Motoring Around Maui Part 1: Honoapiilani HighwayHAWAII, ROAD TRIPS, SERIES, STAFF — By Betsy Villanella on March 27, 2012 at 01:27
Series by staff writer Betsy Villanella. Photos Copyright © Betsy Villanella.
Ten days, a rental, and a chance to explore paradise! This is my idea of a great vacation.
As soon as we decided to vacation on Maui, I knew I didn’t want to just stay within a resort area and do what everyone else does. We did do some of the normal touristy things, but we spent most of our time on the island driving around and seeing all there is to see.
Maui is not a huge island. It’s about 48 miles long and 26 miles wide, and can be explored easily. Maui is made up of the West Maui Mountains and the volcano, Haleakala, to the east. With the two together, the island is an odd hourglass-like shape lying on its side.
The west coast is on the end of the left (much smaller) bulb, and the east coast (Hana) on the end of the right bulb. The north coast is the skinny section in the middle, and that’s where the airport is, in Kahului. On the south coast is Kihei, the only place we didn’t get to.
We had two home bases from which to explore. Our first five days we stayed on the west coast because of the calm clear waters to snorkel and the last five days, the east coast because of the rainforest, waterfalls, and great hiking.
After our flight, we picked up a rental car and made our way around the West Maui Mountains to our first home away from home. From the very beginning of our drive I was struck by how green everything was, and there was a constant sweet smell in the air. It reminded me of when someone wearing a great perfume walks by, only it seemed to be everywhere. I later found out it was the Plumeria, and other flowers and fruits that are forever growing in this fertile climate.
Our base on the west coast was in the Kaanapali Beach area, at the Kaanapali Beach Hotel (KBH). We decided to stay at KBH because of the good snorkeling off Pu’u Keka’a (commonly known as Black Rock), which is at the end of Kaanapali Beach in front of the hotel.
The other base we had on the east coast was my favorite. It was a small, but very cool, tropical bungalow on the edge of a rainforest overlooking the ocean, in Hana. We explored all over Maui in our ten days (and I also wrote about it here as my dream vacation), but in this three-part series I plan to share a photo tour of the three day trips we took.
The first tour we took was around the northwest point of Maui. This road is not even marked on some maps. It is considered hazardous, and I can see why, as this road makes the famously hair-raising road to Hana seem like a walk in the park. BUT it has some of the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen.
I remember the awe I felt at the sight of the jewel-colored, jagged peaks of the mountains, and the vivid blue ocean, with its frothy waves rolling onto white sandy beaches that go on and on. I can see why artists come here to paint, and it has to be a photographer’s dream. I know I wanted to take a picture at every new turn. With the number of photos I brought home I probably did.
Join me in Part Two for The Road to Hana.
Our Disney specialist Elizabeth Villanella has lived in the Montrose, Pennsylvania area most of her life. Betsy married her high school boyfriend in 1973. As an Air Force wife, she has lived in Texas, Italy, and Virginia. Between the two of them, her sons have given her fourteen grandchildren and counting. Betsy and her husband currently live with Albert K. Ninestein, a mini Schnauzer who’s as smart as his namesake. She loves to travel and wants to experience (and share) as many places in this world as she can! Betsy tweets as @betsy_v.