Maui

Hi Readers!

If you follow us on social media (see links in the top right corner + at bottom of this post!), you know we recently took a Hawaiian vacation. It was such a great experience and we wanted to share a short recap here with you. We have a number of readers from Hawaii so we hope you will share feedback with us and we will use it to plan our next trip!

We first visited Hawaii a year ago and really loved it. Lee did a lot of research and we chose to visit Maui because of all the things we were looking for in that particular vacation: quiet, beach time, great food, no concrete jungle. We fell in love with the island on that trip and decided to go back this year. We were really torn because we want to see the other islands, too, but we love Maui so much!

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Our first ever Hawaiian vacation, Paia, Maui, 2015

We always stay at the lovely Makena Beach and Golf Resort because of the great location, lovely facilities, and the friendliest staff ever! We also love the free internet, free parking, and no-resort fee. However, because of the beautiful location, the resort is being sold next year and turned into condos only Oprah can afford. So now we need to find a new place 😦 Any suggestions? We really value a location that allows us to walk out of our room and straight down to the beach.

All pictures above taken at Makena Beach Resort.

For both of our Hawaii trips thus far, we have booked via American Airlines Vacations. It has been a good experience in terms of reasonable prices with convenient packages including resort, airfare, and car bookings. AA is definitely not our airline of choice, but we have not had too many issues on our Hawaii trips. The biggest complaint we have is the lack of food service on the long flights (approx. 9 hours between DFW and Maui!) but they are beginning to serve meals this summer. We were just a few months too early.

One of our favorite things about Maui is the food and we wasted no time getting right to it. We each gained a few pounds on vacation. Certainly our highlight this trip was Mama’s Fish House in Paia.

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We did not visit this restaurant our first Maui trip because it was a bit from our resort and the prices seemed a little high. We decided we had to visit the 2nd trip. It was 200% worth it! The hype is well-founded. We were blown away by this place. There is a reason it is rated one of the top restaurants in the US! We had the Panang Curry and Roast Duck and their flavor was absolute perfection. Of course, we had to finish it off with the famed Polynesian Black Pearl.

We were wowed by both presentation and flavor. We give Mama’s Fish House 3 thumbs up (out of two!) and can’t wait to visit again.

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We ate ourselves into oblivion the entire trip. Some other favorites included:

Kihei Caffe (the banana-macadamia nut french toast will knock your socks off)

Da Kitchen (Loco moco)

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Leoda’s Kitchen + Pie Shop (3 words: banana cream pie)

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Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice

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Seascape at Maui Ocean Center (world’s best fries with a beautiful harbor view)

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Not pictured, but equally loved: Pita Paradise and Monkeypod Kitchen.

One of the main reasons we choose to visit Hawaii in February is: whale season. We saw so many! Too many to count. They can be seen from various lookouts across the island, but the best way is to go out on the water. We did our whale watch through the Pacific Whale Foundation (locations in Lahaina and at the Maui Ocean Center) and we had a great experience!

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We were a little nervous about the whale watch because Lee tends to get motion sick. We talked to a helpful worker at the Whale Foundation who got us booked on an early morning trip (calmer waters) and a bigger boat. It did the trick! Lee had no issues. We were out on the boat for about 2 hours and saw so many whales! It was an awesome first whale watch experience!

Another of our favorite experiences was our Lahaina shopping day. Of course, it was fun to walk through all of the shops and look around. But we also got a really neat souvenir! In one of the shops, Whitney got to choose an oyster to open. We were so surprised when we popped it open and a beautiful pink pearl was inside. We decided to have it mounted as a keepsake to bring home.

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It was really fun to claim “our” pearl and be able to bring it home as a piece of jewelry that Whitney can wear as a reminder of our awesome vacation.

Another favorite day of the trip was our visit to Haleakala. We did not do this our first trip so it was our first time to see the volcano.

What a sight to behold! It was so cool to be high above the clouds. We felt like we were on top of the world.

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We had a lot of fun texting with Whitney’s brother Seong-bae while we were in Maui. He and his wife had visited just a month or two before on their honeymoon. We visited a lot of the same places and compared pictures. We were amazed at how many Koreans we saw on the island! We felt like we had somehow been transported back to Seoul. Whitney was able to help a few of them with less-than-perfect English skills with directions and logistical things throughout the week we were there.

Of course, our favorite thing to do in Hawaii was relax by the beach and the pool. Our resort was such a comfortable place to come “home” to everyday and we made the most of our time there. Makena also has a lot of activities for their guests so we had fun participating in as many of those as we could. Our last day we got to watch an hour-long keiki dance show by the pool. On Friday night, we did pizza and a movie at the pool (The Good Dinosaur – so sad!).

On Saturday, we got free tattoos by the pool!

We still have the tan lines – haha! We really appreciated all the little things Makena does to make their guests’ stay very memorable. We will miss the resort when they close! 😦

Our beach time was mostly spent eating shaved ice, Whitney napping, and Lee snorkeling. We also enjoyed spending sunsets on the beach or on our patio, overlooking the ocean.

Our trip ended all too soon but we look forward to visiting again in the future. Be sure to send us your recommendations and Maui favorites! Mahalo!

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© We the Lees, 2016. All Rights Reserved

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