Zip Lining’s Growing Popularity

Zip lining is the next big thing to do all over the world.  Zip lines are going up quickly throughout Hawaii.  Here on Maui we have at least three operational zip lines.  One up Crater road going up to the summit of Haleakala, one down near Makawao and another in West Maui.  It’s an amazing experience whipping over the tops of the trees like a low flying bird.  Going from platform to platform on your way back down the mountain.

The journey is something like this.  You hike up a mountain and then attach yourself to a wire take you back down.  With safety in mind and a comfortable, fast ride.  There is specialized seat harnesses that you sit in and a helmet too incase you bump your head on something.

Deep Water Fishing

Maui is known for many things but deep water fishing is not one of them.  Maybe I am traveling in the wrong circles but whenever I tune into one of those fishing shows, Maui is never a featured location.  There could be a number of reasons for it but they only apply to cost for a television crew.  For those looking for something fun to do in Maui, then taking a fishing excursion should be one of them.

The waters are clear, clean and deep.  The islands are all shaped as big mountains that extend deep down to the ocean floor.  As you might have heard Maui and the Big Island’s mountains would be must taller then Mt. Everest if you measure from the ocean floor.  You don’t have to go that far out to sea to get into some really deep water.   In between the islands it can get as deep as 6100′.

The depths are more then adequate for what a serious deepwater fisherman is looking for, a battle with a Pacific Blue Marlin.   There are also yellowfin tuna, barracuda, wahoo and many other marlin types.  This is definitely the thing do to in Maui for anyone who loves to fish.

There are plenty of boat charters available to take you out.  In most cases you don’t need to book ahead unless your schedule is really tight.

Snorkeling & Diving


Now I am a snorkeler.  I just love it.  It’s one of my favorite things to do in Maui.  I know all the good quiet spots where I can enjoy the underwater life without having to deal with anyone else.  It’s a way to escape into another world.  I am a fish and not in a fish tank.  On Maui, on good days in the morning the water is clean and clear like an aquarium’s tank.

Since we live on the island we have our little spot that we enjoy checking out every few days to see our favorite underwater creatures.

I enjoy visiting the turtles off of Hookipa as they eat the seagrass at the edge of the surf break.

I go look for the eels to the right of Charley Young beach in Kihei.  There is also a few turtles who call in there and an incredible wall with a great variety of colorful coral.

Down at Makena Landing, out around the point, are some beautiful undersea caves with sleeping sharks and turtles.  Long tunnels to swim through and plenty of coral in a variety of colors.  Also there is a trench where the turtles use to head out to sea, almost like a road.

Snorkeling in Hawaii is one of the best things to do.  If you have a mask and snorkel already then its a great way to spend a lot of time exploring a world that we see very little of in our life.  The underwater world in Maui is full of life and wonder.

There are many places to explore underwater up and down the coast of Maui.  Off of just about any coast there is something interesting to see.  So when you are looking for a cheap or even free way to pass your days on Maui then snorkeling would be it.

You can hitchhike to some great spots along the Lahaina or Kihei coasts.  You don’t need to take those tours out to Molokini to get some great snorkeling in.

Sunrises and Sunsets

If you want any sort of sky watching activity.  If that star gazing, sun or moon rising, the best place is definitely at the summit of Haleakala.  The views from up there with the scenery and the whole mystic power of the place definitely puts you into a trance that you will not forget.

The sunrise comes up from beyond the crater and you are transported into another world.   The view and the experience can not be fully explained and the photos do not do it justice.   It’s an experience that you may grumble a bit about because of the time it takes to get up the mountain and the hour at which you need to get up to do it.  The grumbling and pain of that will be long forgotten while the vision will stay clear in your memories for a lifetime.

The sunset from up on the mountain is pretty speculator too.  You can see from below that the sun sets a bit later up on the mountain then down at the beach in Kihei.  If I am going to enjoy a sunset at the beach, then being in Kihei is the place year around.  Otherwise, my choice is definitely up on the mountain where I can see the transition to night happening far below in the towns of Kahului, Wailuku and Kihei.

Check out this sunrise / sunset tool.

Surfing The Waves & Wind


Boogie Boarding, surf boarding and body surfing are some of the least expensive, cheapest things to do in Maui.  If you have the gear then you are good to go and everyone has a body so at least that is taken care of.

You can rent surf boards on a daily or weekly basis for a good price.  Most people don’t travel with surfboards unless they are pros.  Boogie boards are so cheap that you can probably buy a good one and resell it before you end your vacation and still pay less then what you would rent it for.

As for my personal favorite body surfing, you don’t need anything but a good swimsuit that will keep on in the rough tumbling of the waves.   There are some great beaches like Little Makena Beach where you can ride a wave a good ways.  Catching them is easy at that beach too.

When most people think of things to do in Maui the first thing that comes to mind is surfing.  Surfing the waves to be exact.  The beautiful reef breaks and strong uninterrrupted ocean brings some incredible waves.  Some of the biggest in the world if the conditions are right.  There are many surf breaks in Maui, Hawaii. Surfing is just a part of life here.  You know when a good set at the right angle is coming in locally because no work gets done on that side of the island.

There is more to just the standard board and a wave surfing.  You can surf the air too.  Windsurfing and kiteboarding are two things that are a must do in Hawaii, especially Maui.  The trade winds are blowing strong and steady in the afternoons which makes for some increadible conditions.

Looking out over the ocean above Hookipa on Maui’s north shore, the contrasting colors of the windsurfer’s colorful sails and the stark deep blue of the ocean keeps you captured in awe for hours.  The tricks these guys perform over big waves and the air time they get some days is amazing.

On the south side of the island, with the mountains blocking the strong winds would be a good place for a first timer to learn.  The ocean is calm in the morning which will go along way to improving your confidence with the gear.

Hiking To A Waterfall


 Hiking is another one of the best things to do in Maui.  It is always part of a top ten wherever we go in the world.  There is so much to see and do that you need to hike to that you should always enjoy the journey to it.  

Some of our favorite hikes on Maui can be quite long but we will go through some of the shorter ones as that is what appeals to most people.  Those looking to go on longer hikes they already know quite a bit about the area and have been planning it for a long time.  A long hike on Maui is one that takes you down from the summit of Haleakala and can take up to 2 days at least.

The short hikes we like to feature include a tramp up Oheo Gulch to the 400 foot waterfalls at the end of the trail.   The rock hopping good time up Iao Valley stream, lots of nude sunbathing happening here on nice days so be mindful of that.   The walks up to see the Hawaiian petroglyphs are always a nice challenge.   A walk through the bamboo forest is kind of boring after a while.   Going up to Polipoli hot springs takes a long time to get to and is often very foggy as it sits in the clouds most afternoons.  Going above Kula to the frisbee golf course is always a nice afternoon.  A trip along the coast following the kings trail through the lava fields is also nice when you have already hit the other places.


Hiking up a gulch to a waterfall is one of the most spiritual things you can do.  The sound of falling water gives the listener a bit of the energy that is generated by that falling water.  Some of the water is falling from heights over 400′ so it’s generating a bit of speed and force.  Even a little bit of water can sting from that height.  Be careful when standing under a waterfall because it’s not just water but stones and wood as well, especially if it’s raining further up the gulch.

Some of our most favorite hikes to waterfalls are around Maui’s backside.  This is the Kipahulu area and Oheo Gulch.  Way out there where there is a lot fewer people, you can enjoy a moment at a waterfall in peace and tranquility.   There are many waterfalls along Oheo Gulch to hike to depending on your time.  If you have plenty of time then I suggest going all the way up to the end but before you reach the end, there is a side stream.  Follow the path less travelled to the Queen’s bath which is a bit nicer I think.

Also along the backside of Maui a few miles down the road from Oheo Gulch are a number of unmarked gulches with steady streams.  Go up any of these and you will find some great spots to kick back and relax by a pool in a beautiful setting.


South-side Sailing

With the trade winds blowing at a constant speed you are sure to enjoy a great sail here in Maui.  There are evening cruises, day trips, overnight excursions and charters available for whatever you want to do.  There are plenty of great sailing opportunities.  Explore the other islands in Maui county without ever exposing yourself to the serious waves of the north shore.

In the protected channel between the islands Lanai, Kahoolawe and Molokai you can glide the water in comfort, never feeling a bit seasick.  During the winter the best place to be is on the water because during that time of year the humpback whales are in town to give birth and to mate.  The shows are spectacular as these behemoths leap from the water in an incredible display of tails, fins and splashes.  The newborns are especially active as well.

There are many sailing charter you can contact to take you for a ride, especially out of Maalaea Harbor and Lahaina harbors.

Flying Over Maui

Now flying can be flying in an airplane, helicopter, lighter then air craft, skydiving, parasailing or paragliding.   We love all types of flying.  You have to like flying at least a little bit to make the journey out to Hawaii to begin with.

The most popular type of flying to be had in Maui and probably all of Hawaii is the helicopter tour.  These maniacs, at least from my experience, although very safe and courteous, love to give you a ride like a roller-coaster.  I am not a big fan of roller-coasters as I seem to get sick quite easily, even on the smallest of rides.   These give you a great overview of the island you are on and within an hour can show you all the best spots on the island.  It’s amazing to dip down into the crater or skim along the tops of the rainforest over hundreds of waterfalls.  The feeling of the ground disappearing below you as you shoot out over an ocean cliff is exhilarating.

A trip that I very much enjoyed is paragliding off the slopes of Haleakala on a very fine morning.  Proflyght paragliding gave us a great ride and we caught it all on tape.  The flight is under 10 minutes but it seems a lot longer.  The sailing through the sky on the currents of wind above Kula starting at 6000′ was pretty special.  This is definitely one of the things you must experience on your vacation while you are on Maui.  This is what I imagine sky diving is like minus the scary free falling part which makes me a bit sick to think about.


Click for Makawao, Hawaii Forecast

Located up on the mountain at 1600′ above sea level.  Makawao is an old cowboy town or what we here in Hawaii like to call Paniolos.   These cowboys of spanish descent came to Makawao to hunt the wild cattle that was brought and let loose on Maui in 1793.  The Paniolos of Spanish / Mexican heritage then began to setup ranches high up on the slopes of Haleakala.  Much of that land is still being grazed today.  You can see a lot of it as you travel up through Upcountry Maui on your way to the summit of Haleakala.

In town Makawao has many little galleries, stores, cafes and restaurants.  They are packed into an area about 1/2 sq mile so it’s easy to wander through all of them within a couple hours.   During the day many of the art galleries and jewelry shops are open.  In the evening the two restaurants at the crossroads of town and a local pub just up the street are open late.  It is definitely much more of a sleepier town then Paia which is 15 minutes down the mountain to the Northeast.

Some of the things to do in Makawao include hitting Cassanovas in the evening for some dancing and drinking.  Playing some sports at the ball park, as pickup soccer is played Tuesday and Thursday evenings.  Stopping in a Polly’s mexican for a drink and a burrito is always a nice way to end the day.  The sports bar always has something going on with some live rock music on most weekend nights.

Art of Thrift on Maui

While tourism was slow to rebound initially after the 2008 crash, Hawaii has survived the economic doldrums fairly well and tourism has been up 20% in recent months, due to Mexico’s drug cartel violence spreading into tourist areas.

There were a few Hawaiian casualties of the economic crisis though.  Aloha Airlines just up and closed it’s doors one morning in 2008 and left passengers and employees in the lurch. Then, by the start of 2009 Hawaii’s real estate market took a stiff hit and foreclosures were plentiful, and still are.

One industry however, the Hawaiian recycling industries – meaning thrift, consignment and antique businesses, are booming! Let us not forget those numerous garage sales are perfect before and after stops for beach-goers too.  If taken with a sense of adventure you can certainly find some treasures at a very nice price while on vacation in the middle of the pacific!

The current economic reality being faced by so many has made “gently used” all the rage.  And, whether buying or selling recycled clothes, furniture or other products to save on money or make some, it’s a win-win for everyone.  Of course, this trend is not something to make NY, Paris and Rome any too happy, because second hand shopping has gone from a hobby / college scene to once again a leading influence in fashion, or at least a helpful guide to coerce it towards more useful, practical indulgences.

Nowhere are there better offerings than on the Hawaiian Islands.  The two most populated islands, Maui and Oahu, both offer a slightly different fare with regards to their vibe and selection of merchandise.

Maui reminds you of that divine dichotomy that is found in the areas of Venice and Marina del Rey, CA. On Maui, Kihei and Lahina have a rebellious, artistic edginess, like in Venice, and then there are spots like Wailea which tend to remind you of more refined areas like California’s Marina del Rey.

Once we arrive on Maui we usually begin by looking at and the Maui Times for anything in particular that we might be looking for as well as what garage sales are going on or are up coming. Wailea, Hana, Makawao and Kula are known for their estate sales.  Old money up there can make for a great opportunity to discover some amazing Hawaiian art and collectibles offered for sale, not to mention some high end handbags and shoes as well, often times with the tags still on them.  We decide what sales to hit on our way in and out as we make up the the itinerary for the day.  Depending on the weather we might just spend the morning thrifting and hitting garage sales and the afternoon at the beaches nearby.  The good thing about Maui is you’re never too far from the beach.

Our first stop is Savers, a thrift store on Dairy Road in Kahului, where we use their special Savers card for an extra discount on certain days and for certain types of items.  It’s well worth it and you will not be disappointed.  They have a great selection of used and nearly-new merchandise.  It’s well displayed and is more like a mall-style department store it’s so organized and clean.  They had an image overhaul a couple of years ago and it’s done wonders for the “thrift experience” on Maui.  It’s a rare occasion that I leave this store empty handed.

Every Saturday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. there is the Maui Swap Meet down by the Kahului Beach Harbor, (50 cents admission but kids under 12 are free!).  It’s usually worth getting up a bit early to hit the Swap Meet first before the garage sales you’ve planned on searching out.  4 acres and 200 vendors.  Get breakfast there, or at least a snack.  Try some of the local food and hospitality.

There are more than just a few places on Maui that are wonderful for finding all types of recycled treasures.  High end art, fashion and jewelry consignment can be found at Elua Nani. Jimmy Choo, Gucci, Fendi, Dior and more is within this store.  Then there is La Jolie Maison in Kihei for art, jewelry, uniquely decadent home decor and luxury furnishings if you’re in the market for larger items to bring back from your travels.  Certainly worth a stop in for a luxurious thrift experience.

These are my personal favorites for a successful discount retail therapy vacation on Maui.  There will be more little stores, like in Wailuku, near the Iao Theater, that crop up from time to time and they will be featured next time.  Happy shopping!