This or That: 2 Ways to See Maui, Hawaii
I’ve been home for a total of 2 days, and I already want to be back in Hawaii. It’s no secret how much I love that place, and leaving is always the hardest part of the visit. Every year I discover something new to see, eat, or do, which is a true testament to how diverse the island of Maui truly is. There is no end to the new adventures, and that is what keeps me coming back. I guess you could say that I have become a professional Maui tourist (even though in my head I’m a local, just call me Kamaaina..?). Thinking about going to Maui for the first time but worried about the cost? I won’t lie, flights to Hawaii can be pricey. However, once you’re there, there are tons of ways to keep your vacation budget-friendly! That is why I am sharing some of my money-saving secrets for how to see Maui like a local.
1. WHERE TO STAY
This - Hotels and Resorts
Naturally, the luxury option is staying in a hotel or resort on the island. We’re talking room turn-over service, restaurants and bars on the premises, and concierge to answer all of your burning questions. This is a great way to stay in Maui because the people who work there will have loads of insight into places to eat and things to do in the area. You can choose to stay at the hotel/resort or head out to see the island, but keep in mind that resorts in Maui aren’t always all-inclusive. Many offer all-inclusive packages, but it’s not like going to Cuba or a Caribbean island (at least from my experience). This is a good option for travelers who’d rather let someone else do the driving (while they do the drinking and relaxing, of course!).
That - Condos and Vacation Rentals
If you’re like my family, and you’re either staying for a longer period of time or just prefer to do your own sight-seeing, this is a better option for you. Not only are sites like VRBO and AirBnB great for cost-cutting, you can pick a place to stay that includes a full kitchen and a parking spot. This allows you to spend less money on accommodation and transportation, and more on going on Hawaiian adventures! As per anywhere, certain neighbourhoods will be more expensive than others. Do your best to steer clear of staying in areas like Wailea or Kapalua if you’re trying to save. Not that these aren’t great places to hang out and visit, but they do tend to be on the pricier side. Typically, places like Kihei or the North Shore are good places to start your search.
2. WHAT TO EAT
This - Restaurants
Don’t get me wrong, there are places you can eat on the island that aren’t uber expensive. Still, most restaurants in Maui have to pay rent, and more often than not are importing their ingredients, which makes the overall cost go up. You are on an island after all. There are a ton of restaurant that you can eat at that make the price of their food way worth it though! A new discovery for me this year was Paia Fish Market. You’re paying market price for a handful of their dishes, but you get a piece of freshly caught fish the size of your face in return. I tend to gravitate towards places like this, but a nice dinner at a nice restaurant like Merriman’s in Kapalua or Nick’s Fishmarket Maui at the Fairmont in Wailea are great options if you’re looking for something more extravagant!
That - ABC Stores and Food Trucks
In my opinion, this is the best way to experience Maui like a local. Head out onto an adventure in your rental car or Vespa with a cute picnic full of snacks in tow. ABC Stores are awesome because they’ve usually got a mix of both snack foods and meals that are easy to take on-the-go with you. The same obviously goes for food trucks. Most food trucks on the island are stationary, so they don’t tend to move around too much (read: easy to find). Seek them out, or bookmark one for your day-trip to Hana or Haleakalā. This is also the more cost-effective option because most food truck prices don’t get much higher than $20USD.
Side Note: For more of my fave eats on Maui, click here!
3. THINGS TO DO
This - Tours and Excursions
Maui has some pretty killer tours and excursions that take you all over the island, and even to some of the other Hawaiian islands. One of my favourite memories of Maui was the Old Lahaina Luau that we went to a few years ago. The food was awesome, the dancing and cultural aspect was extremely educational, and it all happened under the light of the Hawaiian moon. Talk about perfection. There’s so much to do, that every year I find a new tour or trip to go on - this year it was ziplining but who knows what the future brings? Hang out with the fish in an underwater submarine or fly over the volcano in a helicopter, it’s never a dull moment.
That - Beaching and Hiking
When all else fails, Maui has some of the most beautiful beaches and hikes I have ever seen in my life. My dad and I love nature hikes/walks, so Hawaii is a great place for us to visit on the reg. We’ve seen waterfalls, bamboo forests, and enough local wildlife to fill a zoo. The best part is that these activities are virtually cost-less. Grab a rental car, maybe a surf board or some hiking shoes, and a handful of snacks and be on your way. Depending on the time of year, you can even host your own whale watching tour from the comfort of your beach chair. From December to April, the humpbacks migrate to warmer waters to give birth, making this peak time to see little babies learning how to breach!
Have you been to Maui yet? If not, what’s stopping you?? Head out to my favourite place on earth, and let me know what you love(d) about it in the comments!