Maui: West Maui

Bumped into some interesting happenings the past few days.  Anyhow, back to our regularly scheduled programming en Maui…

With the sunrise and the wedding planned the day before, we knew our second day in Maui would need to be a little more low-key.  We ended up packing up some of our stuff and having a day trip out in West Maui.

West Maui was about an hour north of where we were staying, so driving back and forth didn’t seem ideal.  We first made a stop at Iao Valley to see the Iao Needle.  We expected this area to be more of a hike, but it’s a leisurely stroll.  I’ve heard that if you travel with locals, they can show you a secret trail that is supposed to be beautiful, but obviously, we had no locals with us at the time.  It was beautiful, nonetheless — like a scene out of Jurassic Park.  Plus, it didn’t hurt to help work up an appetite.  Photos in the future.

After Iao Valley, we headed up to Lahaina which seems to be the “go-to” for tourists coming in to visit Maui.  It’s for good reason, as all the shops, malls, and outlets all seem to be in the area.  Not really our cup of tea, but we knew we had to check it out.

First stop was the Banyan Tree at the Lahaina Courthouse Square.  This tree was planted back in 1873 and has become the largest banyan tree in Hawaii.  The most unique thing about this tree has to be its aerial root system.  If you look closely, all of the “stumps” you see are actually roots that used to hang from the branches of the tree.  Once they reach the ground, they eventually harden and grow.  It’s actually just one big tree.  When you’re there, you can see where they trim the hanging roots so that they don’t reach the ground.

Front Street runs by the Banyan Tree, and it’s here you’ll find plenty of food, shopping and bars.  It’s really cute and quaint.  We weren’t really interested in doing any actual shopping, but I’ll admit that I jumped for joy when I saw that the there was a Honolulu Cookie Company shop nearby.  It really is the best shortbread cookie around.  My favorite is the lilikoi flavor, but they’re all exceptionally delicious.

Good news – there’s a shop opening up soon on the mainland!  Bad news – it’s in Vegas.

After we were done perusing the Street, we decided to get some snorkeling in.  Before we left for Maui, I looked up great snorkeling locations and found that Honolua Bay was a surefire way to spot some amazing tropical fish.  The Bay was definitely beautiful.  You have to hike down to the actual snorkeling location through a rich, green forest alongside a bunch of resident wild chickens.  It’s a fun little experience in itself.

Sadly, the water was a little murky because of the recent heavy rains that had run down the mountain and into the water.  We couldn’t really spot much, and I got really uncomfortable realizing I couldn’t see really far.  Perhaps another time…

Honolua Bay really is an untouched area of the island, and it seems the locals really want to keep it that way to preserve its beauty.  I’m happy for that.  Since they had made little to no modern changes, there were no showers to rinse off the saltwater.  One of the locals directed us to D.T. Fleming Beach just down the road.

In 2006, this beach was named America’s Best Beach.  Interesting thing is that I was here with my family in 2006.  It’s just as beautiful today as it was back then.  I actually appreciated the view much more now than I did back then.  Isn’t that typically the case? 🙂

We jumped into the beach to enjoy that clear Hawaiian water, then we went to rinse off at the showers.  After that, we decided to go ahead and change for the remainder of the day.  Beach bummed out.  We headed back into the city to… eat.

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