Next up on our Hawaiian honeymoon adventure was Maui!
If you’re just tuning in, previous honeymoon posts can be found here:
Leaving the Big Island was bittersweet for me – I was excited to explore a new island (and originally I was most excited for Maui) but it truly gutted me to leave the Big Island.
I was not expecting to fall so hard and fast for the island… but I did… and leaving left a hole in my heart. Also, heading to our last island marked the end of our honeymoon even though we had a full week in Maui scheduled. #endlessvacationplease
Let me tell you, these interisland flights on Hawaiian are just wonderful. They should have a pass option for these flights for people who live on the islands. Maybe they do. All I know is that it is WAY easy to travel between the islands this way. #easypeasy
Anywho, Mindy arranged for us to pick up our car at the airport in Maui so once we were set with our car for the week, we got moving towards the Wailea Coast and the Fairmont Kea Lani.
Fairmont Kea Lani
I don’t know what rock I was living under prior to our honeymoon but I had never heard of Fairmont Hotels and here we were booking two Fairmont stays during our time in Hawaii. Just like the Fairmont Orchid on the Big Island, the Fairmont Kea Lani in Maui is something out of a dream.
After a nice lunch at one of their outdoor restaurants, we decided to take a short run along the water. There is a great path along the water that makes it easy to access other hotels along the Wailea Coast. We did roughly 3 miles round trip, taking note of which hotels we wanted to eat at (Four Seasons) and even running into a wedding!
A small crowd had gathered and it was so beautiful to see absolute strangers come together to watch the happy event and cheer for the two grooms as they began their lives together as a married couple.
Lahaina and the Feast at Lele
After an easy first night of sipping cocktails in a lounge chair overlooking the water, Justin and I ventured out to the town of Lahaina for our second night on Maui.
We decided to uber out to Lahaina instead of driving ourselves since we planned to come back late and
slightly buzzed drunk. Mindy had booked us a table at the Feast of Lele Luau and we both planned on letting loose and enjoying the night and lots of Hawaiian cocktails (these cocktails omggg).
We got to Lahaina a few hours early so that we could walk around, do some shopping, and explore a little. We ended up buying a few things for ourselves and Justin bought some souvenirs for his brother and cousin in the cute little shops that line the main street along the water.
Before heading into the luau, we stopped at Banyan Tree Park, which is home to the largest banyan tree in the United States. This tree is absolutely insane. It has a circumference of about one-quarter mile and about 1,000 people could all stand under it at once.
Standing under a banyan tree (yes, that is all one tree) is an experience in and of itself, especially later in the day when the tree is full of birds (the noise omg!).
Feast at Lele
We walked into the Feast at Lele and were immediately greeted with leis and cocktails (mango mojito for me and mai tai for Justin). Mindy hooked us up and everything was paid for in advance so we had nothing to think about except to enjoy ourselves the whole evening. We were brought to a table right in the center directly in front of the stage. Mindy FTW!
Once we got ourselves settled at our table, we decided to pop onto the beach for a bit while people were still walking in. The sun was setting and the sand was warm and it all felt very, well, Hawaiian.
Once everything got started, Justin and I were treated to a 5-course dinner with entertainment. The courses and dances highlight the Polynesian culture with food and dance from Hawaii, New Zealand, Tahiti, and Samoa.
I’m a bit of a picky eater so I didn’t get to try everything but I did enjoy what I ate; although, to be honest, the mango mojitos were what really stole the show for me. We enjoyed the dancing very much, especially since one performer looked exactly like our favorite neighborhood pizza owner here in NYC and we couldn’t get enough of watching his doppelganger in action.
Molokini Snorkel Tour
I knew I wanted to do a snorkel excursion while we were in Hawaii but Justin was pretty hesitant as he, uhh, doesn’t know how to swim. Mindy assured us that people who aren’t strong swimmers go on these excursions all the time so Justin acquiesced… “for the sea turtles.” (I should also point out that Justin stated wanting to see the sea turtles as his reason for having lasik surgery last June)
So there we were one morning suuuuuuper early to meet up for our boating and snorkeling excursion. Justin was obviously antsy and I was annoyingly giddy as we met with the guys from Trilogy and got on board.
As we made our way to the Molokini Crater, we got the safety spiel and general snorkel lowdown from the guides and Justin visibly relaxed when he was told there were floating devices for people uncomfortable swimming in the ocean – crisis averted!
Once we jumped in at Molokini Crater, we were off exploring! Justin ended up having a great time and I kept laughing below my mask because I could literally hear him squealing underwater when he saw something cool. I actually think I ended up being more nervous than him during the excursion because I was so worried I was going to lose him out there (#oyvey).
After Molokini, we set off for an area near Makena (often referred to as “Turtle Town”), to try and spot some sea turtles. Luck was on our side and we got to see a couple swim by us. There was also a huge sea turtle sleeping in an underwater cave and a few of us who felt comfortable diving underneath were able to catch a glimpse of the big lady (one of our guides recognized her – isn’t that crazy?!).
Once we were back on the boat, it was time for lunch, cocktails, and relaxing to music. I cannot recommend this group enough. The guys on the boat with us were absolutely fantastic, the food was good, and the views were absolutely stunning. On our way back to the dock, Justin and I kept commenting about how these guys really are living the dream out here everyday.
Cancelled Plans and Laziness
We had registered with the hotel to wake up early and do an outrigger canoe experience. Unfortunately, the waves were not in our favor the day we were scheduled and the hotel cancelled it for the day. We tried to get another day but everything was booked up as 1) it’s a free experience for hotel guests and 2) the canoes are super small and only fit 3 people aside from the guide. It’s all okay though because we’re booked to outrigger canoe while we’re on the Big Island this September! Hopefully the ocean cooperates for us this time around! #fingerscrossed
Road to Hana
Anytime you mention traveling to Maui to anyone, they’re likely to mention the Road to Hana. The Road to Hana, a scenic drive along Hana Highway to the town of Hana, is probably Maui’s top attraction. People will take the day to drive along the curvy highway, stopping to explore and hike different colored sand beaches, waterfalls, and other attractions.
We had set aside an entire day to devote to driving the road to Hana but hadn’t booked an official guide or tour experience; we just figured we’d do it ourselves and go at our own pace. Looking back, this was probably not the greatest idea for two New York City folk who never drive. Because the road to Hana is not the easiest to drive, we got increasingly antsy as the day neared. When we woke up that morning and saw that the weather was questionable in some areas on the way to Hana but the weather in Wailea was beautiful, we opted to stay at the hotel and drink cocktails on the beach.
Ah well – I guess we’ll have to go back!
Haleakala is also one of those items that everyone and their mother will mention to you when you travel to Maui. Justin and I opted to not do a guided excursion for Haleakala as it meant another really early morning. We threw a timeslot on our agenda and figured we’d head to the volcano for sunset when there are less crowds than sunrise.
Even before we left the Big Island, Justin and I began to question if we even wanted to go to Haleakala at all since we already did a sunset atop Mauna Kea, which is taller than Haleakala. Once we saw the driving time from our hotel to Haleakala, we nixed the plan immediately. Plus, we technically already saw Haleakala from the Big Island.
I have no regrets about skipping Haleakala because we already had such a great experience on Mauna Kea. Maybe next time!
We had such a busy first half of the trip that I’m not surprised in the least that we opted for a more relaxing week in Maui. Instead of gallivanting around the island, we stayed around the hotel, went for runs along the water and in nearby neighborhoods, read on the beach (me), went down the water slide a million times (Justin), and drank fruity cocktails in our lounge chairs. It was perfect!
At breakfast on the morning we left to come back to NY, I looked up at Justin over my coffee cup, “ya know, we don’t have to leave yet. We have money.” Justin, ever the rational one, replied, “I have to go back to work.” Cue me, “ummm I don’t think you heard me because I said we have moneyyy.” I wonder if he’ll be able to be so rational when it’s time to leave the Big Island and head back to NYC… #LevineKonaRetirement2052
Maholo, Hawaii. You were everything I dreamed you’d be and so much more. See you in approximately 96 days (but who’s counting?)!