For many people, Maui, the second largest island of Hawaii, is an unparalleled vacation destination. Its natural beauty and exceptional climate beckons travelers from all across the globe to take a leisurely stroll along its pristine beaches, explore its lush rain forests, experience the unique island culture and learn its ancient history.
So grab your sunscreen, put on some swimming trunks, and join me on an exciting tour of some of the most colorful shores and beautiful valleys in the world.
Maui is a veritable paradise as the weather remains in the high 70's to low 80's year around; so anytime is a perfect time for a visit. However, the best time to visit Maui is during the off-season. There are really two dips in the season, one that occurs between April and May and another from September and November, making these times ideal for a visit. A simple search will show that during these times, airlines tickets are nearly 1/3 of their high season fares and hotels follow suit with some great deals that will allow you to keep more of your hard earned cash in your wallet.
The peak seasons occur in the summer months, June through July, as well as the late winter months, December through March, when people from all over America rush here to escape the cold weather. Huge swarms of crowds and inflated prices top the menu when visiting the island during these times.
Of course it wouldn't be Hawaii without experiencing a luau. Not only is it apart of the island history, it is also a party like none other. As tourists dine on delicious island dishes, they also are entertained with beautiful music and talented dancers.
Adults and children are awed by the colorful costumes and characters. Two local delicacies you have to try at least once are Haupia, a pudding made from coconuts, and the popular roasted Kalua pig. Of course, a luau is a great way to meet other travelers and you might even learn the traditional Hawaiian hula.
This is the one attraction of Maui, if not in all Hawaii itself, that you don't want to miss. The day drive to Hana is an adventure that takes you across 54 bridges, winding through little plantation towns, and into luscious tropical jungles and quiet beaches.
The Road to Paradise, as it is often referred to, takes six to eight hours to drive depending on how many places you stop to enjoy, but it is well worth every mile and is a part of your trip you wont forget anytime soon.
Maui is one of Hawaii's premier shopping meccas. It is here that you can find beautiful, exotic and unique souvenirs for yourself and your favorite Maui guide writer. (Cough) Spend an afternoon browsing wonderful works of art, jewelry and glass at the markets. Hawaii's native crafts are colorful and high quality. Each piece speaks of the love and pride the islanders have for their home.
Maui has some of the most unusual beaches I've ever encountered. In truth, it is often the beaches that have attracted tourists here in the first place. There are actually over 80 of them, but what really sets them apart from other beaches is their gorgeous vibrant colors.
Some notable ones are Papakolea Beach, also known as the green beach, yes I said "green beach", and Kaijalulu Beach, whose sand resembles glowing embers of fire. Maui is also famous for its crystal white powder beaches and its black diamond beaches.
All of them are stunning in their own way and beckon tourists to sit on their shores, feel the warm breeze and take in a spectacular sunset.
Often humpback whales can be seen right off the shores of Maui. Many hotels and resorts even have designated whale-watching tours. This is an amazing experience and I highly recommend it. After all, how often do you have the opportunity to get up close and personal with one of the world's largest mammals? There are many companies that offer whale watching and I suggest that you check out a few before making a decision.
This adventure begins with a check in at the beach, which sounds rather mild, but hold on as we kick up the adrenaline a notch or two.
After a quick ride onboard a powerboat, parasailers are placed and fitted into a harness that can either be for one person or two, based on your choice.
Then the action really begins. The parasail attached to the harness starts to lift you off the boat and sets you flying over the stunning waters of Maui. The views are breathtaking. Maui's waters are a mixture of deep azure blue and turquoise green and truly are a sight to see from above.
House of the Sun, that's what the native Hawaiians named this shield volcano that makes up more than 75% of the island of Maui. Haleakala soars to an impressive 10,023 feet and rests firmly in the middle of the equally massive 30,000-acre Haleakala National Park. Because of the remarkable clarity, dryness, and stillness of the air, and its elevation, the volcano features a large observational platform and attracts astrophysicists from around the world. Get up well before dawn to see one of the most amazing sunrises in the world, from the top of the mighty volcano itself.
Speaking of views from above, one of the most enjoyable and memorable experiences of Maui actually occurs in the sky. The views of the jutting mountains, numerous waterfalls, and gorgeous ocean waters will surpass anything you have experienced before. Breathtaking beyond description. This is paradise.
With all the beauty and the activities to choose from, one thing you have to remember is this: Life is short. Make the most of it.
Maui is an island that everyone should have on the top of their vacation list. The rare exotic beaches, lush rain forests, exciting past and laid back present make it a perfect family holiday destination. So come. Experience Maui. Experience life.
Have you been to Maui? What was your favorite thing to do?
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Stephen Schreck is a world traveler, nomad, and adventure backpacker. Knowing a life of aimlessly wandering the globe in search of adventures was the only life for him he set out to make his dream his reality. Currently he is trying to conquer his fears and tackle his bucket list. Follow Stephen's adventures at A Backpacker's Tale or on social media on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.
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