Paradise Found in Hawaii

December 2012

Photo: Hawaii Tourism Authority

You know the saying that the journey is part of the adventure…Well, my trip to Maui was an adventure from the moment I arrived at the airport. While at the gate waiting to board Hawaiian Air, flight #15 out of San Diego, an alarm went off in the airport. We were told to evacuate the building and they brought us all out on to the tarmac, a first for me. No one panicked and it turned out to be a great opportunity to meet fellow travelers on my flight. I was taking on the Aloha spirit and hanging ten at the airport! Go with the flow and don’t stress out. Enjoy the journey!

Upon landing, I picked up my Budget rental car, a cute fuel efficient Chevrolet Sonic. I drove to Makena Beach and Golf Resort just north of Wailea, about a 40-minute relaxing drive. The complimentary valet attendant kindly helped me with my luggage and sent me into the hotel for registration.

Walking through this beautiful open-air lobby the sound of waterfalls gently reminded me that I was in paradise. The expansive atrium, that sits center stage for the 310 newly remodeled ocean view rooms, is filled with Zen streams, Koi ponds, and gorgeous foliage.

Photo: Hawaii Toursim AuthoritySnorkel and Hiking Fun in Hawaii

The next morning at 6:00 A.M., I boarded the Kai Kanani Morning Express Snorkel trip to Molokini. From the Makena Beach and Golf Resort boarding the catamaran is a short stroll down their beautiful pathway to the beach. At $57 US/adult it’s a great value too. During our snorkeling excursion we saw several sea turtles that took their time gliding past us and seemed to pause for photo opportunities. Our guides were knowledgeable and encouraged us to hold sea urchins that they placed in our hands.

Next up was a 2-mile stroll on the beach at Waihe’e Coastal Dunes and Wetlands Refuge. This 277-acre land trust has significant archaeological and cultural history. This northwest location was home to two royal families back in the 18th and 19th century. Ancient wars and lifestyles were played out at Waihe’e. Check their website for free guided tours or you can take advantage of a self-guided tour along a 2-mile coastal trail.

Eating in Paradise, Hawaii Style

After a busy day of snorkeling and hiking you’ll need to fuel up on delicious food. Heading back to Makena we stopped at Sarento’s On the Beach, located in Kihei. The restaurant had me swooning at the view! Sitting outside you can watch the waves crash and catch one of the best sunsets on the island. This four-diamond establishment serves up amazing food including; Seared Hawaiian Ahi, Kiawa Wood Smoked Pork Chops, and Grilled Beef Filet with Black Truffle Sauce. Drink specials are fantastic and their wine list is extensive.

And More Awesome Things to Do in Hawaii!

Photo: Hawaii Tourism AuthorityThe next day, outrigger canoeing was on the agenda from the Makena Beach Activity Center. This is the method the ancient Hawaiian’s used to navigate the islands, catch seafood and go into battle. But this day was all about fun. After paddling about 20 minutes we dawned our snorkel gear and plunged into the clear warm water off the shore of Makena. We saw at least four green sea turtles and lots of fish. The guides pointed out some historical buildings and chanted Hawaiian words while we paddled. A light snack and water were provided on the excursion.

Where to Spa in Hawaii

Enough exercise. It was time for a world-class spa experience. I headed off to Kapalua Spa located on the northwest section of Maui at Kapalua. This spa was the 2012 Winner of the Best Luxury Destination Spa in the U.S. Walking into the 3-story spa you immediately feel the healing powers in your soul. The view is spectacular, the ocean and distant mountains beckon your inner yogi. Marble, rocks, driftwood, inlayed shells and sea glass come together in a beautiful symphony of harmonious splendor.

Kapalua Spa offers a full spectrum of services; facials, massages, hair, make-up, and nail services. You could literally spend the entire day being pampered and enjoy a lunch and beverages too. Plus they offer wellness and fitness services . I had the Signature Body Treatment, Awa & Cocao Lomi Cocoon. Darrell Lapulapu, a Hawaiian healer/herbalist/acupuncturist, was my massage therapist. I felt relaxed and re-energized all at the same time. The private outdoor shower was a very nice extra touch.

Oh there was so much to do and so little time. We did shop at Wailea (great shopping) and Makawao (small adorable village). We visited organic farms, biked, and hiked.

Five nights passed to quickly and it was time to pack up. The only problem I had was my trip came to an end all too fast. I was already planning my next trip to this magnificent island state, with my sisters! Aloha Maui – until we meet again!

Sue Richter is an award-winning communications expert. She is a freelance journalist for several online and print publications. She has written for American Airlines, Frontier Airlines, TravelAge West, Travel + Expore, Comcast Magazine, San Diego Union Tribune, Business Executive Travel and many others.

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