I always thought the word
was overused to describe the Hawaiian Islands, but now I understand why. It's such a perfect balance of weather, natural beauty, wonderful people, fascinating culture and mindblowing activities. This was simultaneously one of the most relaxing holidays I've ever had as well as possibly the most stressful holiday I've ever had. I definitely got my wish to go somewhere warm and experience a level of much needed peace. However, I also faced many fears and pushed myself past many things I used to view as limitations. It was overall an incredible experience!
The Hyatt Regency Maui on the south end of Ka'anapali was spectacular. The flawlessly landscaped grounds did much to surround you with the island splendour. There are parrots, penguins, koi, hammocks, oceanfront massages, delicious food, plumeria and palm trees galore. And their pool area has been called the best on the entire island, with a huge main pool, a separate kid's play area, a rope bridge, a hot tub, a waterslide and a grotto bar. The food was superb, and the eating options are plentiful and add to the experience. There is even a mini shopping area with a Macy's. The Hyatt Regency is not by any means cheap, but we found it to be worth every penny.
We hired Maui Magic for our catarmaran snorkel trip, and we loved them! You can tell they enjoy their job, even when torment/teasing Jenny about being uncomfortable with sea life. They even managed to get me, terrified of deep water, out snorkeling by myself above the reef for a good ten minutes. We saw fish, coral reef, sea turtles, the most recent lava flow on Maui and teeny Molokini. It was my favorite of the activities we did in Hawaii.
Another vendor we used was Goofy Foot Surf School in Lahaina. I'd never even touched a surf board before, but I'd always wanted to try. And even though I really don't have a future in surfing, they did keep their word that I would ride a wave. I actually rode part or all of four waves, and I was the one that had to take a break! Their photographer snagged some fun shots of all of us, and the instructor was very patient with a newbie like me. But be prepared for major physical exertion!
The final vendor we used as Skyline EcoAdventures ziplining above West Maui. Now that I've done it, I can say they run a decent operation. But they don't provide much info beforehand, and that uncertainty didn't help my massive anxiety. For that reason, I intend to write up a detailed tip specifically on that vendor in the near future to help others that have or may book with the company to know more of what to expect. All in all, ziplining was just crazy! I'm not one of those that got such a rush and don't plan to do it again, but I'm glad I accomplished it and have that incredible experience!
Other than that, I can highly recommend wandering down the Ka'anapali beachfront boardwalk, shopping at Whaler's Village, open air markets and art fairs under the banyan tree in Lahaina and watching the sunrise over Maalea Harbor. There is so much of Maui we didn't have the time to see, I can only imagine Wailea, Haleakala and the road to Hana. And that's not even touching the other islands! Maybe next time.
Many people have asked me, "Which do you like better: Maui or London?" First of all, they're not even remotely in the same category; comparison is a little unfair. But to answer the question bluntly, I continue to feel like belong in London, city girl that I am at heart. But I overwhelmingly appreciate Hawaii for what it offers: stars twinkling above pink sunsets, the constant sound of ocean waves, the smell of plumeria trees, the call of the tropical birds, eating breakfast next to a waterfall, the warm breezes at night, the kindness of the people, the gentle slack-key guitar music everywhere... Aloha and mahalo, Maui. What an amazing week!