Maui may be globally known for its sparkling coastlines and epic watersports but the island offers far more than ocean splendors: Since the arrival of Polynesians more than a millennium ago, intrepid trekkers have been traversing the Valley Isle in search of its hidden gems.
For one of the most isolated islands on the planet, Maui certainly isn’t at a loss for activities: from horseback riding across lava terrain to diving deep under the Pacific on a submarine, the Valley Isle positively brims with possibilities.
But with so many places to see and activities to experience, narrowing down those to-dos can be tricky. Here are 27 of the best ways to spend your Maui vacation—and why they should ascend to the top of your bucket list:
The Big Island of Hawaii is arguably the most dramatic in the Pacific archipelago, boasting everything from snow-tipped volcanoes and green-sand beaches to active lava flows.
And yet, the island is precisely as its moniker suggests: Big. Coming in at 4,028 square miles, it’s larger than all of the other Hawaiian Islands combined. Translation? Visitors are often flummoxed by the most expedient way to absorb all of its beauty during their stay.
Few things say Hawaii like a luau.
These ultra-entertaining feasts have their roots in ancient Polynesia, when the second king of the united Hawaiian Islands lifted the kapu that banned men and women from eating together—and royalty from dining with common subjects.
That groundbreaking event in 1819 became known not as a luau (indeed, in the traditional sense, “luau” refers to a cherished dish of chicken and taro cooked in coconut milk) but as an ‘aha‘aina—literally, a “gathering for a meal.”
They don’t call it grand for nothing: The Grand Wailea—a Waldorf Astoria Resort on the south shore of Maui—has it all: beauty and romance, leisure and play, elegance and authenticity, glee and tranquility.
So spectacular is this spot, in fact, that U.S. News & World Report named it one of the top ten luxury resorts on the Valley Isle, while it caters to more than half a million visitors annually.
Planning to count yourself as one of them? Whether you’re on your way there or are dreaming up the vacation of a lifetime, here are 10 things you should know about the Grand Wailea before arriving:
Flip through a travel mag, gab with a Maui resident, or ogle images of Hawaii on Instagram—chances are your vision will be arrested by the Valley Isle’s Seven Sacred Pools, a wonder of nature on Maui’s east coast that features a gorgeous set of tiered waterfalls.
But as stunning and powerful as the inaccurately-nicknamed Seven Sacred Pools (‘Ohe’o Gulch) might be, the Kipahulu hot spot doesn’t have the monopoly on Maui’s hallowed places. Indeed, beyond the postcard-perfection of the island’s beaches, Maui is home to a number of exquisite sites that have long been deeply revered, many of which can bee seen on Road to Hana tour.