Best Honeymoon Destinations: Maui

19.06.2012 In: Travel tips

Maui is an attraction-filled destination that seems like a compilation of Hawaii's best qualities. Surfing beaches? Check. Volcanoes? Several. Family-friendly? Definitely. Posh resorts? Absolutely. The legions of vacationers that come back home teary-eyed and hypnotized can't be wrong -- this is where you learn Hawaii is more than a series of islands, it's also a spiritual experience. Step off the plane, take one whiff of the plumeria blooms and you'll be hooked.

You should note that every Hawaiian island offers something different. With Maui, you can expect one of the most tourist-friendly experiences. The island is easily covered by car, and the diverse terrain keeps photos interesting. If you're looking for adventure, you're better off on the Big Island. Should you want luxurious isolation, head to exclusive Lanai. For most visitors, Maui excels at providing the envisioned Hawaiian vacation and is the perfect introduction to the archipelago.

How To Save Money in Maui

Forget the oceanview
You won't miss much if you have the "garden view," plus you'll find the day rate drops significantly.
Reread your car-insurance policy
Some rental agencies will try to convince you that you'll need collision insurance (This is a no-fault state, where you'll have to pay any accident damages before leaving). But your personal insurance policy might already cover this. Double check before you rent.
Skip the luau
The Old Lahaina Luau is credited as one of the most popular (and authentic) luaus of the Hawaiian islands, but tickets are nearly $100 per adult, and more than $65 per child.

Maui Culture & Customs

While Maui retains many aspects of its indigenous culture -- including hula and a vibrant traditional arts scene -- it's also important to recognize Maui and the island of Hawaii as a uniquely American travel destination. You should never refer to Hawaiian citizens as "natives" or "islanders," and to be aware that, in addition to the indigenous traditions of the island, Hawaiians also take pride in their status as a state of the union.

Maui Dining

According to About.com, "Maui is Hawai'i's dining epicenter." From Asian to European cuisine, this small island is certainly pleasing to the taste buds. But a trip to Maui is not complete if you haven't tasted some of the local cuisine, such as Huli-Huli chicken or a traditional plate lunch, brimming with fresh seafood and macaroni salad.

Keep in Mind...

Beware the "resort fee"
Things that used to be freebies (like the hotel gym, the daily newspaper and making local telephone calls) are now tacked onto your hotel bill. Unfortunately, they're not negotiable, but at least you'll know in advance.

Beware the "plate lunch"
The term might make it sound like a light mid-day meal, but in truth, this uniquely Hawaiian tradition is a heaping pile of meat, at least two types of starch and fish.

Beware daylight savings
Or keep in mind that there aren't any. When the rest of the U.S. moves their clocks one-hour forward, Maui is three hours behind the West Coast and six hours behind the East Coast.

Tips on What To Do in Maui

From breathtaking beaches to serene gardens, cultural sites to underwater playgrounds, Maui offers several days worth of diversions. The island is especially popular with active travelers since it offers plenty of opportunities to explore the great outdoors. But after hiking in Haleakala National Park or whale watching off the island's southern or western coasts, writers urge you to visit Maui's historic sites. Some of the best include the Whalers Village Museum or the Lahaina District, home to numerous plantation towns, ancient Hawaiian churches and the largest statue of Buddha outside of Asia.

A wide assortment of meals and activities can be purchased at up to 25-percent off for four people using the Activities and Attractions Association of Hawaii Gold Card. It’s good for one year and costs $30." -- Sherman's Travel
Luau
Cliché as it might seem, many travel writers and recent visitors insist that you can't go to Maui without participating in a luau. One of the most famous is the Old Lahaina Luau, located along Front Street in the town of the same name. Travel experts praise the luau for its authenticity, fine food and entertainment. But be prepared to open your wallet – a night at this, or any of the island’s luaus, won’t come cheap.

The hula troupe [at Old Lahaina] is first-rate and the feast is terrific, with high-quality Hawaiian fare and none of the long lines you'll find at a resort-hotel luau. It's held on the beach at the north side of town." -- Lonely Planet
The Road to Hana
Maui's most famous road is also one of the most romantic and iconic in the world. Stops along the way allow tourists to explore Hawaii's lush forest, wildlife and waterways. A tip from travel writers: Start along the road in the early morning, when you can avoid heavy traffic. The Road to Hana is best enjoyed at your own pace -- not the pace of the people in front of and behind you.

During high season (Jan.-Mar. and the summer months), the Road to Hana tends to develop trains of cars, with everyone in a line of six or a dozen driving as slowly as the first car. The solution: leave early (dawn) and return late (dusk)." -- Fodor's
Beaches
In Maui, deciding which beach to visit depends a lot on your favorite color. Take your pick of white, gold, black, red and even green sand; the different hues are a result of minerals found in the volcanic stone from which the sand was formed. Writers and recent visitors especially suggest Kaihalulu in East Maui, better known as Red Sand Beach.

Some tour guides still call this area 'Seven Sacred Pools,' but in truth there are more than seven, and they've never been considered sacred. You can park here and walk to the lowest pools for a cool swim. The place gets crowded, though, since most people who drive the Hana Highway make this their last stop." -- Fodor's
[Red Sand Beach is] truly a sight to see. The beach is on the ocean side of Kauiki Hill, just south of Hana Bay, in a wild, natural setting on a pocket cove, where the volcanic cinder cone lost its seaward wall to erosion and spilled red cinders everywhere to create the red sands." -- Frommer's
Nature
Maui's upcountry offers some of the best hiking and most awe-inspiring natural sights in the United States, and perhaps even the world. An almost universally loved hiking and ecotourism destination in Maui is the fabulous Haleakala National Park, which contains several waterfalls, hiking trails, views of the ocean and an almost surreal volcanic landscape.

Those interested in seeing the backcountry -- complete with virgin waterfalls, remote wilderness trails, and quiet, meditative settings -- should head for Haleakala's upcountry or the tropical Hana Coast."-- Frommer's
Get ready for an otherworldly experience at Haleakala National Park. It's astonishing volcanic landscape so resembles a lunar surface that astronauts practiced mock lunar walks here before landing on the moon." -- Lonely Planet
Museums
To explore the natural and cultural history of Maui, head to Lahaina, which offers several museums and aquariums devoted to the area's human and animal inhabitants. At the Lahaina Heritage Museum, you can view exhibits on early and modern Hawaiian societies. At the Maui Ocean Center, you can get up close and personal with a variety of exotic Hawaiian sea creatures.

The inspired Lahaina Heritage Museum, operated by Lahaina Town Action Committee volunteers, displays changing exhibits that celebrate Lahaina's culture and history. The focus could be on anything from ancient Hawaiian society to 19th-century whaling, but whatever it is it's well worth the climb to the 2nd floor to check it out." -- Lonely Planet
[At Maui Ocean Center,] Special tanks get you up close with turtles, rays, sharks, and the unusual creatures of the tide pools. The center is part of a complex of retail shops and restaurants overlooking the harbor." -- Fodor's