What do you do when you need to take a break from the island that you live on? Take a 30 minute flight to a different island! Exploring Maui for three days was the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of Oahu. Cory and I stayed in a quiet airbnb outside of the hippy town of Paia, located on the North Shore of Maui. It was interesting to compare Maui to Oahu and see the differences and the similarities. We spent the long weekend snorkeling, exploring all the different stops on the road to Hana, and hiking on a volcano crater! It was the perfect weekend filled with a combination of adventure and relaxation.
We booked a snorkeling excursion to Molokini Crater after arriving in the morning of our first day. Molokini is a volcanic crater located about three miles off the shore of Maui. The only way to get to the crater is to book a tour with a boat company. Since we snorkel all the time on Oahu, we just wanted a way to get to the crater, so we picked the Molokini Express tour through Blue Water Rafting. The two hour tour was $60 per person and it was totally worth it! I have never snorkeled in such clear water before. Afterwards, we ate and just rested at our peaceful airbnb.
Day 2: Road to Hana
This was my favorite day because it was so action packed! Road to Hana is a 60 mile drive through the lush rainforests on the eastern coast of Maui, filled with plenty of sights along the way. Our airbnb host Phil recommended we drive two and half hours to the final stop first and work our way backwards to the first sight of the journey. Taking the path backwards allowed us to beat the crowds, as the best stops are at the end of the Road to Hana. This was the best advice we could have received! We were on the road by 6:30 in the morning. This is also crucial if you want to beat crowds. Tour vans start hitting the road around 10 AM.
First (technically last) stop: Waimoku Falls
Waimoku Falls is located on a four mile roundtrip hike on the Pipiwai trail. We passed Seven Sacred Pools on the hike, but unfortunately they were closed, so we couldn’t swim in them. The trail is very easy because the elevation gain is only 600 ft. and the trail is well maintained. My favorite part about the hike was the section that took us through a bamboo forest. Once we reached the end of the trail, there was a no trespassing sign to the waterfall, but we ignored it, along with many other people. I would advise anyone else who hikes here to do the same! Waimoku Falls is 400 ft of absolute beauty. The best part of it was the fact that we had it all to ourselves! It was one of the most euphoric and romantic moments of my life. When we started to head back to the car, about 20 people showed up to the waterfall. This is why I would advise hitting the road no later than 6:30 AM.
The Venus Pool is located right before mile marker 48. To get to here, we had to climb over a fence and cross a field leading to a short trail that took us down to the pool. This is a hidden gem and a must visit! Cory and I cliff jumped and enjoyed swimming in the turquoise colored water. It is very secluded due to the fact that it’s hard to find. I jumped off the highest ledge and landed wrong, so now I am currently suffering from a gnarly bruise on the back of my leg. It was still worth it!
Red Sand Beach
Red Sand Beach is exactly what the title is and it caught us off guard. We weren’t expecting it to be so beautiful! Again we had to cross a field leading to the trail to get us access to the beach. Phil proved clutch again and lent us snorkel gear for this beach! Because the sand doesn’t kick up, the visibility is great!
After a 12 hour day of driving and sightseeing, we were ready to retreat back to our airbnb for some well deserved rest! The Road to Hana has a total of 620 curves and we survived! Here is my advice for enjoying Road to Hana:
- Start no later than 6:30 AM
- Start backwards by driving to the final destination and working your way back to the start of the drive.
- Bring plenty of water and snacks. There are hardly any restaurants on the road.
- Have a full tank. There are absolutely no gas stations!
We had so much fun and made so many unforgettable memories!
Day 3: Haleakala Volcano
This was Cory’s favorite thing we did! The drive up to the summit was filled with breathtaking views and much easier to navigate than the Road to Hana. We skipped out on sunrise so we could sleep in a little, but I would recommend being on the road no later than 7 AM. Because we left early, there was hardly any cloud coverage leaving us with a view so beautiful it couldn’t be captured in photographs. We hiked the Sliding Sand trail, and it was the most unique hike I’ve ever done. It felt like we were on Mars! The trail is an 8 mile roundtrip hike down and back up the crater of Haleakala. Cory and I hiked about a mile down and found a great lookout point and we decided to meditate for a few moments. The world seemed to have stood still for those moments, and it is a memory I will always cherish. Cory loved this hike because of how cold it was. (I loved it in spite of the cold.)
To end our stay, we enjoyed sunset at Ho’okipa Lookout in Paia. A local man asked us if we knew about the turtles as he pointed down to the beach at what we thought were rocks. They were in fact turtles! He said there were at least 50 of them! On Oahu we see one or two turtles beaching, but never that many! It was the perfect end to the perfect holiday weekend.
Check out the video below! (Volume on)