The fabled views along the road to Hana eluded us twice, hidden beneath a heavy blanket of mist and persistent rain. But there's a reason why Maui is so verdant and beautiful. Rainfall equals lush jungle and spectacular waterfalls and results in amazing farm to table cuisine. Here, a few of our favorites from a recent assignment with Bon Appétit Magazine and Hawaiʻi Visitors & Convention Bureau.
Travaasa Hana. We loved this super laid back resort perched on the Pacific. Opt for a bungalow with sea views if you can. Preserve Kitchen and Bar, overlooking Hana Bay, serves incredible, locally inspired dishes and cocktails (try the passionfruit spritz). Once you've explored the local coastline, try one of Travaassa's signature adventure, culinary, fitness, spa & wellness, and culture experiences.
Paia Inn. A cute little spot on Maui's North Shore. Our absolute favorite thing about Paia Inn? Their private beach. Just before sunset, giant Green sea turtles haul out onto the beach for a well deserved rest. It's a spectacular sight.
The scenic drive to Hana is a must. The 52 miles of dramatic views, thundering waterfalls and lush rainforests can take up to four hours due to hairy switchbacks and hairpin turns. You'll want to leave plenty of time to stop at the foodtrucks that dot the highway. Our favorites? Aunty Sandy's Banana Bread near Keanae Lookout, Coconut Glenn's Ice cream at mile marker 27 and the pork tacos at Uncle Harry's.
Upper Waikani Falls are incredible (we went near the end of the day and enjoyed them to ourselves).
Seven Sacred Pools. Though the pools themselves are closed, hiking trails near the pools are open. More info here
Haleakala summit for sunrise or sunset (reservations are required to visit the summit for sunrise)
Surfing Goat Dairy. Hanging out with cute baby goats and then tasting a flight of delicious goats cheese, otherwise known as an excellent day out.
EAT / DRINK
You can't go wrong with food on Maui. Everything we ate was locally sourced, cooked fresh and utterly delicious, whether it was a road-side foodtruck or a Zagat rated restaurant. Here, a few of our favorites:
Preserve Kitchen and Bar at Travaasa Hana for beautiful food and beautiful views.
Tin Roof Maui. Our absolute favorite food on Maui. Located in an-easy-to-miss strip mall near the airport, James Beard-nominated local chef Sheldon Simeon's bowls are in hot demand. Try the Mochiko Chicken and the Pork Belly. And arrive early because Tin Roof is only open 10:00 am - 2:00 pm Mon-Sat.
Paia Fish Market in Paia for delicious fish and chips.
The Inn at Mama's Fish House. Kitschy Polynesian decor and local Hawaiian dished make this spot an institution. It's busy and touristy but rightly so, the food is incredible.
Huli Huli Chicken at Kaihalulu Beach in Hana. BBQ chicken, ribs, paper plates and beer, with spectacular pacific views and live music. We love this place.