After a long, rainy winter in San Francisco, my husband and I were looking forward to 10 days in warm, sunny Maui. My perfect getaway involves a mix of beach or poolside relaxation and outdoor activity, and Maui provides plenty of options for both.
When I’m not on vacation, I work at a large tech company in San Francisco. In my job optimization and efficiency are key, and I couldn’t help but bring my professional mindset to my vacation, too. I wanted to relax, but I also wanted to optimize my trip: I planned to see as much of Maui as possible in my week and a half here. We planned our trip to touch on everything that Maui is known for, from the culture to the food to the unparalleled natural wonders.
Just hours after we touched down in Maui, we decided to dive right into Hawaiian culture with the Grand Wailea Luau. After we parked and checked in at the front of the Grand Wailea, we walked through the grounds, stopping to admire technicolor Hawaiian flowers and massive koi. The Luau itself was set right on the water. We arrived just as the sun began to set, which was quite a sight to see against the surrounding palm trees and the Grand Wailea’s impeccable landscaping. As we arrived at the Luau we were greeted with leis and drinks—Blue Hawaiians, our first taste of the tropics (and of the open bar). As we ate our way through many, many courses of Hawaiian food and sipped mai tais and pina coladas, we watched the traditional Polynesian performances. By the end of the event two hours later the sun had set, and the show ended with some truly impressive and dramatic fire dancing.
One great reason to visit Maui in winter (other than the weather, of course) is the whales. Humpback whales frequent Hawaiian waters in the fall and winter, and we couldn’t miss the chance to take a whale watching trip. We booked ourselves on the Blue Water Rafting whale watch early on Sunday morning, departing from the Kihei boat ramp. The whales must’ve been in a good mood that day because almost as soon as we set out we saw whales breaching, spouting, and even slapping their tails against the water. Our captain kept us entertained and informed with whale facts, and by the time we turned back toward shore I had lost count of how many whales we saw.
Our last big activity was my final chance to see as much of Maui as possible: Blue Hawaiian’s Maui Spectacular helicopter tour. Although it tends to be pricey, a helicopter tour provides the unique opportunity to see parts of Maui that are completely inaccessible by car or by foot. When we woke up the morning of our tour the skies were overcast, but our pilot assured us that although he would have to modify the route, we would still see as much of the island as possible. We went in and out of the valleys of the West Maui mountains, saw stunning waterfalls running down the slopes of Haleakala up close, and dipped low over the perfectly blue Pacific to see whales swimming off shore.
I left Maui feeling satisfied with my fastidiously planned week of activities. I hiked, swam, snorkeled, helicoptered, drove, and ate my way around the entire island. Now all I can think about now is what I’ll do next time I visit. Ziplining? Scuba diving? Or maybe something I haven’t even thought of yet.
While not planning adventures for myself and my husband, I work at a large tech company in San Francisco.Brian T.