Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Hawaii (Maui)

Maui - Again?

Maui is one of our favorite islands. Its beautiful, has enough resources and is not as crowded! So when we had to pick a destination to go to which wasn't too far by air, for our first air travel with our daughter, it was Maui. She loves beaches and this would be a perfect change of weather for us from the cold and rainy winters in the bay area.

First flight!

Yes, I was super anxious about our toddler's first flight but it turned out better than expected. We had booked an afternoon flight to time it well with the afternoon nap. It was about 5-6 hours one way. I had a separate cabin luggage for her. So she knew that this cabin bag had her stuff and dragging it was her responsibility at the airport. She was all excited, happy and looking forward to it. Once in the plane, it was a little tough to convince her to stay seated until the seat belt sign turned off. So we learnt that we should put the seat belt on as late as possible. To keep her busy, we had sticker books and color books with crayons. Good enough until she dozed off. And on our way back, we had a similar experience and this time around things being more familiar for her, she was more cooperative.

Flight, Hotel, Car

As always, while travelling to Hawaii, we prefer booking a package through Costco Travel as we get everything sorted in one reservation. We wanted direct flights, a good hotel and a car rental. And we got all of it here in one place. Interestingly enough, we got the same hotel we had booked for our honeymoon about 14 years ago. Our stay at Royal Lahaina was nothing short of memorable and so so comfortable with a toddler. Our room was right by the beach. We stepped out into our patio and there was the pool and the beach about 20 feet away. These cottages are so cute and comfortable. From the reception, you could go to your cottage using the golf cart which was my daughter's favorite activity. She loved going for a ride in this golf carts and the drivers were more than happy to oblige. 

Our routine for the next four days


We were up bright and early, thanks to the minor time difference. We would head over the the coffee shop located in the resort, Royal Scoop. Grab some croissants, bagels and coffee and head straight to the beach. Then spend a few hours at the beach. It was hard to convince our daughter to go back to our room as she just wanted to keep playing in the sand and warm waters. As we were right by the beach, it was so convenient to go get something we would invariably forget, like the beach toys, or the sunscreen, or the floaties for the pool. Then from the beach, we would head to the pool and eventually go to our room for a shower and then head out for lunch.


Mornings by the beach
Now we were ready to head out for lunch. And we mostly explored the food trucks for lunch. Maui has so many food trucks to offer. They are all listed on yelp and depending on the cuisine you are interested in trying, you could pick one. Some of them take cash only and that could get tricky if you aren't carrying any. Here is a list of a few food trucks in Maui depending on where you are located. Some of the food truck we tried were:

  • Kamala's Pizza
  • Mexican - Ono Tacos

There are also fruit shops and juice bars roadside which were fun stop overs for us while driving down the coastal Hwy 30. We sometimes stopped at some beach or at vista points to watch for some whales. Then we headed back to the hotel for our much awaited afternoon nap. After beach time and a good lunch, we all had to take an afternoon nap everyday.


Evenings are the most beautiful in Hawaii. We spent our evening in different places. One day we spent roaming around the downtown Lahaina, which is all burnt now and makes us very sad, as we have very fond memories here from all our trips. The big banyan tree and walk along the coast are so relaxing and fun and a perfect evening activity. Then we picked a dinner place depending on what we wanted to eat. Most of the places here get full for dinner and there is waiting. So it may make sense to make a reservation beforehand. 

We spent some evenings walking in the Whalers Village. We would walk through the shops to hit the beach and then walk along the beach. We have always stayed in Lahaina in all our trips so this area is what we are familiar with and love to hang out at. Also, this is wear I get to drink my Belgian chocolate shake from Haagen Daz. 

Places where we had dinner:

It is just so sad to know that most of these have been burnt down by the fire. We can't wait for them to be back up on their feet and to revisit them.

What activities to do?

We will be back for more fun
We had a laid back trip planned and did not want to do any specific activities with our toddler other than beach time. Believe it or not, our third time here and we still have not gone to the Halekela Crater! But there is a bunch of stuff that one could do here. We have done a few of those in the past:

  • Snorkel at Molokini Crater - This is west of the island. There is the top of a crater emerging from the water making for calmer water sin the bay. It claims to have abundant sea life to make it a perfect snorkel spot
  • Go watch a Luau - As per reviews, our resort, Royal Lahaina has one of the best Luau shows offered in Lahaina, but just like Halekela Crater, we skipped it for the third time.
  • Halekela Crater - I hear sunrise is beautiful here. I am hoping on our fourth trip, we may finally wake up on time to go explore this mysterious sunrise!
  • Hana Highway - We drive down the Hwy back in 2009, and I hear it has better facilities and more sign along the way now. It used to end at a black sand beach back then.