Hawaii 2010 trip recap: Maui and Kauai

This post recaps the second part of Alli and my trip to Hawaii last June: Maui and Kauai.  You probably want to read the first part Oahu recap first.

Before leaving Oahu, we made a day-trip to Kauai, a smaller island nearby.  We didn’t have a lot of time, and didn’t want to spend a big chunk of it in Kauai.  Have I mentioned that we’re not that good at relaxing? 😉
So, a quick flight later, and some meandering around the airport, we got on the helicopter for our Kauai tour.  We went for the longest tour possible on a helicopter with its doors removed.  That’s right, we asked for it, no doors 😉  So you’re just sitting there in the helicopter, reaching out, hanging out, buffeted by strong winds.  It’s scary at first but a lot of fun.

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Kauai was beautiful.  There’s some good ocean kayaking and boating to be had, too: maybe next time.  But we flew back to Oahu instead.
The next day, we left Oahu for good, on our way to Maui.  Maui is also nearby, but (like Kauai) it’s much quieter and less busy than Oahu.  The airport is tiny, but our hotel (Westin Maui in Ka’napali) was relatively big and somewhat louder.  It was beautiful, though, with a lot of great amenities and good service.
Aside: I was overall very disappointed in the hotel selection in Maui.  They are all big resorts with about the same claims to fame.  I was looking for a boutique hotel, something romantic, and failed to find it.  It’s probably user error, but I looked for a long time, and I’m not that bad at research.
the drive to Hana is way, way over-rated.  Yes, it’s pretty.  Yes, the corkscrew tiny road is fun to drive.  But to make a whole day of it?  Not needed at all.  My recommendation: drive 10-15 miles in, maybe hike to one of the waterfalls, drive back, and grab a sunset dinner at Mama’s Fish House.
Mama’s Fish House, on the other hand, is UNDER-rated, if that’s possible.  It’s an awesome restaurant with a great view.  Everything we had there was delicious, as was the service.  We even saw a TV celebrity 😉  Do not miss this place!
Another highlight of our Maui visit was the sunrise trip to Haleakala, the volcano.  We saw sunrise there, and then biked down.  It’s an easy bike ride, just coasting for about ten miles, and stopping for breakfast along the way.  Highly recommended.

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Lahaina was OK: a nice town with some shopping and walking around.  We saw a very nice sunset there, and chatted with an Israel store-owner.  We did go to the very touristy Luau, and I think it was barely OK, better described as “mediocre.”  Probably not worth your time, but you’ll go anyways, because everyone does.  Meh.
Finally, one of the best parts of our entire trip was Scuba diving. We went with an instructor, Ben Pettit, since we were not certified at the time.  (More on our certification coming up shortly in another post.)  Ben took us on two dives, and his girlfriend Anna joined too.  They were great, and we had a blast.
We saw sharks!!!  Live, in the water, with no cage or anything.  They were white-tipped reef sharks, unlikely to attack us.  We saw a bunch of turtles and many other fish on the very colorful reef.  Diving was awesome.
Overall, I don’t think I’d live on Maui.  It’s a beautiful island with great nature and a bunch of activities.  But not enough going on, people-wise.  Oahu, maybe, but even that is kind of remote from the rest of the world.
Our trip to Hawaii was a great success.  We had a blast.  If you have any questions, post them in the comments, and I’ll gladly answer.
Some photos are available on Flickr, but they’re most private for family.
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