Maui, Hawaii Travel Itinerary
How long was your stay?
How did you travel?
Tell us why you traveled to this destination.
As Europeans, we’ve always dreamed of visiting Hawaii Islands, once for being famous to be a paradisiac place, but also for being far away and unreachable. The three of us are young professionals and adventurers by heart. So, we decided we want to see Maui, but as low-budget and as adventurously as possible. We challenged ourselves to get there and we finally did it this summer.
Give us all the details! Tell us where you went and what you did on your trip.
We planned our trip last-minute, and we wanted to get the cheapest accommodations and transportation options. We decided that the best way to achieve our goal is renting a Jeep with a pop-up tent on top and finding different camping grounds around the island, or simply camping by the beach. The plan was amazing, but the reality stroked. Close to the day of travel, we realized that all the well-known campgrounds are fully booked, and it is forbidden to camp on not designated places around Maui. In the end, we found a spot in Kipahului Campground for one night, we discovered a remote campground in Hana that had available places for another 3 nights, we booked the cheapest BnB for one more night and we decided to “live and see.”
We arrived in Kahului Airport on 27th of May and once we stepped out of the plane and we felt the humid, warm, salty air, we knew we were in the right place. We took our little Adventure Mobile and went to explore a bit the surroundings, grocery shopping, lunch and then we departed to our first campground, Caroline’s Camp Spot in Hana. We discovered “The Road to Hana” an unique, natural, green, spectacular, but 52-mile-long (84 km), winding and known as being a dangerous highway (not necessarily for 3 Europeans used to drive the Italian and Romanian roads) along Maui’s northern shore. This was going to be our “daily commute” for 3 days. The campground is located in Hana Rainforest, which is, as you imagine, rainy. We arrived after the sunset, and we decided to sleep in the car on the extra air mattress and avoid opening for the first time in our lives a roof tent in the rain and darkness.
Waking up at 6 AM, like any other campers, we’ve seen our campground on daylight, and we were stunned by the view, even though we fell asleep on waves sound the night before and we knew our beloved ocean is nearby. We had our first Romanian coffee prepared in our camping-improvised kitchen and took off to explore the south-western coast, discovering random, remote beaches, taking our first dive into the warm ocean. After stopping to different spots and having picnics along the coast from McGregor Point to Olowalu, we went to buy some side-road fresh exotic fruits (pricey experience) and head up to Napili Bay for the sunset and moreover, for the sunset after show, which surprised us with bright, intense purple, pink shades. After the sun was down, it was time for our departure to Hana – 3 hours driving through the rainforest. We were finally there, at Caroline’s, when the real rain started and we decided to set up the tent, cook dinner and take a shower in the rain.
We woke up and literally everything was wet. We had a very good sleep in the tent regardless the little storm happening outside. It was time for a jungle expedition! We went to Iao Valley, which is the most Jurassic Park looking spot on the island. From the Monument you can see the Iao Needle, which is a must, but for adventurers I suggest the “secret hike,” so secret that you can find it on Google Maps. It is muddy and you might need a bit of physical training, but it’s totally worth it. All the species of plants and birds and the constantly changing landscape are just the teaser for the beauty you can see from the top. After such an expedition, we wanted a beach break and a sunset and this is how we landed on Makena Beach, a place where we saw the most beautiful sunset that we could have only imagined exists. It was breath-taking… everything: the beach itself, the color of the water and the colors and shapes of the sky. We needed a good dinner and a Hawaiian cocktail after those roller-coaster feelings the nature gave us, so we headed to Kihei, a sprawling beachfront town known for its easy-going vibe. Arriving there, we had a very spontaneous make over in our car/home, trading the bikini into nice dresses and perfume. Going with the flow and following the sound of the music, we found a little live music food place where we had a great time. It was this night that we had a BnB booked in Maalaea where we enjoyed a nice warm shower and dry bedsheets.
The fourth day started with a bath in the ocean together with a huge green sea turtle. We packed our house, after finally drying our clothes properly in the sun, and went to relax on Kanaha Beach, a beautiful, long, two-mile sandy beach with incredible views of the West Maui Mountains. We ended our day at Ahihi Bay, another paradise bay, great for snorkeling. However you need to be careful where you enter the water as it is rocky and there may be turtles and you don’t want to bother them. Sunset was again exceptionally beautiful, and off we went to our beloved campground in Hana. Along the way, we stopped in Paia for dinner. Paia is a very cute little, surf town with great restaurants and boutique shops. We had a tasty dinner at Paia Fish Market and, arrived in our campground, we set our tent on clear, dry sky for the first time. We were grateful for this opportunity and also for the full stars sky we had that night.
On the fifth day we had a booking at Black Sand Beach from 7 AM to 10 AM, which was of course, the only available slot. We found very funny the fact that you need to book in advance an entrance to a beach, but we understood why. That place is unbelievable. Located in Waianapanapa State Park, about three miles north of the town of Hana, the Black Sand Beach is a spectacle of colors and shapes – black sand, lush tropical greenery, and turquoise waters. There are multiple trails that I totally recommend hiking for breath-taking views.
We continued our day with a stop at Kaihalulu Beach, a small, secluded, red-sand beach that can be accessed only by a steep hiking trail, but it’s totally worth it. It was my absolutely favorite beach in Maui. After some fish tacos from a food truck on the way, we stopped to Wailua Falls, where we bathed and took a lot of pictures. We arrived kind of early to our campground for the night, Kipahulu Campground, and, adventurous as we are, we decided to hike the nearby Pipiwai Trail two hours before the sunset. We arrived near an impressive waterfall, Waimoku Falls, where we had a moment of spontaneity and took a very powerful “shower”. After sun was set, we hiked back to the campground and had another rainy camping situation that we enjoyed lots. Be aware there is no shop or restaurant after Hana, so take everything you need before arriving to Kipahulu Campground.
Day 6 was finally the day when we planned to do the “Road to Hana” properly, meaning take the pitstops along the way and enjoy the road, not only commute. We stopped at Ke’Anae Peninsula, Garden of Eden and Twin Falls, where we, of course, dived in. We had a very tasty lunch at Tobi’s Shave Ice and Poke in Paia, after failing to find any availability at Mama’s Fish House, which was highly recommended to us by locals. With our full tummies, we drove to the south coast to find a camping option, as we didn’t have anything booked for the night. We were thinking to camp by the beach as we saw other campers on the previous days camping on that side of the island, but we had second thoughts when we arrived there. Olowalu Campground was close, but was fully booked days before our trip. We decided to call the campground office and ask if there may be any possibility for us camping there and a very friendly person helped us book a tent camp spot and gave us a parking slot to install our “house”. Olowalu Campground is by far the best campground on the island. The facilities are clean and many. We had a great, hot shower for the second time during the trip and we enjoyed the nice weather by night on the south coast.
Day 7 was the day of departure. We drove to Kaulahao Beach for a morning sunbath. We swam with many turtles and different fishes, while snorkeling. We had a nice lunch in Paia, some souvenir shopping at the cute, but pricy boutiques and we enjoyed the rest of the time on a beautiful and not so popular beach near Paia. We had to leave eventually in the evening and catch the flight to San Francisco. We were sad it was the end of our Hawaiian journey, grateful we had this experience and happy to depart with sandy, salty hair and a strong tan on our skin.
Would you recommend this trip to a friend?
What was the highlight of your trip?
– Sunset at Makena Beach
– Snorkeling at Ahihi Bay
– Kaihalulu Beach
– Spontaneous shower at Waimoku Falls
– Setting the tent and cooking in the rain
If you were to take this trip again, is there anything you would add or do differently?
I believe our trip was perfect in the end, but if I would take it again, I would book the campground stays in advance.
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