Hawai’i: “Lei” of the Land By Lori Sweet

“Hawai’i”; just saying its name invokes a vision of sun and sand. Hawai’i is a group of islands located in the Central Pacific Ocean. It consists of many islands, but most people know about the 6 main islands; Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, Maui and Hawaii (Big Island).


Road to Hana copyOne vs Several

When deciding to visit Hawaii, the challenge is which island to explore? Most people have 7 to 10 days for vacation. You just need to decide what type of vacation you want. In this issue, we will look at staying on Maui. In the next issue, we will look at taking a cruise and visiting 4 islands during the same amount of time.




Waianapanapa State Park 1 copy

Maui: Island of Aloha

Maui is the second-largest of the Hawaiian Islands. We decided to spend our whole vacation here. Renting a car is a must. It may be an island but you still need a vehicle to get around. Car rentals are available right at the airport. It is advisable to book your rental on-line before your trip to avoid higher prices and long line-ups.


Waianapanapa State ParkWhere to Stay

Deciding where to stay is a factor on how you will experience the island. Staying at one of the many large hotels is always an option. One evening, we visited the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Ka’anapali. It was very impressive with a massive property on the beach. This type of hotel works well for some people but it was too impersonal for us. We opted to stay at the Royal Kahana Outrigger in Lahaina, on the west coast of Maui. We had a one bedroom condo with a full kitchen so picking up a few groceries at the Costco and Kmart, right next to the airport before the 40-minute drive to the condo worked for us. We felt that having a condo allowed us to keep costs down and to better experience the aloha spirit; the attitude of friendly acceptance for which the Hawaiian Islands are so famous.


On the Road

Sunset over Lanai Island1The pace is slower here, which lends itself to a relaxing week even though you can be on the move most days. We experienced some of the ‘must see’ places on this beautiful island. Lahaina is a historic old town, which at one time was the capital of Hawai’i. It has managed to keep it’s 19th century charm. Along with shops and eateries along the water’s edge, you will see the largest banyan tree in Hawai’i. It’s so big you can’t fit it all in your camera viewfinder! Haleakala National Park is an impressive dormant volcano. Don’t worry if you end up driving through clouds as you drive to the top. With patience and time, the clouds will clear and you will have your breath taken away by the unbelievable view. Sunrise and sunset viewing here are legendary.

We also enjoyed a visit to Ho’okipa Beach Park to watch world class wind, board and kite surfing. The north end of the beach is a resting spot for Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles(HONU). We even braved the drive on the ‘Road to Hana’ with it’s breathtaking waterfalls, cliffs, bamboo groves and amazing black sand beaches, while navigating it’s 617 curves and 56 one lane bridges!


Living the Life

During our time on Maui we got to know the locals, ate when and what we wanted (especially fresh pineapple) and set our own pace. We explored a lot of the island and felt immersed in the magic of the aloha spirit. We came home rested and rejuvenated. We would go back in a heart beat.  

Surfer at Hookipa1


Lori Sweet

Lori Sweet Photo for Hawaii Article WMB

Lori is a freelance travel writer and travel photographer based in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. She has had a life-long passion for travel and for learning about other cultures, while travelling on and off the beaten path. Taking detours along the way has enriched her experiences immeasurably.  Lori enjoys writing and photography, so it was a natural fit to combine this with her love of travel.

Lori was in education for 30 years. She was able to combine that with 14 years of part-time work as a Tour Director for a travel company that provides motor coach trips across North America. Upon retirement from teaching, she moved into the tour company office as a tour planner. She now spends her time working on other interests.  She has kept a travel journal for over 30 years!

Lori has taken online and live travel writing and photography workshops and is a member of the International Travel Writers and Photographers Alliance (ITWPA).



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