Maui: Friendly, Quirky, and Full of Soul

A market where you can borrow a dog for the day. The clothing-discouraged drum circle every Sunday at sunset. A honky-tonk bar that's dedicated to Willie Nelson. Yes, we're talking about Maui

Shopping: When Argentinean designer and Haiku resident Tamara Catz was asked if an awareness of fashion was growing on Maui, she replied, "Yes--people are starting to wear shoes." The dresses at her boutique average around $180, but there are worthwhile seasonal sales in the store and on her website.

Nightlife: Charley's is a honky-tonk joint dedicated to patron saint and local resident Willie Nelson. On occasion, Big Willie does sing here, though it's generally only announced the day before--and tickets go in an hour.

Lodging

 

  • Haiku Plantation Inn 555 Haiku Rd., Haiku, 808/575-7500, haikuleana.net, from $99
  •  

  • Mama's Fish House 799 Poho Pl., Paia, 800/860-4852, mamasfishhouse.com, cottage from $175, three-night minimum
  • Food

     

  • Mana Foods 49 Baldwin Ave., Paia, 808/579-8078
  •  

  • Paia Fish Market 100 Hana Hwy., Paia, 808/579-8030, taco plate $11
  •  

  • Colleen's 810 Haiku Rd., Haiku, 808/575-9211
  • Activities

     

  • Rivers to the Sea 808/280-8795, riverstothesea.com, group session from $75
  •  

  • Studio Maui 810 Haiku Rd., Haiku, 808/575-9390, thestudiomaui.com
  • Shopping

     

  • Tamara Catz 83 Hana Hwy., Paia, 808/579-9184, tamaracatz.com Nightlife
  •  

  • Charley's 142 Hana Hwy., Paia, 808/579-9453
  • Huelo and Hana

    The pretty and difficult two-hour drive that separates lush Hana from the rest of the island has protected it from rapid development. Hana is also where you'll find the largest population of blood Hawaiians outside the island of Molokai. Almost all are employed by some branch of the Hana Ranch, next door to the four-star Hotel Hana-Maui. Forty miles away, Hana's closest neighboring town, Huelo, is the new frontier for travelers who don't mind unpaved roads and a little rain.

    Lodging: On cliffs overlooking the ocean, Hale Akua Shangri-La is an intimate New Age-y retreat. Some rooms have shared baths, and the grounds (including a saltwater pool and two Jacuzzis) are clothing-optional. If you can bear that, it's quite a deal. Also worth a look is the Hana Hale Malamalama Inn, where the coolest room is the Treehouse Cottage. For romance, it's tough to top the private cliff-top yurt at the Luana Spa Retreat. Massages start at $75.

    Food: Prepare for the long drive on the road to Hana (the Hana Highway) by stopping at Maui Grown Market. Pick up a picnic lunch and you'll have the option of borrowing a sweet dog for the day. (Dogs have right of refusal.) Once in Hana, your dining options are limited. Go to Tutu's snack bar for the tasty breakfast sandwich or the taro burger, and the Hana Ranch Restaurant's take-out window for hot plates, including a filling one of shoyu chicken with macaroni salad and rice.

    Activities: Hamoa Beach has something for everyone--a wide black-sand beach for sunning, two breaks for surfing (experienced riders only), and maybe the best break for body boarding and bodysurfing on the entire island. More enriching is a visit to Kahanu Garden, site of the massive and well-preserved ancient Hawaiian temple known as Piilanihale Heiau.

    Shopping: Hasegawa General Store, one of the island's oldest plantation stores, stocks dusty, offbeat souvenirs, such as an Instant Immersion Hawaiian language CD ($10); Noni tea, a Hawaiian cure-all ($6.50); and coconut candy made in Hana ($3).

    Nightlife: There's free Hawaiian music from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Thursdays through Sundays, inside the Paniolo Lounge at the Hotel Hana-Maui. Keeping it real is important. But there's nothing wrong with an occasional taste of the luxe life--or a really good mai tai.

    Lodging

     

  • Hale Akua Shangri-La Huelo Point, Huelo, 808/572-9300, from $60, two-night minimum
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  • Hana Hale Malamalama Uakea Rd., Hana, 808/248-7718, hanahale.com, from $135
  •  

  • Luana Spa Retreat 5050 Uakea Rd., Hana, 888/898-2772, luanaspa.com, from $100
  • Food

     

  • Maui Grown Market 4320 Hana Hwy., Haiku, 808/572-1693
  •  

  • Tutu's Hana, 808/248-8224, taro burger $6.25
  •  

  • Hana Ranch Restaurant Hana Hwy., Hana, 808/248-8255, shoyu chicken plate $7.50
  • Activities

     

  • Piilanihale Heiau Kahanu Garden, Hana, 808/248-8912, ntbg.org/gardens/kahanu.html, $10
  • Shopping

     

  • Hasegawa General Store 5165 Hana Hwy., Hana, 808/248-8231
  • Nightlife

     

  • Hotel Hana-Maui 5031 Hana Hwy., Hana, 808/248-8211, hotelhanamaui.com
  • Get Inspired with more from BudgetTravel.com


    Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.
     

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