We have been on the beautiful isle for a few days now, and it had an immediate impact on my family. My daughter and editor, Malia, was driving our rented minivan to Ka’anapali when she spontaneously started singing, “I’m driving in Hawaii !” It doesn’t hurt that she was driving a beautiful coastal road past blue-water beaches with Haleakala in her rearview mirror. We arrived for the sunset which was posted in the initial Maui blog.
Since our initial arrival, we have done some of the things most people do when they come to Maui. Most of us saw the sunrise from the 10,000 visitor’s center on Haleakala, before biking the 26 miles back to the coast. One of us got to play the Kapalua Plantation Golf Course, which is the site of the first PGA tournament every January. One of us rented a bicycle and rode to the summit of Haleakala, braving a sleet white-out at 4,000 feet elevation on the way down. We all attended a luau, and watched the native dances from many of the Polynesian cultures. We all wake up to beautiful sunrises, and the sunsets never get old.
There are some things yet to do: The grand kids have not yet cracked open a coconut to drink its milk. We haven’t yet gone out to snorkel the reefs. We missed the whales who seemed to have started their migration earlier in the month. And we haven’t yet driven the road to Hana. This may have to wait until we return.
A few goods about Maui. The scenery is spectacular, and I have been impressed with the small hideaway beaches that can be found away from the tourist traps in Ka’anapali and Wialea. There are lots of things to do here. Maui is known as the family island because the kids can be entertained more than on Hawaii or Kauai. There are many ways to stay in Maui, from hotels, to rental houses, to many timeshare resorts. There is a distinct “upcountry,” with a flavor of its own, should people actually leave the beaches. There is history to be learned, including the native kings who ruled the island from the capital of Lahaina, and the later history of Lahaina as the world’s foremost whaling port during the 19th century.
There are also some things that must be endured. It is very crowded around Lahaina, Ka’anapali, and Wialea. These are the sites of the majority of hotels because the rain is blocked off by the height of Haleakala, which also allows for the Road to Hana to be on the wet side of the island. This is the usual fare in Hawaii, as most people who visit want to experience perfect weather from their terraces. Back to the crowds…While there has been a lot of new construction so that everyone can get their view of Paradise, the roads have not been expanded. We tried for over an hour to find a parking spot in Lahaina, and finally gave up and went back to Ka’anapali, six miles away. The transport situation is also a joke. For example, it will cost you $75-80 for a cab from the airport to your hotel, and the rental cars are every bit as expensive. I kind of expected this, but I did not expect the waiver on our rental car that says that, if we have an accident, we are charged a daily rental rate for the days the car is out of commission. So they try to sell you extra insurance to cover this possibility. Please check to see if your credit card covers these possible charges. The other kicker in this little “surprise,” was that they put the whole car on a barge to send it to Honolulu to get it fixed. It seems that they don’t have the storage space of garages on Maui to fix it locally. Another week to charge you a rental fee !!!
So the big negative is the crowds, partially caused by a lack of space for services in already crowded locations. We are personally handling this by taking the ferry to Lanai in a couple days to experience Hawaii the way it used to be. More on Maui and Lanai in future posts.