• Southwest Airlines to Longbeach, then on to Hawaii
  • AirBnb’s once on Maui 
  • Stringent Covid 19 requirements to enter Hawaii
  • Snorkeling & Sunsets are priorities for us
  • Whale watching cruise with Pacific Whale Foundation – excellent!
  • Poke bowl lunches and Hawaiian Ices!
  • Many other activities; swimming, Blow hole, volcano, Road to Hana, Aquariums, more snorkeling, 

In 2021 we were fortunate to be able to spend two weeks on the lush south pacific island of Maui to celebrate Kathy’s birthday.  For those who have never been, images don’t do justice to this tropical paradise. Palm trees, smells of fragrant Plumeria, warm ocean breezes, endless beautiful vistas are music to the senses.  A trip here will restore your soul.

We chose to spend our time in AirBnb rentals in Kihei, close to Waliea on the south side of the island of Maui, within walking distance to the beach and world class snorkeling and whale watching.  There is a definite sense of calm, gratitude and happiness from locals and visitors alike in Hawaii, the “Aloha” spirit for sure.

Beautiful world class beaches, azure blue water, lush rain forests, waterfall, volcanoes and mountains are everywhere, giving an endless variety of calming and uplifting experiences. The pace is much slower than the mainland (the contiguous 48), and once you spend a couple of days on Maui, you see why.  Happiness and beauty is everywhere!

We traveled from Austin to Long Beach, CA, on Southwest Airlines and chose to overnight in Long Beach, close to the airport and take the first direct Southwest Flight out the next day to Maui.  The hotel shuttle dropped us off in plenty of time before our flight and we were lucky enough to get the bulkhead seats for the 5 ½ hour flight to Honolulu. After a quick COVID screening in Honolulu, we took a brief 30 minute hop over to the island of Maui.

Once you arrive in Hawaii, one immediately becomes aware to the pleasant tropic temperatures, breezes and incredible scenery everywhere.  Even at the airport, plants and lush Japanese gardens abound.  Island time is now the norm!

After car rental, we decided to make a quick trip to Costco to stock up on breakfast, lunch and happy hour provisions for our stay because our Kihei AirBnB, right on the beach, had a full kitchen.  Kathy was taken by surprise when we pulled into the Costco parking lot, and instead of birds to greet us in the lot, there were plenty of loose wild chickens, busily searching for food in the parking lot islands of Costco!  Welcome to the Aloha state!

We had a beautiful view of Kamaole Park and Beach from our third floor balcony. The view of the beach and ocean was intoxicating to the senses!  Our plan for our first night, we opened some wine, took cheese and crackers and walked to a bench at Kamaole beach, across the street, and enjoyed the sunset.  Hawaii truly is a paradise and good for the soul!

April was the tail end of the whale migration season in Maui, and we booked a morning ½ day excursion to go Whale watching through Pacwhale Eco Adventures. This experience was exceptional!   We saw the view of the island of Maui glistening with low clouds, mountains and rain forests as we took our cruise, during which we experienced dolphins swimming beside us and more than 20 humpback whales and calves breaching the water’s surface and playing.  Our guide said the mothers were teaching their calves how to breach. It was an amazing experience indeed, and highly recommended!

On another day trip we went snorkeling at Honolua Bay, a sheltered & beautiful cove on the western side of Maui, teaming with large varieties of tropical fish, sea turtles and monk seals.  This tranquil cove is easily accessible by the road and an easy walk in if coming by land.  It was one the highlights of the trip!  In fact, we liked the snorkeling here so much we went back 3 different times.  You will need to have your own snorkeling gear or rent some and bring it with you if you come by land.  Most of the boats that stop here, have snorkeling equipment available for guests.

Nakalele Blow hole is a short 15 minute ride from Honolua Bay.  While dangerous to get very close to, it is a sight to behold to see the power of nature and the ocean forced up through a water spout as waves crash into the rocky volcanic shore.  Very impressive!  This is an easy stop if you are already in the area to snorkel at Honolua Bay.

One of our favorite places for lunch was the Sea House Restaurant right on the beach in Napali.  Refreshing drinks and seafood at very reasonable prices and views that were world class.  We spent a whole afternoon here soaking up the awesome beauty of the island.

Anywhere you go in Maui, not only are you constantly exposed to the beauty of the ocean, but the Mountains and Volcanos, lush with their tropical forests and waterfalls are breathtaking.  We took an afternoon drive to the Iao Valley State park, which has some postcard worthy streams and waterfalls nestled in the lush plant filled canyons and valleys.  Spent a couple of hours on the shaded trails of this quiet and tranquil park, smells of plumeria and other tropical vegetation abounds!

Bring sweatshirts or blankets for this one… Around 4pm that same evening we drove up to the summit of the Haleakala National Volcano Park, 10,023 feet above sea level for sunset at the volcano.   A more impressive fact is that more than 19,000 feet of Halakala Volcano is underwater on the Ocean floor, making it taller than Mount Everest.  We carried jackets and a blanket, along with our prerequisite bottle of wine and cheese to watch the sunset at the top of Maui.  A completely unique experience,  but be prepared as the temps are at least 30 degrees cooler than the rest of the island!  Bring a sweatshirt and Dress warmly once uptop!  There are good restroom facilities up here to use for changing.

One of the most picturesque and charming towns on Maui is Lahaina.  Once a bustling whaling port and fishing village, it is filled with quaint shops, restaurants and galleries. On our visit, we were lucky enough to get reservations at Mick Fleetwoods on Front street.  The namesake of the rock and roll group Fleetwood Mac.  Reservations ahead of time are required, if you want to experience this Rock & Roll icons very lovely dining experience right on the water in Lahaina.  Great rock & roll memorabilia on the walls and the food was terrific!

One afternoon we took in sunset from the bar at the Four Seasons Wailea, an incredibly beautiful hotel, with amazing artwork, plants and surroundings.  While the hotel is fairly expensive, reasonable happy hour and sunset can be a nice addition to the trip. While we were there we wandered the gardens and viewed much of the artwork in the lobby.

Another must do activity add to your list anywhere in Hawaii is Shaved Ice!  The most famous on Maui– Be sure to try Ululani’s Shaved ice, Wowza!  It was so good we went back 3 times during our trip to enjoy this unique Hawaiian treat.  So good!  There are several locations throughout the island.

Poke Bowls are very much a thing in Hawaii.  The good news is, several times for lunch we went to the local Safeway grocery store and got to-go Poke Bowls, marinated tuna fresh from the sea! As with most meals in Hawaii, lunches can be expensive on Maui.  This was a great option costing less than $8 each and delicious.

Other activities:  Almost every day we visited the beach or pool for part of the day.  We also did a half day paid snorkeling trip that ended up taking us back to Honolua Bay. This was a fabulous excursion as we saw Dolphins, Whales, a monk seal, several sea turtles, and of course world class snorkeling, Kathy’s favorite.  Some other excursions we did during our time in Maui were a chocolate tasting, visited the Maui Ocean center aquarium and went to Easter Sunday Church service outside in the open air.


Maui is truly a gem of the Aloha State, and we feel very fortunate and blessed to have experienced much of what this island paradise has to offer visitors.

Happy travels,

Kathy & Mike