a villa or AirBnB, and want to cook your own food, there is a Target and Walmart where you can stock up. The grocery stores in the other parts of the island will be much more expensive. Be prepared for sticker shock. Remember, things have to be flown here from the mainland so things will be more expensive.

During my last trip to Maui, I spent the majority of the trip at the Wailea Beach Villas. Highly recommended! Great location, across the parking lot from the Wailea Shops with a small grocery and ABC store. Amazing property and service, and value if you’re traveling in a large group.

Sunset view from Wailea Beach Villas – Maui

I’ve stayed at the Ritz Carlton in Kapalua a couple of times. I’m not the biggest fan of the hotel property. It’s dated, and the service is eh and the beach isn’t very good because you have to walk down a steep hill, there is no beach chair service. Kapalua is also the rainier part of the island. But, the Ritz Carlton’s residence villas are very nice and the service is phenomenal.

For that price point, I’d rather stay at the Andaz in Wailea. Wailea is my most recommended part of the island. The hotel property is gorgeous and the beachfront amazing, offering perfect sunset views.

Sunset @ The Andaz – Wailea Maui

Sunset at The Andaz, Wailea Maui

I’ve also stayed at the Hyatt Regency in Lahaina and the Westin in Ka’anapali. Both are good resorts in central locations near the more touristy parts of the island.

Kahului – Near the airport

Geste Shrimp Truck – Best shrimp plate

Geste’s Shrimp Plate – Maui

Da Kitchen Café: Hawaiian comfort food and amazing! I wish I had a bigger tummy so I could eat more. We ordered the Kalbi Ribs and Notorious BIG MOCO – Homemade Hamburger Steak topped with chili, Mexican Cheese, Eggs, Mushrooms, Onions, Spam, Bacon & Portuguese Sausage over Pork Fried Rice!

Da Kitchen Cafe Notorious BIG MOCO – Maui

Kalbi Beef – Da Kitchen Cafe – Maui

Kapalua (North West)

Gazebo Restaurant for Mac Nut pancakes, it gets very busy, you can order to go and and eat on the rocks at the beach:

Mac Nut Pancakes @ Gazebo Restaurant

Na’Pali Beach – Maui

Other recommendations in Kapalua:

  • Merriman‘s: a great restaurant for dinner with a very nice sunset view
  • Sansei: Japanese & Sushi – Within the Ritz complex, there are two Sansei’s in Maui, I prefer the Wailea location

Beaches: Honolua Bay and Kapalua Bay are both good for snorkeling. Napali Bay for lookouts and walking.

Ka’anapali (North West part of Maui, just south of Kapalua)

The more touristy area of the island where there is a downtown area, waterfront restaurants / shopping area, etc. More action, but food here is not as good as it’s more touristy. Our wedding group did a sunset catamaran cruise from here which was nice.

Beaches/Things to Do

  • Kaanapali Beach, good for snorkeling
  • Shopping @ Whaler’s Village
  • Sunset Catamaran – We boarded ours from Kaanapali, most of these trips serve you a basic BBQ dinner, really nice way to spend a night.

Ka’anapali Maui

Ka’anapali Maui Sunset Catamaran Cruise

Lahaina (West Shore)

The Fish Market – Seared Ahi Tuna Sandwiches, Tacos & Poke

Seared Ahi Tuna Sandwich – The Fish Market – Maui

Aloha Mixed Plate

Aloha Mixed Plate – Maui

Other Recommendations:

Beaches/Things to Do

Old Lahaina Luau

Kihei (West Shore)

One of my favorite areas of Maui because of all the great food.

Kihei Caffe – Loco Mocos, must get the pork fried rice! So good we went here 3xs my last trip, the pancakes > French toast

Loco Moco – Kihei Caffe – Maui

Mac Nut and Banana Pancakes – Kihei Caffe – Maui

Mac Nut Banana French Toast – Kihei Caffe – Maui

Other Recommendations in Kihei:

Beaches/Things to Do: 

Kealia Wildlife Refuge – Maui

Kealia Wildlife Refuge – Maui

Wailea (South Shore)

Sansei – Japanese & Sushi, another one of my Maui favorites. Dishes I’d get again: Truffle Ramen, Foie Gras Nigiri, Mango and Crab Hand Roll, Fried Ice Cream

Truffle Ramen – Sansei – Kihei Maui

Foie Gras Nigiri – Sansei – Kihei Maui

Fried Ice Cream – Sansei Kihei Maui

Other Recommendations:

Beaches/Things To Do: Molokini Beach, Turtle Town & Maluaka Beach, good for snorkeling. Shopping: Shops @ Wailea

Paia (North Shore)

If you do the road to Hana, you’ll pass this on your way to Hana or back depending which way you drive.

Beaches/Things to Do: Ho’okipa Beach and Shopping in Paia Town

Other Things to Do:

  • Waterfall Repels: http://www.rappelmaui.com/– Almost broke my arm and still have the scare to show for it, but was very fun!
  • Haleakala Summit: For sunrise, you can drive up and hike if you want, or just drive up for the hike. It was worth the 2AM wake up from Kapalua to see the sun rise, it’s pretty cool – you are literally standing in the clouds clouds
  • Pipiwai Trail and Bamboo forest hike to Waimoku waterfall, 4 mile hike, about 2 hrs – I’ve seen people with young children do this, for the most part it is flat terrain, but there are some places there is some places it might get a little tricky:
    • Bring lots of water and bug spray
    • Some people wore flip flops, but hiking shoes would be better

If you take the drive to Haleakala, and don’t mind a long day, you could do both the Hike and Summit the same day to save driving time. The road to Hana driving east is famous, but I prefer the drive along the southern coast of the island. The rental car companies will tell you not to drive these roads, but the views are phenomenal. From Wailea, you can drive to the summit and then after head to the falls for the hike. After you’re done, you can drive the ‘reverse’ Road to Hana, west along the north of the island.

Sunrise at Haleakala Summit – Maui

Sunrise at Haleakala Summit – Maui

Views driving along Maui’s South Shore

View’s from Maui’s South Shore

Bamboo Forest Hike to Waimoku Waterfall Maui

Waimoku Waterfall – Maui

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