Aloha from Hawaii!
Happy New Year everyone! I hope 2017 is off to a great start for you- it definitely is for me.
I've been pretty active on Instagram and Facebook about my very first trip of the year to Hawaii. It had been on my radar of places that I really wanted to visit for a very long time and I'm sure that it is for you as well-- so I've gathered some travel insights and details of my trip to share with you for when you decide to finally make it!
We covered two islands on this trip- Kauai and Maui. After a lot of debate we picked them because they are supposedly the most raw and minimally commercialized of the islands (especially Kauai), which was exciting to us because we wanted to take a break from the city. It was definitely a long trip from NYC but worth it.
An important tip for Kauai if you're renting a car: opt for a Jeep or a SUV-- some areas don't have paved roads and it's quite stressful to navigate them without an off-road ready vehicle (I'm talking HUGE bumps in the road). Kauai is the second furthest of the Hawaiian islands and the most immaculate. Interestingly, each side of the island has distinct weather patterns. The north has lot of mountains and beautiful beaches and gets plenty of rain during the winter while the Southern part of Kauai gets plenty of sunshine. Because we were aware of this, we stayed at the Grand Hyatt in Poipu on the South side of the island. The hotel has one of the most exquisite outdoor pool areas that I've seen and has done a great job creating the Hawaiian vacation ambiance. To add to their list of positives- their towel service is available 24/7 which means unlimited access to the hot tub, their passion fruit margarita is delightful, and the poolside menu is as tasty as it is filling. It is a great place for families and definitely more lively than romantic- the setup of the rooms themselves seem to be more family oriented (no bathtub, minimal effort on robes and not the most comfortable bedding). They want you to be outside and enjoy the sun as much as possible! The staff was wonderful and friendly and they definitely set the tone for Hawaiian hospitality.
- Must visit
- Napali coast trail, canyon lookouts
- Secret beach- this was hands down my favorite beach..You hike a little bit so wear comfortable shoes. I swear it is worth the little bit of walking.
- Barking sands beach- we drove 25-30 minutes on a non-paved road and were impatient to reach our destination. The long bumpy road to get there was disheartening but the beach was so spacious and we got to view a lot of people surfing. Named as one of the Top 10 beaches you must see to believe due to the sound of the beach that is like barking dogs.
It was quite evident that Maui is the second largest of the islands- unlike Kauai, it's a longer distance from one point on the island to another which makes it difficult to go very far or accomplish very much sightseeing. Staying on different parts of the island and exploring locally might be your best bet if you have several days to do so. Therefore we picked the Ritz Carlton at Kapalua on the first half of our visit to Maui which is on the west side of the island and then we moved to the Grand Wailea by Waldorf Astoria which is on the south side of the island. The Ritz Carlton at Kapalua is a beautiful property and the service was impeccable. Highly recommend. Their beach, Kapalua Beach, was gorgeous and they have a very cute Burger and Shake hut. You can walk up the shore to this amazing spot where you can watch the waves crash against the rocky shore and then catch an incredible sunset. Most visitors to Maui do the "Road to Hana." But, since my husband was not feeling well we decided to save it for another time. It is a long (4-6 hours) drive on narrow roads and sharp turns that requires the majority of one's day. For those that have done it, let us know your thoughts.
- Must Visit
- Haleakala National Park (this is hands down the number one thing to do in Maui). Most go up very early to catch the sunrise. We chose to go right before the sunset and it is really something to be up above the clouds. Amazing sunset too.
- Big beach
- Wailea point (Amazing sunset views. Possibly the nicest sand that I have ever felt).
- Kapalua beach
- Mama's fish house (Famous for a reason!)
- The Banyan Tree at Ritz Carlton (best oysters)
- Da Kitchen (Obama's favorite restaurant. A must try...fyi, portions are YUGE! Have to share as Bernie Sanders would!
- Coconut fish cafe (Seriously the best fish tacos! Really!)
- Fridas Mexican beach house (Beautiful decor. Try the oyster shooter).
- Ululani's Kihei for shaved ice
- Barefruit bar for fruit bowls.