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 Top 10 Restaurants in Kaanapali

Visiting West Maui? There are a million fun things to do while you're out exploring our beautiful island, and at some point you are going to want to sit down, relax and enjoy a delicious meal. We put together some of our favorite restaurants around Kaanapali, including fine dining experience, casual sit down or something quick to-go.  Check-out our Top 10 restaurants:

 

1. Duke's Beach House - Just walking distance from Honua Kai Resort & Spa, Duke's is located at Ka'anapali Beach. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, enjoy mouthwatering island inspired cuisine that is sure to please your taste buds. To view their menu and to make a reservation, visit www.DukesMaui.com

2. Leilani's On The Beach - Located at Whalers Village on Kaanapali Beach, offering a variety of appetizers, salad, sea food and traditional favorites off the grill. Enjoy the beach side grill with oceanfront views or upstairs for a more formal dining experience. For more details about their menu, visit www.Leilanis.com

3. Hula Grill - Enjoy ocean front casual dining with outdoor seating and live music. They offer a large variety of America, Asian Fusion and Hawaiian inspired cuisine and a dessert menu you won't want to miss out on. For more information, visit www.HulaGrillKaanapali.com

4. Shark Pit - Food Truck Favorites. This food truck is located just off the main tourist path and is a local hidden gem. With raving reviews and a variety to choose from, including fish tacos, burgers, Korean beef tacos, grilled corn and more,  you won't be disappointed.  Be sure to get their early before it's all gone. For details and location, visit their Facebook Page

5. Roy's - You may find a Roy's in your hometown but it's still a Kaanapali favorite. Internationally influenced and Hawaiian inspired cuisine, enjoy this delectable dining experience and views of the Kaanapali Golf Course. To view their menu or to make a reservation, visit www.RoysHawaii.com

6. The Fish Market Maui - Catch of the day! Serving lunch and dinner, enjoy fresh fish daily. Dine in or take out and choose from sandwiches, tacos, burritos, fish market plates, soups, salads and more. Get there early, and don't miss the catch of the day. For more information and details, visit www.FishMarketMaui.com

7. Son'z Steakhouse - Fine dining at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa. Relax with beautiful views and enjoy the award-winning wine list and menu including a variety of appetizers, fresh fish, steaks and more. Stop by for Happy Hour, you won't be disappointed. For details, visit www.SonzRestaurant.com

8. The Pizza Connection - Pizza anyone? This mobile wood fire brick oven makes some of the best thin crust pizza in West Maui. For those of you who enjoy Hawaiian pizza, try The Flyin' Hawaiian which includes local and fresh Maui Gold pineapple. Be sure to call in your order or be prepared to wait a little, but the wait is worth it. To view their menu and to place your order, visit www.ThePizzaConnectionMaui.com

9. Ululani's - Shaved Ice is a local favorite and with an endless list of flavors and combinations, you are sure to enjoy this local treat. Make sure to ask for the soft served ice cream at the bottom and load it up with lots of delicious toppings. For locations and a list of flavors, visit www.UlulanisHawaiianShaveIce.com

Photo Courtesy of Pulehu, an Italian Grill.

10. Pulehu, an Italian Grill - In the mood for Italian food? "Pulehu" meaning cooked over an open flame and this is exactly how they prepare your meal. Conveniently located at the Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas, enjoy delicious Italian dining including antipasti, flat breads, salads pasta and more. For reservations and to view their menu, visit Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas, enjoy delicious Italian dining including antipasti, flat breads, salads pasta and more. For reservations and to view their menu, visit www.PulehuRestaurantMaui.com

There are a number of great places to dine in West Maui, both local and main stream so it was challenging to choose only ten. If you've tried any of these restaurants, let us know what you think and share with us your favorite places to dine in Kaanapali. Please leave us your suggestions in our comment section below and we hope that you enjoy our recommended list of restaurants in West Maui Kaanapali.

Guide to Maui Kayaking

Our travel blog has covered a lot of information about Maui accommodations, activities and general advice for visitors, but one thing we haven't touched on yet is kayaking. Many people look forward to paddling out onto the beautiful, calm water around Maui, whether they want a guided tour, or just to rent a kayak and explore on their own. Some of these individuals prefer this kind of activity over getting in the water, such as with scuba or snorkeling, because they just feel more comfortable above the surface. But don't worry. Even from your comfortable seat, there is so much to see! Kayakers often spot sea turtles, dolphins, humpback whales, and plenty of fish, not to mention stunning views of Maui and the neighboring islands. So here is a quick little guide to some Maui Kayak activities!

West Maui Kayak Tours is a particularly high-rated business, and is also closest to our Kaanapali vacation rental condos. You can ask any questions you might have on arrival, and your equipment will be ready. The trip is a guided tour that involves an hour of paddling, and stops at two snorkeling locations, but you don't have to snorkel if you don't want to. You just need to bring sunscreen and a towel. They also recommend sunglasses, a hat, and a waterproof camera. Click the provided link for more details. Tip: Barry has a particularly good reputation as a guide. Price: $65 per adult and $45 per child (ages 5-12).

Kelii's Kayak Tours is located in Kihei, about an hour away from Kaanapali. This one also has plenty of great reviews. They have been in operation for 15 years, and are proud of their flawless safety record. They offer several tour options, including a West Maui tour, a South Shore Turtle tour (which guarantees at least one turtle sighting), a North Shore tour, a Maui Sunset tour, and combos where you can paddle, snorkel and surf, or paddle and hike to a waterfall. See the above link for pricing information on all of these options, and whatever additional information you need.

Maui Eco Tours is very highly rated, and they also offer a number of activities. This business runs tours according to experience. For example, their Discovery tours are ideal for new kayakers and snorkelers, including children as young as 5 years old. For those with more endurance, they recommend their Seacliffs Advanced Paddling Adventure. During the summer, they offer an adults only tour of Honolua Bay. Then in the winter, they offer their Whales Kayak and Snorkel Tour. Click the link for additional details.

South Pacific Kayaks is the last business we will touch on. They offer six kayak tour choices. Like Kelii's Kayak Tours, they offer tours by area and by intended animal sightings. They have a turtle tour, a whale watch tour, and four tours of specific locations, including Honolua, West Side, South Shore Explorer, and Pali Sea Cliff Discovery. They might be the biggest operation out of these four, but are still highly rated. They offer several other types of activities as well, if you are interested.

We hope you've found our quick Maui kayaking guide useful! If you need any assistance with your Maui vacation rental accommodations, let us know! You'll find our contact information at the bottom of the page. Mahalo!

OpenTable Ranks Maui Restaurant at No. 2 in America

Looking for a special place to dine out with your sweetheart on your romantic Maui getaway? Maybe you want to create the perfect date night, or you're planning to propose. While you're here on this enchanting island, why not take advantage of the best choice in dining?

Your first thought may be that the best choice depends on a person's individual tastes, and that's true, but it doesn't hurt to dine out at the No. 2 restaurant in the United States based on OpenTable's top 100 list for 2015. The list was based on over 5 million restaurant reviews coming from verified OpenTable diners.

So, which restaurant claimed this prestigious position? None other than Mama's Fish House in Paia, which was founded in 1973 by Floyd and Doris Christenson. It has been charming and delighting its patrons ever since. Reviews praise the restaurant for its flavors, service and food presentation especially, but its drinks and ambiance as well.

While we're mentioning the ambiance, Mama's Fish House features some really lovely scenery, and its design has an elegant Hawaiian aesthetic all its own. A converted beach house in a coconut grove, the restaurant is situated on a charming little white sand beach. It's big open windows give the spacious interior a nice fresh ocean breeze, and you'll find vibrant flower arrangements, original oil paintings and Polynesian artifacts artfully arranged within. The unobstructed ocean views help to cultivate that tropical feel that makes Maui so enticing.

This restaurant is a must-try for foodies, couples, or anyone who wants the Mama's Fish House experience while on vacation to Maui. Check out their website link for more information, and if you need assistance with your accommodations, you'll find our contact information at the bottom of the page. Mahalo!

Twin Falls of East Maui

No trip to Maui is complete without taking a dip in a refreshing waterfall pool. If you're planning a visit to Hana and you're looking for locations to stop, this should be first on your list. Twin Falls is the first major series of waterfalls on the way to Hana. Alternately, if you or anyone traveling with you gets too carsick for the winding roads beyond this spot, Twin Falls is a fantastic place to spend an entire morning or afternoon.

Located at Mile Marker 2.1 on Hana Highway, the parking lot for the falls is easy to spot. Don't be dismayed if the parking lot looks crowded, the grounds of Twin Falls are far more expansive than they seem at first glance. Here, you'll find delicious organic snack stands and portable restroom facilities (a feature that most waterfall spots are not equipped with).

Twin Falls is privately owned, but generously shared with all who visit. The grounds are carefully tended and lovingly nurtured by the owners. The gravel road that leads to the falls and hiking trails is actually a long driveway for residents of the area. Walk along this broad path for a half a mile and you'll find a pair of foot paths.

The left fork leads to Ho'olawa li'ili'i Stream, unique irrigation masonry, the iconic Caveman waterfall and a multitude of upper hiking paths. The right fork will take you to Ho'olawa Nui Stream, a hand-dug tunnel created in the 1800's, more lovely waterfall pools, and a rock wall trail that leads to a secret set of falls.

Be free to explore the paths you find and feel the exhilaration of the fantastic jungle hikes. If you get hot, jump in one of the pools to cool down. If you decide to bring your camera along, there are plenty of incredible spots for photo opportunities.

Remember, if you're planning on cliff diving or jumping, always explore the pool you are jumping into first, and make sure to look very carefully before you leap. Keep your eyes peeled for warning signs posted at the front gate, because flooding may occur with excessive rainfall.

You can find directions to Twin Falls here. It's quite a drive if you have accommodations in Kaanapali, or any West Maui location, but it's worth the journey. Don't forget your swim suit, towel, sunscreen, mosquito repellant, and least of all, your sense of adventure! We hope your Maui vacation is everything you want it to be!

Visit Maui in September and Save

The summer is ending, and with it comes the autumn season with fewer crowds and cheaper rates. September, in particular, is one of the absolute cheapest months to go on a Maui vacation. That includes things like airfare, activities, and accommodations. In fact, we're offering dozens of Maui condos with special rates between September and October this year. Just take a peek at a listing that interests you, and we have our special rate listed, followed by a handy breakdown of our seasonal rates for that unit, so you know what we charge throughout the year. The more you know, the better, we're sure you'll agree.

As an example of what we have to offer, this Honua Kai studio rental is ideal for a romantic getaway, featuring ocean views, your own private lanai, a full kitchen, a shower and separate bathtub, and a 42" flat screen TV. Being that it's a studio, you can think of it like a hotel room, but with your own kitchen. And the price tag is only $199 per night if you book during the date range for this special. Of course, this can change quickly, depending on how fast our deals are snapped up by savvy travelers, but there are plenty of units to choose from.

Another one of our tips for saving money on your trip is to make use of that kitchen we mentioned and make at least some of your meals. Even if you just make your own breakfasts, it can save you hundreds, depending on the duration of your trip. And why not take advantage of the fresh, local ingredients that you can find here? If you enjoy expanding your cooking skills, you might try out a local recipe and create a new favorite. If you want to go out for a bite, you can opt for lunch instead of dinner and you'll often get the same menu items at a cheaper price.

Despite the fact that September tends to be one of Maui's quieter months, there are still entertaining events you can attend, and they are often free. Keep your eyes open for what's happening on the island. We try to post about free events as often as possible if we think you'll enjoy them, so you can always check in on our blog for the latest suggestion each Friday.

Lastly, take advantage of the things that are always free on Maui, like sightseeing, going to the beach, or even watching the surfers, which can be pretty exciting! We recommend the lookout point above Ho'okipa on the North Shore, where there's plenty of parking and spectacular vistas of the ocean and the waves that part of the island is known for. Other great sightseeing options for the more committed adventurer include the road through Hana or a visit to the summit of Mt. Haleakala, each of which is a day trip on its own. For something a little closer but still scenic, try Iao Valley in the West Maui Mountains.

As always, no matter what you're doing, don't forget to protect your skin! As they say, health is the first wealth. If you need any assistance or you have any questions about your Maui vacation, you can find our contact information at the bottom of the page. Mahalo!

TripAdvisor Says Kaanapali Beach Best in U.S.

By Kenneth Rothman

When we highlight the fact that our West Maui accommodations are located on Kaanapali Beach, it may not excite those who are unfamiliar with the area. If they checked TripAdvisor's 2013 Travelers' Choice Beach Awards, they would find Kaanapali Beach at number one, among the top ten beaches in the United States.

The awards were recently unveiled, showing that four Hawaii beaches made the top ten list, but that's not surprising, considering that we are located in a tropical paradise. We were especially proud that Kaanapali Beach was at the top of the list, reminding us that our tastes are shared by most people.

The other Hawaii beaches to make the list were Lanikai Beach in Windward Oahu, which came in at number five. Another Maui beach made the list at number six, and that was Wailea Beach. Finally, the Hanauma Bay Nature Reserve in East Oahu ranked number 10 on the list. The rest of the winners were located in Florida and California, with one win in Virginia.

It was nice to hear that Maui claimed two spots on the national top ten list, and not at all surprising. For those who prioritize beautiful beaches on their vacations, you might like to check out our Kaanapali Beachfront condos. Not only is Kaanapali Beach visually stunning, with reefs at its northern edge for snorkeling and scuba, but there are also shops, restaurants, and numerous wonderful activities to enjoy. It's not a far drive from the bustling, historic Lahaina Town, and Lahaina Harbor, where you can hop on a whale watching charter, sunset cruise, or even a submarine ride, if that interests you.

There are plenty of things to enjoy on a West Maui vacation, and we hope you have a marvelous time, whatever you choose to do. Mahalo for reading this week!

Paragliding on Your Maui Vacation

By Kenneth Rothman

What if you could soar through the skies over Maui without the loud rumble of engines? Have you considered Paragliding? If you were thinking of parasailing, the whales prevent that activity, but paragliding is available because it isn't an ocean activity. Paragliding takes you up the mountain of Haleakala for your launch, and then it's just the sound of the wind, and the view of the island beneath your feet as you drift through the sky with your tandem instructor.

Proflyght Paragliding is owned by Dexter Binder, who is also an Advanced Tandem Instructor. All of their instructors are certified by the U.S. Hang Gliding & Paragliding Association, and they are the oldest and only full-time paragliding school in the entire state. According to them, they chose to operate on Maui because it is the nicest place on earth. That's why you might hear the phrase "Maui no ka oi" meaning Maui is the best. We certainly can't argue!

Proflyght operates throughout the year, and on most days of the year, if the weather is safe. They are located at Waipoli Flight Park on Haleakala, the larger of Maui's two mountains. They offer their services to everyone from first time fliers to those with experience. If you want to learn how to be a pilot, you can train at your own pace. Hey, who knows how long you're visiting for? Plenty of people have made use of our website to book Maui vacation rentals and then wound up on our Maui real estate website before buying a home and moving here permanently! It happens all the time.

Maui is an excellent place to go paragliding, whether just once or for training, and that's not just because of the natural beauty of the island. Some have insisted that when it comes to paragliding, the weather conditions are some of the best in the world, and consistently so. The seasons aren't as prominent in Hawaii as they are on the mainland, because we are so much closer to the equator than the other 49 states.

We hope that if you end up giving this adventure a try, you'll have an amazing experience! For more information, click the first link in this blog, or call (808) 874-5433. Mahalo!

Swimming with Maui's Sea Turtles

Warm sun, gentle breeze and the soothing ebb and flow of the ocean creates a unique peace of mind for people of all walks of life. We love the beach, and its beautiful waters. If you plan to spend a lot of time at the ocean side during your Maui vacation, you'll probably catch a glimpse of the Hawaiian green sea turtle bobbing to the surface for air or dipping down into the waters near the reefs.

Green sea turtles are the largest hard shelled sea turtles in the world. The shell of the adult green sea turtle frequently averages at just over 3 feet in length. These turtles generally weigh about 250 pounds, but some larger green sea turtles can reach up to 500 pounds. Though turtles spend most of their time beneath the water's surface foraging for food, they must come up for air and lay their eggs on land.

Watching them glide through the water is a mesmerizing display you will never forget. If you see a sea turtle while swimming or snorkeling, enjoy the experience, and if you have an underwater camera, take a few pictures. There's no harm in marveling at this beautiful creature when its curiosity brings it close to you. There are a few things you should not do, however. Never chase or swim above a sea turtle. The turtle can become exhausted and begin to suffocate. You should never touch or grab them. It's a good idea to remember that their beak is very strong and that they are capable of biting. There is no reason to fear them if you give them their space, they are a non-aggressive animal and would only bite if harmed.

The Hawaiian word for turtle is, "Honu." In ancient Polynesian lore, these gentle giants led the earliest settlers to the Hawaiian islands. Native Hawaiians hunted sea turtles for their shells and meat, and when western culture touched the shores of Hawaii, turtles were poached on a massive scale, crippling their numbers. In present day, the green sea turtle population has only dwindled further. Some of the dangers that turtles face are loss of habitat, fishing lines, discarded trash, and pollution. Disturbance of nests and females laying eggs is also a problem, so if you are lucky enough to observe such an event, stay far away from the mother turtle.

Today, the green sea turtle is listed as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and rests under the protection of the federal Endangered Species Act, as well as Hawaii state law. If you'd like to help protect Hawaii's turtles, follow the proper turtle etiquette and make sure not to leave any trash on the beach.

You might see a few other types of sea turtles on your visit too! The leatherback, hawksbill and loggerhead all frequent Hawaiian waters. Keep your eyes peeled for these beautiful animals. Enjoy the beach and enjoy your Maui vacation! If you haven't secured your beachfront Maui accommodations, you'll find our contact information at the bottom of the page, and plenty of units to browse on our website. Mahalo!

Best Casual Dining in the Kaanapali Area

Last week we blogged about a few restaurants in or around Kaanapali where you can enjoy fine dining, including a variety of gourmet cuisine. This week is about the best casual places to go for a good meal at a reasonable price. The goal is to get you acquainted with restaurants near your Kaanapali vacation rentals.

Paradise Grill: Paradise Grill is a well-liked restaurant with a casual atmosphere that's great for kids, whether you're interested in lunch or dinner. They are also good for late night meals and drinks from their full bar. They have a nice selection of beers on tap, the Sizzling Steak Bites appetizer is delicious, the ribs are great, and guests tend to like the Ono Fish Sandwich. As you might have guessed by now, the food is American. They are located at 2291 Kaanapali Parkway. Call (808) 662-3700 for more information.

Ono Tacos: This little taco vendor is amazing. The food is delicious, the atmosphere is very casual, the prices are cheap, and it's great for kids. Many people rave about their salsas and sauces, and the fish and shrimp tacos are delicious. Connoisseurs of Mexican cuisine from all over are routinely surprised at the quality of food served here. You will find them at 3510 Lower Honoapiilani Rd. Call (808) 357-3779 for more information.

Local Food: Yep, that's the name of this little restaurant. It's a fantastic choice for a quick bite of authentic Hawaiian and Filipino cuisine at cheap prices. The Kalua pork is incredible, and if you've never tried it before, you really should. There's nothing quite like good Kalua pork. You might also enjoy the Loco Moco, a big favorite, and maybe even the spam musubi! Yes, Spam got popular during WWII and has stuck in Hawaii ever since. Spam musubi is a cooked slab of spam wrapped in sticky white rice with seaweed, and is a local favorite. If you'd like to try this place, you'll find it at 222 Papalaua Street, Ste 202. Call (808) 667-2882 for more info.

We hope that you enjoy this variety of affordable Kaanapali restaurants! Even if they aren't technically in Kaanapali, they'll only be a few minutes away by car, which should be very convenient if you have accommodations in Kaanapali, or Lahaina. If you missed our last blog, we mentioned there that one of the special ways to save money on food is to go out for lunch instead of dinner. Prices tend to be cheaper, and the menus often include the same items. Among the above restaurants, this probably only applies to Paradise Grill. We hope that helps. Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful Maui vacation!

Snorkeling at Black Rock on Kaanapali Beach

One of the most enjoyable activities for those that love the ocean is snorkeling! Everyone from the elderly to children can do it, provided that they are good swimmers, so if you are enjoying a relaxing stay at one of our vacation rental condos in Kaanapali, you may want to consider this activity.

Kaanapali Beach is known for its mild conditions, but for the best experience snorkeling around Black Rock, you should go early in the morning. As the day wears on, the weather generally tends to grow more choppy and visibility is reduced. That being said, the water is usually very clear around Black Rock.

Your snorkeling journey should take you from the south edge of the rock to the north and back. The water begins at an 8 foot depth and slopes down to 25 feet. Numerous coral colonies grow on this rocky peninsula and attract a wide variety of colorful fish. You will often spot turtles in this area and might even catch a glimpse of the elusive octopus. You will be more likely to see those if you are night diving, which is another activity that Black Rock is great for.

Of course we have to caution you to be responsible and pay attention to warnings and weather conditions. Ultimately you need to judge for yourself if conditions are favorable enough for snorkeling. That being said, we hope you have fun! Snorkeling can open your eyes to a whole new world beneath the surface of our beautiful Pacific Ocean.

Maui's Winery at Ulupalakua Ranch

You probably know we've got coffee, but did you know we've got wine? The Tedeschi Vineyards and Winery are located at the 20,000 acre Ulupalakua Ranch, on the slopes of Haleakala. The land is spectacularly beautiful, combined with the breathtaking views of the island, so you will not be disappointed by this scenic drive, even if it's a long way from Maui beachfront accommodations.

Once you arrive, you will find a wonderful selection of red, white, sparkling and specialty wines. The wine tasting room is located in the King's Cottage, which is one of the oldest historic buildings on Maui, dating back to 1874 when it was built for King David Kalakaua and Queen Kapi'olani. The king favored this location as a place to relax and find peace of mind, and when you visit, you'll understand why.

Aside from the wines, you'll find a wide array of Hawaiian-made products and specialty foods and gifts. The impressive bar at the wine tasting room was cut from a single mango tree, and is 18 feet long. Outside on the Winery grounds, you'll find towering historic trees and other historic buildings where old photos and descriptions provide a unique portrait of the past.

Of course this is a great spot to visit for wine enthusiasts, but also for photographers. The photo ops are endless with all the interesting scenes at the vineyard, the sprawling acreage of the ranch, and the broad vistas of the rest of the island. The sparkling ocean off in the distance is particularly lovely around sunset from this vantage. It'll be an hour and a half drive if you are coming from West Maui accommodations, but well worth the trip.

The tasting room is open from 10am to 5pm daily, except for major holidays, and three tours of the winery and the grounds are offered at no charge at the following times: 10:30am, 1:30pm, and 3pm. Check out the Maui Winery website for location and directions.

Hang Gliding on Your Maui Vacation

Looking for a bit of adventure on your Maui vacation? Exploring Hana's famously lush rainforest is always highly recommended, and if you think it's awe inspiring from the ground, just imagine how it looks from the sky! Hang Gliding Maui offers powered hang gliding lessons involving breathtaking tours over Hana.

Each lesson is a one-on-one tandem session with an experienced sport pilot. The instructor's seat is situated at the front of the glider, with the guest seat just behind it. The aircrafts used by Hang Gliding Maui are Australian made Airbourne trikes. These special gliders are fitted with three wheels, an engine with a silencer kit, two sets of controls, and a backup ballistic parachute system. In addition to the intelligent design of their gliders, Hang Gliding Maui has a 100% safety record.

As most veteran vacationers know, the road to Hana can be rainy. Hana itself, is sheltered from high winds, and Hana airport (where Hang Glide Maui departs from) has around 350 flyable days a year. In these winter months we recommend calling in advance to book your trip and check the weather.

If you're traveling with a group, you would have to go up one by one, as each glider only holds the pilot and one passenger. Hang gliding lessons are 30, 45 or 60 minutes long and range between $150 and $250. Hana is a beautiful place to spend the day and while you're up in the air, your friends and family will have an excellent time of their own, on the ground.

Passengers between the ages of 10 through 87 have taken flight with Hang Gliding Maui. In addition to the once in a lifetime memories of soaring over black sand beaches, thick green forests and deep blue ocean, they offer 24 photographs of your trip for $30 and a 34 minute DVD for $70, both taken from special, wing mounted cameras.

Lessons with Hang Gliding Maui can be booked on their website at www.hanglidingmaui.com, by email armin@hangglidingmaui.com, or by phone at (808) 572-6557. In the meantime, if you haven't yet booked your Maui vacation accommodations, we'd love to assist you. We provide a wide range of beautiful oceanfront condo rentals in Kaanapali. You'll find our contact information at the bottom of the page. Mahalo!

Makawao Forest Reserve Hiking

In the past, we've blogged about Makawao Town and all its ranch culture. We've described how it looks like a page out of the old west, since ranching culture has such strong roots in upcountry, dating back to the 1800s. Now Makawao Town is full of delightful shops restaurants, and art galleries. It's a great spot to visit before or after a hiking trip to the Makawao Forest Reserve.

This beautiful place is located on the slopes of Haleakala, above Makawao and Olinda. Here is a map to help you locate the Makawao Forest Reserve. As places to visit on Maui go, this one is off the beaten track. Not many visitors know about it, so if you are looking for a break from the popular tourist attractions, this is a good one.

This reserve is ideal for all levels of hiking experience, from a relaxing walk through the woods, to a challenging terrain with steep areas around the stream beds. Rain is relatively common here, so pay attention to the weather before you make the trip. Because of the rain, it's one of the forests with the most streams, and there is also a reservoir.

Despite the rainy climate, it's not a jungle. Actually, the site was once part of a timber experiment which involved planting various trees from the US mainland, along with several other countries. The whole thing was a test to see which kinds of trees thrived the best in a moist, high-elevation environment, so they could harvest the timber consistently. Fortunately, there are some native species here as well, such as koa and ohia lehua, the latter of which attract Maui's rare endemic honeycreepers with its distinct red blossoms.

If you are interested in botany, this area is not only home to many interesting tree species, but other kinds of plants as well. Click hereto learn more about the kinds of species you might see on your hike. It's a good opportunity for an educational experience for adults and kids, if you're traveling with your family.

Like the jungles of Hana and the majestic Haleakala Crater, the Makawao Forest Reserve is quite a drive from our Kaanapali condos. If you are driving from West Maui accommodations, you're looking at a drive of about an hour and twenty minutes. That being said, it's worth it for those who enjoy hiking and nature. You should stop by in Makawao for breakfast at the Casanova Deli before your hike, and maybe try Polli's Mexican Restaurant afterwards. Their Makawowie nachos are amazing.

We hope your vacation is unforgettable! Thanks for reading this week! Check back every Friday for more Maui vacation ideas. Mahalo!

Creepy October Scavenger Hunt at Maui Ocean Center

Maui Ocean Center website.

The scavenger hunt will set you off on an adventure through the aquarium to learn about the more bizarre kinds of creatures to be found there. There are strange creatures aplenty in marine ecosystems, and many of them are at home in the aquarium, just waiting to be found. Odd appearances, abilities and defense strategies are the trademarks of these animals, so expect some surprises.

The hunt will be held throughout the month of October during regular aquarium hours, from 9am to 5pm. To make the most of your visit this month, we recommend going on a Tuesday so you can check out the hula lesson at 11:45 and one of the Fins & Flippers Tours, which are held at 11:30am and 1pm.

Another option is to visit the MOC on Halloween, when they will have divers compete in an underwater pumpkin carving demonstration inside the Blacktip Shark exhibit at 11:30am and in the Open Ocean exhibit at 1pm. Also, they'll give out Halloween goody bags at the Maui Ocean Treasures gift shop to kids ages 3-12. Their supply is limited, so don't wait too long to snag them for your kids. The scavenger hunt will also be happening on Halloween, so you can participate in that, too.

The Maui Ocean Center is located in Ma'alaea, which is a half hour away from our Kaanapali condos when there's no traffic, but when there is traffic, your drive can be substantially longer, so give yourself some extra time, depending on when you're driving.

Be sure to check in each Friday for our latest Maui vacation activity or event idea, or browse through our past entries for scads of suggestions! Mahalo!

Maui Weather Via Webcams

Whether you're currently on a Maui vacation, planning one, or simply pining for our white sandy beaches, Maui webcams can be useful. In fact, they are a commonly overlooked online resource when it comes to vacations and general interest about the islands. What better way to keep track of the weather than seeing it for yourself through a live streaming video feed?

Most of the island's webcams are located near the beaches, which means you can visually assess their conditions from wherever you have an internet connection. There's a lot of regional nuance when it comes to Maui weather, which can be too unpredictable for weather reports to keep up with. That's why webcams are so useful for planning your day.

Webcams are particularly convenient if you're thinking about leaving your West Maui accommodations to explore South Shore Maui, or vice versa. For example, While West Maui might be sunny and clear on a given morning, South Maui might be overcast. Paia on the North Shore could be sunny and clear, or some light rain could sweep through the area. If you've booked an activity, whether out on the ocean or inland, you can decide whether you should bring some layers or hats and sunscreen right before you leave. If you're on Maui to surf, windsurf or go kite boarding, webcams are the only way to evaluate the break if your vacation accommodations are in a different area.

Webcams can also be used from home in the long term, if you want to familiarize yourself with seasonal weather conditions. When a big storm hits the news, or there are high surf advisories, you can check it out at any time and compare conditions between places.

The truth is, weather reports aren't the same as seeing the sky and the ocean conditions for yourself. Even if you aren't particularly interested in weather conditions, you can check in every so often just to admire your favorite shores.

To get started, check out www.frontstreetcam.com, which is in Lahaina. They provide links to several other cams around the island. You'll have to skip past an ad, but afterwards, you can watch and control the cam when it's your turn. We hope you find them fun and useful! Mahalo for reading!

Reggae Summit Hawaii Concert on Maui

If you enjoy reggae music and you'll be on your Maui vacation later this month, don't miss the upcoming Reggae Summit Hawaii. It's the biggest concert event of the year, with some of the most popular names in reggae music performing on Oahu, Maui and the Big Island. Maui's lineup includes Third World, "Jah Messenjah" Luciano and many more talented performers.

Third World is considered by many to be the most respected reggae band in the world, boasting 10 Grammy nominations and smash hits like “Now That We Found Love,” ”96 Degrees in the Shade” and “Try Jah Love.” This illustrious group is also one of the longest lived reggae bands of all time, maintaining their popularity by maintaining their cutting edge fusion influences from R&B, funk, pop, rock and rap, among others. Perhaps more remarkably, Third World is the only reggae band to be awarded the United Nations Peace Medal on the steps of the Capitol in Washington D.C. in 1993.

Luciano is popularly considered Bob Marley's only "successor" based on his lyrical style and stage delivery. An inspirational song writer and recording artist, he achieved world wide acclaim and cultural icon status after the release of his album Where There Is Life. His work is centered on the quintessential Rastafarian message of equality and justice for all of mankind.

If you want to see these remarkable artists perform live, you'll want to get your tickets as soon as possible, because reggae has long been popular among Hawaii's residents, and the turnout is likely to be huge. It seems that island culture from the Caribbean and the Pacific mix well, if Hawaii's love of reggae is any indication. At the very least, these cultures tend to share a laid back, relaxed style of both living and music, which seems to come naturally to those who live in the islands.

The concert will be held on June 25th at 4:30pm at the Maui Tropical Plantation in Central Maui, about an hour from our West Maui accommodations. You can get more info at mauitropicalplantation.com. If you need any assistance with your vacation accommodations, you'll find our contact information at the bottom of the page. We are happy to help! Mahalo!

Maui Kiteboarding

During your vacation here on Maui, you may have noticed crescent shaped kites darting over the ocean. If your eyes followed their lines down to the water's surface, you'd see a Kiteboarder. If our vision could transcend human capability so that you could look even closer, you'd probably notice a big grin on the surfer's face. Kiteboarders have a lot of fun sporting around our waters, and so can you!

Kiteboarding School Maui (KSM) offers beginner, intermediate and advanced Kiteboarding lessons. All courses begin at 11:00 am. If you decide to try the Discovery Program, Part 1 is Introduction to Kite Control, Part 2 is Kite Control Body Drag, and Part 3 is Kiteboarding Water Start. Parts 1 and 2 are generally between 1 and 2 hours long, and part 3 may last from 1 to 6 hours. It's difficult to stop Kiteboarding once you've felt the rush. The Intermediate Program includes Part 4: Kiteboarding Upwind, Part 5: Kiteboarding Transitions, and Part 6: Kiteboarding with Surfboards. For any fully trained Kiteboarders who would just like to get out on the water and have some fun, the Advanced Program provides Part 7: Kiteboarding Freestyle, where you will receive coaching on learning Kiteboarding tricks, like rolls, switched landings, grabs and kite loops. All equipment is provided by KSM. 

KSM is made up of a crew of instructors who are extremely experienced and registered with the International Kiteboarding Organization. It is KSM's goal to provide hands-on lessons in a one-on-one environment. Students have the support of a personal trainer to answer questions directly and bolster their confidence in learning a new water sport. Each lesson is flexible to the needs of every particular student. If you'd like to take a lesson with a friend, semi private lessons can also be arranged. A discount for friends and family is available, at 1.5 times the regular rate, which is cheaper than booking separately. 

Conveniently, KSM's website is equipped with a store, which truly makes it a one-stop-shop for Kiteboarding. If you live in a coastal town and would like to continue Kiteboarding at home, you can easily purchase the same equipment you've used during your lesson, at the web store. On that note, if you're thinking about moving to Maui, we can help you find the right Maui real estate to meet your needs.

In any case, if this cutting edge sport is something you'd like to try, book your lessons by calling KSM at (808) 873-0015 or on the web at www.ksmaui.com. If you book online, you can get 20% off the cost of Day 1. If you still need to book your Maui accommodations, we can assist you with our oceanfront condos. You'll find our contact information at the bottom of the page. Mahalo!

Find Secluded Waterfalls with Maui Hiking Safaris

Many visitors that come to Maui want to see the island from a path less traveled. Maui Hiking Safaris brings its guests to some of the Valley Isle's most incredible, remote locations. Your hiking guide will teach you about the local history, enchanting lore, and information on Maui's plants and animals, unique to the region you are exploring. Most tours will lead you to a secluded river or waterfall pool where guests are welcome to take a dip and enjoy the cool fresh water.

Six different hiking tours are available, ranging from easy half day treks to moderate and strenuous full day adventures. The Haleakala Waterfall Hike ($69 easy half-day, $120 moderate full-day) follows a stream through lush forests of fruit trees and brings into view the incredible sight of waterfalls ranging to 60 feet in height. The West Maui Waterfall Hike ($79 moderate half-day), near our beachfront Ka'anapali rentals, explores the mountainside from 700 to 1,200 feet, bringing guests to a 30 foot waterfall and its cool, freshwater pool. The Maui Rain Forest Hike ($79 moderate half-day) brings hikers deep into the windward side of the West Maui Mountains to observe the breathtaking sight of the volcanic canyon walls, thousands of feet above. The Maui Valley Hike ($79 moderate half-day, $159 strenuous full-day) wends through the West Maui Mountains and provides incredible views of waterfalls cascading down the canyon walls. The Maui Mountain Hike ($99 moderate half-day) climbs up the windward side of the West Maui Mountains to a ridge that overlooks the 2,600 foot drop to Waihe'e Valley. Lastly, the Combination Maui Hike ($139 moderate to strenuous full-day) allows you to choose two hikes to embark upon for your own full-day hike. So as you can see, there are plenty of astonishing sights to take in. Keep in mind that a verbal description can't truly do justice to the real beauty you will find in these places.

Maui Hiking Safaris will provide waterproof day packs and rain parkas to all guests, as well as bottled water and snacks on half-day hikes, and picnic lunches for full-day hikes. It is recommended that hikers wear comfortable hiking boots or tennis shoes, shorts, T-shirts, and swimsuits. Booking a hike requires at least two guests (with a four guest minimum on full-day hikes). To give every guest the best experience, each hike is limited to 8 guests, maximum. More guests will be considered if booking as a family or large, unified group. If you do decide to book a hike for your family or a large group, Maui Hiking Safaris will provide a discount.

This is a great way to get an intimate view of Maui on your vacation. If you'd like to contact Maui Hiking Safaris to book a hike, or find out which hike would be best for you, call (808) 573- 0168. If you need assistance with your Maui accommodations, you'll find our contact information at the bottom of the page. Mahalo!

Explore a Maui Lava Tube in Hana

A day trip to Hana is usually considered one of the highlights of every complete Maui vacation. The drive itself is an adventure, and after navigating the many twists and turns of the road, visitors often feel accomplished. The emerald green rainforest is filled with singing birds and breathtaking waterfalls, and the coastline cascades down sheer rocky cliffs overlooking the turquoise ocean. There is plenty of natural beauty, and just about every guest will find themselves wondering where to stop on their journey. 

One of the many excellent places to explore in the Hana area is the famous Hana Lava Tube at Ka'eleku Caverns. This unique experience allows you to journey into a broad lava tube and see the natural patterns in which lava had dried while forming the passages. Follow the moss and ferns through the forest floor and descend into the corridors of lava rock. Investigate the rare lava stalagmites, and stalactites that almost seem to be dripping from the cave ceiling. These are the art forms of Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of fire and volcanoes.

Handrails provide safe easy access for the whole family. The tour itself is self guided and open 7 days a week, every day of the year, from 10:30am to 4pm. There is no waiting period, so you don't have to worry about losing time during your Hana trip. The tour is about 40 minutes long, and costs $11.95 per person, with free passes for children 5 and under.

Pleasantly, there are no mosquitoes or bats in the caves. We do recommend bringing covered shoes for balance and protection. The terrain isn't extreme, but it is natural and a bit rocky in places, so you wouldn't want to stub your toe. Flashlights are provided for the tour. Also, this is a great spot to take a break for lunch. Above the caves, the grounds are beautifully tended and feature sheltered picnic tables. As an added bonus, the grounds are also home to the one of a kind Red Ti Botanical Garden Maze. See if you can find your way to the center!

If you're taking the road to Hana from North Maui (through Paia, Haiku) the Hana Lava Tube is located just past the mile marker 31, left onto Ulaino Road, and 0.4 miles to the visitor center entrance. If you pass signs for the Hana Airport, you've gone just a tad too far. For a map with directions, visit www.mauicave.com. If you have any further questions about the Hana Lava Tube tour, call (808) 248-7308.

Looking for beachfront accommodations? We have an assortment of lovely Ka'anapali condo rentals. If you have any questions or need any assistance, please contact us using the information at the bottom of the page. Mahalo!

Upcountry Maui Lauhala Weaving Workshop

Looking for an immersive Hawaiian cultural experience on your Maui vacation? Why not delve into an ancient art form through a hands on workshop where you actually learn techniques by putting them into practice? Now is a good time to reserve a spot for yourself and a friend or sweetheart at the upcoming lauhala workshop at Hui Noeau in Upcountry Maui.

Lauhala is an ancient Hawaiian craft that involves the weaving the dried leaves of the hala tree (Pandanus tectorius). Plenty of decorative items are made this way, making it an art form, but it has also been used for more practical applications, like the weaving of baskets. You'll learn techniques from a unique Hawaiian tradition. Although the hala tree has health, economic and cultural uses throughout many Pacific islands, weaving techniques differ depending on where you are. That's why this opportunity is so unique.

Very few Maui vacationers will get to return home with this kind of knowledge and experience, so if you're an avid crafter, you won't want to miss it. The event title is Art with Aloha: Pe'ahi Lauhala Workshop with Visiting Artist Leinaala Kai. It will be held on Saturday, July 16th from 9am to 1pm. In this workshop, you will weave a basic lahuala fan from start to finish, so you will also have your own hand made souvenir to take home with you.

Lainaala of Ulupono Designs will bring all the materials that you'll need, and walk you through every step of the process of creating your own beautiful fan. The cost of the workshop is reasonable at $35 per person, considering all that you will get from your time. You can also buy additional pe'ahi kits at the end of the class for $15 each. Maybe you can bring those home for friends and family when your vacation is over, and then share the techniques that you learned in your workshop. A lot of people prefer a hands-on type of gift, and the odds are pretty good that you know some of them.

We're posting about this workshop a couple weeks in advance so you'll have time to register for your spot before it gets booked up. You can register and find more information about the workshop at www.huinoeau.com. Just for your reference, the Hui No'eau Visual Arts Center is located at 2841 Baldwin Avenue in Makawao, which is located on the lower slopes of Haleakala. If you're staying at one of our Kaanapali vacation rentals, it will take an hour or more to get there, depending on traffic, but you'll find some nice scenery along the way! We hope you've found this suggestion interesting. Mahalo!

"Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" to be Filmed in Hawaii

This summer, the fourth installment of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie franchise will be filmed in Hawaii. According to producer Jerry Bruckheimer, they've always sought out, "the most extraordinary and exotic locations for the 'Pirates of the Caribbean' films."

Naturally, they wound up shooting on Maui and Molokai for 'Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End' and the state will certainly be glad to have them back for more filming. Bruckheimer said of their past experience on Maui and Molokai that, "Hawaii provides an amazing range of both land and seascapes, and we're delighted to return for 'On Stranger Tides'.

If Jerry Bruckheimer finds our incredible islands worthy of such high praise that he and others working on the project plan to film one of the most thrilling set of epic films, then you can bet that you yourself will not be disappointed by vacationing here with us.

This isn't just good news for visitors, though. Residents will also flourish thanks to the filming of this movie, seeing as there will be a very nice boost to the state's economy including an estimate $85 million in direct and indirect spending associated with the film. Hundreds of jobs will be created for local residents as well. The film is scheduled for release in the summer of 2011.

Art Galleries of Lahaina

Given its relatively small population, Lahaina has an unusual abundance of art galleries. In fact, it has one of the highest concentrations of art galleries per capita in the country. It's no surprise that Maui is the destination of choice for vacationers who enjoy the finer things in life, including the wonderful vacation rentals in West Maui. If you're interested in art, or you're traveling with someone who is, you could spend the better part of the day exploring Lahaina's art galleries, not far from our Kaanapali condos. In fact, you can find a great deal of local art in the shops as well, and if you know what to look for, there are some real treasures among these collections. You'll have to browse to find those, but you can take a more targeted approach to hopping between the art galleries on or near Front Street. Here's a little guide to the galleries, starting from the southern end of Front Street and heading north. 

The Village Galleries Maui - Here, you'll find a wide array of interesting art and gift items. Sculptures, jewelry, prints, original art, blown glass and Hawaiian cultural art are just some of the things you'll find at this little gem. Their prices are also more reasonable than the average in this area.

Thomas Barbèy Gallery - This gallery features the fascinating work of acclaimed photographer Thomas Barbèy. Widely regarded as an artistic genius, Barbèy's work contains seamless combinations of unexpected objects and scenes, which he put together in his dark room (not in Photoshop). You might find his work fun, symbolic, and perhaps a bit unsettling, but it is always interesting.

Wyland Galleries - Here you will find the marine-themed paintings and sculptures of popular artist Wyland, who is a passionate environmental conservationist. Unsurprisingly, he lives in Hawaii part-time.

Lik Lahaina - This gallery is probably the best loved of the bunch, not just because of the stunning photography of world-renowned Peter Lik, but also because of the friendly staff. Lik's photography focuses on vibrant, colorful nature scenes that dazzle the eye and inspire the imagination. One of his pieces will bring any space to life if you're looking to buy.

Vladimir Kush Gallery - Keep walking up Front Street past Lahainaluna Road and you'll find the work of famous surrealist painter Vladimir Lahainaluna Road and you'll find the work of famous surrealist painter Vladimir Kush. This gallery is another big favorite among visitors and residents alike. Kush's work is beautiful and impactful, both regarding his painting technique and his choice in imagery. Without the aid of photography to manifest his creative concepts, he blends the real with the unreal from the images in his mind, which makes his work all the more impressive.Kush's work is beautiful and impactful, both regarding his painting technique and his choice in imagery. Without the aid of photography to manifest his creative concepts, he blends the real with the unreal from the images in his mind, which makes his work all the more impressive.

Those are the main stops we suggest, but there are numerous other galleries that you can find along the way. You might even swing up Lahainaluna Road a bit and check out the Daryl Millard Gallery and Kai Pua. Hopefully, this has been a helpful little guide for you in your art gallery explorations, because we want every part of your trip to be as enjoyable as our vacation rentals are. On that note, if you happen to need assistance with your accommodations, you'll find our contact information at the bottom of the page. Mahalo!

Mokulele Air Adds Flights Between Honolulu and West Maui

If you prefer West Maui accommodations when you are visiting, you are already familiar with the charms of this part of the island. The scenery is stunning, Kaanapali Beach has been voted the best beach in the U.S. in polls, and there is no shortage of activities, night life, shopping, dining, spas, and other wonderful attractions here. If you've been here before, you also know that it can take a while to get to this part of the island.

The drive between Kahului Airport and our beautiful oceanfront Kaanapali vacation condostakes approximately 50 minutes, but you should know that there is an alternate airport in West Maui. Kapalua Airport is just a few minutes from Kaanapali accommodations.

Mokulele Airlines has recently announced its plans to increase service from Honolulu Airport to Kapalua West Maui Airport to seven flights a day, and possibly 12 flights a day in June, so if you are planning on stopping in Honolulu on the way to Maui, you might opt for one of these flights to save time. Of course a direct flight to Kahului would be the quickest means of transportation, but if this is not possible, a flight to West Maui from Honolulu will save you some hassle.

Larry Ellison bought Island Air in February, and they recently announced that they were pulling out of the market. Mokulele was quick to take advantage of the demand for service Island Air created via their decision. Island Air will be providing service between Honolulu and Kahului Airports instead, which seems like a gamble for an interisland airline, considering how many of the larger airlines already provide service between those airports. All this means for you is that a good number of flights to West Maui will still be available.

We hope that you are able to take advantage of air service between Honolulu and West Maui! Check in each Friday for our latest Maui vacation blog, which includes suggestions on activities, dining, island events to attend, accommodations and more. If you need assistance with a Maui vacation rental condo, you'll find our contact information at the bottom of the page. Mahalo!

Snorkel with Trilogy Maui

Looking for an exciting snorkel boat charter on your vacation to Maui? If you'll be staying at one of our West Maui condos in Kaanapali, then the number one favorite charter company on the island will be especially convenient for you to reach. Trilogy operates out of the scenic Lahaina Harbor, and offers no less than six different kinds of snorkeling tours from their marvelous catamarans.

Trilogy is lucky enough to boast the distinction of being the oldest family owned and operated Maui activity and sailing business. They also strive continuously to be the best, and any source of reviews that you will find online reflects this. Every member of the crew has been through rigorous training, whether they are senior captains or entry-level deckhands.

Trilogy provides a great deal of personal care to their guests, which is reflected in the size of their boats, which can carry 40-50 passengers, rather than the big ones that carry up to three times more people.

The current snorkeling charters include Lanai, Molokini, Lahaina, Kaanapali and South Maui as their destinations. All you have to do is choose which is right for your interests and your budget. If you are concerned about safety, Trilogy takes this vey seriously, and requires all guests to wear a buoyancy compensation device. They also carry state-of-the-art emergency equipment. You will have a snorkel/reef guide as well as a crew member on a paddle board keeping an eye on everyone. For more information on Trilogy's various tours and their prices, see www.sailtrilogy.com.

We hope you have an unforgettable experience aboard one of the Trilogy vessels. As for your Maui accommodations, if you need any assistance you'll find our contact information at the bottom of the page. Mahalo!

KaanapaliBeachRentals.com - by Ken Rothman

Hawaii Among Top Thanksgiving Vacation Destinations

TripAdvisor Vacation Rentals recently released a study indicating that Hawaii was the fourth most popular state in which to spend Thanksgiving this year. It's not surprising, considering how cold many other states become by November, whereas a Maui vacation boasts warm sandy beaches all year round.

Following the theme of warm sandy beaches, Florida took first place. It may not be as exclusive and luxurious as a Hawaii vacation, but most travelers don't have to go nearly as far to get to it. California was also on the list, being another warm coastal state, as was Tennessee, with its scenic lakes and rivers. Access to natural bodies of water is obviously a preferred Thanksgiving vacation trend, along with warmer temperatures.

The rest of the top ten list that came after Hawaii included North Carolina, Georgia, South Carolina and Colorado. Interestingly, the study showed where visitors were most likely to book their vacation rentals, throughout Hawaii. Those places were Honolulu on Oahu, and both Kihei and Lahaina on Maui.

The TripAdvisor Vacation Rentals list takes into account no less than 8,000 Hawaii properties from both individuals and property management companies like ours. Honolulu listed 730 properties, while there were 890 from the Kihei area and 687 from the Lahaina area. Keep in mind that Lahaina technically includes Kaanapali, which is where our rentals are.

Speaking of our rentals, if you're among those who won't settle for anything less than a luxurious Hawaii vacation for your Thanksgiving getaway, we have gorgeous Maui beachfront condos in Kaanapali. If you're going on a vacation to Maui, why not enjoy the best the island has to offer? Our rentals range from upscale luxury to affordable with all the amenities.

If you need any assistance with your booking, you'll find our contact information at the bottom of the page. We look forward to having you here in beautiful Kaanapali with us. Mahalo!

Maui Surfing on Your Vacation

January is one of the best months for surfing on Maui's North Shore. Advanced surfers will appreciate all the big beautiful barrel waves that January swells generate, but there are also places where the waves are ideal for beginners.

If you're just starting out, you might want to try South Shore or West Maui, where our vacation rental accommodations are located. You should book some lessons with one of the many local experts and surf schools. They will direct you to the best surf spot for your level based on conditions the day of your lesson. Another perk is that when you take an actual lesson, your chances of standing up during your first lesson are high. Our tip for the beginner surf areas is to bring reef shoes. Click for a list of Maui surf schools. On a side note, the South Shore and West Maui areas can be good for longboarding too.

Now on to the more advanced surf areas! North Shore Maui gets the largest and most consistent share of surf on the island. Hookipa is the most popular area to do it in, but it is also a local favorite, so it is really important that you are extra polite and don't drop in on anyone. You'll find 3-4 main breaks here, and two entrances on either end of the beach. There is reef here, and some of it is exposed by wave action, so make sure to avoid those areas. You might also try Honolua Bay, where the waves can be a bit inconsistent, but sometimes there are really good ones. Neither of these areas are ideal for beginners.

When you're surfing Maui, be aware that conditions can change more abruptly than coastal mainland areas. Conditions are calmest early in the morning, and the wind tends to pick up through the afternoon and evening, which makes the waves messy. South and West Maui are also calmer than the North Shore, and located conveniently close to our Kaanaapali beachfront condos. Use your best judgement when assessing conditions, and always check the surf reports. Sometimes there are jellyfish warnings and other notices you'll want to look for. Again, be careful of the reef, and also of sea urchins. Don't hang around in the water if you get cut, because you could attract a shark from a long distance away.

Maui is one of the most beautiful places in the world to surf, and the weather is warmer than anywhere else in the US coastal areas. We are referring to water temperature too, of course. Since it is January, you are likely to see humpback whales at play farther offshore. Be safe and enjoy the sights, sounds and surf of Maui! Mahalo for reading, and have a wonderful vacation!

Made in Maui County Festival 2016

Will you be visiting Maui in early November this year? If you'll be on the island on the 4th or 5th and you're interested in shopping for unique gifts and souvenirs, you couldn't have picked a better time. The Made in Maui County Festival will have vendors, visitors and local residents in a flurry of activity at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center in Kahului, about an hour from our West Maui accommodations. It's the county's biggest products show of the year, and as such, it is a special opportunity to find one-of-a-kind items crafted here on the enchanting island of Maui.

This annual festival is only in its third year, but with booming success. There will be over 140 product vendors showcasing their Made-in-Maui-County products, feeding local businesses and giving buyers the ultimate shopping experience by bringing so many choices into one location. Out of the total number of vendors, 16 are from the neighboring island of Molokai, and one from Lanai, both of which are within the bounds of Maui County. There will be food, produce, clothing, art, crafts, collectibles, jewelry, gifts and more. In fact, if you don't like shopping, this festival is an excellent option for getting it all done at once so you can focus on the things you enjoy most for the rest of your vacation.

Highlights on Saturday, the 5th, include a fashion show, product demonstrations and prize drawings. Last but certainly not least, 12 of Maui's most popular food trucks will sell their amazing island-inspired cuisine in the Festival Food Court. This is also a rare chance to choose from an unusual variety of options all in one place. Prices are affordable, too. What's not to love about this event?

As far as authenticity is concerned when it comes to the products at the festival, all participating vendors were required to have their business based on Maui, Molokai or Lanai. And of course their products had to be made on one of these three islands as well. Those that don't meet the requirements don't get to participate, so you can be sure that whatever you're getting is truly a product of these islands.

The festival will begin with a special "Shoppers Preview" from 1:30 to 6pm on Friday, November 4th, and all attendees will get a free festival tote bag. Tickets to this preview are $35 per person, and you can get them at the MACC Box Office, where you can also get more information on the event details. Public admission on Saturday, November 5th is just $5 at the gate, but free for children ages 12 and under. If you need assistance with your Maui accommodations, you'll find our contact information at the bottom of the page. Mahalo!

Maui Hang Gliding Activity

Some visitors are here for rest and relaxation at our beaches, spas, restaurants and fabulous West Maui accommodations. On the other hand, some are here for adventure. If you want to see it all and do it all, you'll still get to enjoy the accommodations, but when you're not at your home base, you can bike down the crater, or go scuba diving at Maui's reefs, hike some of our most beautiful trails, go cliff jumping at unforgettable waterfalls, or perhaps even take to the skies in a motorized hang glider so you can see the island from a whole new perspective!

Being in a hang glider is nothing like being in a plane or a helicopter. The open air is all around you, and your field of vision could hardly be more unobstructed. As if Maui wasn't stunning enough from the ground, the views of the island from the sky are just plain magical.

To try out this exciting activity, we suggest Hang Gliding Maui, which offers powered hang gliding lessons over breathtaking Hana and its lush green jungles. It's a long drive from our West Maui condos, but the trip will be worth it. Just get an early start and fill up on gas! And if you're wondering why they use powered craft, the answer is, just to be safe! Every lesson is a one-on-one tandem session with an experienced sport pilot who will guide you on your stunning tour through the sky.

Hang Gliding Maui uses Australian made Airbourne trikes, which are specially fitted with three wheels, an engine with a silencer kit, two sets of controls and a backup ballistic parachute system. These are cutting edge features from the safest manufacturer. On top of that, Hang Gliding Maui has a perfect safety record, and they've been in operation for many years.

Part of their safety record is owed to their expert weather assessment of Hana, where high winds happen, as well as relatively frequent rainfall. Still, Hang Gliding Maui has about 350 flyable days per year where they can take guests up into the air for an unparalleled experience. Call in advance, especially if you're going to be trying this out during the winter months. Lessons are 30, 45, or 60 minutes long, and the cost is between $150- $250. If you are in a group, you will have to fly separately, as each glider has space for one instructor and one guest. People everywhere from age 10 to 87 have taken to the air with Hang Gliding Maui, which gives you an idea of the appropriate age range. If you'd like pictures of your trip, they can provide you with a set of 24 for $30, and a 34 minute DVD for $70 from special wing mounted cameras.

Book your lesson at www.hanglidingmaui.com, by email at armin@hangglidingmaui.com, or by phone at (808) 572-6557. We hope you have an amazing time! Mahalo!

KaanapaliBeachRentals.com - by Ken Rothman

Aqua Adventure Maui Snorkel and Snuba Activity

Most Maui visitors will agree that the main attraction here is the ocean! But as a visitor, how can you be sure you're making the most of it? This technological age we live in gives us quick access to business listings, and more importantly, reviews on their performance. On that score, Aqua Adventure is the best performer. They are fantastic, and if you don't believe us, you can check out their Yelp listing or the long list of enthusiastic testimonials on their website.

Aqua Adventure will take you on an exciting snorkeling and snuba cruise where you'll get three hours of time in the water at one of two gorgeous destinations. You'll also get a continental breakfast, and deli lunch, with beer, wine, Mai Tais and soda available. You'll be led by certified instructors on guided dives where you will be outfitted with excellent quality snorkel and snuba gear. You can also buy underwater cameras, t-shirts, trip DVDs or videos and wetsuits.

To maintain their standard of the best personalized service, they take out small groups. The cost for adults, age 13 and up is $101 for snorkeling only, and $151 if you want to try both snorkeling and snuba. As for kids, snorkeling only is $76 and the snorkeling with snuba is $126. Kids aged 2 and under can attend free. They operate seven days a week, check-in time is 7am for their 7:30am departure time, and you'll be back at noon. The morning is the best time for snorkel and snuba because the weather is calmer and the water clarity is higher than at any other time of the day. Also, the sun is more intense here than most other places visitors are coming from, and prime sunburn time is between 12-2pm. In any case, bring sunscreen. Don't forget, we're close to the equator!

As for your stay, if you haven't booked your Maui accommodations yet, we can provide you with breathtaking beachfront Kaanapali condo rentals. For more ideas on things to do during your stay, check out our Maui events calendar. If you need assistance, our contact information is located at the bottom of the page. Mahalo!

Great Maui Beaches for Children

For those of you who are traveling with family, you may or may not be aware that the waves can kick up at times whether you are checking out the water sports favorite areas of North Shore or the tranquil West and South Maui beaches. So what are some very well protected beaches for your little ones? Here is a list:

Baby Beach: As the name indicates, this is a great beach for kids, thanks to its sandy shallow areas. You'll find it in north Lahaina just off Front Street. You can park on Kai Pali Street.

The "Baby" Beach: You should know that this is a different beach from the one above. This one is located on the western end of Baldwin Beach Park on the North Shore. There is a protective reef here that keeps the water nice and calm.

Kamaole Beach Park I, II, & III: You'll find these beaches in south Kihei, and they are great for easy swimming, especially because they have lifeguard stands. There are some nice tide pools to explore, and they also have convenient bathrooms and showers.

Launiopoko Beach Park: This one is great for a variety of activities. You can surf, but there is also a rock wall enclosing a tidal pool, which is great for the kids. Beginning surfers, including women and children are common here and it is generally a very friendly spot. There are also bathrooms and picnic areas. You'll find it a few miles south of Lahaina at mile marker 18.

Kalepolepo Beach: This area used to be part of a Hawaiian village, and the old fish pond is now a great wading pool for children. The beach is also wedged between two seawalls for even more protection from waves and currents. You'll find it when you turn off after mile marker 5 from Hwy 31 (Piilani Hwy).

Hopefully this list will help you decide where to bring the little ones for some safe beach time! Also, if you are looking for accommodations for a large family, we can help you with three bedroom Maui vacation rental condos in Kaanapali. We can also help you find Maui car rentals, including vehicles that seat more people, such as minivans. See our Maui rental availability calendar to help you decide which accommodations are best for the dates you plan to be here. If you need any assistance, you'll find our contact information at the bottom of the page. Mahalo!

Tour Maui's Art Galleries

Maui is typically known as a place of beauty, romance, and relaxation, but many don't realize that Lahaina in particular is considered the "Art Capital of the Pacific." In fact, there are more galleries per capita in Lahaina than any other town in the US. Many famous artists have come to call Maui home, thanks to the constant stream of creative inspiration that the island mysteriously provides to those who know how to see its beauty. The art community is vibrant and busy, with painters glass blowers, sculptors and plenty of other specialists working hard at their craft, and we get to enjoy the benefits! So where should you go to best experience the art community? Read on! We'll start with West Maui, near our luxury Kaanapali accommodations, which include gorgeous beachfront Maui condos.

West Maui - One of the ultimate favorites of both visitors and residents is the Peter Lik Art Gallery, which includes vivid nature and landscape photography. These images capture startling combinations of the brilliant colors, textures and contrasting elements that can be found in the natural world. Expect the bold and beautiful in this gallery. For a break from the limits of reality, try visiting the Vladimir Kush Gallery for surrealist paintings. Through the eyes of Kush, the normal rules don't apply, and while many have trouble wrapping their minds around his strange but beautiful paintings, their whimsical feel will draw your imagination into a world of fantasy, if you let it. For a magnificent combination of both of the aforementioned styles, there's the Thomas Barbéy Gallery which features surrealist photo manipulations. There's also the Lahaina Galleries and the Village Gallery - Contemporary, both of which feature a variety of talented artists.

South Maui - Try the Elan Vital Galleries in The Shops at Wailea, which include stunning fine art paintings and sculptures, many of which are inspired by gemstones. Brilliant splashes of color mingle in these surprisingly cohesive abstract peices. Dolphin Galleries in Wailea is also worth stopping in, for fine art and jewelry. This gallery happens to include some very charming sculptures. The Chris Barlea collection is comprised of vivid marine life, with a special focus on colorful octopuses. Maui Giclee in Kihei might also strike your fancy if you'd like to save money on art by purchasing prints. You'll find a vast array of choices.

Upcountry Maui - Hot Island Glass is one of the most fun art stops you can make. Nestled in charming, historic Makawao Town, this shop often gives you the opportunity to watch the process of glass sculpting from start to finish, and there are plenty of sculptures available for purchase. Situated nearby is the lovely Viewpoints Gallery, which features gorgeous art work, most of which comes from talented local artists. This gallery is very involved in the Maui art community, so check in for interesting events. Another fun stop is the Maui Crafts Guild, a co-op owned by several local artists. As the name indicates, they don't sell fine art. You'll find fascinating ceramics, basket-weaving, textiles, jewelry, glass, woodwork and other crafts. This is an ideal choice if you'd like to opt for creations that are off the beaten path as far as creativity is concerned.

We hope we've helped you narrow down the overwhelming array of potential art destinations on Maui. Don't feel limited to this list. Chances are, you'll stumble across a number of other establishments that provide stunning artwork for you to enjoy. Good luck, and have a fabulous Maui vacation! Mahalo!

Where to Surf Maui on Your Vacation

Maui is a great place for both advanced and beginner surfing. Let's start with a bit about the beginner level. There are many gentle breaks on Maui, most of which are in South Maui or West Maui where you will find our vacation rental accommodations. Some of these areas are great for long boarding. Also, if you decide to get surf lessons, you are pretty much guaranteed to stand up during your first lesson. Bear in mind that there is often reef around the beginner surf spots, so you might want reef shoes.

If you are very new to surfing, you shouldn't go out alone. The beginner spots can be dangerous during a south or west swell, so use your good judgment and stay out of conditions that don't seem safe.

As for the more experienced surfers, you'll find the largest and most consistent surf in the North Shore Maui area, and Hookipa is the most popular spot. There tends to be some local tension, so make sure you are polite and wait for your turn. Don't surf at all if you tend to drop in on others. There are 3-4 main breaks in Hookipa with two entrances to the surf at either end of the beach. Reef is exposed in the other areas. If you want to try another spot, there is Honolua Bay, but it is equally crowded. The waves can be inconsistent, but there are some great ones. Again, only experienced surfers should try this spot.

A general tip for surfers of all proficiencies is that Maui can get windy, and that wind can wreck the waves and your experience. To avoid this, try to get going as early as you can. Conditions tend to be calmest in the early morning. Also, you'll want to avoid cutting yourself on the reef (all the best breaks are reef breaks) and you should avoid sea urchins. If you get cut, get out of the water because you don't want to attract any tiger sharks. Again, be polite with the local surfers and be careful. Be sure to check the reports on both surf and other factors, like jellyfish warnings. Otherwise, enjoy the tropical warmth of the water and the stunning scenery. During the winter months, you will often see humpback whales playing in the distance.

Now as for your Maui vacation accommodations, we can assist you with some beautiful beachfront condo rentals in Kaanapali. If you need any help, you can find our contact information at the bottom of the page. Mahalo!

Humback Whales in Maui, Hawaii 

"Imagine... It's just about time for your annual trip to Hawaii. Every year you spend the winter in Hawaii, basking in the sun, enjoying the ocean. Last year was special. You met someone. He had the most beautiful voice... one thing led to another, and now you're pregnant. So it looks like this year you're going to be giving birth on your winter vacation. It's not the first time, so you know it's going to be a big baby; probably about the size of a school bus, and weighing a couple thousand pounds. Did I mention you're a humpback whale?"

While not the largest whale, the humpback may be the most popular due to its majestic breaching and playful antics, and to its choice to spend some of it's time in the same place we like to visit - Hawaii. Hawaii is not the only place humpback whales go to spend their winters. However a large percentage do, and winter is birthing season, so many whales get their start here.

Calves are born 12 to 15 feet long, and can weigh a ton. Once born, and taught to breathe by their mothers nudging them up to the surface, they start to nurse. Baby whales can drink up to 50 gallons of whale milk a day. This is all the more remarkable when you realize the mothers are not eating during the winter season. Whales spend their summers in polar waters fattening up on krill and small fish, then swim to tropical waters like Hawaii and fast all winter. (Unlike another species I know, who perhaps eats too much while on vacation in Hawaii!) Calves are weaned around 5 months.

Females can start to reproduce at about 6 to 10 years of age. They will usually produce a calf every two to three years. Gestation is about eleven to twelve months, so calving season in Hawaii is also mating season. Humpback whales have been making a comeback since the International Whaling Commission banned commercial humpback whaling in 1966. So today a humpback whale can live to 45 or 50 years.

Hawaii, and Maui especially, is one of the best places to whale watch. There are everything from large catamarans, for those not too fond of boats, to small, fast rafts for the more adventurous. There are rules in effect to protect the whales from their admirers, but you can still get a show. And often the whales choose to ignore the rules and come close to take a look at all the silly humans. And for those who really don't like being on the water, you can still see whales right from shore. There are many great vantage points, possibly including the very West Maui Rental condo you're staying in.

So if you are here during winter whale season, don't forget to check out our most famous visitors; you will not forget it.

The Maui Whale Festival

If you care to take a fun drive to Kihei from our beautiful West Maui accommodations, a fun, upcoming event is in store.

On February 20th, the Maui Whale Festival will be celebrated at Kihei's Kalama Park. The event includes plenty of fun activities in honor of the island's largest and most consistent visitors, the humpback whales. This traditional festival has roots that can be traced back to 1980 and considering how many visitors are drawn to Maui to view these behemoth mammals, it seems they deserve their own celebration.

The festivities will include a lively parade, a "Made on Maui" market, displays, entertainment and, of course, the food booths that residents are so fond of. The celebration will begin at 9a.m. and end at 6p.m. The parade will run along South Kihei Road between 9 and 10a.m. This year's parade theme is "An Ocean in Motion" which focuses on the ever-changing quality of the planet's oceans, as you might have guessed.

Last year, almost 15,000 people joined the fun throughout the course of the day. Since Kihei is a beachfront town, it's totally convenient to take a break for a quick dip in the ocean.

Fine Dining in West Maui

So you've found your Kaanapali accommodations, and that means you've got shelter taken care of. Now what about food? It's an important question! Food influences your physical, emotional and mental well-being, along with your wallet. All of those things are important, especially if you're on vacation. So what are the great places to eat if you're staying in Kaanapali? Here are some of the finest places to eat in West Maui!

Roy's: This much loved Kaanapali restaurant is open daily from 11am to 10pm, with dinner starting at 5:30pm. It's not cheap, but parents give it the thumbs up for kids. It's a great place for dinner, if you're looking for a classy, upscale environment where you can dress casually. As you may have noticed if you've visited before, Maui is a great place for those who prefer casual attire. If you go, the Macadamia Nut Crusted Mahi Mahi is a favorite, and for dessert, the chocolate souffle is recommended. There's also a full bar if you'd like a good drink. This is Hawaiian fusion food, which is redundant because most Hawaiian food is a fusion of many different cultures.

Lahaina Grill: Take a quick drive over to Lahaina and you can experience this restaurant, which is one of the best on the island. Like Roy's Lahaina Grill is refined but relaxed. They provide New American cuisine with influences from all over the world, using local, fresh ingredients. The Maui Onion and Sesame Seed Crusted Seared Ahi is huge favorite here. The Triple Berry Pie is recommended for dessert. It's a bit more expensive than Roy's and generally not recommended for kids. They also have a full bar. This is an ideal place for a romantic dinner.

Gerard's Restaurant: This is another upscale restaurant like the Lahaina Grill, only the cuisine is French and sea food. The ambiance is romantic here as well, and it is also not a kid place. The food is amazing, and you should try the Markea Shrimp sauteed in hazelnut oil, with pasta and truffle butter. For dessert, the Pineapple Tarte Tatin homemade sorbet is amazing.

Check in next week for casual dining suggestions. Oh, and one quick tip! You'll save money if you eat out for lunch rather than dinner, and often times, the menu will have the same items. Have a great vacation!

Maui's Big Winter Waves

Winter is the season for monster waves in the North Shore Maui area. We recommend that you only surf if you're very experienced and have researched the nuances of the spot you're interested in, because no two beaches are the same. Not a surfer? Why not take a drive to the North Shore and watch the waves?

If you want to relax on a tranquil beach, near your West Maui accommodations don't worry. West Maui and the South Shore tend to be pretty flat when the North Shore surf is up. It all depends on which way the wind is blowing, and Maui's most common trade winds come from the north. So whether you'd like to soak up the sun on a postcard beach during the island's warm winter, you can do that, or you can head to North Shore and see the waves. Both options can be a lot of fun, and can provide great photo opportunities.

If you want to check out the North Shore waves, one of the popular and convenient spots is Ho'okipa, where there's a nice little lookout point up on a cliff above the beach. It does provide some parking, but it can get full on the weekends or whenever the surf is high. Usually, you'll still be able to find a spot. It's also a nice place for whale watching, with sweeping panoramic ocean views. If you go down to the beach, be extra respectful toward local residents, as they can be protective of the area.

If you really want to splurge on wave watching, there are several Maui helicopter tour companies that include North Shore Maui, and you can see some amazing surf from the sky, along with unbeatable views of the island from an amazing perspective.

If you tour Maui's North Shore from the ground, you might consider stopping by the charming beach town of Paia to do some shopping and/or grab a bite to eat from one of their surprisingly diverse collection of restaurants.

Be sure to check in each Friday for our latest Maui vacation suggestion, and to use our contact information at the bottom of the page if you need a question answered. Mahalo!

Sightseeing at Maui Lookout Points

The best things in life are free, and that includes sightseeing on Maui. Well... aside from the car rental and gas you spend to get around. That being said, you can enjoy memorable moments without paying a whole lot more on expensive activities. Most Maui visitors will tell you that driving to the scenic spots around the island were some of the best times they had. So here's a quick guide to popular Maui vantage points.

Papawai Point - If you're staying at our West Maui vacation rentals, you'll pass this scenic lookout on your way there from Central Maui, about three miles northwest of Ma'alaea Harbor on Honoapi'ilani Highway. Perched atop a rocky cliff that boasts stunning views of the ocean to the south and the west, this is one of the most popular whale watching spots in the winter and spring months. That's because whales tend to congregate at their thickest in the sheltered waters around Ma'alaea Bay. Here, the ocean tends to be calmer, as the prevailing winds come from the opposite side of the island. It's definitely worth stopping by, although the parking lot is a bit on the small side, so parking can be tricky.

McGregor Point - People often confuse Papawai and McGregor, which is why we're listing them separately. Located about a mile east of Papawai Point, McGregor Point is named for the lighthouse perched just below Honoapi'ilani Highway. The road is unpaved and sloping, so we only recommend it for very cautious drivers. Four-wheel drive is also a plus. This is a good spot for the intrepid explorer who wants to avoid the crowding of Papawai and see the lighthouse, along with the beautiful ocean views.

Ho'okipa Lookout - If you're making the journey to opposite side of the island, you won't want to miss Ho'okipa Beach Park Lookout on Maui's dynamic north shore. The cliff rears up against the ocean and prevailing trade winds, providing spectacular views of the churning water. Humpback whale sightings are a bit less common on this side, but it's a great spot for watching the crashing waves and all the talented surfers who brave them. There is a little trail down to the tide pools here, but a caution sign to keep people away from it because of its steepness. The relatively large parking lot here is a big plus.

'Iao Valley Lookout - Not all of Maui's best lookout points are coastal. Nestled into the lush West Maui Mountains is the charming 'Iao Valley State Park. Here, you'll find a lookout point that requires a half-hour hike up 133 winding steps. When you arrive, you'll behold the spectacular 'Iao Needle and surrounding mountain slopes, blanketed in emerald green foliage and usually shrouded in mist. From this vantage point, you can also gaze down at the Central Maui landscape and see Haleakala off in the distance. Another plus: plenty of parking.

Haleakala Summit - The ultimate Maui vantage point is found at the summit of Haleakala, no less than 10,023 feet above sea level, rising high over the lofty cloud line. Beholding the sunrise from this place is described by some as nothing short of a spiritual experience. The observatories capture some of the clearest views of the night sky anywhere in the world. There's no place like the summit for watching meteor showers. Another extraordinary feature of this remarkable place is Haleakala Crater, where past volcanic activity left vivid cinder cones with hues of red and orange mixed into the rocky landscape. Few places in the world can rival the spectacular views that Haleakala National Park provides, and here also, there is plenty of parking.

We hope these suggestions have given you some ideas for your sightseeing excursions on your Maui vacation. If you need any other ideas for things to do around Maui, check our past blog entries, or pop in each Friday for our latest addition. If you need assistance with your accommodations, you'll find our contact information at the bottom of the page. Mahalo!

Maui Vacation on Kaanapali Beach

There's a reason why most of our vacation rental condos are located right on Kaanapali beach. In fact, there are countless reasons. You've probably guessed the first: extraordinary beauty.

Kaanapali Beach was once a retreat for the ali'i, or Hawaiian royalty, who would come to relax and enjoy the breathtaking sights. This mile-long strip of soft white sand is met by gently lapping, sparkling ocean, which is especially calm in the morning. Off in the distance are the majestic islands of Molokai and Lanai, which look particularly impressive with the frequent backdrop of flaming red arcs thrown across the sky by the setting sun.

All this beauty, you've probably expected, so lets go into a little more detail about what makes Kaanapali Beach special. It's a great place to snorkel. You can rent some affordable equipment and make your way to the north end of the beach, where Black Rock juts out into the blue green water. Lovely corals are anchored on the base of this rock, and the reef is teeming with brilliantly colored fish. Turtles are frequently spotted here too.

If you'd rather take in the sights from above the waves, but don't want to be limited to the beach for your sightseeing, a kayaking trip is highly recommended. These are also convenient to rent, and getting out onto the water will afford you a whole new vantage of both the ocean and the islands. The weather is usually ideal for kayaking, but conditions are generally calmest in the morning.

If you feel like indulging in the luxuries of civilization, you'll find Whaler's Village on the north-middle of the beach. There are clothing boutiques, island jewelry stores, souvenir shops, and places to grab some food and cool drinks. Whalers Village hosts performances at various times of the day, and they are free to watch. The Whaler's Village website has plenty of detailed information if you'd like to know a little bit more about what it has to offer.

Fine restaurants are pleasantly easy to find, and many Kaanapali Beach condominiums have one of their own. Most are strategically placed right next to the beach to offer diners the best possible view with their meal.

As for the accommodations you'll need for your Maui vacation we hope you'll choose us! It's our specialty, so please explore our website and have a look at our many lovely Kaanapali vacation rental condos. We recommend the Honua Kai Resort and Spa. We hope you enjoyed this blog. Thanks for reading this week! Aloha!

Chinese Kite Festival in Lahaina

It's always nice when entertaining events are held near your Maui accommodations. This island is bigger than many first visitors realize, and some of the most popular attractions require an hour of driving or more, if you're staying in the vibrant West Maui area. For those of you who will be visiting next week, the Chinese Kite Festival will take place on Friday, the 17th.

This colorful celebration is a lot of fun for kids and adults alike, and it will be held at the historic and educational Wo Hing Museum. Conveniently, the museum is located just a few minutes from our Kaanapali condos on Front Street, which boasts a myriad of shops, art galleries, restaurants, and the scenic Lahaina Harbor, where you can book all kinds of ocean activities. This means there will be plenty that you can do with your day before and after you enjoy the festival.

The celebration will kick off at 1pm and continue on to 8pm. You'll get to peruse a fascinating exhibit of handmade kites made with both traditional and modern styles. There will be kites for sale, if you'd like a particularly unique souvenir or gift to commemorate your vacation. For a more hands-on experience, you can join in on a workshop to make your own kite.

A talk will be held on the history and significance of kites in China, which is more relevant to Hawaii than you might think. Many of our local residents are part Chinese, their ancestors having immigrated here during the plantation era.

There will also be Chinese music, entertainment, and delicacies for sale. Those who want to fly their kites the following day, on Saturday, can do so at the Keka'a North Beach Open Space near the old Airport Beach in Kaanapali, where other festival guests and participants will be doing the same between 10am and 2pm. The Hawai'i Kiteflyers Association will be there providing aerial displays with their acrobatic sport kites.

We hope you enjoy the festival! If you need more information, visit lahainarestoration.org. If you need assistance with your accommodations, you'll find our contact information at the bottom of the page. Mahalo!

World Whale Day on Maui

If you're on vacation to Maui for Valentine's Day, there are plenty of romantic things you can do with your time. On the other hand, if you and your sweetheart aren't big on the gooey experiences, or perhaps you're traveling with kids who need something a bit more lively, you could celebrate World Whale Day in South Maui. It's a little under an hour from our Kaanapali condos, but it should be well worth the drive.

Why this event? It has been drawing enthusiastic revelers for 35 years, it's free, it lasts all day, and it is also educational. Whale Day celebrates the humpback whales that migrate here to Maui every winter. You may even spot some whale activity offshore, since the event takes place at the lovely oceanside Kalama Park.

The day will kick off at 9am with the colorful Parade of Whales that will come down South Kihei Road. The festivities will continue until sunset. There will be hula performances, musical entertainment from some of Hawaii's most popular artists, whale-themed attractions, a Keiki Carnival (for kids) that will feature hands-on educational activities, and of course, a fantastic array of food booths featuring the culinary creations of local restaurants and food trucks. You can also check out the original "Made on Maui" artisan's fair, which brings a myriad of locally created crafts, art, souvenirs and more.

The educational side of the experience involves environmental displays on marine mammals, ocean conservation, and Maui's unique ecosystem. There's plenty to learn, and a great deal of fun you can have in the process. World Whale Day is ideal whether you have kids, marine life enthusiasts or nature-lovers in your group. Being a free event, it won't put a dent in your budget, beyond what you spend on food and shopping. In fact, there are also free shuttles to and from the parking lots in the area. If you need more information on this gem of an event, call Pacific Whale Foundation at (808) 249-8811 ext. 1 or visit www.mauiwhalefestival.org.

Mahalo for reading, and have an amazing Valentine's Day!

Maui Ecotourism Vacation Ideas

The Hawaiian islands offer some of the richest biodiversity in the world. According to modern science, two of the most important factors in speciation include isolation (distance from other land masses) and the size of the land mass in question. This should explain why Australia has so many unique species, and although the Hawaiian Islands are tiny by comparison, by island standards they are decent in size, and certainly have the isolation nailed down. What might you see on your Maui vacation as an ecotourist?

Birds: Maui is home to enchanting honeycreepers such as the distinct red I'iwi, the frilly Akohekohe and the vivid yellow-green Amakihi. To get a look at these birds, visit www.mauiforestbirds.org. There are certain places where you may be able to spot these and other native Maui birds, such as Hosmer Grove and Poli Poli Spring State Recreation Area.

Whale Watching: Every winter, the humpback whales arrive for their yearly visit to the Hawaiian islands to mate and give birth to their calves. Thousands of whales cruise through these waters between December and May, and as the most acrobatic of the baleen whales, their breaching, spy hopping, tail lobbing and other antics are frequently seen from shore. There are plenty of whale watching charters to choose from, but you can start by checking out www.pacificwhale.org if your Maui visit will take place during whale season.

Marine Life: A host of fascinating marine creatures live within the teeming coral reefs offshore. You could go out snorkeling or scuba diving with any number of reputable charters, or you could rent equipment and go solo. Some great spots include Olowalu in West Maui, and La Perouse Bay in South Maui, but there are many other places where you can find reefs. In fact, most rock outcroppings that span into the water, such as those where you see tide pools, are surrounded by reef. You might try exploring on your own, but use good judgment when it comes to the weather. Don't go in if things look choppy. The earlier in the day, the calmer and clearer the conditions are.

Maui Ocean Center: This attraction deserves its own category, even if it falls under the marine life umbrella. The MOC, also known as the Hawaiian Aquarium, contains the biggest collection of native Hawaiian marine species in the world. This is a great choice for those who can't or prefer not to snorkel or scuba. It's especially suited to families with curious children. You'll see sharks, turtles, shrimp, crabs, corals, a myriad of fish, and more. It's a very educational experience, and the gift shop actually has some really neat items that would make excellent presents and souvenirs.

Another important element for a great Maui ecotourism experience is a good camera, so don't forget to bring yours, but make sure not to leave it unattended, and if you must leave it in your car, lock it up in your trunk to be safe. Your camera will make your memories last if you make good use of it, and whether you get to see a 45 foot humpback whale up close, or a vivid Maui honeycreeper, you'll be glad you captured the moment! Good luck, and have a wonderful vacation!

Best Spas of Maui

If you're looking to get pampered on your Maui vacation, there are some incredible spas near our Kaanapali condos that will make you feel amazing. Spas are great whether you're on the island with friends, or you're on a romantic getaway with your sweetheart. It's also a good option for the ladies if the men are busy doing other things that aren't suited to your interests. Whichever scenario applies, here are the spas that will have you feeling like you just floated out of heaven back into your tropical paradise.

Zensations Spa & Massage is the ultimate favorite on the  island, and the proof is in the outstanding reviews. It's a very rare day when any visitor to this spa has a critical word to say about it. Their massages are a source of constant praise, as is their soothing aesthetic and their impeccable cleanliness. The staff is incredibly friendly and the price range is moderate.

Kapalua Spa has equally high reviews, but their price range is a bit higher. The facility provides a mix of indoor and outdoor experience, such as outdoor massages and indoor saunas and jacuzzis. There are healthy refreshments to be had, and a relaxing, open air atmosphere with friendly and knowledgeable staff.

Maui Zen Day Spa should not be confused with Zensations, but they do have moderate prices in common. Guests are especially fond of the products used at this spa, and as with the other options, the staff is very friendly, and wonderful at what they do. The lomi lomi massage is a special favorite at this spa. There are two locations for this spa, including one in Lahaina and one in Wailea, if you find yourself out in South Maui.

On that note, if you happen to be interested in the spas located out in South Maui, there are a couple of excellent hotel spas to choose from, including the Spa Grande at the Grand Wailea and the Spa at Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, both of which are on the expensive side, but they are worth it. Also, the Valley Isle Day Spa is a top notch choice.

We hope you have an unforgettable experience at your spa of choice! Don't forget to check in every Friday for our latest Maui vacation suggestion. Mahalo for reading!

KaanapaliBeachRentals.com - by Ken Rothman

Maui Visitor Arrivals Grow Faster Than State Average

Unsure about which Hawaiian island to visit? Maui County's visitor arrivals are performing better than the state average, which tells you just how highly visitors value a Maui vacation. Maui County's arrivals increased by 8.3 percent in March, while the state's arrivals increased by 7 percent. In the first quarter, Maui County had a 6.3 percent increase in arrivals, while the state saw only a 3 percent climb. Keep in mind that Maui's numbers are helping to bring up the state's average as well.

Oahu consistently draws in the most visitors among the islands, but Maui's arrivals are growing faster this year, so far. Maui vacation accommodationscost more than the other islands, on average, but that doesn't stop the island from bringing in visitors like this. There are two main factors at play here. One being that visitors consider a Maui vacation to be worth the higher cost, and the other being that visitors have more money to spend on their vacation.

The aforementioned statistics come from the Hawaii Tourism Authority, which routinely collects and analyzes this kind of data. Their report outlined an interesting discovery: a growing number of "day trippers." This refers to visitors who visit an island just for a day before jetting off to somewhere else. It's an effective way to discover a place without investing in a full-length vacation, which might just suit your plans. The number of day trippers visiting Maui increased by 12.6 percent in March, compared to the same month last year, and increased 12.9 percent in the first quarter.

Visitor spending told a similar story in March. Maui had an 8.5 percent increase, while the state's increase was 3 percent. In the first quarter, Maui had a 4.6 percent increase in spending, while the state saw a 1.3 percent drop. The HTA feels that the strengthening of the dollar is responsible, because it reduces spending from Japanese visitors.

If you are interested in a Maui vacation, we encourage you to browse through our accommodations to find something that suits your needs. We hope you've found this post informative, and will be happy to assist you if you need us. You'll find our contact information at the bottom of the page. Mahalo, and happy travels!

Maui Scuba with Lahaina Divers

For all of you certified divers, and those who are interested in getting your scuba certification, what better place to enjoy this special activity than in the warm waters of the Pacific off the stunning coast of Maui? Lahaina Divers is a consistent favorite for diving excursions.

We know that snorkeling can be a lot of fun, but if you find it limiting, scuba is a great alternative. This exciting activity allows you to get a much closer look at our incredible marine life, including fish, corals, crustaceans, mollusks, sea turtles, and sometimes even whales and dolphins. Lahaina Divers can take you on an amazing tour of the small crater island of Molokini, off Maui's coast. Or there is also the option of cavern diving off the island of Lanai, or exploring the Carthaginian, a sunken schooner not far from our West coast Maui accommodations. They are known for their friendliness, and they also provide beverages and snacks on all outing, with breakfast and lunch on certain tours. Conveniently located about four miles away from our Kaanapali condos in historic Lahaina Town, this company operates out of the scenic Lahaina Harbor.

Aside from their great reviews, we recommend Lahaina Divers because of the sheer number of tour options that they offer. You have plenty of choices with this tour company, and they also offer handicapped diver training. Not only can they provide you with introductory lessons and certify you as a scuba diver and as an open water diver, but they also offer training all the way up to dive master and instructor. Their Intro to Scuba Diving program is available to students aged 10 and over. No matter what level of ability you possess, Lahaina Divers can accommodate you in further enriching your experience and abilities.

As for ther tours and dive packages, they are far too numerous to list, so rather than give you a list of their prices, and information on their dives, you will want to visit their website at www.lahainadivers.com for more information. We hope you have an unforgettable experience that will help to remind you what a special place Maui is, and how much fun it is to visit.

Mahalo for reading this week! If you need assistance with your accommodations, you'll find our contact information at the bottom of the page.

KaanapaliBeachRentals.com - by Ken Rothman

Ride the Lahaina Sugar Cane Train

What if you could take a tour of West Maui's historical places and sprawling vistas from a lovely open train car on your Maui vacation? As it turns out, you can! This relaxing and educational experience is great for families, couples, or anyone who wants to learn more about the history of stunning West Maui.

Conveniently, the train isn't far from our Kaanapali vacation rentals. In fact, it runs between Kaanapali resorts and lively Lahaina Town, so you can use it to get between towns. There is plenty of stunning scenery to enjoy while you're en route, and the open-air coach cars provide wonderfully unobstructed views. Don't forget to bring your camera with you for this activity.

You will also have a guide that will share all kinds of interesting information with you about the historical significance of the areas you are passing, along with some interesting facts about the land and the ocean. Yes, you will see plenty of sparkling blue Pacific on your trip, and possibly some whales if you ride between December and May. There is also a 325-foot wide wooden trestle bridge that you will cross, and the views are especially stunning from that spot.

This business has been in operation for over thirty years, and they have made more visitors happy than they could possibly count, although they do boast a total tally of no less than 5 million passengers over the years, which makes them one of the most popular attractions on Maui.

Round trip tickets for the train are $22.95 for adults and $15.95 for kids aged 3-12. Children under 3 years of age ride free. For more information on the Maui Sugar Cane Train, see their website at www.sugarcanetrain.com.

We hope you have a wonderful time. Mahalo for reading this week!

KaanapaliBeachRentals.com - by Ken Rothman

Shark Dive at the Maui Ocean Center

Looking for an adventurous but safe underwater experience on your vacation to Maui? How about going on a shark dive at the Maui Ocean Center (MOC)? If you are a certified scuba diver, you can hop into the 750,000 gallon Open Ocean exhibit, which includes over 20 sharks and stingrays, along with thousands of tropical reef fish.

This dive is offered Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays all year-round, beginning at 8:15am and lasting for 2-2.5 hours. The cost is $199 but includes your admission to the aquarium for both you and a viewing guest, as well as a weight belt and air tank. You have the option of bringing four additional guests with a 20% discount on their admission. There can only be two divers in the tank at a time. You will need to bring your own wetsuit, mask, BCD, fins and regulator, along with your certification card.

Don't forget your underwater camera, if you have one! You will be getting a very up close and personal look at these incredible animals, and as you make your way around the exhibit, you may get to feed the spotted eagle ray, and you can sift through the sand for any shark teeth you might find. You get to keep those as a souvenir.

The MOC switches out many of these animals to and from the ocean as needed, so you never know exactly which species you will see, but here is a list of the animals you may see: Tiger shark, hammerhead shark, blacktip reef shark, grey reef shark, whitetip reef shark, sandbar shark, spotted eagle ray, broad stingray. Then of course there will be dozens of species of tropical reef and pelagic fish.

If you need more details, visit this very helpful MOC Shark Dive page. We hope you have an amazing time, no matter how you spend your vacation. On that note, we are West Maui vacation rental specialists, so if you haven't yet secured your Maui accommodations, we'd love to assist you! We recommend you browse the beautiful Honua Kai condos while you are online, but if you need us, you'll find our contact information at the bottom of the page. Mahalo!

South Maui Easter Sunday Champagne Brunch

If you're here on a Maui vacation during Easter, perhaps you'd like to do something festive for your holiday. You might not expect to find much of the holiday spirit in the tropical Hawaiian island chain, but residents here celebrate with as much enthusiasm as the next state out there on the Mainland.

Why not make the scenic drive out to the Makena Beach & Golf Resort in South Maui for an Easter Sunday brunch? The journey should take just under an hour if you're staying at one of our Kaanapali condos, and you'll have sparkling blue ocean in sight for most of the way.

If you're thinking that a brunch doesn't sound that interesting, you might be surprised. Chef De Cuisine Kurt Lesmerises provides Makena's award-winning Sunday Champagne Brunch, which has been themed for the holiday this year.  The menu is too extensive to describe, but includes traditional breakfast favorites with some creative new treats in the mix. Some will be provided buffet style, while others will be created before your eyes at one of six action stations where your food will be made to order.

The cost is $65 per adult and $35 per child. You'll find the full menu and more information at this makenaresortmaui.com page. The brunch will be held at Makena's Molokini Bar & Grill from 9:30am to 1:30pm, so it's alright if you're not the earliest of risers. There will be live entertainment to complement your meal.

If you're looking for an activity for the kids, the same resort will have an Easter egg hunt at 9am on the Pu'u Olai Lawn. There will also be a fundraiser for local charities at the Atrium Garden at 9:30am, if you're feeling generous. If you need more information, visit the link above or call 808-874-1111. We hope you have a wonderful holiday!

Have a Maui Beach Barbeque

Time seems to slow down on the island of Maui. There is something in air that's simply soothing. The fresh ocean breeze coupled with the enriching warmth of the sun has residents and visitors alike sighing contentedly. Some days just put us under a spell from the moment we rise from our beds in the morning. Sometimes plans fly out the window, replaced by a singular desire to lounge at the beach.

Days like this are excellent in every way. The level of relaxation achieved by spending a morning, afternoon, or day at the beach is practically medicinal. In addition to melting your stress away, relaxing oceanside is also easy on the pocketbook. The beach is free.

There's one thing that makes a beach day even better: Barbeque. Stop at a grocery store or market on your way, and pick up a few choice items to make the perfect lunch for the perfect day.

Here are a few ideas on what to cook:

  • Classic burgers and hot dogs.
  • Hawaiian-style chicken with teriyaki sauce.
  • Grill halved bell peppers and fill them with couscous.
  • Cook up some kabobs with mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, pineapple, tomatoes, and fresh shrimp, ahi tuna, ono, or mahi mahi fish.

Of course, it's entirely up to you what kind of food you'd like to make, but if you want to go Maui-local style, season your barbeque with Shoyu (soy sauce). We put it on just about every meat, seafood, or vegetable, and it tastes great. Don't forget to pick up a disposable cooler or hot/cold bag and bring bottled water or drinks. After a day full of swimming and sunbathing, you'll be happy you remembered.

Here is a list of a few beaches with barbeque stations:

West Maui:

- Honokowai Beach Park, Honokowai.
- Launiupoko Beach Park, Lahaina.
- Puamana Beach County Park, Lahaina.
- Wahikuli State Park, Lahaina.

South Maui:

- Kama'ole Beach Parks I, II and III, Kihei.
- Polo Beach Park, Wailea.

North Maui:

- H. A. Baldwin Beach Park, Pa'ia.

Keep in mind that generally, the early bird gets the grill here on Maui. If you're looking for beachfront accommodations with barbeque grills, we'd be happy to help you with that. We have a large selection of lovely West Maui condos available on our website. If you need any help finding the perfect Maui vacation rental for you, our contact information is at the bottom of the page. Have fun out there, and don't forget your sunscreen! Mahalo!

The 8th Annual Maui Plein Air Painting Invitational

By Kenneth Rothman

As you may have heard us mention before, Maui is an artistic hotspot with Lahaina Town boasting more galleries per capita than any other town in the U.S. Many artists from abroad showcase their work here but many others live here permanently, drawing their inspiration from the exquisite natural beauty of the island.

If you're an art enthusiast and you'll be visiting Maui during February 16th-24th of this year, we suggest that you tour the 8th Annual Maui Plein Air Painting Invitational. This free event involves several themes and outdoor locations around Maui, where local, talented artists will develop their work before your eyes. Many of these artists are very well known throughout the art community, and produce stunning work on a regular basis.

Another perk to this event is that only the most breathtakingly scenic locations are selected as subjects for the artists. It's not just their technique that's important, but their ability to select a scene at each location that will draw in the viewer. In essence, it's not only how they paint, but how they see that is fascinating. You never know what composition will catch the artist's eye, inspiring them to conjure bold, dynamic, soothing or mysterious scenes on canvas.

This year's event will include 25 of Maui's finest plein air painters, and some from the U.S. mainland. There will be events in Kapalua and Lahaina, both of which are located near our Kaanapali accommodations, so you needn't worry about a long drive. There will be a lecture on "Painting En Plein Air" by Jean Stern of The Irvine Museum in California. In addition to the lecture, the schedule of events will include the Mini-Painting Silent Auction, Pacific 'O Sunset Paint Out, Pioneer Inn Lahaina Quick Draw, Maui No Ka 'Oi Magazine Gala Reception, and the Plein Air Finale. There will also be a get together where guests can enjoy coffee, pastries and music while mingling with the artists.

If you need more information, such as the locations, dates and times of all the various events, visit www.MauiPleinAirPainting.org or call (808) 298-9119. Mahalo! We hope you have an unforgettable Maui vacation.

Here is a list of this year's talent:

  • George Allan of Kula, Maui
  • Ken Auster of Laguna Beach, CA
  • Jacobus Baas of Laguna Beach, CA
  • Colleen Howe Bleinberger of Smithfield, UT
  • Pierre Bouret of Hanalei, Kauai
  • Gavin Brooks of Owings Mills, MD
  • Mark Brown of Honolulu, Oahu
  • Saim Caglayan of Kilauea, Kauai
  • Carleton of Lahaina, Maui
  • Mike Carroll of Lanai City, Lanai
  • Hiu Lai Chong of Rockville, MD
  • Lindy Duncan of Atherton, CA
  • Betty Hay Freeland of Pukalani, Maui
  • Darrell Hill of Kamuela, Big Island
  • Debra Huse of Newport Beach, CA
  • Thomas Jefferson Kitts of Portland, OR
  • Robert Lemler of Phoenix, AZ
  • Ronaldo Macedo of Lahaina, Maui
  • Billyo O’Donnell of Eureka, MO
  • Colin Page of Camden, ME
  • Macario Pascual of Lahaina, Maui
  • Mary Pettis of Taylors Falls, MN
  • Jenifer Prince of Princeville, Kauai
  • Scott Prior of Oceanside, CA
  • Randall Sexton of Vall

 

Celebrate Father's Day on Maui

Looking for an extra special way to celebrate Father's Day this year? Why not unwind in the beautiful month of June in a tropical paradise? Maui is known for offering the best of all worlds to visitors. It's less urban and crowded than Oahu but there are more things to do indoors than on Kauai. It's the perfect blend of nature and civilization. Which does the father in your life prefer?

For the outdoorsy dad who likes to be physically active, there are several popular options. On land, you can bike down the majestic Haleakala, or go hiking on one of countless trails situated all over the island, or go horseback riding in West Maui. If the ocean beckons, try snorkeling, scuba or surfing.

For the dad who prefers sightseeing, take a drive out to the jungles of Hana, or up to see Haleakala Crater. There is also plenty of scenery if you drive around the head of the island. Any of these trips will display the amazingly diverse kinds of environments you will find here, from grassy uplands to jungles to unique oceanscapes.

For the dad who prefers indoor activities, or just some rest and relaxation, be sure to book comfortable West Maui accommodations that you will love as a home base. Where you stay has a big impact on how you feel, so keep that in mind. What about a deep tissue massage at one of our countless spas? A relaxing day on the beach, or a BBQ at the pool? Most of our Kaanapali condos come with fully equipped kitchens, so you can cook inside as well, and save money on eating in.

For the dad about town, have fun exploring Whalers Village or Lahaina Cannery Mall. You won't want to miss Front Street Lahaina, a historic whaling port that's now a lively hub of activity. There are shops, boutiques, restaurants for all budgets, and more art galleries per capita than any other town in the U.S., believe it or not. There are also plenty of places to get a good drink, whether you want something refreshing early in the day, or you're looking for a bustling bar with live music.

This island has it all, which is probably why they say Maui no ka oi! That means Maui is the best! We tend to agree, and we're sure you will too. If you need assistance with accommodations for your unforgettable Father's Day, or any other time of the year, you'll find our contact information at the bottom of the page. Mahalo!

Alaska Airlines and Hawaii BioEnergy

For those of you Maui vacationers who are environmentally conscious, you may be interested in the latest news regarding Alaska Airlines and their switch to biofuel. That's right, the Seattle-based airline signed an agreement with Hawaii BioEnergy LLC to buy biofuel for their planes.

In response to this agreement, Hawaii BioEnergy will be ramping up its biofuel production within five years of regulatory approval, meaning jet fuels will be ready by the fall of 2018. We know that biofuel production is healthier for the environment than fossil fuels, but hopefully it will also turn out to be cheaper. Alaska Airlines is known for its affordable flights, so it's unlikely that this decision would have been made without some assurance that money would be saved in the switch to biofuels.

According to the executive vice president and general counsel of Alaska Air Group, Keith Loveless, the airline is looking forward to a fruitful partnership with Hawaii BioEnergy, and they are equally enthusiastic about encouraging the commercial distribution of sustainable fuels. He also stated that the change would improve the fuel supply integrity in the state of Hawaii, allowing the airline operations to expand in our beautiful state. That means more affordable trips to Maui.

The biofuel feedstock will be woody biomass-based, and it will also meet the criteria of the Roundtable for Sustainable Biofuels, whose purpose is to ensure that biomass production and processing is, in fact, sustainable. Biological matter is not limitless, after all, but it can be replenished much faster than fossil fuels.

Alaska Airlines boasts that it has already reduced its carbon footprint by 30 percent since the year 2004, and they have a right to be proud of that achievement. If you're concerned about the reliability of biofuel, you may be interested to know that Alaska and Horizon Airlines were the first domestic airlines to fly multiple passenger flights powered by a biofuel blend. That was in 2011, and there haven't been any safety issues.

Mahalo for reading this week, and don't forget to check in next Friday for our latest Maui vacation blog update. If you need assistance with your accommodations, you'll find our contact information at the bottom of the page. Mahalo!

KaanapaliBeachRentals.com - by Ken Rothman

Maui's Native Species

While you're on your vacation to Maui, your attention will probably be drawn to many of the species that live here, but do you know which are native and which are introduced? If you're at all interested in the island's fauna, read on for a quick orientation.

The sea turtles around Maui are usually the green variety, and only rarely hawksbill or leatherback. Dolphins are usually spinners, but you might also see spotted or bottlenose dolphins. The monk seal is another marine animal you might see, although that is extremely rare. They are one of only two native Hawaiian mammals. The other is the Hawaiian hoary bat. Once upon a time, Maui had no mice, rats, deer, wild boar, mongooses, or feral cats.

Most birds you will see are also introduced. There are doves, finches, sparrows, cardinals and mynah birds, among others, but all were introduced at one point or another in our history. Maui's native bird species include a handful of gorgeous little jewels called honeycreepers, along with the Hawaiian crow (alala), the Hawaiian owl (pueo), the Hawaiian stilt and the nene goose, which is Hawaii's state bird. The honeycreepers live at high elevation because of habitat destruction and disease spread by mosquitoes. Fortunately, mosquitoes can't survive at high elevations. The good news is that conservation efforts are going well at the Maui Forest Bird Recovery Project (MFBRP) and at the Maui Bird Conservation Center. The MFBRP provides handy little webpages on each of the 7 Maui honeycreepers. Two are endangered and one is thought to be extinct, but the remaining four are doing alright. Birdwatchers should definitely try to catch a glimpse of these biological treasures. The bright red plumage of the I'iwi or the stark yellow feathers of the Maui Alauahio are sure to dazzle the eye before a backdrop of deep green foliage.

If we were to try to list all the native and non-native fish species that live in the ocean surrounding the island, this blog would be way too long. The same goes for plant species, although we may touch on these in summary another time. If you want to learn more about the wildlife on your Maui trip, there are a few good spots to visit. Hosmer's Grove up on Haleakala is a good one for bird watching. The Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge at sea level in Ma'alaea also provides some good bird watching, and educational information. The Maui Ocean Center is a great place to learn about the marine life. If you are interested in the humpback whales that come here every winter, you might also check out McGregor Lookout Point, which is widely considered the best shoreline whale watching spot on the island. There is also an information station that is staffed by Pacific Whale Foundation naturalists on a daily basis.

Hopefully now you will feel that you have some familiarity with wildlife around Maui. There is always more to learn, and we hope you enjoy the process! Have a wonderful vacation, and if you need any assistance with your accommodations, you'll find our contact information at the bottom of the page. Mahalo!

Fundraiser with Classic Cars and New Spring Fashions

Plan to do a little shopping on your vacation? Lahaina Gateway Shopping Center is a conveniently located spot for fashion, footwear, sports equipment, accessories, beauty services, groceries, books and more. (For more details on shops, see the LGSC website.) You will find both fine and casual dining here, so there is something for everyone whether you are on a family vacation with the kids or a romantic honeymoon.

On March 19th, Lahaina Gateway Shopping Center will be hosting their third annual Classic Car Show and "Gateway to Spring" Fashion Show Event. The event will take place from 4-9pm. They will be featuring over 65 classic cars, Hawaiian and contemporary live entertainment. '60's surf and classic rock music, and there will be special spring sales throughout the center.

The "Gateway to Spring" fashion show is a new addition to this versatile event. There will be a raffle with gift certificates from stores and restaurants at the center. Funds raised will benefit Lahainaluna High School Foundation. In case you have friends here that are classic car enthusiasts, the featured car clubs will be Maui Street Ridders and Maui Classic Cruisers, and the entries of these members will be judged. Winners will receive special plaque awards.

You'll find the Lahaina Gateway Shopping Center just minutes from our Kaanapali vacation rental condos. See our Maui accommodations availability calendar if you haven't yet selected your rental, and if you haven't secured your Maui car rental yet either, we can help with that too.

However you choose to spend your Maui vacation, we hope you have a wonderful time! Mahalo!

Holiday Accommodation Rate Comparison for Hawaii

The holiday season is the most expensive time to visit Hawaii, especially during the week of Christmas and New Years, according to a survey from CheapHotels.org. The survey listed a ranked order of holiday room rates for popular Hawaii vacation destinations, which came out as follows.

  1. Wailea (Maui) $412
  2. Princeville (Kauai) $378
  3. Lahaina (Maui) $376
  4. Lihue (Kauai) $374
  5. Waikoloa (The Big Island) $370
  6. Kaanapali (Maui) $364
  7. Kapalua (Maui) $357
  8. Kihei (Maui) $326
  9. Poipu (Kauai) $320
  10. Kahului (Maui) $314
  11. North Shore (Oahu Island) $312
  12. Honolulu (Oahu Island) $178
  13. Kailua-Kona (The Big Island) $174
  14. Kapaa (Kauai) $147
  15. Kaunakakai (Molokai Island) $142
  16. Hilo (The Big Island) $139

On average, Maui had the most expensive room rates, but the strategy of our slice of the visitor industry is exclusivity, which comes with higher prices. Maui vacation accommodations charge more because visitors are willing to pay more and to return again and again knowing that the quality of their experience is worth the money. In essence, you get what you pay for.

The above rankings were based on data collected for the time period from December 23rd to December 27th. Only the cheapest double rooms at three-star hotels (or better) located near the beach were included. The survey also found that Hawaii's hotel rates increased by about 47% during Christmas week, from December 23-27 this year. Rates increased by 84% over the New Year's Eve period, from December 30th to January 3rd. Both percentage increases were calculated in comparison with the first two weeks of December.

If you're interested in saving money, we have special deals on West Maui accommodations. Another strategy for saving money is simply to visit the islands during the less popular seasons. That way, you'll avoid both the expenses and the crowds, while still enjoying all of Maui's charms. Just keep in mind that winter is the rainiest time on Maui, in general, and that whale watching is only possible from December to May, during the seasonal humpback migration. There are very few environmental changes aside from those two, considering the fact that weather doesn't vary much in the tropics.

If you need assistance with your accommodations, we're happy to help. You'll find our contact information at the bottom of the page. We look forward to having you stay with us sometime in the coming year! Mahalo!

Ancient Hawaiian Fishpond Outrigger Canoe Tour

If you are looking for the perfect blend of Hawaiian culture, history, and natural beauty on your Maui vacation,  just imagine the wonders you can experience on a tour of a native Hawaiian fishpond aboard an outrigger canoe off Maui's South Shore. Ko'ie'ie pond is an ancient Hawaiian treasure, and this is an uncommon opportunity that you won't find with another tour group.

The highlights of your trip will include a Hawaiian chant at the start of the tour, a historic description of the surrounding area, a paddle along the outskirts of the fishpond's walls, a good look at the reef and marine life teeming below the surface nearby, plenty of historical anecdotes, an opportunity to help restore the pond by placing rocks on the wall, and maybe some humpback whale sightings.

Aside from the fascinating fish and turtles that are typical sightings on this trip, there are also spectacular views of Haleakala. Your guide will teach you about the important ahupua'a system, which was an ancient land division ranging from the mountain to the ocean. You will also learn about the history of the fish pond's restoration, as well as its original construction and all the innovation and creativity that went into its original design by the ancient Hawaiian people.

The tour lasts about 90 minutes, beginning at 8am. If you are interested in taking the tour, call (808) 359-1172 to make reservations or visit www.mauifishpond.com. Tours take place on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 8-9:30am. As for the cost, a donation of $40 per person is suggested. The proceeds will go to the non profit 'Ao'ao' O Na Loko I'a O Maui, which was created to revitalize Native Hawaiian fishponds on Maui.

In this time of rapid change and development, it is easy to lose historical sites if we're not careful to recognize their value and preserve them. Maui has an excellent track record in this regard, and we hope that you'll find this to be one of the many things you will appreciate while you're on your Maui vacation. As for your accommodations, if you need any assistance, you'll find our contact information at the bottom of the page. Mahalo!

KaanapaliBeachRentals.com - by Ken Rothman

Waimoku Falls Hike in East Maui

Looking for an adventurous, outdoor, historical experience on your Maui vacation? You might think it's hard to find all of that in one activity, but the Kipahulu Ohana in East Maui offers a stunning hike to Waimoku Falls, and through fascinating historic sites, including Kapahu Living Farm, where the historic Hawaiian crop taro is cultivated.

Once you make the long drive from our West Maui oceanfront condos to the jungles of East Maui, you will get a real sense of how much the landscape changes from place to place. Once you arrive, you will have a knowledgeable Native Hawaiian guide to share all the cultural knowledge of the area. It doesn't get more authentic than this.

The tour will include discussions on several eras of history, and at the farm, you can see traditional taro patches (lo'i kalo), and learn about how the crop is farmed in a historically accurate setting. There will be a trip through a bamboo forest and a trek along Pipiwai Trail that will bring you to the opposite side of 'Ohe'o Gulch.

Here are some of the highlights of the tour:

Ancient habitation areas where stone walls and house sites are visible
'Ohe'o Bridge with scenic view above the famous Pools of 'Ohe'o
Historic Kanalulu House built in '20s
Scenic overlook to stunning 180-ft Makahiku Falls
Features from the sugar era
Kapahu Living Farm, ancient taro farm restored to active production
Food sampling of traditional Hawaiian crops grown at the farm
Pipiwai Trail thru bamboo forest to 400-ft Waimoku Falls
Ethnobotanical sharing about culturally important plants

For those of you who are able-bodied, enjoy the outdoors, and are interested in Hawaiian culture and natural history, this tour is a must. The Kipahulu Ohana has provided so many enjoyable experiences for guests that they earned the distinction of a "Keep It Hawaii" Kahili Award from the Hawaiian Tourism Authority, which focuses on groups that provide the most authentic Hawaiian cultural experiences in the state. Also, the proceeds go to continual restoration of these special historical sites. When you've finished with the tour, you can also spend time exporing the Ohe'o Pools of the Kipahulu district of Haleakala National Park

If you are interested in this activity, hikes are offered every day from 12:30-4pm. Just visit www.kipahulu.org for reservations and more information, such as the location details. Meanwhile, if you are looking for accommodations, browse our website, and contact us if you need assistance. Mahalo for reading this week!

KaanapaliBeachRentals.com - by Ken Rothman

Maui Dolphin Watching Activities

With so much excitement and buzz around Maui's humpback whale season, it's easy to forget about their smaller relatives, the dolphins. Many Maui visitors are passionate about this charismatic resident of our tropical paradise, so it wouldn't be fair to ignore them. While seeing a 45-foot whale breaching is an unforgettable spectacle, so is seeing fifty spinner dolphins come flying out of the water in swift succession. If you're a wildlife enthusiast, it will be pretty hard to top that on your Maui vacation!

If you'd like to learn more about activities involving dolphins, the Pacific Whale Foundation offers three choices that might interest you. Conveniently, they operate out of the scenic Lahaina Harbor, which is just a few minutes away from our Kaanapali beachfront condos if you're going by car.

1. Lanai Snorkel & Dolphin Watch: On this one, you get to see some amazing reefs that are just teeming with brilliant species of fish. After your snorkel, or even during, they'll put you in an ideal place for spotting some of the dolphins that live in the area. Spinner, spotted and bottlenose dolphins are all common, and you might see some whales as well.

2. Molokini & Lanai Snorkel: Molokini is that little crater island that you can see off Maui's south shore. Within the protection of its encircling arms, coral and various other marine life is thriving, including 250 species of fish. This charter will take you there for a remarkable snorkeling experience before crossing the channel to Lanai. There you will explore Lanai's spectacular reefs, and you are very likely to see turtles and dolphins.

3. Dolphin Watch: This charter is designed specifically to get you some amazing dolphin sightings, which isn't very challenging, because they often enjoy swimming alongside boats. Some groups of dolphins have been found to include up to a hundred individuals, or even more. Spinners earned their name because they leap from the water and spin in mid-air, and when such large numbers are doing this, you will want to make sure you're recording. Professional naturalists will be on board to teach you all about these amazing animals. Dolphin sightings are guaranteed on this cruise, and if for some reason it doesn't happen, you get to go again for free.

Hopefully one of those charters will suit your interests. To learn more about them, visit this link to the Pacific Whale Foundation website. If you need assistance with your Maui vacation accommodations, you'll find our contact information at the bottom of the page. Mahalo!

KaanapaliBeachRentals.com - by Ken Rothman

Photography Art Shows in Lahaina

If you're a fan of the art of photography, there's plenty to enjoy on your Maui vacation, whether you prefer to peruse the galleries of world-renowned photographers or test out your own abilities surrounded by unparalleled tropical beauty. For those who are interested in gallery browsing, it can be tough to wade through all the galleries that feature only paintings and sculpture to find photography galleries, but you will have access to a nice treat if you're visiting the Lahaina area in August.

At Maui Hands Gallery, which is located at 612 Front Street, art shows will be held presenting photographers Monica and Michael Sweet every Friday this month between 4:30-7:30pm. Conveniently, the gallery is just ten minutes from our Kaanapali vacation condos, and you won't want to miss the chance to stop in.

This dynamic duo can really provide some instructive insight on capturing the natural beauty of Maui and the other Hawaiian islands. Their work is vivid and bright, drawing you in and making you feel like you are inside of the scene. Their work incorporates all kinds of stunning natural environments that they capture while snorkeling, kayaking and diving.

 Monica is from Switzerland and Michael is from California. They met in San Francisco, got married and moved to Maui so they could surround themselves with their inspiration every day. Now they have won over 20 international awards for excellence in art and photography. Their work has appeared in magazines and books, and they are loving their time on Maui and the success that has unfolded for them on this beautiful island.

Visit www.mauihands.com for more information on these and future shows. We hope you have a rich and memorable Maui vacation! If you need assistance, you'll find our contact information at the bottom of the page. Mahalo!

KaanapaliBeachRentals.com - by Ken Rothman

Jungle Adventure on Your Maui Vacation

Care to explore some tropical jungle while you're not soaking up the sun on Maui's beautiful white sand beaches? If you're staying at one of our West Maui vacation rentals, it's an ambitious drive out to East Maui, but it is worth it, especially if you like photography.

The two most important concerns when heading out to Hana, located on the back side of Haleakala, are to fill up your gas tank and be prepared for a very windy road. This isn't the best trip for those who get carsick easily, but going slow can help. Just make sure you pull over to allow more impatient vehicles to pass you. The road is narrow, there is only one lane in each direction, and those who live there like to move pretty quickly.

In many areas along your journey, it will become obvious that the road was carved right out of the mountain, with sheer green cliffs above and below you. (Don't worry, there are rail guards.) The scenery opens up to stunning vistas of the ocean in many places, but what fascinates most people are the spectacular towering waterfalls that you can clearly see without even having to get out of the car.

If you have ever envisioned a jungle paradise, Hana will certainly fit the profile. There are a few places in particular that you should visit. Ohe'o Gulch, also known as the Seven Sacred Pools is one of the most scenic places in all of Maui. Here, one pool spills down to the next for a gorgeous tiered effect, and you can see the ocean to top it off. Its beauty has made it a popular spot though, so don't expect to be the only ones there.

Another great place to visit is the Waianapanapa State Park. You'll find a picnic area, a network of partially submerged caves, a black sand beach, and a land bridge over the ocean. The caves are a honeycomb of lava tubes, now mostly full of freshwater. It's not recommended that you venture too far in, as it can be tricky finding your way out again! Also, the water is pretty darn cold.

If you'd rather explore some caves out of the water, then perhaps the Hana Lava Tube would be more to your tastes. It's a fun, safe, and affordable self-guided flashlight tour that's not in any way strenuous. You can stroll along at your own pace and learn about the fascinating natural history of the area.

There are plenty of other things to do in East Maui. Far more than can be mentioned in this blog, but there is something the past three destinations have in common. They offer unparalleled photo ops. So bring your camera, fill up your tank, and don't forget your map. We hope you have a great time!

As for your vacation rental accommodations, we recommend that you check out our two-bedroom Maui condos if you are vacationing with family, or perhaps our Maui studio rentals if you are on a romantic getaway or business trip. We can also assist you with Maui car rentals. We hope you enjoy your stay no matter how you choose to spend your visit! Mahalo for reading!