As an island, Maui’s hiking options range from easy-to-walk paths to challenging climbs. They’re all free.
Here are some of my favorites:
Ka’anapali Beach Walkway: The 2.7-mile out-and-back trail north of Lahaina contains sections that are paved, packed dirt and boardwalk. The palm tree-lined path is mostly flat with beautiful views of the beach and many beachfront resorts, such as the Black Rock Sheraton. The trail runs south through Wahikuli State Park and along the waterfront in Lahaina village.
Wailea Coastal Nature Trail: This 1.5-mile, out-and-back trail near Kihei offers beautiful wildflowers and vistas. This easy walk on a paved path winds by five beaches and stunning views of four islands — West Maui, Lanai, Kahoolawe and Molokini. You may see sea turtles along the shore or humpback whales in the ocean during season. It gets busy, so consider walking in early morning or late afternoon.
Kapalua Resort trails: The resort provides access to miles of coastal and mountain trails. Kapalua Coastal Trail is a pretty 3.5-mile trail (round trip) that runs north from Kapalua Bay Beach through the Ritz-Carlton to DT Fleming Beach Park. Village Walking Trails is a network of six paths that go from Kapalua Village Center along the golf cart path of a former golf course.
Hike to Nakalele Blowhole: A roughly 1-mile walk leads to a hole in the ground linked to a partially submerged ocean cave. When waves crash into the rocks, water is pushed through the hole to spout up to 100 feet into the air. There isn’t really a trail; just make your way across the rugged lava rock landscape. You don’t have to hike right up to the blowhole to see its geyser-like eruptions. There also are tidepools, stunning ocean views and odd-shaped rock formations. It’s about a 35-minute drive from Lahaina to the blowhole on Kahekili Highway (340).
Note: I snapped the featured photo of visitors at the spouting Nakalele Blowhole.
Links to nine other free things to do or see on Maui:
American workers get less vacation time than their counterparts in many European nations, yet many don’t even use all of their time off.
American workers didn’t take 768 million vacation days in 2018, the most recent data available from the U.S. Travel Association (USTA). That was up 9 percent from 2017.
Today — National Plan for Vacation Day – is the perfect time to make a change.
“Time off is essential to a healthy work environment because it gives us a chance to recharge and reconnect with family and friends,” USTA CEO Roger Dow said in a statement. “Workers who take the time to plan ahead bring more and better energy to the workplace.”
More than one-third of American working adults experience chronic work stress, including low salaries, lack of opportunities for growth, too heavy of a workload and long hours, according to a survey by the American Psychological Association (APA).
Research shows that time off — even a short break — helps reduce stress, increase energy, and improve productivity and creativity, which may improve job performance and overall well-being. One study found that a one-week resort vacation provides short-term relaxation benefits, such as greater vitality and less stress. Another study found that even one four-night vacation in a different area has large, positive effect on managers’ stress, recovery and well-being that can last 45 days.
But the APA survey found that some vacation benefits are short lived. Upon returning to work, nearly a quarter of workers surveyed said the positive effects disappear immediately and 40 percent say they last only a few days.
Perhaps the answer is to take shorter vacations more frequently. That may be happening already.
Not only are Americans taking shorter trips, but these “micro-cations” are replacing the traditional week-long vacation. More than half of Americans took a vacation of four nights or less, according to a 2019 study by Allianz Global Assistance. The younger you are, the likelier you are to take a short vacation.
Of the average 17.4 days American workers took off in 2018, only eight of those days were used to travel.
Could part of the issue be the time and energy it takes to plan a trip?
Travel experts say planning is key to using more of your earned time off, yet only a little over half of American families take the time to plan a vacation, according to USTA data.
The USTA found that planners used an average of 12 paid time-off days to travel in 2018 vs. 5 days for non-planners. More than half of planners took a vacation in the last six months vs. more than a third of non-planners.
The USTA offers an online tool to make planning vacations easier. You enter the number of your vacation days to plot trips for the year, send it to your work or personal calendar and share it with family, friends and co-workers.
Start by planning a long weekend somewhere close to home so it’s not overwhelming.
Note: The featured photo at top is from rawpixel.com.
Maui’s more than a dozen farmers markets means you can find fresh produce and homemade goods every day of the week somewhere on the island.
You’ll find farmers markets in tourist towns like Kihei and hamlets like Makawao, but they’re all open on different days with different hours. The Maui County Farm Bureau and so does the Hawaii Tourism Authority have lists of some of them, with their location and hours. Here are some standouts:
Farmers Market of Maui-Kihei, 61 South Kihei Road, Kihei: In addition to fresh papaya and pineapple all year, a commercial kitchen whips up fresh guacamole, pineapple salsa and papaya seed dressing.
Upcountry Farmers Market, Kula Malu Town Center, Pukalani: It offers homemade banana bread to fresh fish to passion fruit butter from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturdays. You’ll also find flowers, honey, fruit preserves, bread, kombucha tea, prepared foods and live music.
Hana Fresh, between mile markers 34 and 35 on the Hana Highway, just north of Hana: This farmers market at the Hana Medical Center offers certified organic vegetables, fruits and herbs plus baked goods. There’s a picnic area and a café, which serves breakfast and lunch using fresh ingredients from a 7-acre farm. Hana Health operates the stand and farm as part of its prevent care program. It’s open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Kula Country Farms, 6240 Kula Highway at Kekaulike Avenue, Kula: This fourth-generation farm and stand is famous for its strawberries. You also can pick your own strawberries and pumpkins (seasonally). It’s open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., seven days a week.
Note: I snapped the featured photo.
Links to the other nine free things to do or see on Maui:
There’s no better way to immerse yourself in a place, than taking classes about its culture, history, food and more. Much of that can be done on Maui for free.
You can take ukulele lessons from 5:45 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. on Tuesdays at the Lahaina Cannery Mall.
The Whalers Village shopping center in Ka’anapali offers a bunch of different classes — all for free:
Learn how to make a lei — the garland of flowers given as a tradition to guess arriving or departing — at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays in the lower courtyard.
Watch a free movie with free popcorn on Tuesday and Thursday nights (shows start 15 minutes after sunset) at the lower level courtyard. Recent movies included “Aladdin” and “Goosebumps.” Check the weekly movie schedule online.
If you stay at the Ka’anapali Hotel, you can participate in a dozen Hawaiian cultural activities — all free for guests. (It will cost non-hotel guests $20.) Activities include lei making, hula dancing, learning to cloth print and weave with plants, learning how to play the ukulele, learning about Hawaiian storytelling and learning some common Hawaiian words and phrases and a coconut hulking demonstration.
Note: I snapped the features photos and used BeFunky photo editor.
Links to nine other free things to do or see on Maui:
Maui has so many great beaches and hidden coves that it’s hard to make recommendations, but I’ll try.
One the west side of the island, Ka’anapali Beach is one of Maui’s longest (3 miles) and most popular beaches. Kapalua Beach is a nice crescent beach that attracts families and sea turtles. DT Fleming Beach Park (one of my favorite beaches) is great for body surfing and boogie boarding. On the southeastern part of Maui, check out Makena Beach.
Some good beginner surf spots are Lahaina’s Puamana Beach Park, the Lahiana Breakwall, Kihei Cove, Launiupoko Beach and Ka’anapali Beach.
Note: All 10 posts have published, so I’ve added links to the other nine at the end.
A trip to Hawaii doesn’t have to break the bank.
If you’re a first-time visitor or just want the biggest bang for your buck, try Maui. The island has a little bit of everything – from a volcano to rainforests to beautiful beaches.
First, look for lower airfares and vacation packages during the shoulder seasons of spring and fall. Once on Maui, there are plenty of free things to do and see, letting you splurge on a traditional luau or a zip-line activity for the family.
The first of 10 tips is: free shows.
Sunset cliff dive: This breathtaking sight is a tribute to King Kahekili, Maui’s last independent king in the 18th century. Sunset cliff diving takes place every night at Puu Kekaa (Black Rock) at the Sheraton Maui Resort and Spa in Ka’anapali.
Hula shows: The Ka’anapali Beach Hotel offers a free hula and Hawaiian music show every day, except Mondays, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The Lahaina Cannery Mall offers free hula shows. Check the mall’s calendar for dates and times.
Hawaiian music: Listen to a musical performance from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in the Ka’anapali Beach Hotel lobby.
Note: The featured photo at top of a sunset cliff dive at Black Rock in Ka’anapali is by Andre Gaulin via Unsplash.
Links to the other nine free things to do or see on Maui:
Plenty of bays and lagoons, off-shore reefs, lava rocks and sea life make snorkeling on the Hawaiian island of Maui a real treat. Here’s a list of the five best beaches to snorkel:
1. Ka’anapali Beach
Ka’anapali Beach is one of Maui’s longest beaches (three miles) and most popular beaches. Located in West Maui, it once was a retreat for Hawaiian royalty. There are many resorts along the beach, but you can easily find spots that aren’t crowded. On the north end of the beach is Black Rock, a renowned snorkeling destination. You also can check out smaller Kahekili Beach, an extension of Kaanapali Beach separated by lava rock and a hotel. Named for Maui’s last king, Kahekili Beach offers good snorkeling, but watch for strong currents.
2. Napili Bay
Napili Bay faces a resort area, it’s not as busy as the Kaanapali Beach area. Napili is good for snorkeling when n the surf isn’t rough. Sea turtles (honu) often visit reefs just off the bay shore.
3. Honoloa Bay
For those who don’t mind a bit of a drive and adventure, head to under-the-radar Honoloa Bay. Pros: Because Honoloa Bay is part of a Marine Life Conservation District that bars fishing, there always is plenty of sea life and coral if you swim out a bit from the beach. The left side of the beach is best for snorkeling. Cons: The shore is very rocky and narrow, so it’s not a place to lie and read a book. The shallow water is murky. Parking is farther away and can be difficult. There’s no sign for the beach; look for mile marker 32 off Honoapi’ilani Highway and cars parked along the side of the road at an S curve just after Slaughterhouse Beach. Walk along a marked path to the bay.
4. Kapalua Bay Beach
Along a protected bay in northwestern Maui near the historic whaling port of Lahaina, Kapalua Beach (in the featured photo by me at top) is a great place for young kids to snorkel. The tide pools, lava rock and sea creatures and two offshore reefs make for some fun snorkeling. Two sea turtles played in the shallows when I visited. During the winter, you may see whales in deeper waters.
5. Keawakapu Beach, Ulua Beach and Polo Beach
I’m cheating here by combining three beaches in Wailea in South Maui, but starting with Keawakapu and traveling south, each beach is less two miles from the previous one. They all have great snorkeling and bathrooms and showers (at the south end of Keawakapu Beach).
Go to the southern end of Keawakapu Beach, which is just under a mile long, to snorkel amid patches of reef. Quarter-mile Ulua Beach offers easy snorkeling at its rocky north end. Warning: Parking at Ulua can fill up early. Two sandy crescents make up Polo Beach, which faces the Polo Beach Club and the Fairmont Kea Lani hotel. When the waves are small, snorkel around the rocky point at the north end of the beach.
Visiting outdoorsy Maui, you might not think sitting in a car would be that much fun.
But driving the heart-stopping Road to Hana, or Hana Highway, is a different story. It’s one of the world’s most scenic drives.
With 620 curves and 59 bridges, most of which are one lane, the 64-mile highway is not for wimps. The reward is beautiful beaches, lush rainforests, waterfalls, swimming holes and stunning vistas along Maui’s eastern coast.
A typical start of the drive is from the town of Pa’ia on Maui’s northeastern coast. Drive clockwise for 53 miles on Highways 36 and 360 to the town of Hana, but it’s worth continuing for 11 more miles to remote Kaupo. From there, you can continue on the Piilani Highway (Highways 31 and 37) for a loop through Maui’s interior. The paved road turns to dirt with potholes, but I’ve driven the entire loop and it’s not that bad.
You can drive the Road to Hana in one day, returning the same way, or you can stay overnight in Hana or another town and drive back the next day. You also can book a tour and let someone else drive.
The Road to Hana is teeming with waterfalls; I only mention a couple below. Parking is tough at many of the falls, so you may have to settle for drive-by views. You can stop at many other fun spots — from beaches to hikes to local fruit stands — and it’s a beautiful drive even if you never leave the car.
Starting in Pa’ia, many visitors drive clockwise to Hana and back the same route. You also can loop through Maui’s eastern interior. (Sheryl Jean with Google Maps)
Here are some of my favorite spots along the Road to Hana:
1. Ke’anae Aboretum: It’s worth a walk through this small state-owned park to see some of the 150 varieties of exotic flora, such as bananas, ginger and rainbow eucalyptus. Look for remnants of an historical lo’i, traditional terraces for planting taro. It’s free.
2. Wailua Valley State Wayside: This little park offers views of the Ke’anae Valley, Ko’olau Gap, Wailua village and the rim of Haleakala.
3. Hana Lava Tube and Kahanu Garden: After a volcanic eruption, the outer layers of molten lava flows cooled first, hardening into tunnels to form Maui’s largest lava tube. To reach Hana Lava Tube, take a left on Ula’ino Road around mile marker 31 and drive about four miles. Don’t forget a flashlight. Farther down Ula’ino Road is Kahanu Garden, run by the nonprofit National Tropical Botanical Gardens. There, you can see Pi’ilanihale Heiau, a lava-rock temple that’s the largest in Hawaii. Both places charge a fee.
4. Waiʻānapanapa State Park: This is a must-stop around mile marker 32 before Hana town. It’s an easy walk to the park’s highlight: the dazzling Pailoa black-sand, crescent beach framed by green naupaka shrubs and the azure ocean. The park has many other natural wonders, including Hawaii’s largest wild hala tree grove; freshwater caves; seabird colonies; a lava tube; natural stone arches; and blowholes. Ke Ala Loa O Maui/Piilani Trail(3 miles round trip) starts beyond Pa’iloa and traverses lava-rock fields and hala trees to the cliff shoreline at Pailoa Bay. Along with spectacular views of the coast and Haleakala’s slopes, you may see gravesites, low stone walls and a temple inland. Stop at the boulder beach and return the same way, or continue along to Hana Bay. Plan ahead to camp here.
5. Hana: You can eat or stay overnight in this coastal town. Visit the Hana Cultural Center & Museum to learn about the history of Hana and East Maui. For more action, head for the shallow waters of black-sand Hana Bay for snorkeling, especially for beginners.
6. Hamoa Beach: South of Hana just past mile marker 51, turn on Haneoo Road to find calm waters at this beach that’s consistently named one of best in the world. (Skip the first beach, Koki Beach, which has strong rip tides.)
7. Wailua Falls: Named Maui’s “most photographed waterfall,” it plunges 80 feet down a cliff into a green pool. The falls are inland, along a bridge about 5 miles after Hamoa Beach. Park past the bridge.
8. Kīpahulu: The remote Kīpahulu District of Haleakalā National Park 12 miles past Hana is home to ‘Ohe’o Gulch (Seven Sacred Pools), the Pipiwai Trail and Waimoku Falls (hike two miles to the falls). When water levels are safe at ‘Ohe’o, you can swim in many of the pools. The area is rich in history, with ruins and ancient sites. Check the National Park Service calendar for activities, including guided walks and ranger talks. There’s a visitor center and camping.
9. Palapala Ho’omau Church: This 1857 limestone coral church is better known as the burial site of aviator Charles Lindbergh. He moved to the Kīpahulu area in 1968.
10. Kaupo: Lush rainforests give way to drier and rockier land when you reach this remote ranching area. Under the shadow of the Haleakala, you can take a challenging hike up (or down) the steep Kaupo Trail and Kaupo Gap to the crater with panoramic views of the Big Island. Stop at Kaupo General Store for a trip back in time and to stock up on supplies.
11.Alii Kula Lavendar Farm: This 13-acre farm and store in Kula is home to about 55,000 lavender plants and 25 varieties. Entry is $3, or $12 for a 30-minute walking tour.
12.Maui Wine: Yes, even outback Maui has wine. This winery on Ulupalakua Ranch makes pineapple, sparkling and small-production estate wines. It offers two tours and tastings daily for $12 or $16 in the King’s Cottage, which was built in the 1870s for Hawaii’s King Kalākaua. It also offers a $40 reservation-only tasting in its historic “Old Jail,” the former office of pioneer planter Captain James Makee. Maui Wine offers cheese and charcuterie boards or grab lunch at the nearby Ulupalakua Ranch Store & Grill.
Hawaii has joined the list of places around the world restricting travel due to overtourism.
Such restrictions are becoming more common in areas of high historical or natural significance, including Angkor Wat (Cambodia), Machu Picchu (Peru) and Santorini (Greece), which are inundated with visitors, especially at peaks times like summer. Such places are limiting the number of visitors, regulating short-term housing rentals and increasing fees to preserve the very Instagramable features and ambience tourists flock to see.
What does that mean for you if you plan to visit Hawaii? Travel restrictions may require you to make some changes, including planning farther ahead, making reservations and paying new fees.
To explain such actions to visitors, Hawaii has implemented various educational campaigns. The Hawaii Tourism Authority recently rolled out the “Kuleana (responsibility) Campaign” for all eight islands. Short educational videos feature Hawaii residents talking about cultural etiquette, highlighting topics such as land and water safety, conservation and “pono (righteous) tourism.” Some airlines will show the videos on arriving flights.
Here are some island-specific highlights of restrictions:
Earlier this month, Hawaii closed a cliff face in the Lihau section of the West Maui Natural Area Reserve for up to two years to protect native plants. Rock climbers had installed hardware and footholds into cliffs, affecting threatened and endangered plants, according to the Maui News. Climbers who hiked through the area to reach the cliff trampled West Maui’s only known population of yellow hibiscus.
Visitors to Maui can pledge to behave responsibly by taking the Road to Hana Code of Conduct. The 64-mile Road to Hana has 620 curves and 59 bridges that meander through beaches, dramatic cliffs, lush rainforests and waterfalls on the eastern side of the island.
On the island of Kauai, the number of visitors to its North Shore are limited to 900 a day and visitors must make reservations to go to Hā’ena State Park and Na Pali Coast State Wilderness Park. A new reservation and shuttle system began in June, when both parks reopened after severe flooding closed them for 14 months. It’s part of the Hā’ena Master Plan to reduce overcrowding and better protect resources. Hā’ena State Park is home to the trailhead for Kalalau Trail, Kē’ē Beach and Hanakāpī’ai beach and waterfalls.
You can book park entry, parking and the shuttle on the Ha’ena State Park Reservation website. The current fee for bicycle or walk-in entry is $1 per person. The current entry/parking fee for a non-Hawaii resident is $5 per vehicle. The North Shore Shuttle offers park-and-ride service, including park entry and a “Hop On Pass” to stop at sites along the way, from Princeville or Hanalei for $11 per person.
Island of Hawaii
The Hawaii Visitors Bureau encourages visitors to take the nine-part Pono Pledge to treat the island with respect and not endanger yourself or others.
Who is the man with a long white beard in December?
In many countries, there are two answers to that question: Santa Claus and St. Nicholas.
Before Santa Claus delivers gifts at Christmas on Dec. 25, people in many countries in Europe and Central Asia celebrate St. Nicholas Day, which is Dec. 6 (in some western European countries, such as Germany) or Dec. 19 (in Eastern European countries). Many people in those countries celebrate St. Nicholas Day and Christmas.
Unlike Santa, St. Nicholas was a real person born in the third century in what’s now Turkey. He was a bishop who became a Christian saint in the late 10th century.
In Germany, St. Nicholas Day isn’t a public holiday, but it’s celebrated widely. On the eve of St. Nicholas Day, or Nikolaustag, which is tonight (Dec. 5), children in Germany place their boots or hang stockings outside their door. On the morning of Dec. 6, children (who have been good) wake to find their boots or stockings filled with chocolate, cookies, nuts or small gifts like a scarf.
St. Nicholas Day has a dark side. A folkloric helper called Knecht Ruprecht in Germany, or Krampus in some Central European countries, often accompanies St. Nicholas to punish naughty children. The half-goat, half-demon creature usually is portrayed as dark and hairy with horns, cloven hooves and a long, pointed tongue. The mythological figure inspired a yuletide horror movie called “Krampus” in 2015.
In comparison, St. Nicholas often is portrayed as an elderly, benevolent soul, with a long, white beard, wearing a bishop’s mitre (a tall headdress) and holding a hooked staff.
Note: The featured photo at top is by Ben Kerckx via Pixabay.