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I recently returned to Maui for a staycation’ and was able to visit several regions of the island. I took part in some activities that I’d like to recommend to future visitors.
House of the Sun
The trip up 10,000 feet (in 22 miles) to the summit of Haleakala was a frontrunner on my to-do list. From the Kahului area, it took about 90 minutes to get up to the top. Things to plan for: $10 cash fee, no food /gas available, the visitor’s centers closes late afternoon, but the restrooms stay open and it’ll be chilly or downright freezing up there. The day was stormy, which seemed to be imperfect conditions for such an arduous drive. It also made the crater impossible to see (normally a stunning sight that resembles a Mars-like topography), but the ride itself was worth the effort.
I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the perse ecosystems that changed with the elevation. I saw flowers, plants and rocks I’d never seen before and chased the same rainbow for 2,000 ft. (glorious). Coming down at sunset produced colors and clouds that made it even more worthwhile. Ancient Hawaiians called this volcano “the house of the sun.” It was a place where the gods lived and only priests could visit. I can see why.Following a rainbow to the top of Haleakala.
Whale of a time
I did a whale watch expedition out of Lahaina. Boats also go out of Maalaea Harbor in Wailuku. These are most active during the winter months when the whales are here during migration. This is a very popular activity on Maui because the channel between it and Lanai’i are filled to the brim with mother whales, their calves and young males. I also visited NOAA’s whale sanctuary visitor’s center (726 S. Kihei Rd, Kihei, free, 10am-3pm). Get a glimpse of whales at this popular whale watch tour.
Surf anyone? I watched a group take a surf lesson at Kalama Beach in Kihei. I’ve watched lessons in Waikiki and will say I’d much prefer what I saw in Kihei. The break there is in shallow water, close to shore, so no paddling out to far distances. Because of this it is possible to stand in the water between waves. For the novice, I’d say this improves your success rate. Operators take up shop across the street in a small triangle of space where they operate out of trucks or kiosks. They are friendly and helpful, so check them out!Maui surf truck serves unforgettable lessons to tourists.