Wake up call was around 3:30 a.m. to prepare for an early flight departure of 7:50 a.m. on Hawaiian Airlines. We had no problem waking up and proceeded with our usual morning rituals, showered, and grabbed our backpacks and were on the road to the airport. We already planned to park our car at the economy lot near the airport, which always has plenty of open spots, and was conveniently located next to the large car rental facility. Sometimes we catch the shuttle bus ride from the car rental place because it’s a little more reliable than the shuttle to and from the parking lot.
So, feeling that we were doing well on time having no stress and just putting our morning plan in action; we suddenly hit a bump in the road. We arrived at the parking lot and noticed a sign that stated “Employees Only” so we were in shock and drove around the area and parked in a spot at the rental car facility parking lot. We had to regroup and look this up on our phones. Sure enough, we were unable to find a current website or advisory that this public parking area has been taken away and turned into a parking lot for employees. (Not sure what employees, I am guessing perhaps airport employees).
We decided to head closer to the airport and look for the long-term parking which we know has gone up in price. Now instead of paying $13 a day, we are paying $20 a day for the long-term airport parking. Heads up, there is no longer an economy parking lot in San Diego. (There are a few other off site long term parking lots, but the prices are not much lower or different than the airport long-term parking lot).
Anyway, we parked in a spot and caught the shuttle bus to the airport. We were still doing great on time so we made our way to the security line and headed for the gate seating areas and relaxed as we waited to board.
Well, we have just learned that our flight into Maui has been delayed 30 minutes,…then 45 minutes,…50 minutes. Okay, we began to coordinate a plan of action as we already reserved tickets to go on a whale-watching catamaran where we would have had 2 hours after landing to make it to the marina, if the flight arrived on time.
So much for wishful thinking, our flight ended up being a little over an hour late, then it took at least 10-15 minutes to disembark the airplane. So, we decided that I would continue on and try to make it to the whale watching excursion and my husband make his way over to the off site rental car location, which is Advantage. This rental company can take a very long time in the process of reserving a car. We’ve not had very good experience with them in the past, but it was the lowest car rental rate we found for this trip.
Day 1: WHALES
Anyway, I was able to enjoy and experience an amazing whale watching event on the catamaran by the Pacific Whale Foundation! Although I received no refund and had to pay for two people, I still had an incredible experience. I arrived just in time to gather with the others in the group and walk out to the dock to board the catamaran.
Did you know? The official whale season in Maui runs from December 15-May 15.
Did you know? The kinds of whales typically migrating to this area during this time are the North Pacific humpback whales. They travel from the bitter cold waters of Alaska of which is the time for feeding, onto the warmer waters in the Hawaiian islands as well as to the Southern areas near Mexico. They migrate for the reasons to breed, give birth, and raise their young calves.
I wasn’t able to get all the best photography shots that I wanted because my husband usually captures several photos for me, as I film and photograph with my other cameras. Anyway, my husband successfully reserved the car, picked up some groceries, and came back for me and we settled into our condo to enjoy a lovely evening.
Day 2: ROAD TO HANA
Today was a day for miles of driving since our plan was to take the Road To Hana! We have been hearing stories of this drive taking 7 hours for the day! (We think this means to go there and back, as there are several stops and points of interest to see, such as waterfalls and overlooks, etc.) Wow, so course we set out somewhat early this morning and planned to make the best of it. We hit a little bit of traffic on Hana Highway 36, but then it wasn’t bad the entire remainder of the day.
We made a restroom stop at Kaumahina State Wayside and were able to stretch, and take a few photos. Then we continued on with our 52 mile Hana journey along the coast encountering all the 600 curves, twists and turns, 54 bridges, and numerous waterfalls.
We are so happy to add another visit to a national park to our checklist; Haleakala National Park is absolutely beautiful. Our goal was to revisit the Seven Sacred Pools of which we haven’t seen since 2002. This area has since been included within the national park.
There were several people milling around the pools and jumping off the side cliffs into the water. We took our share of photos, and lingered around for a while, then we decided to go on a hike.
This area has been cleaned up nice, on our previous visit it was primarily wild, no defined hiking paths, and lots of tree and shrub growth. Now there is a visitor center, sidewalks, manicured grass areas, and drinking water fountain.
We enjoyed this easy, short hike and then returned to the car and headed back to the condo.
Day 3: LAHAINA
We decided to take in an easy relaxing day so we slept in a little later than usual, awoke and enjoyed our breakfast. Shortly thereafter, hit the rode for the small quaint historical whaling town of Lahaina.
We spent the day walking around, browsing through shops, and hanging out near the peer to imagine what life was like in this area so many years ago. We came upon this bit of info about this particular set of rocks in the water here.
The Hauola Stone: This flat rock was a birthing place for ancient Hawaiian Royalty to give birth during the 14th and 15th centuries. A very interesting piece of history.
We then walked back through town and enjoyed the world’s largest banyan tree, and also browsed through a museum.
The Mick Fleetwood bar and restaurant (owned by Fleetwood Mac band co-founder) was neat to see, there is also a photography music museum in the lower level and this was really cool to see, especially old photos of Stevie Nicks, Tom Petty, and several other musicians.
Day 4: HIKING
I did a little research for an adventurous hike that offered rewarding views, a moderate challenge, and was not highly trafficked. I found the Waihee Ridge Trail as we filled our water containers, put on our hiking gear, and headed out the door.
This was a gorgeous hike, and the ride up to the trailhead was filled with amazing views. There is no restrooms anywhere nearby, so I had to be prepared for that.
We hiked about 5 miles approximately and encountered a little bit of rain at the top, but overall was a beautiful day to enjoy this hiking trail. There were areas that were a bit steep, but this trail was not busy, it was quiet, and we found waterfalls.
Views on the way up.
Day 5: BEACH
This was to be our day to enjoy the beach and the ocean. We spent the afternoon relaxing on the beach, dipping in the water, and even found a random hammock for anyone to enjoy.
The beach area where we spent the day at was not an official designated beach or picnic area. We found a quiet, hidden cove spot with only a few people here in the area between Kahana and Napili before you reach Kapalua. It was great.
So, although our trip started off a little shaky with unexpected challenges, we realized how lucky we were to be able to experience this short time in Maui. Our last visit to Maui was for our honeymoon, 17 years ago. During this trip we also did a lot of reminiscing of our Maui trip from back then, and visited places to see if it has changed since then. We concluded that it has changed somewhat with more pop up small shopping retail centers, but other than that, not too much change.
The weather was spectacular, the beaches and water were perfect, and the sunsets were stunning! The highlight of our trip was meeting a new friend, the beautiful friendly kitty we called Tiger. He was visiting us at our condo every day we were there. We can’t wait to go back again.
Other details of our trip:
Royal Kahana Maui by Outrigger
Pacific Whale Foundation
Haleakala National Park
PO Box 369
Makawao, HI 96768