Maui is one of those special places on Earth, where time slows right down, allowing you to completely unwind and switch off. Leave your cares and worries on the airplane, because as soon as you arrive, the warm, moist and sweetly scented tropical air will clear your mind. Take it easy, go with the flow, and embrace all that charming Maui has to offer: lush jungle, waterfalls, hiking trails, wildlife, beaches, local food grown in mineral rich volcanic soil, and of course, beautiful island weather (of which may I add has various moods for different times of the year, and day).
Last November my husband and I visited Maui for 4 blissful nights, and I wanted to share with you our personal favorite discoveries that are a little off the beaten track, and super nourishing for the soul.
Maui Eco Retreat
This place is “off the grid” (situated on the road to Hana near the town of Paia) and well suited for eco-conscious travellers and those who are spiritually minded. What’s super cool is that this tucked away retreat has a trail that takes you down to the beach, and another that takes you to a waterfall. The property is nice and spacious, with pretty green gardens to hang out in if you don’t want to go anywhere. Picture yourself waking up to meditate at sunrise, make a healthy breakfast in the shared kitchen, and go for a peaceful stroll around the grounds. Staying in the Bamboo Temple or Eco Thai Hale Cottage is a must. For the more budget conscious, the Lotus Room is the best of the 4 rooms located inside the main house.
For modern, farm fresh meals, head to Hana Ranch Provisions. Hāna Ranch Provisions serves wholesome, delicious ingredient-focused food. At the heart of the restaurant is a certified organic farm and ranch located in East Maui, focused on sustainable agriculture to produce local food that nourishes the land and the community. The menu features organic cooking from Chef Gary Johnson, as well as sandwiches on house-made bread, fresh squeezed juices, pastries baked daily, house-smoked meats and sausages.
Mana Foods - for nutritious snacks or high quality food to cook yourself while staying on the island, this health store has your name written all over it. It’s basically like a smaller version of Whole Foods Market, but with Hawaiian heart and soul.
Wow, this Izakaya style Japanese sushi restaurant in the heart of Haiku seems to be a locals secret. The passionate team at Nuka believes that food is best when the ingredients are fresh and the preparation is kept simple. To them, supporting local farmers and fishermen is a priority as well as a responsibility, bringing local and seasonal ingredients to the table as often as possible.
Hike: Waihee Ridge Trail.
I love to hike, and this trail is a nature lovers dream. It’s a good 5-mile round trip workout, but not too challenging. You ascend 1,500 feet up the mountain through a lush forest of kukui, guava, ohi'a, and ferns. The views along the way are simply breathtaking, over looking the sprawling island floor below, cascading waterfalls, and the surrounding ocean. Pack a picnic lunch and relax for a while at the top, soaking up the peace and quiet of being up in what feels like heaven on Earth.
Yoga – Maui Yoga & Dance Shala
This sweet little yoga studio in Paia makes you feel warmly welcomed and immediately at home. Join in on a variety of classes (Hot Yoga, Maui Aloha Yoga, Island Flow Yoga etc.) with super knowledgeable teachers. Whether you are into a dynamic vinyasa flow, or more relaxing candlelight yoga, there is something for everyone. The Introductory Special of 30 days for $30 is great value for visitors to enjoy. Want to really unwind? They also offer massage services too.
*Next door grab a refreshing juice or smoothie after class from Aloha Vegan Café.
Hiring a cool Jeep and driving around the scenic island is a must. From Paia or your accommodation, drive down the one and only famous road to Hana, stop for a swim at one of the well-known beaches (including the red and black sand beaches), and keep going around the island until you hit a road that cuts back across to Paia through the town of Makawao, where you can do some shopping (see below). The landscape on this road trip is spectacular with plenty of opportunities for taking photos! Take your time and be sure to stop off for some mouth-watering homemade banana bread at one of the little stands on the side of the road.
Be sure to sign up for my once monthly newsletter (located at the bottom of my website home page) packed with bonus travel, food, lifestyle and wellness tips to enjoy.