Category Archives: Maui

Southwest Airlines Now Flies to Hawaii!

Southwest Airlines flew it’s first commercial flight to Hawaii yesterday on a route from Oakland, California to Honolulu.  Southwest’s entry into the Hawaiian market has been eagerly anticipated and fare wars have already begun.  Starting March 24th, there will be two daily flights each way between Oakland and Honolulu.  April 7th will see the first flight from Oakland to Kahalui, Maui with the return flight available beginning the next day. Twice daily service between these two cities will start April 10th.

Other announced schedules include 4 times daily  inter island service between Honolulu and Kahalui starting April 28th  expanding to four times daily between Honolulu and Kona on May 12th.  Flights, once daily, between San Jose and Honolulu will start May 5th and between San Jose and Kahului, once daily, starting May 26th.

Details are expected within the next week  for schedules involving San Diego, Sacramento and Kauai.

We look forward to more schedules from Southwest Airlines and lower fares for all of us wanting to visit the gorgeous Hawaiian Islands!





Kahului Gets a Party

Maui Friday town parties rotate between Kihei, Makawao, Lahaina and Wailuku, with the occasional 5th Friday occurring on Lanai.  Kahalui has now, forgive the pun, joined the party as well.  A Sunday market at the Kahului Shopping Center parking lot runs from 4pm – 8pm in a cordoned off section of the shopping center parking lot along Kaahumanu and Puunene avenues. 

More than a dozen food trucks and a couple dozen vendors participate. There is also a stage for live entertainment. The market was originally designed to attract tourists disembarking from cruise ships that dock nearby as well as to help revitalize the city. The market is succeeding with an average of 1, 500 to 1,700 people attending the market each Sunday evening. Many of the attendees are locals that come to shop and often stay to socialize.  

Going where the locals go has always been a favorite trick of ours in experiencing the local atmosphere plus finding more off the beaten path sources of fun.  This market started after our last visit to the island and I’m looking forward to experiencing it in person! Been there? Let me know what you thought.

Another Maui Must Do – The Black Sand Beach

Beaches are one of the first things that come to mind when thinking about Maui. Beautiful, long, white soft sand beaches.  These are  fantastic and most people spend spend many hours on them, basking in the sun, swimming in the ocean, reading a good book as well as the myriad other fun things to do on the beach.

Maui also has a gorgeous black sand beach that is well worth visiting. It is located at mile marker 32 on the road to Hana and is part of the Wainapanapa State Park.  As you have probably guessed, the black sand is made up of ground lava and indeed at the water’s edge the black sand gives way to lava. Due to the lack of sand at the entry to the water, this is not a great beach for frolicking in the water, but it is a great spot for snorkeling and diving. There is coral and a reef just offshore which creates a home for lots of sea life, including green sea turtles which are also commonly found here.


Wainapanapa State Park also features a lava tube, blow hole and a sea arch, all of which are fascinating as well and quite nice added bonuses to the black sand beach itself.

Been to the black sand beach? Let us know what you think!


Did you Know that Maui has Sea Caves?!

Along the remote Kanaio Coast of Maui , stretching from Makena in South Maui to Hana, is a very arid and barren stretch of the island. One can drive along part of this area by going the “back way to Hana”.   This drive, starting in Kula and ending in Hana, of course, is a tricky, windy, one lane road that sometimes isn’t paved. Rental car companies generally prohibit rental cars from being taken on this road. We will write more about the joys of the back road in a later post, but for now we want to discuss another spectacular way to see this area.

A unique way to view this coast is by boat which then opens up the possibility of exploring the sea caves that dot this coastline.  There  are a number of tours that offer snorkeling and diving options as well as tours that feature going inside the caves. These tours not only offer access to otherwise inaccessible areas of Maui, but also provide beautiful views of Haleakala as well as lava arches and grottos.  Many of these tours will also include a trip over to Molikini, another awesome spot to snorkel.


Been to the sea caves? Let us know what you thought!


Maui + Sunflowers = Gorgeous!!

Beginning last year, residents and visitors alike were thrilled to discover the vibrant fields of sunflowers located between Kahalui and Maalea.

Pacific Biodiesel, the nation’s longest operating biodiesel producer,  has 200 acres of sunflowers that, besides being stunning beautiful, are being put to great use. Their oil is being used in a number of ways, from cooking oil to beauty products.



Indeed some of the local spas are using the sunflower oil as ingredients in their massage oil.  What sounds particularly intriguing is that the company has started Kuleana, a sustainable, locally made skin care line, that will be creating and releasing a reef-safe suncreen soon. This is awesome!

We, like many others, stopped by the fields to see their riotous color and to take pictures.  Given that the fields are right off the highway, traffic can be a bit of an issue both for the viewers and for other drivers. Pacific Biodiesel is now working with a private tour operator, that will incorporate the sunflower farm as a daily stop in the Maui Made Fresh Tour.  This tour sounds like a must do!

Be sure to see the sunflowers on your next visit and share your pictures – we’d love to see them!

So What is a Luau Anyway?

One of the first things people often think of when planning activities in Hawaii is to attend a luau. But what is this and why is it synonymous with Hawaii? Around the world people of all cultures celebrate milestones and events with parties and food, feasting with friends and family. For Hawaiians this party is often called a luau but it’s origins date back to pre-contact with the Western World.

These outdoor celebrations were originally called ‘aha ‘aina and and the events were full of symbolism. Certain foods were deemed to have particular attributes such as strength and other foods, such as pork, bananas and certain fish, were considered delicacies and were off limits to women and to those men not of royal lineage. Indeed men and women did not eat together.

This separation of men and women during meals was ended in 1819 by King Kamehameha II and soon the name of these celebrations changed to luau, which in Hawaiian means feast,  and included these foods previously considered delicacies.  A roast pig is a featured aspect of these luaus as is taro which is a staple of the native Hawaiian diet and is a core component of the Hawaiian culture.

The luau also includes entertainment such as dancing, particularly the hula, as well as live music, and often also has demonstrations of other skills such as fire knife dancing. These types of dance are also highly symbolic and intertwined with the Hawaiian culture.





There are many luaus in Maui to choose from and we highly recommend attending one while you are in Maui.  We’ve been to several and the one I’d personally recommend is the Old Lahaina Luau as it seemed the most authentic and the food and the service was wonderful.  Dress attire is casual – clothes should be nicer than beach attire but nothing fancy is required.  A sundress or nice shorts and a blouse for women and khaki shorts and Hawaiian shirt or polo shirt for men are pretty standard.  In winter months the evenings can get chilly enough that a lightweight sweater might be in order.

Happy feasting! Bring your appetite and your camera!

Maui Friday Town Parties

Everyone loves Fridays and Maui does too. Every Friday in Maui is Aloha Friday and Maui celebrates by having a town party every Friday evening that highlights one of Maui’s historic small towns.  Come for great food, meet local artists, enjoy live music and enjoy the kid friendly activities.

The first Friday of the month is celebrated in Wailuku. The second is in Lahaina, the third in Makawao and the fourth Friday party is in Kihei.  When a fifth Friday occurs in a month, the town party happens on the neighboring island of Lanai and extra ferries from Lahaina to Lanai are put in service.

Best of all the parties are free to attend – what you spend is up to you. There’s always lots to enjoy!


fourth friday kihei party


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Iao Valley Reopens

Iao Valley reopened on August 5th following an almost year long closure resulting from the devastating floods that occurred in September 2016. At that time, the heavy rains and flash flooding caused substantive damage to the park, washing away trails, eroding roads and even changing the course of the Iao Stream. The almost $2million repair project remains ongoing but additional permit approval is required. While the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) awaits the permits it has reopened the park. It appears likely that the park may close again in the fall or at a minimum be back under construction.

Now is a great time to visit – or revisit – this gorgeous area!

The Iao valley was sacred to the Hawaiians and was forbidden  to all but Hawaiian royalty; indeed Hawaiian chiefs were buried in this valley.  In 1790 King Kamehameha I, fighting to unite the Hawaiian islands, defeated the Maui army here at the Battle of Kepaniwai.

This valley is the second wettest place in Hawai’i – the summit receives an average of over an inch of rain a day.  The Iao needle is a 1200 foot high peak that is viewable from the easy to reach observation deck. There is an abundance of tropical flora to be seen and an exhibition area designed to show what the valley was like before contact with westerners. There are small pools and the stream that many like to wade or swim in.  For those more adventurous there are other trails that lead further in and up the valley.

As with hiking in any natural area, be sure to review the weather forecast before you go – flash floods are a hazard here – and bring adequate water and sunscreen with you. Enjoy!



Haleakala Sunrise Reservations Required

Due to the overwhelmingly popularity of viewing sunrise atop the 10,000 plus foot Haleakala, the National Park Service is requiring reservations starting February 1st, 2017. Reservations may be booked online at up to two months in advance and until 6:00pm HST the day before a planned visit. The NPS will hold 30 tickets to be made available one day in advance, also until 6:00pm HST. Tickets are not available on a first-come, first-served basis at the park or at the entrance station. The reservation fee is $1.50 per vehicle and is separate from the park entrance fee. Photo id matching the reservation is required and the reservation fee is not refundable due to bad weather. Entering the park after sunrise hours, 3am to 7am, does not require a reservation.

If booking ahead is not your thing, consider visiting Haleakala at sunset and then staying for the star viewing. No matter when you go, be sure to go with enough gas and food as neither are available in the park. Always bring warm clothes as the temperatures at the summit can drop below freezing.

Happy Viewing!


Celebrate Haleakala’s 100th Anniversary!

August 1st marked the 100th anniversary of Haleakala achieving national park status.   On August 1, 1916, the National Park Service established Hawaii National Park which was comprised of Haleakala National Park and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.  In 1961 these two parks separated into their individual status we know today.

Haleakala National Park receives more than 1 million visitors annually, who come to enjoy it’s 24,000 acres of wilderness and more than 35 miles of trails.  Haleakala boasts unique plants and animals that aren’t found elsewhere in the world and more endangered species than any other national park, including the nene, the Hawaiian goose that that had vanished from Maui and was reintroduced in the 1960s.


Come celebrate Haleakala – whether it’s your first time or your 100th! There’s always something new to appreciate about this amazing piece of paradise.