Swinging by Maui with only 24 hours to explore the island? Luckily for you we’ve hand-picked the best bits of this tropical paradise to tickle your taste buds and get you all hyped up for Hawaii.
EARLY SURFER GETS THE WAVE
Undoubtedly the best way to start the day in Maui is with an early morning surf. Do as the locals do and head to Ho’okipa before sunrise to avoid fighting for a wave at one of the most consistent surf spots on the island. Paddle out amongst Jurassic green turtles and keep an eye on the horizon for explosions of water as the humpback whales cruise past in the distance. If surfing’s not your thing Ho’okipa is also a great lookout point to watch the little rippers catch some waves before they head to school and with a small, relatively secluded beach it’s the perfect spot to spectate. It can get a little touristy here later in the afternoon so if you don’t fancy tripping over towels and wading through oiled up bods then be sure to visit before the mid-day rush.
CAFE DES AMIS
Head to Paia to refuel, a short drive from Ho’okipa, you can slip off your boardies and be eating breakfast within 10 minutes. Café des Amis is the breakfast spot of choice, using local organic produce the menu covers pretty much every dietary requirement. It’s best to sit outside if you can, the courtyard has a good view of Paia where you can watch the eccentric local hippies wake from their slumber and go about their daily business, which more often than not involves making ‘jewellery’ from old wire and shells. The organic ham, scrambled egg, gruyere cheese and Maui tomato crepe is an absolute winner, wash it down with a fresh fruit smoothie and you’ll be more than ready to take on the island.
HUMPBACKS IN HAWAII
From January to early April, thousands of humpback whales migrate to the warmer waters of Maui and the best place to see these gargantuan creatures is by boat. Head to the harbour at Kihei and book yourself on the Four Winds II, child friendly with a water slide and parent friendly with a complimentary bar, the whale watching trip includes snorkelling and an on-board BBQ. The boat moors up alongside Molokini, a volcanic crater which is home to hundreds of species of reef fish. Snorkelling is optional, but with equipment available to use free of charge and some of the best diving in the world it really is worth jumping in and having an under-water cruise.
PAIA FISH MARKET
Now that you’re in the spirit of things and ready to embrace all things ocean it’s time to try out the local seafood. The Fish Market is the best place to grab a quick and tasty lunch. There is no avoiding the queues here, but it is most definitely worth the wait. A bit rough around the gills, what they lack in interior design skills they make up for with outstanding culinary ability. Order yourself an Ono burger Cajun style, a local delicacy with plenty of bite. The type of fish dishes available vary as the menu is planned around what has been caught that morning, but rest assured whether it’s Ahi or Mahi Mahi you won’t leave disappointed. Or hungry.
THE BAMBOO FOREST
The Road to Hana is one of the most scenic routes in the world. While the entire drive is a little lengthy for a 24 hour trip, there are sights along the way that are worth a stop in for a few hours. The Bamboo Forest, in particular, is not to be missed. Park on the side of the road and clamber through a mysterious hole in a hedge only to be greeted by walls of jade bamboo, leaning precariously towards each other to form an overhead canopy of delicate green shoots. Trek along precarious paths, scale mud walls and ramble across riverbeds, stopping along the way at the many waterfalls for a refreshing dip in the volcanic spring water. If it has been raining it’s worth taking some decent walking shoes or trainers as it can get a little messy.
If you’re feeling the effects of all that hiking and need yourself a sugar rush, indulge in the local Lilikoi (passion fruit) cake bars. Sold from all good roadside stalls and cafes this sweet treat is the perfect remedy for a mid-afternoon energy crash.
HEIGHTS OF HALEAKALA
Maui is cocooned between two dormant volcanoes, one of which happens to be the best place to view the infamous island sunsets. If you’ve got a decent hire car and not one of the more unreliable Maui cruisers, grab some beers and head up Haleakala for sun downers. At an elevation of 10,000 feet, park up and find a good spot to settle in and watch the usually luscious green landscape turn an extraordinary shade of orange. Normally peppered with shivering tourists in skimpy shorts and tank tops, be sure to pack hoodies, socks and scarves as when the sun goes down the temperature drops dramatically. We’re talking British winter cold…
JUST THE WAY MAMA MAKES IT
After a busy day full of breath-taking sights and heart racing activities you should by now be hungry enough to eat a horse….thankfully that’s not on the menu but fresh fish certainly is. For a nod towards more traditional Polynesian tastes book in at Mama’s Fish House. Maui’s first ever fresh fish restaurant and located on the shores of a beautiful private bay, dinner here is world renowned. Once again the menu is subject to fishing activity and so varies daily but with the name of the fisherman who caught your Wasabi Crusted Calamari or your Kampachi Ceviche on the menu, this is a personal service unlike any other on the island. If you simply can’t face moving after all that food book in for a night at The Inn at Mama’s, where beach front cottages will be a welcome sight and haven of relaxation after a day exploring Maui.