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3 days in maui adventure cuisine and culture

Hookipa Beach, Paia

Maui, Hawaii’s second-largest island, was crowned Conde Nast Traveler’s Best Island in the U.S. 23 years in a row, and it has everything you might require to make an island daydream a reality. From visiting museums and historical architecture to exploring volcanic beaches via horseback there’s something for everyone. To help get you started, we’ve put together a three-day itinerary for your Maui getaway.

Day 1: Get adventurous

Get up at the crack of dawn, put your walking shoes on and head to Waimoku Falls, a 122-metre waterfall in Oheo Gulch about 15 minutes from Hana town in Haleakala National Park. The hike uphill is steep but well worth it for the wild orchids that bloom – not to mention the pool that’s formed at the top of the falls. To cool off after the labours of your hike hang ten on the shores of Lahaina, where thousands before you have caught waves and created surfing history. Get a lesson yourself or sit back and watch the pros work their magic.

If you’re ready to peel your pink skin away from the sand, try viewing Maui from a different perspective. Embark on a helicopter tour and immerse yourself in rare views high above both East and West Maui enabling you to see Haleakala Crater, Oheo Gulch as well as the rugged shoreline of Northeast Maui and the meandering valleys of Western Maui’s ancient mountains.

Once you’re back on land, consider jumping in the saddle and galloping back in time to explore Maui’s upland fields like a real “paniolo” or Hawaiian cowboy. Suitable for riders of all levels you will canter across pastures with sweeping views and hidden waterfalls. Join the local paniolo’s who make their living by ranching, roping and riding and enjoy a “real cowboy” experience.

Day 2: Eat, drink and be merry

Today is all about stuffing yourself silly with traditional and modern Maui fare. Start with a meal consisting of Hawaiian regional cuisine, which features fresh produce sourced from local farms and fish caught straight from the ocean. Head to small towns such as Paia and Wailuku for local delicacies, or gorge on a classic Hawaiian meal at one of the island’s famous luaus such as the Myths of Maui Luau at the Royal Lahaina Resort.

Look out for dishes such as grilled beef and pork, poi and Lomi salmon. Pretty much any luau you venture to in Hawai’i will offer up Kalua roast pork, which is a spectacular meal of a whole pig roasted in an imu pit (an underground oven lined with stones). Poi is ground taro with a consistency similar to paste, but you can rest assured it tastes sweeter than it sounds. Another feature of the luau tradition is ahi poke, made with raw, fresh ahi tuna caught right on the island. This is combined with soy sauce, onions, sesame oil and salt and pepper for a little taste of heaven.

Maui also offers luxurious dinner cruises, where you can enjoy ocean breezes while dining to the sounds of original Hawaiian music. Try a dinner cruise and be treated to a four-course meal and breathtaking ocean views.

If you’d rather keep both feet firmly on solid ground, revel in water views from a beachside restaurant, which can be found dotted around Paia, Kihei, Lahaina and Kahului.

As for your nightcap? Everything you’ve imagined about Hawaiian cocktails comes to fruition in Maui, where you can sip on coconut-based, rum-filled drinks such as a Lava Flow, which is a
traditional pina colada with strawberry puree and fresh bananas available at the Aston Maui Kaanapali Villa’s Castaway Cafe. The Castaway boasts one of the island’s best sunset views looking west towards the Islands of Molokai and Lanai.

Day 3: Get cultured

You might wake up feeling a little worse for wear on day three after gorging yourself on Maui’s finest fare. It’s nothing a spot of sunshine and a little culture won’t fix though. Pack your bag and head to Lahaina, 45 minutes from Kahului Airport on Maui’s west side. This was once a whaling town and was the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii from 1820 to 1845.

Located across from Lahaina Harbor inside the Old Lahaina Courthouse, the Heritage Museum houses images dating back to Lahaina’s whaling days. Enjoy other landmarks like the U.S. Seamen’s Hospital, Hale Paaho (Lahaina Prison) and the Pioneer Inn. You’ll also get to marvel at Maui’s oldest living banyan tree in front of the Lahaina Courthouse. The massive tree was imported from India and planted in 1873. It’s now the size of an entire city block and is over 18-metres tall.

For more information on Maui’s best sights and accommodation options get in touch with the team at HOOT holidays.