First Taste of Maui – from the Beach to the Upcountry

[Maui, Hawaii, Nov 19, 2022]

Thanks to remote work, the time around Thanksgiving was the perfect opportunity to do a slightly longer trip. I was eyeing Hawaii, which I hadn’t been to since 2018. Maui was home to Haleakala National Park, which I hadn’t been to before, and Oahu, which was home to my friends Vanya and Deyan. They had just returned to Hawaii that summer after a couple of years on the mainland. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to visit two islands in two weeks. I used some PTO to take the whole week of Thanksgiving off and visit Maui. The week after, I worked remotely from Oahu and used the time difference to sightsee/hike in the afternoon.

About to land in Maui

I took a direct flight from PDX and arrived on Maui just after 11 am. I had a few hours before I could check into my AirBnB. I used this time to leisurely make my way from the beach to Maui’s upcountry, the higher elevations surrounding Haleakala National Park, where I was staying for the first few days.

My first stop was the local staple, Mama’s Fish House. This place is so popular that it books out 4-6 months in advance. I had no reservation but was hoping to snag a seat at the bar. I felt good about my odds since I was by myself and arrived only 30 minutes after they opened. And indeed, they had a spot for me!

Some staple dishes stay on the menu, like Mama’s Ahi and Mahi Mahi Curry (which I had), while other dishes depend on what the firshermen caught that day. I started with a delectable ceviche, sipped on an awesome cocktail and somehow found room for dessert! This lunch was definitely a splurge but I was told Mama’s Fish House is a must, and I’d have to agree.

I took some time after lunch to linger on the beach in front of Mama’s. The water was amazingly clear and warm, and there was a palm tree perfectly positioned for photos. I enjoyed the warmth and the clouds in the distance and felt so grateful to be able to do this trip!

I started driving up the volcano towards Maui’s upcountry. The climate and temperature change fast with the elevation. By the time I got to Kula Country Farms at 3,100 ft from sea level, the temps were now in the 70s instead of 80s. This was a good stop for local fruit and baked goods, and the views from the back deck were outstanding.

I continued on to Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm. It was nearing closing time so the farm was almost empty and I had the grounds pretty much to myself.

I continued on to Makawao, the little town that would serve as my home base as I planned to explore Haleakala National Park over the next few days. Little did I know, mother nature had other ideas.

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