Having just arrived home from my island holiday, I thought I would put pen to paper (figuratively) and give you all my best tips for the beautiful island of Maui. Now, I have to be honest, I do prefer Kauai – and you can find my blog post on all my fav things to eat and do here. However, I had to broaden my horizons and see another Hawaiian island (even though I would very happily chain myself to Hanalei Bay for the rest of eternity). Maui is a much bigger island, with some incredibly gorgeous golden beaches and crystal clear, aqua waters. There are so many little towns that it makes it tricky to navigate if you aren’t familiar with the island, and didn’t bother doing any research (that was me). However, after familiarising ourselves, I thanked heaven that we chose to stay at the first place we came across – which just so happened to be toward the North Shore rather than the tourist-ridden West. Don’t get me wrong, the West has some insanely stunning beaches, but they are all backed onto by huge, concrete hotels, and to me, that isn’t really the island vibe I seek.
So, my recommendation to stay is the north shore, if you are looking for something more low-key, secluded and equally beautiful. I stayed at a place that was gorgeous, but did feel a little out of the way. I stayed here because I was looking for a health retreat, but I will caveat this by saying it didn’t really live up to my expectations of that. Whilst it does have a lot of daily classes, I mainly just went to the yoga, which for the most part, was really nice (albeit slightly easier than I would have liked. But hey, that’s not a bad thing). The food was overpriced and nothing crash hot, so after the first day we didn’t go back to the on-site restaurant. The rooms, grounds and pool are really clean and lovely. It is called Lumeria for those of you interested. Just expect a nice, quaint hotel, and don’t rush to it if you are looking for a full health immersion. They did have a beautiful organic veggie garden, see the avocado tree below! Note, you must hire a car in Maui, otherwise you will be hotel-bound.
Ok, so with accomodation out of the way, let’s get into the food!
Maui Kombucha – Haiku – This was my fav spot so naturally, it goes first on my list 🙂 Don’t be fooled, it is not just a kombucha bar, it has some incredibly innovative vegan food. I had the most amazing gluten-free waffles with faux tuna (made from sunflower seeds, not gross processed soy stuff) and it was OUT OF THIS WORLD! Their acai bowls are also heavenly, and they have some really delicious and unusual kombucha flavours. Do not hesitate, put this at the top of your list too!
Choice Health Bar – Lahaina – Ummmm, yum! I was spoiled for Choice here 😉 :p hehe we got acai bowls here on the way to the beach over on the West side, and also bought a box of Mexican-spiced sushi rolls to share as a beach snack. Wish I could have gone back a second and third and fourth time…
Paia Bowls – Paia – Your go-to acai in the area. Their acai blend is really delicious, and they offer lots of tropical fruit toppings.
Des Amis – Paia – So close to where we were staying, and a really fun tiki-vibe. We had a cocktail here and two different vegan curries, both delicious. They also play live music.
Nuka Sushi – Haiku – This was described to me as the best sushi on the island! Lots of veg options, and they even do rice bowls with tofu and veggie sauce (as opposed to fish). Win!
Mamma’s Fish House – Paia – We missed out as they were booked up and I forgot to make reservations for our last evening! But the place is busy and always popping!! I looked up the menu and they have a nice vegan option- so don’t worry if you are vegan or feel like a plant-based meal. The location/view is a drawing card, and the vibe is sensational.
To stock up:
Down to Earth – Kahului – Great spot for an easy lunch from their self-serve section, they even have slices of vegan pizza! Similar to Wholefoods or About Life, they have a vast array of natural food stuffs and beauty/household products. Great stopover after your flight in as they are close by the airport. I stocked up on my fav kombucha here- GTs 🙂
Mana Foods – Paia – Oh gosh, whyyyy did I only decide to go here on my last night?! They are great because they stay open until 8:30pm making it a perfect stopover for some vegan chocolate after dinner in town :p They also have a fantastic selection of grocery items and are ideally positioned if you are staying near Paia.
Hawaiian Moons Natural Foods – Kihue – What a health food store! Picked up a bag of longan here (I love!), some delicious spicy tofu, vegan cheese and gluten-free crackers. They have everything! My mum had to hold me back 😉
Ululani’s Shave Ice – Kihue – Shave, not shaved, ice is a hallmark of Hawaii, and it wouldn’t be right if by my fifth trip to the state that I didn’t finally try it!! Balance, right? We stumbled across this place, and saw a huge line and a big sign claiming it had been voted no.1 in Maui. So, naturally, we joined the cue. It did not disappoint! I assumed it would taste like an icey snow-cone, but it is so much more. It really tastes more like super-sweet sorbet. Different places offer “healthier” versions i.e. organic v non-organic, pure raw cane sugar v high fructose corn syrup and some offer sugar-free (note this place’s sugar-free meant aspartame so I emplore you to just get the pure can sugar ones!). My flavour choice was red raspberry, pina colada (which they offered to just use pineapple and coconut mixed as opposed to the pre-mixed version which they told me was more artificial, and mango. My mum got sour cherry which I definitely recommend! Let’s just say I am glad I only tried it on the last few days of my trip, or I may have gone back for more!
I don’t think I quite nailed the activities, here so I won’t go into that too much. We did visit a few beautiful beaches – Baldwin beach, Ho’okipa beach, Ka’anapali beach, Mokapu/Ulua Beach – and the twin falls (cover photo) on the way to the Road to Hana. Given we drive on the other side of the road in Aus, I didn’t want to chance it going the full way to Hana with mum and I!! I heard they offered tours, but we ended up deciding on a helicopter tour of the island. If you do decide to helicopter here are my tips: do it first thing on your stay, as they give you some great tips for what to do in Maui on tour, and if you are choosing between going on a helicopter in Maui or Kauai, choose Kauai 😉
So there you have my advice for a beautiful, healthy, sunny stay on Maui! I hope they are helpful. Please let me know if I missed anywhere, and if you go to any of the places I recommend!
Love & health, always…