So in case anyone is thinking of or travelling to Maui I wanted to do a review post of our trip, where we stayed, places we ate and things we did. One thing I will say is that next time we plan a tropical single location trip like this 7 days is more than enough. We found there to be not enough to keep us busy that was kid friendly and we are not types to sit on the beach all day. We did find a ton of fun things to do but 11 days was a tad long. The heat and humidity were intense, 35 most days and very humid which we were told was not typical of this time of the year. This meant we spent afternoons inside or at the pool, at the beach and in the sun was too hot – and that is coming from someone who loves the heat.
Onto location and our condo…
We stayed in Kihei, Maui for 11 days. I went into the holidays pretty blind, I did online research on where to stay since there seemed to be a million options. And we lucked right out! Our condo was only $105/night, we had a full condo unit and a perfect ocean view. The condo was part of a property called Kihei Akahi, where each unit is owned privately. There are three buildings in all, ours was the back unit on floor 6. There was two really nice common pool and BBQ areas as well The pool came in handy since we spent more time there than the beach!
It was such a clean and well maintained pool area:
Our condo location was perfect, right across from a main Kiehi beach, Kamaole II and next to a ton of shops and local restaurants and cafes – no chains in sight! A very walkable area for sure, which is important to us!
We checked out quite a few and probably should’ve have explored more but kinda lost hope finding one that “worked” for us. Many beaches had a lot of waves and currents, not something Avery could go into, and I did not even feel comfortable carrying her into. Kamaole Beach II was beautiful and nice for walks or playing in the sand:
We also went to Makena Beach where Chad did some snorkeling and thought it was not bad for being close to the shore.
All the beaches are beautiful with perfect sand but we really wanted something that was quite and had shade which proved harder to find.
Other beaches we visited…
Big Beach which had huge waves but was huge.
The beach at Grand Wailea, probably the busiest since it was by the resort, as well as Kamaole I and III – both similar to the one by our condo. So for beach recommendations, I found them to be all the same really, all beautiful, and a ton of waves. Hence spending so much time at the pool. I do recommend getting the beach early though, mornings were the best time, less wind (and waves) and not as hot! The one day the sand was too hot to walk on!
Activities…I really should have looked into this more beforehand and usually would’ve but this time around I had other things on my mind so we planned most once in Maui. I found that while Maui IS family friendly a lot of the main activities are not. Things we’d typically want to go and do together we could not do with Avery, like snorkeling, or even paddle-boarding. This is fine but probably led to us being bored at times as well.
The BEST activity we did as a family was the Maui Ocean Centre. The aquarium is huge and showcases all local sea life. Most of the fish we saw there I saw on our snorkel trip as well. Avery LOVED it here as well. $50 well spent.
We also visited the Surfing Goat Dairy Farm, the islands first organic dairy farm. The tour was $30 for us but was worth it, we got to see all the goats (Avery’s favourite) and learn about their operation. I also bought some of their yummy truffles!
After Chad spent a morning snorkeling at Makena Beach he wanted to do more so we decided to take a boat trip out to the famous local area, Molokini Crater. We took the Four Winds boat after online research since it was family friendly, had a glass bottom viewing (for kids) and was a large boat (I get sea sick).
It was a 4-5 hour trip total, and included breakfast and lunch BUT was $210 for us to go on…Ouch. We had two hours of snorkel time and let me tell you this did not disappoint. I never knew water could be so clear, I could see the bottom and in every direction possible. I wish I had an underwater camera! Chad spent the first hour and so snorkeling, then came in for lunch and I went out. I was pretty apprehensive but loved it. I remember so clearly floating around and taking it all in telling myself how amazing it was and lucky am I to experience such things.
Here is a photo off the boat into the water, you can see how clear it is and all the fish.
I did get sick twice on the boat ride to the crater though but was okay on the way back since I decided to sit outside and watch where we were going.
One thing I really wanted to do was go to a luau, but after a $200 boat trip that wasn’t in the budget so we decided to visit the discount ticket centre and get it for a steal…if we went to a timeshare presentation. The presentation was by Wyndham and 120 minutes long. It was in a town close by called Lahaina which we really loved. Because we had Avery we had a private presentation and they accommodated Avery. We did not buy one, though we did like learning about it for the future and the staff were very professional as well. And it was VERY worth $200 USD of our time since we got the luau for only $20!
The luau was at the Grand Wailea which is a beautiful resort and better be for a minimum $500 a night! We had to check in at 4pm, then the luau started at 5:30pm. The service was flawless as they had this down to a science, as a former events coordinator I will appreciate these things! At 5:30pm we went to stand in line, which took maybe 10 minutes, got our family photo taken (sold for $25) then headed to our table. The location was right by the ocean on the resort’s property.
I would say about 500 people were at the luau in total. We were third row back and might have paid the extra $10 per person to go up to the front row afterwards as our view was limited at times. The bar was open so Chad got to enjoy a few drinks while me and Avery shared virgin cocktails 🙂 Supper was a massive buffet and all the food was really good. Again, the service here was fast and professional and we were impressed.
Avery loved the luau, being outside with something to keep her attention was perfect as were the other people at our table – our little attention seeker.
This luau was definitely worth our $20 and two hours of time at the presentation.
We also took part of the drive to Hana, and turned around 10 miles into it. One, I get car sick and the windy road was not for me, and two we got bored of it. The view was practically the same and because of high waters in the area a lot of water fall areas were closed. After talking to more people that did it during that time I don’t think we missed much, however it is a highly recommended thing to do in Maui. Oh and having a toddler in a car for hours on end is a bad idea as well…
On the road we stopped at The Garden of Eden since it said it had great views and was rainforest like, the $30 fee was a tad steep. We took maybe an hour walk around the grounds, saw some beautiful views, got rained on and I got ate alive by mosquitoes.
I cannot say I would pay to do this again…
The highlight of this day trip was the town of Paia which was at the start of the road. It was adorable, with a ton of good small shops and the BEST pizza place ever (more on that later).
Onto the FOOD! Since we were staying in a condo we did eat in a lot but also had some awesome meals out. We were lucky to have some great places really close to our condo that we enjoyed a lot.
Two small cafes we visited often were S&Q’s and cafe@laplage.
S&Q’s had awesome shaved ice (a must try), smoothies and acai bowls. cafe@laplage had great breakfast sandwiches and coffee. One thing that pleasantly surprised us was the costs of eating out, nothing was too high at all and very affordable.
One of our first nights in Kiehi we stumbled upon Maui Fish and Chips. The service was amazing, the front counter guy LOVED his job which made our experience bang on.
These were traditional fish and chips and SO yummy, the calamari was the best I have ever had, and the coleslaw? $1!
In Paia a few people told us to try the Flatbread Company which incorporates as much local farm to table ingredients possible, the goat cheese was from the the farm we visited! This was some of the best pizza we have ever had.
808 bistro in Kihei was another winner. A cute restaurant set just off the main street beside our condo. We had their famous banana bread french toast one morning there, so yummy!
In Lahaina we went to Cheeseburger in Paradise, which had decent food but the view – amazing! Right on the ocean and great staff! Their veggie burger was house made too 🙂
All in all we loved this trip but would we go back? Probably not without a reason and as a family trip. I have to also say that rarely do we like to go back to the same vacation spots without reasons since we like visiting new places.