By R. Anthony Diaz |Asst. Features Editor|
Ready for a breath of fresh air? Well thanks to the downturn of the economy, flights to Maui are becoming more affordable for the average Joe.
Although I have always advocated against trip planning, Maui may be a place you might need some guidance for.
The sophisticated and exclusive island offers not only breathtaking landscapes but shopping and many outdoor activities as well.
Although the island is not as large as Hawaii, getting from location to location can take up to 90 minutes by car.
The last time I was there I couldn’t decide between a convertible car or a topless jeep. Jeep is definitely the way to go, you can drive on the beach, go off-roading and get a better view of the scenery.
From Kahului Airport (OGG), the bigger airport, you’ll have to drive to your hotel to get the party started. Although there are many places to choose from there are a few things to consider.
I always stay in Lahaina on the West end. Here, there are younger locals, a good mix of different people who moved to the island and decided to never go home. My friend Emily and Rob are two of them. All they do is scuba dive and lay out. What a life!
Lahaina is like a little big city, it has almost everything you would need and plenty to do. In my opinion, this is the most lively part of the island. But do not make the mistake of planning too much in one day.
One New Year’s Eve, all of my friends passed out after a busy day of laying out poolside at the Hyatt. Not kidding. I found myself at the Hard Rock on Front Street, a tourist and restaurant area, with my friends’ mom, dancing and hanging out with Marines. Let’s just say I don’t even remember how I got home.
Who needs friends when you have Mary from Tennessee and some local boys? Good thing she was in town the same time we were.
This town is very lax with nothing short of a good time waiting to happen.
At almost any spot on the island the monstrous lush green mountains surround you on one side the wide blue ocean surrounds you on the other.
Whether you’re hiking or biking at the 10,000 foot summit of Haleakala or snorkeling at Molokini, you’ll find that the atmosphere refreshes the soul and you’ll quickly forget there is such a thing as time.
The Road to Hana is a must and if you think not getting started at 6 a.m. is okay, you are wrong my friend. The Road to Hana is remarkable; the over saturated greens, black sand beach, epic waterfalls and cliffs as high as heaven and the journey will take all day if not two.
I add the fact of getting there at sunrise because you want to head back before sunset. Driving along 2,000 plus foot cliffs in pitch black, is a bit nerve wracking. Especially if it is raining and some locals drive like lunatics leaving a football stadium.
If you get back in time for dinner, the quaint little town of Paia, is a must-see. The old sugar cane planation town has a posh style vibe and eco-friendly atmosphere.
I recommend eating at Flatbread Company. The organic and gluten free menu is awesome, it is so fresh the pizza is even made in a wood burning stove. A great book to have with you at all times, no matter where you decide to go in the U.S. is The New York Times, “36 Hour Weekend.”
This book is my travel bible, it offers an itinerary for random towns all over whether they are mainstream or not. Although I rarely follow the itineraries, it is a great reference guide.
Natural wonders are all over, stop for a roadside coconut water or to cool off under a water fall. The excitement and fun never stops. Whale watching is marvelous, the turtles are mystic and the sun just feels better.
A few things to consider is that Wailea is a world class resort town with luxurious golf communities, it better suits the older rich crowd.
If it storms or rains the night before cancel your dive and snorkeling plans, the water will be foggy for at least a day after, leaving you a slight chance of seeing anything clearly.
Don’t take anything from the oceans or beaches, it is bad luck. Be well, love your life and take a minute to inhale the wonders around you.