Vincent and I went to Hawaii for our honeymoon last month and it was an absolute dream. We split our time between Maui and the Big Island, spending about 10 days in Maui and 4 on the Big Island, for a total of two weeks. If you ever have the chance to visit Hawaii, we would highly recommend it. Not only does Hawaii have some of the most beautiful (and colorful) beaches in the world, you can also find rain forests, waterfalls, volcanoes and lava tubes. Below are some of our favorite spots in Maui and the Big Island.
Maui really is everything people say it is and more. The geographic diversity is stunning. During our ten days on the island, we virtually covered the entire coast of the second largest Hawaiian island. On the famous Road to Hana, we drove through tropical jungles and rainforests, and made stops for waterfalls, fresh coconuts, and the famous banana breads. We spent 6 nights in Hana, which might seem like a long time for such a small place, but we were definitely glad that we did.
- Waianapanapa Black Sand Beach – it’s hard to miss this gorgeous black sand beach if you are in Hana. It is arguably one of the most famous spots and it’s easy to see why. The famed black sand beach is on the smaller side, but the beautiful scenery is nevertheless breathtaking. There is a small trail next to the beach that takes you to a higher viewing point. It’s a short walk and definitely worth it.
- Hamoa Beach and Koki Beach – these two beaches are fairly close by and you can easily check out both in one afternoon. Hamoa Beach is a soft white sand beach that is perfect for relaxing and surfing. Koki Beach is a bit smaller and we only stayed for a few minutes. It’s also where you can find the local Huli Huli Chicekn food truck, but make sure you get there before 4pm!
- Kaihalulu Beach (red sand beach) – this was probably my favorite spot out of the entire trip. Unlike the other beaches, this one was definitely not accessible by car. Even the trail that led to the beach was a bit hard to find; there was no sign whatsoever and we were lucky enough to see a couple of other visitors returning from the beach. While the trail was quite narrow at times the hike overall was pretty easy and short. Just make sure to take caution and you will find yourself at one of the most beautiful places on earth!
- Hana Lava Tube – caves formed by lava flow some two thousand years ago. It’s a quick 30-minute self-guided tour with flash light. We found this to be a nice way to get out of the sun for a bit and to see something that was also planned as bomb shelter. The nearby maze was beautiful, lined by a local tropical plant with flaming red leaves. Easily the prettiest maze I have ever seen.
- Twin Falls – this was the first popular stop along the Road to Hana. There were ample parking spots but they still fill up quickly. If you don’t see a spot immediately hang around and someone will probably leave in a few minutes. The falls are nested within a tropical park with other gorgeous plants and bamboo groves.
- Wailua Falls – one of the many waterfalls along the side of Road to Hana. Luckily, we were able to stop for this one.
- Waimoku Falls, Bamboo Forest, and Pools of ‘Ohe’o: All three of these attractions are near the eastern entrance of the Haleakala National Park. The Waimoku Falls is at the end of a 2-mile hike. Half way through the hike is the bamboo forest, which covers much of the second mile of the hike. The Pools of ‘Ohe’o was part of a half mile loop. The two trails are next to each other and can be done with or without a break in between. All three were definitely worth it. My favorite was probably the bamboo forest, which truly felt magical (minus the bug bites).
- Haleakala Crater: This is probably the most photographed places on the entire island and also Vincent’s favorite spot from our trip. The prismatic crater of this dormant volcano was truly a sight to behold. Definitely worth the long drive both to and from. The peak is over ten thousand feet and the altitude might cause discomfort to some people. Both Vincent and I felt fine during our time there. Aside from the crater itself, we also enjoyed the view above the clouds.
- Nakalele Blowhole and the Heart-shaped Rock: Vincent saw a picture of this somewhere on social media and the romantics in us just couldn’t miss it. The drive there was reminiscent of Road to Hana: narrow, winding mountain roads that only had enough space for 1.5 cars and no way to see the cars coming around the corner. At one point we actually had to back up along the road (along with another car in front of us) because there were half a dozen cars coming from the opposite direction and there was literally no space for two-lane traffic. Suffice to say I was both freaking out and annoyed, but we survived. We were so fixated on looking for the heart-shaped rock we had no idea there was a blowhole right next to it. We circled around the western and southern borders of Maui on the way back and even caught our first and last Hawaiian sunset along the way.
The only sight seeing we did on the Big Island was on a helicopter ride with the Paradise Helicopters that took us around the entire Big Island. The highlights of our ride were definitely the lava flow of Kilauea Volcano and the Hi’ilawe Falls in the Waipio Valley. Seeing both in air was definitely a treat and absolutely worth it.
Planning a trip to Maui or the Big Island? Check out my recommendations on hotels, bed & breakfast. Stay tuned for an upcoming post on our favorite acai bowls, poke spots, and Thai food truck.