Aloha! Welcome to our honeymoon story. Anna and I got married three months ago, but we got maui’d last week! Our honeymoon took place on the coast of Kihei, Maui, Hawaii from July 11-18th. What a wonderful week it was. The perfect mix of adventure, relaxation, and just enjoying each other’s company in our first season of marriage.
Included at the top is a quick recap of our daily activities, including places to eat and sights to see. Scroll passed that for the full version of our week long adventure. To set the mood, turn on The Spirit of Hawaii radio, which we listened to all during our trip.
Day 1: Arrival
- Check into condo Waiohuli beach hale
- Dinner at Da Kitchen
- Mckenna State Beach aka Big Beach
- Sunset at W Lipoa
Day 2: Luau + Adventure Day
Day 3: Snorkel + Lahaina
- Sunrise Swim
- Blue Raft Tour to Molokini
- Drive to Lahaina
- Banyan Tree
- Kimo’s for dinner
- Lahaina art night
Day 4: Up country day
- Morning swim and snorkel
- Kihei Caffe breakfast
- Lavender Farm
- Surfing Goat Dairy
- Kihei Farmer’s Market + street tacos
- Grill for dinner at the condo
Day 5: Snorkel, swim, chill day
- Snorkel at Ahihi-Kinau Natural Area Reserve
- Afternoon Swim
- Met with Petit Solei at Akimai coffee
- Maui Tacos for dinner
Day 6: Sunrise and part way to Hana
- Sunrise photo session With Amanda Emmes
- Road to Hana but only to Mile marker 13 to the Garden of Eden Botanical Garden
- Visited the town of Makawao
- Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice
- Monkey Pod for dinner
- Sweet Paradise Chocolatier for dessert
Day 7: Doing everything we love again day
- Kihei Cafe (again!)
- Back to Pineapple Plantation for a stop at the Farm Stand for a coconut
- Shave Ice
- Swim and last sunset
- Cafe O’Lei for dinner
Day 8: Bye Maui, love you!
- Morning dip
- Packed up, headed to the airport and home!
The long version:
We decided to save our Mauimoon for the summer while Anna is on break from teaching, and I have a couple weeks off from weddings. They say July is one of the busiest times to go to Maui, and while maybe the car rental place was a bit busy, the entire island engulfed us in it’s relaxing and aloha vibes. There was never traffic. The highest speed limit I saw was 45mph, and I never heard a horn honk (unless it was on the Hana highway to let a car know you were coming around a blind spot). What a perfect way to escape to paradise for a week with my amazing wife!
Anna’s been to Hawaii a handful of times in her life and has always loved it, while I hadn’t been in about 20 years. Our wedding was tropical themed, and we love the beach, so we just new Hawaii was the place to go. We decided on Maui because of its gorgeous beaches and fun activities.
We found an amazing condo near W Lipoa Street in Kihei with pool access and just steps away from the beach. The condos were covered in hibiscus, plumeria, red ginger, birds of paradise, banana plants, taro, and a bunch of other tropical plants. The walkway to our condo alone was a tropical paradise. Complete with 1 bed/1 bath, a full kitchen, beach supplies including, towels and Tommy Bahama beach chairs, and the best lanai (patio) in the world. The lanai is where we spent most of our time while at the condo. There was a table with chairs and a chaise lounge. This too was covered in tropical plants including red ginger, palms, and a vibrant pink hibiscus bush. We were accompanied by a family of cute little geckos that were really fun to watch walk on walls or jump across plants.
We arrived on a windy and humid Wednesday afternoon. After dropping off our bags off at our home for the week, we immediately got in our swim suits and went for a dip in the sea. The water was so warm and so blue. It was nice to finally be with my wife on the warm beaches of Maui. We swam for a couple hours and when our appetite worked up, we decided to go for a little drive down S Kihei Road to see what was nearby. We drove passed some shopping plazas, condos, more amazing beaches, and made a stop at Big Beach aka Mckenna state park. It was late afternoon, so the crowds were gone and we enjoyed the blue waters for a bit. We made our way back into town for dinner at Da Kitchen. I had a traditional Hawaiian dish, Moco Loco which consists of a burger patty smothered in onions and gravy on top a bed of rice with eggs over easy. It was delish. Anna had yummy teriyaki noodles, saimin. We passed our plates back and forth to each other a lot.
It was time to head back to the beach to catch the sunset. It was a windy one. You could see a layer of sand dancing above the ground while the waves chopped away. We saw a turtle or two pop up now and again to catch its breath. Come to find out, these were our resident turtles that we would see and look out for every day. The sun set gold and lit up the sky to a beautiful orange shade. It was easy to fall asleep that night thanks to the time change. It got dark around 7:30, so bedtime was right around 8 pm.
5 am wake up time the next day was easy, it was our first full day in Maui, and it was impossible to stay in bed any longer. We got up to catch the sunrise. The water was calm and the sky was painted sweet pastel shades of pink and blue. We smelled plumerias from the nearby trees and plucked a few to tuck behind our ears. I had my camera and couldn’t resist snapping photos of my stunning wife amidst the peaceful waters and pretty colors. Aside from a morning swim, we had no agenda until the evening, where we’d attend a luau in the at a resort down the road.
Anna drove us to the Iao Valley State Monument, which are basically big green mountainous needles that go up into the sky. Historically they were used as look out points. Erosion over time caused these needle formations, as it’s one of the most wet places on Maui. I was struck with emotion when we pulled up to the parking lot. Seeing so much lush greenery, and fog mist through these needle like mountains. It hit me that I was with my wife in Hawaii and we were on our first adventure of our trip. I didn’t know what to expect when she took me here and wasn’t really familiar with this place, so it was really neat! We wandered up as far as we could, and then back down to the river. We saw so many of our favorite monstera leaves that were bigger and larger than any I’d ever seen.
We headed back down the mountain and stopped at the Maui Tropical Plantation. I loved it here (so much that we went back on our last full day). We went on a tour which took us all around the plantation. We learned about the life of a pineapple, saw a coconut husking demonstration, said hello to some of the chickens, and saw so many different plants grown on the farm. They had a restaurant called The Mill that wasn’t quite open when we arrived, but it’s on the to do list for next Maui Trip. They had a great gift shopped fill with local trinkets, candles, jewelry, and other wares. We had a cold brew and wandered the gardens before and after our tour.
We headed back to the condo for an afternoon swim before heading to the Grand Wailea for the luau! My bestie aka maid of honor Katee gifted this to us, and what a fun experience it was. The Grand Wailea is a big and fancy resort. Definitely made me happy we were staying at a condo, but still cool to see what a big working machine it was. We walked through gardens to get to the luau area, and hung out on the beach until it started. The Luau was amazing! It included hula dancing and fire dancers to tell the story of how the Polynesians voyaged to Hawaii. There was a live band, awesome narrator, and we just loved the hula dancing! We had amazing seats so it was a bonus to see how the dancers interacted with one another and made each other laugh. The food was great and desserts divine too. It was such a fun gift, and we are so thankful we got to attend!
Friday!! Our second full day. Morning swim, of course, and then we went on a Blue Raft tour where they took us snorkeling at Molokini. Molokini is a crater a few miles out on the coast of Maui. It’s a bird sanctuary on top, but under the water, schools of fish hang out. We had an afternoon tour, so thankfully there were no other boats there and we saw a lot of fish, but no turtles. The driver took us around to see the other side of Molokini but then decided to take us to Turtle Town where there are guaranteed turtle sightings. Immediately getting off the boat at turtle town, we saw two turtles! It was so cool to see them underwater swimming so close to us! We swam around and saw other colorful schools of fish. The favorites being rainbow fish and trumpet fish. The coral is so cool underwater as well. Lava rock from Haleakala a dormant volcano, surrounds the edge of the coast, and it’s where the turtles love to hang.
We headed back to the condo, freshened up, and drove about 45 minutes to Lahaina to see the Banyan tree! It was so incredible to see in real life. The Banyan tree is a special tree that keeps growing off itself, so it looks like a bunch of different trees that are all connected, when really it’s just one large tree. We walked around, watched some surfing. Ate a delicious meal at Kimo’s for dinner, and then found a jetty to watch the sunset from. The waves went right up to the jetty, so there was the occasional splash. We watched the crabs crawl around the rocks. The sun went down and the sky lit up to so many shades of bring pink and orange. It was on of the best sunsets! Once it got dark, we walked around and stopped in a few galleries to check out art. Vladimir Kush had some really amazing surrealist paintings that we enjoyed looking at together. I love that art can collectively put you in awe, and create such a curious state. It was such an adventurous, romantic, and fun day!
Saturday, day three, started with a swim (of course), and a trip to Kihei Cafe for breakfast. I fell in love with the pork fried rice, patio vibes, and service. We fueled up and made it to Ali’i Kula Lavender farm. It was a beautiful property filled with lavender, giant protea, and other beautiful foliage. There was a cafe for lavender tea, scones, and gifts. It was quite relaxing to breath the mountain side air filled with fresh lavender. From there we headed to the Surfing Goat Dairy farms. While our appetites were suppressed due to our amazing breakfast, we didn’t try any of their many goat cheese options, but we enjoyed the cute goats and sat and watched them play. We headed back home for a swim, watched the stunning sunset, and grilled kabobs for dinner with produce from the Farmer’s market. It was nice to have a relaxing day filled with flowers and the sea.
Sunday, another chill day! Weekends in Hawaii are the best. We decided to go snorkeling at Ahihi-Kinau Natural Area Reserve, which I’ll admit, was found by accident! We wanted to find one Lava rock beaches, passed Big Beach, we kept driving and started to see the lava rock lined coast. We parked for a moment, but couldn’t’ see the best way into the water, so we kept driving. We came across the area reserve and saw a state park attendant so we decided to get out and get some info. We found Jeff who informed us we had found a snorkeling spot. We just had to walk a quarter mile down a lava rock path, look for the sign with the fish, and enter the water there. Hawaii’s infamous Haleakalā mountain erupted a few hundred years, which created all the lava rock on so many of the beaches. It’s stunning! We saw so many schools of fish at this amazing snorkel spot. They get about 1,000 visitors daily, so go early. We loved looking at the coral and seeing so many schools of fishes. We held hands as we snorkeled, pointed out anything we liked to each other, and swam until the late morning. On the drive home we stopped at Belle Surf Cafe for a bagel, crepe, and nutella latte! It was recommended by the lovely Andrea, aka Petit Soleil Maui, that we would meet later that day. We swam and tanned once again in the afternoon. We met Andrea at the cutest coffee shop, Akamai Coffee Co, which was really close to our condo. She made us the most stunning Haku Leis or flower crowns that we would wear on out photo shoot the following morning. Our Haku Leis included red ginger, protea, roses, ferns, and a few other colorful flowers. They came out so beautiful! We stopped at Maui tacos for dinner and jetted home for another sunset.
Up before the sun to get ready for our honeymoon photo session with Amanda Emmes Photography, on Monday. Our friend Kachet recommended her, and after seeing her gorgeous work, I knew I wanted photos during our special honeymoon. We decided to have our photoshoot at the beach at our condo where we spent the most time on our trip. We walked around the dunes, stopped in front of palms, sat in our favorite beach tree, and then got in the water. It was really fun to swim in dresses and enjoy this special time as newlyweds. Amanda captured our love and energy. We had a great time being cute in front of the camera. I’m so happy we decided to document this time. The photos are so cute, and I’ll share them in a future post.
After our shoot, we changed and headed out on the drive to Hana. The drive to Hana is more about the stops along the drive, rather than the final destination. Between waterfalls, fruit stands, hikes, a million curves, and one lane bridges, I had one stop set in mind, the Garden of Eden botanical gardens, just off mile marker 13. The 13 miles were pretty intense. Lots of blind spots along the lush dense greenery. We were relieved when we made it to the gardens. I didn’t realize how intense it would be for the driver (and passenger). You just need to be really alert, go slow, and yield to oncoming traffic. We were relieved when we made it to the gardens. After parking and getting out of the car we were greeted by friendly ducks and peacocks waiting for treats from visitors. We walked through a giant bamboo forest that played a gentle song as they swayed in the wind and touched one another. We saw so many shades of hibiscus, heliconia, ginger, and so many other plants. We hiked to a look out area that faces the ocean, and another to a waterfall. It was truly beautiful! I was not prepared for the mosquitoes and quickly got many bites. Note to self to bring mosquito repellent next time.
We enjoyed our drive back toward Pai’a, and continued our drive back to upcountry to the town of Makawao. Makawao was described to us an an old ranch town with yuppie shops. I would say that was a pretty close description, but it was so cute! The stores were built with a rustic western charm, many of them with original swinging doors and old relics. We walked around, enjoyed the sites, and headed back to Kihei for some Hawaiian shave ice. We stopped at the infamous Ululani’s for a refreshing afternoon snack. I got a Hawaiian Rainbow (strawberry, pineapple, vanilla) with vanilla ice cream at the bottom, and Anna got a Sunset Beach (guava, mango, orange). DELICIOUS. I’m sure we would have gone every day if we would have stopped there earlier on our trip. We swam again, and after while, worked up an appetite and headed to dinner at Monkey Pod down in Wailea Town. I enjoyed Poke tacos, and we shared a pizza and fries! Everything was made with local ingredients and was amazing. We had the best server and enjoyed a yummy meal after getting lots of sun. We made it back to our hale just in time for sunset.
Our last full day came too soon, but we spent the day doing everything we loved. Swimming, reading, listening to music, watching the resident turtles swim. We returned to the Kihei cafe, Maui Pineapple Plantation, and Ululani’s. Enjoyed our final sunset at our amazing condo with all the fellow condo stayers that watched the sunset each night as well. It was a breezy and beautiful final evening. We had our last dinner at Cafe O’Lei and reminisced the amazing week we had.
I love Anna so much and only fell more in love with her being able to spend this amazing week together. I love traveling and vacationing with her. We had the best time and definitely recommend going there when you can! I am feeling the aloha spirit even after being home for a week. I’ve been reminded to take it slow, watch as many sunrises and sunsets as possible, swim whenever you can, and take time every day to recharge and just enjoy life.
If you made this this far, mahalo for reading! If you have any questions about Maui, I’d be happy to answer them!
PS. Special thanks to everyone that contributed to our honeymoon fund for the wedding. We could not have had this trip with out you. Thanks to all of those who gave recommendations and told us to have fun. We sure did!