We took a last minute trip to Hawaii for our honeymoon and had a ball. Check out this post for our favorite parts of visiting Maui!
As travelers, we have always been pretty good at being flexible and rolling with the punches. Our honeymoon put all of that to the test. We had originally planned a trip to Kenya to go on safari. After I had already headed home for the wedding, we had to make the extremely difficult decision to cancel the trip due to terrorism. Insert panic and mayhem (not even the Mayhem Man could fix this one).
So, there we were—a wedding in two weeks, two weeks of vacation time scheduled, and no where to go. As great as a “stay-cation” sounded, we were determined to make some travel memories for our honeymoon. After lots of last minute research and panicked phone calls, we decided on Hawaii. Enter hustle mode. We tracked down friends with hotel connections for discounts, ignored the price when we booked our last minute flights, and made the executive decision to YOHO* it up.
*You Only Honeymoon Once.
In our YOHO state of mind, we didn’t follow a budget as strictly as we usually do, but here were our favorite parts of our kickass honeymoon to Maui and Kauai.
Check out our post about Kauai by clicking here.
- Splurge on a Fancy Hotel in Maui.
We are not usually ones to park at our resort all day, but the Andaz Maui made it all too easy. This Miami chic meets Hawaiian charm was a dream. We were 100% in on the high tech rooms, contemporary style, and infinity pools. No one hates multiple pools, beach, hotel room shower, and balconies all with gorgeous ocean views.
After enjoying breakfast with ocean views and taking a stroll along the oceanfront path behind the Andaz, enjoy one too many of their poolside spicy margaritas, the “Holiday in Jalisco”. Tequila, jalapeno, and pineapple–I’ll holiday with you anytime. Full disclosure: the drinks are $17. Remember, #YOHO.
While staying at the Andaz, we were able to go paddle boarding and see sea turtles, get massages at the spa, enjoy delicious dinners, and explore the rest of Maui. The Andaz and surrounding Wailea resorts make great jumping off points for Haleakala hikes and the Road To Hana.
So go on, treat yourself!
3550 Wailea Alanui Dr, Wailea, HI 96753
- Play in the Clouds at Haleakala National Park
A half-day, must do activity from Wailea is going to the summit of Haleakala to enjoy the sunrise. You’ll need to lay off the spicy margaritas the night before, but it’s worth it. The drive to the summit takes about 3 hours so plan on getting up a solid 4 hours before sunrise to make the trek to the top. The good news is that you can take a tour or drive yourself up the summit so you don’t have to hike in the pre-sun hours. We chose to drive ourselves up, which was 90% so Johnny could pretend he’s a professional driver taking on the winding roads of a car commercial. He nailed it, but do note that the roads are very, very steep and have very sharp turns. The summit’s elevation is 10,023 feet so it is very chilly. Plan on dressing warmly and bring blankets to wrap up in while you enjoy the sunrise.
Need to get in the zone on the way up to Haleakala? Throw on Trevor Hall’s “O Haleakala” during the drive.
After taking in the gorgeous sunset above the clouds, you can explore Haleakala National Park or head back down the crater. Be sure to stop by the Pools of ‘Ohe’o to chase some waterfalls, swim in the gorgeous pools, and hold your breath as people cliff dive. This spot is easy to get to by car and is located at Mile Marker #42. Try to get here earlier in the day as it does get very crowded in the afternoons.
If you choose to head back down, be sure to stop at Kula Lodge and Restaurant for breakfast and hot chocolate to warm yourselves back up. Not only is the hot chocolate amazing, but you get to take it picturesque views of Maui from your table.
Kula Lodge and Restaurant
15200 Haleakala Hwy, Kula, HI 96790
- Rent a Jeep and Drive the Road to Hana
Everyone will tell you not to skip the Road to Hana and we agree. There are two ways to do the Road to Hana—you can take the day trip route and complete the road trip in one, long day or take your time and stay in Hana overnight. We recommend the latter.
The drive to Hana puts you back into the driver’s seat of the winding roads of a car commercial (another feather in Johnny’s cap). The roads are steep, with blind turns and some spots with one lane. Spending the night in Hana allows you to not only take in all of the beautiful stops along the way, but also gives you time to slow down and drive carefully. Go on, go chase those waterfalls!
Quick tips for the Road to Hana:
- Stop in Paia Town to get gas and pick up lunch to enjoy at a stop along the way. This is also the point where you have to accept that you’re not in Kansas anymore and you WON’T get to stop for refreshments or gas again. Let the “what if’s” come and go…
- Download the “Road to Hana” GyPSy Driving Tour” app. This is $4.99, but your BFF during the drive. The GPS keeps you on track the whole way and gives you information about the stops along the way so that you can decide which to enjoy and which to skip.
- Do it, rent a Jeep for the drive. Yes, you’ll scream tourist, but you’ll be in good company. Being able to the rip the sides off and feel the fresh air during the drive is just badass.
- For some information about the popular stops along the way check out this website: http://roadtohana.com/sights.php
- Stay in Hana
As already enthusiastically stated, take time to stay in Hana. A night or two in Hana lets you take in the undeveloped side of Maui. In Hana, the Hawaiian culture and Maui’s natural beauty is untouched. Hana takes you back in time and follows through on its promise as Maui’s “Last Hawaiian Place”.
We stayed at Travaasa Hana, which, as we learned from locals, is a bit controversial because this is the first commercial name to hit the town. Travaasa bought out the local hotel that previously provided room and board in Hana, which has created some tension between the resort and the locals. Despite this, Travaasa utilizes many wonderful local people to lead their experiential activities.
5031 Hana Hwy, Hana, HI 96713
Our favorite Hana activities:
- Glider Jet Ride: While staying at Travaasa, we got to see Hana from the sky and conquer our fear of flying on a glider jet ride. If you think a small commuter flight is exciting, try a two-seater that shuts off the engine while mid-flight. Johnny even got to fly the glider for part of the trip (not sure if it was because I was white knuckling anything I could hang onto or what, but I didn’t get this privilege). We set this experience up through Travaasa.
- Net Fishing: Traditional throw net fishing with a local on a black sand beach. This tradition has been passed down from generation to generation in Hawaii and is one of their main sources of food. It was humbling to share in this amazing tradition (and to see how entertained locals were by our subpar attempts at tossing the net into the waves). Probably due to his confidence from tearing around the island in our Jeep, Johnny caught a tiny little fish, but had to give it up to young boy who gave a hard sell about how HIS dad needed it more than us. We also set this experience up through Travaasa.
- Trail Riding along the coast of Hana. This ride takes you through valleys and along the coast for unbelievable views of the ocean. While on our ride, our guide took us through ocean front land that Oprah bought to help maintain the undeveloped nature of the town. You get a piece of land! You get a piece of land! Everyone gets a piece of land! In all seriousness, props to Oprah. The amazing history and culture of Hana must be protected. We also set this experience up through Travaasa (thanks Travaasa!!)
- Pizza at Clay Oven Pizza Hana: This clay oven pizza stand with amazing pizza is full of love and surrounded by rainforest. Everything is made fresh on site and the pizza even comes on a banana leaf. Clay Oven is hard to find and the hours are weird, but this place is everything.
Mile Marker 31, Hana
*Clay Oven should be open every Friday from 4-8pm at Hana Farms