Visiting a Virgin Hotel, Biking Down a Volcano, Zip Lining Through a Rain Forest and Discovering a Waterfall: One Perfect Day in Maui!
Ever wonder what it’s like to check into a hotel where the bed has never been slept in, the towels are factory fresh and there aren’t any toenail clippings on the bathroom floor?
My family and I recently had that joyful experience while visiting the brand new Marriott Residence Inn in Wailea on the Hawaiian Island of Maui. While not oceanfront, the resort offers a free shuttle to local beaches and shopping. On-site amenities include a huge pool, putting green, basketball court and a BBQ area with five grills.
Our perfect day began after a quiet night’s sleep in a two-bedroom unit with a kitchen.
Still on eastern time, I woke early and headed to the Cinnamon Roll Place in nearby Kihei where a retired couple have been baking their gooey globs of goodness for years. I purchased a “six pack” hoping the “sugar high” would give my tribe the boost they needed to kick off our adventures for the day. It did.
We started with a car ride from sea level, up 6,500 feet to Haleakala, a dormant volcano which dominates the Maui landscape. Wearing helmets and layered clothing to protect from the blustery winds and occasional tropical showers, we climbed on specially designed mountain bikes for a 16-mile ride back down Haleakala.
Constantly clutching the hand brakes, we coasted the bikes down the sloping, switchback-filled road, only pedaling a few times up three short hills. We breezed through several micro-climates and savored natural fragrances like plumeria blossoms and eucalyptus leaves. After reaching our destination, Haleakala Bike Company in the quaint town of Haiku, we returned our gear and then looked for lunch. We found it from one of many nearby food trucks where we were served plates of delicious fried rice and teriyaki chicken.
An hour later, we were ready for our second adventure; a zip line over the lush rain forest. At Jungle Zipline, we donned helmets and strapped into safety harnesses. Minutes later, we were gliding over the breathtaking landscape, zipping on seven different lines, one stretching over 800 feet. We saw native plants and heard squawks from exotic birds mixed with shrieks of delight from fellow zippers.
The zip line soon ended but the discoveries continued when we stopped a few miles away at Punalau Falls. Hidden from the road and not featured in many guidebooks, the waterfall is hard to get to, but worth it. We scurried over slippery boulders, sometimes on all fours, and after about 15 minutes, arrived at a pool of inviting water fed by a waterfall so long we had to crane our necks skyward to see it toppling over the cliff. Feeling like we were enveloped in an “amphitheater of nature,” with the lava rock walls bursting with ferns and moss, we had discovered a true piece of Hawaiian paradise. The kids swam in the cool water and we took photos to memorialize our “secret spot.”
Our perfect day was winding down as we headed back to Wailea to prepare for our final adventure; a luau. Sporting festive Hawaiian attire, we arrived at the Grand Wailea, a sprawling oceanfront resort where the luau was staged.
The first hour we meandered around a craft fair, took photos and drank in the blazing sunset along with a few Mai Tai’s. After a quick trip through the buffet line where no one touched the Poi, the entertainment began.
We were treated to colorfully-costumed singers, dancers and drummers who wowed the audience of about eight hundred. The highlight came at the end when a fire dancer twirled flaming sticks around his sweaty body in sync with dramatic drum beats which dazzled the captivated crowd.
Exhausted but exhilarated, we trekked back to our virgin hotel room to enjoy the brand new everything and a good night’s sleep as we celebrated a perfect day in paradise.
Maui Best Bets:
Best Review App: Maui Revealed
Best Night Time Adventure: Haleakala Sunset & Stargazing Adventure
Best Snorkel and Scuba Experience: Makena Coast Dive Charters
Best Inexpensive Golf: Wailea Golf (Blue Course)
Best Activity on a Saturday Morning: Maui Swap Meet
Best Pizza and Italian Sandwiches: Manoli’s
Best Dessert: Maui Pie