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things I love: maui

Another "things I love" travel edition this time around! I'm highlighting some of my favorite things we did in Maui this visit. In the future, we definitely plan to make the trip to Hana, but this time opted out of the ride that sounded winding and rough. If you DO make it, please do let me know how it goes! :)

This is my boyfriend's favorite photographer and we got to stop by and explore his gallery on Front Street. He is an incredibly talented photographer and his work was amazing to see. If you ask someone working to show you a photograph in the lighting room, they'll display how different lighting changes the way the photograph renders. I really enjoyed it and would definitely say it's worth stopping by!

I was weary of this place because it seemed strange due to the name, but the drip coffee was great. The woman working was wonderful, and on my last day when she said "see you tomorrow" it equally delighted me that she recognized me and broke my heart that I wouldn't be back to see her the next day! It took a minute to get served, because she works solo, but the wait was worthwhile and like... what are you doing rushing through your morning coffee experience on vacation in Hawaii anyway? I also tried the iced vanilla latte drink which was delicious, but sweeter than I usually go for in the morning, especially next to an açaí bowl, which brings me to...

So this is actually a grocery store, that sometimes has a farmer's market, but always has an amazing smoothie and açaí bowl counter. They also offer incredible banana bread! I went just about every day for an açaí bowl (so. good.) and walked across the street to Honokoawi Beach Park to enjoy it by the water with my coffee from Bad Ass Coffee. It was a great way to start the day.

We came straight here after we landed and had amazing fish and chips for lunch, along with great beer from Maui Brewing! It's a solid stop every time we go.

We had multiple people, including our amazing kayak tour guide Carlos who I basically would trust/did trust with my life, recommend this place for the best poke. It's affordable and incredible and it's an unassuming counter in a grocery store. We were told there was a crispy onion version, which the Foodland we went to didn't have unfortunately, that we had to try - so it seems we'll just have to go back! The move is to pick some up with some coconut water and enjoy it on the beach. Or if you're us, you already spent a bunch of hours at the beach and needed a quick sun break to enjoy lunch. I'd definitely recommend it! Get a bowl and you'll see for yourself!

We did our kayak tour the morning after our first night in Hawaii and it was perfect. We were wiped after our first day and traveling, so we were able to turn in early making our 6am wake up call for the kayaking tour less painful than it would usually be. Even better, getting out in the water early meant calmer water with less wind. I would definitely get up early to do this again. We saw amazing turtles, coral, urchins, fish and had an incredible time hopping in and out of the kayaks to snorkel. Our guide, as mentioned above, was named Carlos and he was fantastic and you could tell he clearly loved his job, which is always infectious.

Carlos also tipped us off to Makena State Park aka "Big Beach" - it was absolutely stunning. There were turtles, and beautiful clear water, and I would highly recommend it!

We went on an awesome horseback ride at this incredible ranch along the coast one afternoon. If you are up for that kind of thing, I'd definitely recommend it. It was so cool to see the horses' personalities and explore in a different way than you would on foot/in a car. The guides were awesome and the horses were so well trained, I felt super safe.

I am rarely the person to order meat when I'm out to eat, and I especially am the last person I'd peg for ordering duck, but I was told that this spot has the best crispy duck, so I ordered the crispy duck quesadilla for lunch (light on the duck, please) and it was really good. That, plus the happy hour (hello lilikoi margaritas!) we happened time perfectly, was great post-horseback riding fuel in Paia.

An awesome beach to swim at in Ka'anapali where you can jump off of a cliff (that you have to swim to and climb up). I did it once last time, and that was good for me, but hey - if you're into that sort of thing, go for it! The water is great here, so is the beach, and it's right adjacent to many hotels, restaurants and a mall.

It was great to spend time with my boyfriend's family in Maui, especially after a year of no traveling like this. We soaked up a lot of sun, savored the warm ocean and nights, and ate as much seafood as possible. I look forward to the next trip back!

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