Chillin & Thrillin in a Tropical Paradise   7 comments

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What Is The Next Vacation You’d Love To Take?

Dream away. Share the fun. Or if your blog or business is made up of a team, you could always share where each of the team wants to go on vacation next. This is another one of those blog ideas that really help an audience get to know you better.

 

 

 

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Most of our vacations involve a road trip, often in Alaska, where everything is so far away from everything else, but if I were planning a “dream” vacation, I’d go back to Maui and stay at a Best Western in Kehei.

Yeah, simple tastes. Before Brad and I honeymooned on Maui, I spent four days in Kehei a couple of years before. I stayed in a cheap motel that was on the beach. That motel is now a boutique hotel with an Italian restaurant in its parking lot and … well, the beach is still there. When we were on our honeymoon, we couldn’t get into the motel, so we stayed at a “beach” hotel without a beach. We’ve since been back to other islands in the chain, but I would love to return there and thoroughly enjoy it.

Image result for image best western kiheiThe motel is sandwiched between upscale residential estates and high-rise condos, but it is only two stories, so as not to make you feel separated from the ocean that is only a few yards away. And that’s why you come to Hawaii, right? The beach. Ah, the beach. We might never leave the property. A lot of people are skeptical of this boutique property, but I’ve known people who have stayed there more recently and they all say the same thing — “It’s on the beach. It’s clean and has the Best Western customer service. And, oh, Temperpedic mattresses and Sargento’s in the parking lot and great restaurants in the nearby hotels … and a grocery store just down the way … and fruit stands just a few blocks away, and ….” Yeah,  you get my point. Yeah, we could spend hundreds of dollars a night on a luxury suite on the 8th floor of some Kanapali resort, but I prefer the more intimate, on the beach experience of a simple motel.

Image result for images of mauiI was an extremely recent college graduate when I stayed there, so I couldn’t afford all the nice restaurants along the Keawakapu Beach, which is part of a string of four of the best beaches you’ll find anywhere that runs along Maui’s Kehei shore. This time, we would have saved the money to truly indulge ourselves.

I think I might be a little old for body surfing now, but snorkeling right outside the door sounds like heaven. (Breaking the rule about not putting my image on the blog, that’s me snuba-ing about 18 years ago … on Kaui). This section of Kehei doesn’t have a rip tide, so it is perfect for viewing fish and coral formations, of which there are many just off shore. I think we’d go in late winter because that is prime whale watching season and Kehei is on the whale migration route. We were on the wrong side of the island last time, so we didn’t see any whales.

AImage result for images of mauis I said, we might never leave the property unless walking to a nearby restaurant, but we’re active people, so we would want to visit some of the places we saw as young honeymooners. I would love to hike the Io Valley, a lush rainforest in the interior of the island that we visited with inappropriate footwear. One of us (I say Brad) forgot to put the tennis shoes in the trunk that morning. We still hiked some, but the risk of turning an ankle or stabbing our toes with tropical bark limited our adventures and we just didn’t get back to it during the remainder of our stay.

We’ve never done a luau, so I think we’d do the feast at Lele. We’re not getting any younger and we might never get back there, so this time we would do it. I choose that one because it has been around a long time (we almost went to it on our honeymoon, but another adventure got in our way) and has intimate tables, so Brad and I would not have to interact with strangers. I love to talk to locals, but I have a low tolerance for tourist chatter (having worked in Alaska’s tourist industry for several years), so that would be important for us. And west Maui sunsets are delicious!

Image result for images of mauiOf course, we would return to Haleakala to hike … bringing adequate water this time. When we did it last time, we underestimated how hot things can get at 10,000 feet. It was still really fun and Brad likes a little possibility of death in his adventures, but I think we would enjoy it a great deal more because we would be better prepared this time. We would probably allot two trips to fully explore Haleakala – do the hike one day and the sunrise and bike ride another day.

Of course we’d visit Lahaina and I really want to check out the Maui Ocean Center, which didn’t exist the last time we were there. We’d allot a day to hike the King’s Highway, way south on Makena. We didn’t know it existed when we were there last, but history buff that I am, the old fishing villages draw me.

We were young and dumb when we were on Maui before, so gave the upcountry short shrift. We’d go back to Makawao and Kula to enjoy a quieter atmosphere, or and including the zipline that starts at Waikapu and goes to Maalaea, which is near the coast. This is actually a series of zip line, all of them amazingly long and just scary enough to be exciting without risking a heart attack. We’re Alaskans. We hike in forests with bears. We ain’t afraid of no heights or speed. No, siree! On the shortest line, you have the option to zip backwards. I probably won’t for fear of blowing chunks (can’t ride in a car backwards either), but I’ll bet you Brad will. Ridgewalker likes his vacations to be thrilling and at least slightly death-defying.

We definitely want to go back to Hana, but this time, take our time and enjoy the Road to Hana. I know people who think the road is a nightmare, but for Alaskans, it’s just a curvy drive to the next town. And, man, what a drive! It’s like a fairy tale jungle trail. Back then, Brad was still stuck in the Lower 48 rule of private property and needing parking areas, so he didn’t feel comfortable stopping to enjoy the hidden pools and waterfalls that are everywhere along the road, but this time we would take full advantage. We’d book a B&B in Hana so we wouldn’t need to be concerned with getting back to Kehei. Back when we drove to Hana on our honeymoon, we sort of ignored Paia because we’d already been there to attempt wind-surfing. Again, my windsurfing days ought to be behind me, so I do want to poke around the town now because I hear it has remade itself into an organic farmers paradise. Hana itself, though, was fascinating because it was not so touristy. I really love talking to locals and learning about their real lives. The 50-mile-long winding highway keeps most of the crowds away, so I love the idea of spending the day just wandering about a real Hawaiian town. Maybe there will be water in the Sacred Pools this time.

Back when we were there before, Kapu road was driveable, but rental car agencies didn’t recommend it. We did it anyway. Today, the Kapu ranches are embraced tourism, so we would try to find something smaller and intimate to go see the ranches.

Related imageAnd then there is kayaking. We kayaked on Kaui and it was a great way to see the island, so we’re looking forward to doing it on Maui, where it promises to take you places you can’t see by road. Again, that would be a return to Makena and a small tour company to keep things intimate and low key.

You might notice I didn’t mention a lot of night life or shopping. That’s because I’m really not into night life or shopping. Sure, we’d poke around in some shops while we’re in Lahaina. We thoroughly enjoyed the dancing at Spats in Kaanapali way back when, but the places that have replaced it sound … uh, grubby. Maybe it’s us, but the Dirty Monkey and the Sly Mongoose sound just plain creepy. And we probably won’t go cliff diving as we did on our honeymoon. Some things are just better left in the past (yeah, that’s me again). Besides, we’re in our 50s and a sunset meal on the beach after a day of snorkeling sounds more like our style.

 

 

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7 responses to “Chillin & Thrillin in a Tropical Paradise

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  1. Sounds great! What’s a Sargento?

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    • It’s an Italian restaurant, which I don’t believe is a chain. We’re not big on chains. When we go to an area, we like to eat the regional food, not get what we can get in Anchorage (or occasionally Fairbanks). Malasadas (Portuguese-Hawaiian donut holes) for most breakfasts, fresh fruit from a local stand for lunch and then something local and really delicious for dinner. We’re seafood junkies (salmon & halibut!), so trying all the fish we can’t get in Alaska is always a big draw for us, and my favorite cuisine is Asian/Oriental, which is great when you’re in Hawaii. There’s a lot of traditional cuisine to choose from and then there’s all the fusions chefs come up with. Yummo!

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  2. Hoping my little girl would like to do a trip like this when she’s a a bigger kid. I’ve wanted to go for years.

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    • We took our daughter to Kauai when she was seven. She was old enough to enjoy it without needing constant watching. She could swim in lagoons, but was smart enough not to go into the open ocean without adult supervision. She’s 24 now and says she doesn’t remember the trip, but she still can do the hulu dance she learned on that trip.

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  3. Hawaii is one of those places on my bucket list.

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