I love to snorkel. No two ways about it. On Maui you can snorkel form the beach or take a tour like the Trilogy tours that go out of both Maakeena and Lahaina.
I have my own prescription mask because I go snorkeling enough to justify the cost. I also own a dry snorkel which has a little valve at the top that shuts off if a wave comes over the top of you or when you dive; this way you don't get a mouthful of seawater. You do not have to own your own equipment you can rent it by the day or the week and tours such as Trilogy provide gear included in the price of the tour.
I know it's tempting to feed the fish but due to ecolgical imbalances try to refrain from doing so. The fish stop hunting for food and then they starve to death.
You can buy an underwater camera for very little money and you will have so much fun taking pictures you won't think about feeding the fish.
Maui Dive Shops or Snorkel Bob's are good places to rent equipment.
With over 10 years in the business, Air Maui's commitment to excellence earned them my business. I spoke to many locals and asked if it were your family up there who would you fly with? The answer was Air Maui.
After our safety briefing, our pilot Dave talked to us getting to know us all and put us at ease. He grew up in Hawaii and told us facts about things only a true local would know. Things like how land is deeded to native hawaiians. Then we took off over the fields and towards Haleakala.
Amazing! The summit was clear that day and we could see snow, the observatory and wildlife. We swooped into the rainforest; did you know rainbows are 360 degrees? Flying fast along the Hana coast and around up past Kehei. The water was so clear you could see the reefs.
All too soon the chopper was touching down and our adventure had come to a close.
No worries, its all on video tape from a camera mounted underneath the helicopter.
I highly recommend a helicopter tour, what a blast!
Although we did not stay at the Sheraton we did however, attend their torch lighting ceremony which occurs as the sun is setting. I have seen it several times now, I recommend it to everyone. We arrived a bit early but we sat at the poolbar, I bought a round of drinks and an appetizer for 4 if us to share. The service was gracious as well prompt. We had finished our drinks and asked the waitress if we should go, she said, "oh no, take your time, relax and enjoy the show." No high pressure here to buy more drinks or food. This contributed to the enjoyment of our evening. Thank you to the Sheraton. Here is a note you can just come into the grounds around the pool to watch the show and need not buy food.
I like the Sheraton's ceremony as it has a story behind it.
The Sheraton bases their ritual on Chief Kahekili who must prove his strength by diving off the cliffs and into the ocean.
We hear the call of the conch shell signaling his approach then we see this brave warrior comes through with his fire torch and he lights each torch on the resort grounds. He ascends the sacred cliffs, throws his fire wand into the sea, removes his flower lei and
tosses it in the water after his torch. With the bravery of the warrior that he is, he makes his dive into the ocean.
A splendid experience.
Click on the picture to enlarge it. If you look carefully at the picture you will notice just to the right of the red color rocks is a gray area atop the clouds.
This is a rare sight called "The Spectre of the Shadow". It occurs usually at sunrise or sunset and what you are actally seeing is Haleakala's shadow projected on the surrounding clouds.
The air must be clear and free of mist with the clouds lower than the summit of Haleakala for this phenomena to occur.
We were lucky this day, but on other visits Haleakala was enveloped in clouds and rain and visibility was at an all time low!
While relatively small and technically private, this small beach was just as it's larger cousins. Many of the beaches in Wailea are stunning but there was something special about the smaller size of Mokapu beach. This beach is used mainly by residents of the Renaissance Wailea Beach Resort but others can come to the beach. No one's really watching. There are some great snorkeling sites just off the beach so come and have some fun! Also, during the whale watching season (Dec-March) you can just sit on the beach and watch the whales from the shore.
Okay so it's educational, just like National Geographic and Jacques Cousteau. See the sights underwater: Parrot fish, coral, eels, sea turtles. Descend the briny depths of 110 feet. What am I thinking? Locked like a tin of sardines in a can sitting on the bottom of the ocean floor...Trapped, trying to look calm and serene.
We took Atlantis Submarine hour and 30 minute long tour of the coast of Maui. Those were all my fears but they were deftly negated by the staff and crew. I thought I'd suffocate but each port hole has air blowing in your face and the captain assured me if all the power should fail he would open the petcocks and float the sub to the surface and we wouldn't have to worry about the bends.
I am so glad I overcame my fears because it was a great experience. An odd glow filled the cabin at 110 feet the light changes as the water filters out different colors of the spectrum.
It is a completely safe adventure and well worth every penny. Just a off note: My friend Doug, Tugboatguy told me if you click on the picture of the sub, then you can see an example of a tugboat!! Thanks Doug!
Of all the things I did in Maui, this was my favorite. I went out with Maui Eco Tours on their Dolphin/ Turtle Kayak Adventure. We spotted spinner dolphins even before we got out of the cove from where we launched. We all put on our snorkelling gear and jumped in to swim with them. You can hear them "squeeking" underwater. There was a pod of about 30 just playing with us. We continued our paddle to two more coves where we were able to snorkel with some of the most wonderfully colored fish, eels and urchins. The last stop was the "cleaning station" where huge sea turtles come in to get their shells cleaned by the fish (they eat the algae off the shells). Again, we jumped in and swam with the turtles. The whole experience was incredible and not something I'll ever forget.
I recommend this activity to anyone who is a decent swimmer... even if you've never kayaked before. (I hadn't before this trip) You are out in open seas but it's not a hard paddle. I was able to kayak the trip on my own but if you're going solo and don't think you can, ask the rep if there's anyone else going alone who you can team up with. This co. also rents kayaks so you can do your own unguided paddle if you want.
A word to the wise... Dramamine. I'm not one who tends to get motion sick but the swells were horrible that day. I stuck out the trip because I really wanted to swim with the turtles but two pairs turned back and missed out on a great adventure.
If you happen to be traveling east to west to Maui, then I recommend you try and schedule your trip to Haleakala within the first day or two of your visit. It will be easier to get up at 3am if you want to see the sunrise atop of the summit of Haleakala.
Haleakala is the world's largest dormant volcano (it last erupted in 1790) it may be asleep but not considered inactive.
It is possible to drive up the road that climbs over 10,000 feet in 37 miles. That is a rapid ascent. If you drive drink plenty of water, some even say to take an aspirin to help with oxygen transportation (talk to your MD first about that). Go up in stages as to acclimate to the rapid change in elevation. Bring WARM clothes, yes it is the tropics but at an elevation of over 11,000 feet it gets very cold at the summit.
There are also various types of tours you can take--from bicycling down the volcano to a guided tour with breakfast on the return.
At the summit the Haleakala Visitor Center opens daily from sunrise to 3 pm. There you will find information on the vulcanology, history and geology of the park.
Arguably one of the best beaches on Amercian soil, this beach has in fact been ranked as the best beach in America by several beach rankings. It is an oustanding beach touting terrific clear water, over 1/3 of a mile long of fine-grained white sand, an amazing view of the neighboring islands, and fairly calm waters. There are also a number of beautiful snorkeling sites just a few kicks off shore. This beach has two of the most luxurious hotels on the island just behind it. One is the Grand Wailea Resort, the other is the Four Seasons. You don't have to stay at either of these to access the beach. Grand Wailea has provided beach parking for the public, but my guidebook says it fills up quickly. So get there early. There are also showers and restrooms available, so if you staying outside of Wailea, feel free to drive down and enjoy this beach.
Haleakala (Ha-lay-ah-ka-lah) Crater is a reminder that there must be something out there, bigger and better than man. The awesome majesty of the view is hard to explain and one that must be experienced to fully appreciate. It not only takes your breath away figuratively, but literally as well. Standing 12,000 feet above the ocean, then throw in the distance from the base on the ocean floor and you have a mountain 42,000 feet high. Try topping that. ( pun intended )
This is the only place on earth where you can see the silversword, the plant that grows for up to 20 years before flowering and then dies. The best viewing of the flower of the silversword is in July or August.
The only negative is that if you have heart or respiratory problems, do not attempt to go to the top, before checking with your doctor. The best time to view the crater is at sunrise, (get up by 3 am in Ka'anapali) It is a long climbing drive, but beautiful. It is still a sight to behold at any time of the day. Bring a sweater or jacket for the crater area, remember, 12,000 feet high. Nice and cool. There is a lookout facility at the very top, and restrooms are available. Aloha.
Head to the Ahihi Kina'u preserve in Makena for some excellent snorkelling or scuba diving. The water is incredibly clear here (thanks to the lack of sand on the beaches - it's mostly lava rock) and there is abundant sea life throughout the coral, including huge sea turtles. Explore the tidal pools at low tide. Note** be sure to wear swim shoes or similar here- the lava is rough and sharp.
Continue further down the road, past La Perouse Bay, to explore Haleakala's most recent lava flow (1790).
A full day of exploration starting at Paia, a surfer cowboy town, and driving the ever twisting, climbing, dropping, but spectacular road to Hana, about a fifty mile adventure.
The stops along the way may bring new found pleasure to you, as you can walk into the bamboo forests and pass by a refreshing stream up to a rushing waterfall. All this, and the red beach at Hana.
Worth the drive just to see one of the many waterfalls. Make sure your car's gas tank is full, before taking this venture. One way along is about a 2 1/2 hour drive. Watch your speed at all times. Tourists, like you, are crossing the highway on foot or driving over the line. Be careful and alert and you will have a thrilling adventure on the Hana Hwy.
As we were riding around the west side of Maui, we noticed an awful lot of cars parked on the side of the road, and many people, with snorkel gear heading down staircases to the coast. As we rounded the hill on top, we looked down and saw Honolua Bay, which looks to be THE spot for snorkeling. We stopped the bike and looked down at the boats and swimmers below. The water was so calm and clear, you could almost see the fish from the top of the cliff.
We decided that we would come back here the next morning after dropping off the bike to go snorkeling. We never made it back to this spot. Ironically, as I was being rolled into the operating room, a picture of this bay hung on the wall. I'll be back...
***Quick Tip*** You will find it common that parking by popular spots like this can be tricky. Not only is it difficult to find available spaces to park on the road, but there were a number of cops writing numerous tickets... watch out.
If you get the chance, do the 40 mile trip from the top of Mt. Haleakala down to the town of Pa'ia (at sea level). There are several companies that do this activity, both guided and unguided. I recommend that you do it unguided. There was several times I wanted to stop for photos (the views are awesome!!) but we were not allowed to stop except at the "approved" viewing points. You are also free to take several different routes if you go on your own (including one that goes to the vineyard). The ride itself is 99% downhill and very easy. Spend some time browsing in Makawao Town... very cute!
The luau is a traditional feast held for special events, but many of the tourist-based shows are commercial renditions, not capturing the traditional spirit or rites.
Located in Lahaina, visitors are greeted with a lei and a drink to begin your experience. While you are touring the one-acre site, talking with local artists, the traditional feast, including the pig, is cooking in the imu (cooked underground in banana leaves). Guests are called to feast by a traditional conch shell call, and the show begins.
While watching the show of chants and traditional dances, visitors will feast on kalua (roast pork), lau lau (pork wrapped in luau leaf), poi (from the root of the taro plant), ahi poke (marinated raw tuna), and other Hawaiian offerings.
The show was amazing, the food incredible. Be sure to resrve early, we got lucky on the waiting list two months before our trip.
We have stayed at Napili Point Condos six times and are returning again this February for a month....more
What a lovely little facility this is. Maui Oceanfront in Kihei has been recently taken over by Best...more
1533 Uakea Rd, Hana, Hawaii, 96713, United States
Good for: Solo