I’m going to let you in on a shocking little secret. Hawaii was actually never on my bucket list. Sure, it sounded great. I thought maybe someday we’d head over there to check it out – especially if it was the last state capitol to cross off our list. But between dreaming about exploring Maldives, Austria, Aruba, New Zealand, Iceland, and Scotland – Hawaii just sort of fell off my radar.
And then we went.
And I was totally blown away. What an incredible place! There’s a lot of wanderlust dreams focused on Hawaii, and I’m happy to admit that my bucket list was totally missing out. We were won over on Day 1. :)
So just for those who are wondering how we ended up on Hawaii when my lack of bucket-list dreams didn’t deserve it, it was mostly a work trip for Joel. He had some meetings and a conference on a couple of the islands. We took the opportunity to explore and, in classic Joel and Amber style, combined some adventuring with work!
This blog post would be waaaay too long if I shared all our adventures from Hawaii. Mostly it would be way too long if I shared all the pictures I took. Joel actually had to take the camera away from me at one point so I would slow down… ;) So today I’m sharing just a few of our favorite memories from Maui!
We embraced the 9.5 hour flight from Atlanta to Honolulu by snuggling in for a 9 hour movie marathon, complete with pretzels and peanuts. After landing in Honolulu, we took a little inter-island flight to our AirBnB in Maui! We stayed in the beautiful Lahaina, which means “land of the unrelenting sun”. And it was hot, for sure. Maui is half desert and half rain forest. Guess which part the “land of the unrelenting sun” fell into?
So after crashing hard (compliments of the jet lag), we started our first morning with a tour at Maui Dragonfruit Farm! Side note: the views from this farm were amazing!
We started with a fresh fruit tasting in this little bamboo hut. Pineapple, strawberry papaya, apple bananas, sugar cane, and a collection of dragonfruit varieties. Yuuuum!!
A couple of the farm workers took us around for an hour tour of the farm. Coming from a part of the world where we grow apples and pecans, seeing all these tropical fruits was super fun!
We learned a lot about how pineapples grow! I was really fascinated about all the different stages of color the go through: neon pink, black, green, yellow, and I’m sure there were a couple more in there.
Fascinating fact about dragonfruit: these flowers only bloom for a few hours in the moonlight. If it doesn’t pollenate in those few hours…no dragonfruit! The farm workers go around during the night and make sure the flowers are pollenated. Here is a flower that had bloomed the night before!
We hung out with the dragonfruit people for a little while, and they told us about this really cool ancient forest on the island. It took a couple tries to find it, but it was totally worth it! Pictures don’t do it justice. We wandered around in here for a long time! One of the paths led down to a little beach in a cove.
Back on the road to explore more of the island!
Every time Joel saw a blow hole on the map, we stopped. This was one of the best ones!
I just loved watching the rainbow!
And of course – the famous heart shaped hole in the rock! :)
We spent the evening on the beach watching a Maui sunset. I think that was one of my favorite memories from the entire trip.
Morning number 2! We usually work up pretty early because of the jet lag, which was perfect for answering emails and getting some work done before we headed out for more exploring! This morning we fulfilled a dream of mine: driving through fields of coffee!!!!
So just a quick shout out here to our friends Will and Erin Lindsey for introducing us to the Shaka app. They visited Hawaii earlier this year and had some amazing recommendations on Erin’s blog, including the Shaka app. It’s like a driving tour guide that tells you the best places to stop, the history of Hawaii, and all kinds of other tips while you drive along. It cost around $5 per tour, but totally worth it.
After our coffee fields, we started driving the Road to Hana with Mr Shaka as our guide. First stop: Ho’okipa Lookout to watch the surfers! The waves just weren’t very big this time of year, but it was still fun to watch.
Oooh, these rainbow eucalyptus trees!!!!! It was one of the neatest things!
The entire Road to Hana was filled with amazing sights. We just couldn’t get enough of it!
I think this was one of Joel’s favorite places! This was the Ke’Anae peninsula. Soooo pretty!!!! Turquoise waves crashing on the black rocks, surrounded by lush tropical vegetation.
I tried to keep up with Instagram stories along the way so you could see this amazing stuff, too! :)
We went hiking to some waterfalls here, and we stopped for a few minutes to cheer him on!
The famous Halfway to Hana banana bread. We figured it was kind of a tourist trap, but we got our loaf anyway. It was still warm and actually really good! Definitely worth the stop, touristy or not!
P.S. If you ever see those bands on my wrists while we’re traveling and wonder what they are, they’re acupressure bands so I don’t get motion sick! I get motion sick easily while traveling, and these have been a game changer for me! The Road to Hana has hundreds of hairpin curves – there’s no way I would have been able to do it without them. I like the Lewis and Clark bands, and you can find them on Amazon.
Those waterfalls required hiking through a steep, muddy rainforest, of course.
Waianapanapa black sand beach! Beautiful!!
We made it to Hana and grabbed an epic burger from a cattle ranch with this view in the back. By this point it was pretty late in the day, so we put the camera away and drove back through the hundreds of hairpin curves and narrow one-way bridges next to deep ravines. Jet lag set in and we could barely stay awake during dinner.
The next morning we enjoyed coffee and dragonfruit in our room before heading out for the last morning!
We had a 11am flight to catch to O’ahu, but we took a little detour to Iao Valley. It’s rich in Hawaiian history and has breath-taking views!
We scouted out a little out of the way coffee shop to put in a couple hours of work before heading back to the airport!
I hope you enjoyed a little peek into our Maui adventures! From there we headed to O’ahu and Kaua’i – so stay tuned!
Here’s a list of our top recommendations for Maui:
The Bakery in Lahaina (we got our breakfast here every morning!)
Paia Fish Market (ahh-mazing. Get the fish burger!)
The Painted Forest (rainbow eucalyptus trees)
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Amazing timing with that blowhole/rainbow combination, Amber!
Thank you! I loved those rainbows, so it wasn’t too hard to be patient! :)
Wow! What an epic trip! Now I wanna go!
It really was incredible! I felt so undeserving of such an amazing place. ;) I hope you get a chance to explore it for yourself someday!
Wow, wow, wow!! Am I the only one who has never heard of rainbow eucalyptus trees?!? How cool! Man, so many of these pictures look like postcards. Great job! I hope one day I can make it to Hawaii :)
I know, right? Those rainbow eucalyptus trees were incredible! I wish I could grow them in my own backyard. :)
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