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Maui Vacation Planning: Find Your 3 Perfect Days on Maui | Maui.Net - All Things Maui
Maui Prince Hotel Makena Resort
Westin Maui

Three Perfect Days in Maui

Maui Film Festival & More

Article by Kean Salzer

Day 1: Land, Sea and Air

I would like to have the freedom of building my three perfect Maui days inside the Maui Film Festival that happens here every June. If you don't know, the Maui Film Festival has become one of the hottest tickets in the festival world. I would plug in on day one and stay plugged in for three days attending the documentaries during the day at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center, take notes furiously at the filmmaker forums, and sit in my hundred dollar rocker recliner beach chair under the stars and catch the days' big feature and hoohah I am in heaven.

But for the sake of those who won't be here for our world class film festival I have to build my perfect Maui vacation around a Wednesday because that is when the festival guys put on their year round weekly indie film at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center in Kahului. There are two showings of a top indie film every Wednesday in our twenty million dollar world class Cultural Center with a great selection of food, drink, coffee, desserts, etc. in between. I usually go to the 5p showing and eat afterward because I am an early bird and like to get in bed before 10p.

So on Day 1 of my perfect Maui vacation I would get up early and drive out to Grandma's Coffee Shop in Keokea, a remote and beautiful little town upcountry where Oprah makes her home when she's here...and have a leisurely breakfast on the lanai talking story with some local strangers or the owner. After breakfast I would drive over to Makawao, park near the bottom of the town on Baldwin Avenue, and walk the town all the way to Randy Braun's gallery on Makawao Avenue...somewhere along the way I would stop and have another coffee at one of the mom and pop cafes in between finding some unique shopping to cross off my list. Because we collect glass I would definitely pick up a piece from the Hot Island Glass Gallery at the bottom of town in the converted theater. After that walk I would drive down Baldwin Avenue about ten minutes to Paia and have lunch at the Paia Fish Market. Afterwards I would walk off the lunch with a little more shopping in the antique shops and then when we got tired I would drive out Hana Highway about five minutes and park on the bluffs above Hookipa beach and take photos or video of the world class windsurfers practicing for their upcoming world championships at the best windsurf beach in the world. Then, assuming it's Wednesday, it would be back to the Candlelight Cafe and Cinema's 5p film showing at the MACC with dinner afterwards in the courtyard right there at the theater and then back to the room for some conversation over a glass of wine. I would get out the laptop and download a bunch of my photos and upload them to my Maui.net page and email my friends and family the best images of the day along with a review or two of the places we had visited. Love the idea of helping others find great places and this reviewing is just my cup of tea.

On Day 2 of my Three Perfect Maui Days I would get up early and catch the 6:30am Lahaina harbor Trilogy sail to Lanai. The guys of the Trilogy have been tweaking one of the best water adventures in the world for thirty years, and their Lanai trip, for my money, is their best. They are the only boat tour company that go to Lanai and everyone who lives on Maui is familiar with the stories of people who have been swiming or snorkeling on a Trilogy Lanai trip and seen schools of dolphins in the water around them. To see hundreds of dolphins racing and jumping and exploring is one of those memories that last a lifetime. If you were smart enough to have an underwater housing for your video camera or one of those little throwaway underwater snapshot cameras you will have a poster in the office that will remind you of that Maui.net Magic Moment forever. For dinner I would either head for one of the westside oceanfront restaurants that do great fresh fish and have live music like Kimo's or Leilani's, or if my energy was too low I would pick up a Subway sandwich and eat in the room. Again, back at the hotel I would upload my photos and blog a bit about my trip and email the blog entry and photos to my friends back home. I know that I will fall into bed exhausted, and if I got an underwater photo of a school of dolphins I will celebrate a day that hit the pinnacle.

Day 3 would be an early departure for Hana. I will stop and pick up a little cooler bag and fill it with juice, sodas and ice and some apples and mangoes. We will wear our swimsuits under our clothes in case we see a waterfall we want to jump in during the trip. So, packing towels, cutlery, napkins, sunscreen and hats and maybe even a couple of pillows and a blanket for a nap along the way, I will try to get us past Paia before 8am, and then slow down...way down...My iPod will be playing my Grammy award winning Maui slack key album through the car stereo so when the radio signals poop out we can still have some tunes. Lunch will be at the Hotel Hana Maui and I can pick up sandwiches at Hasegawa's store for the afternoon, but it will take me about three hours to get out to Hana and very little chance to pick up cold drinks or snacks so I will take something. And since I may not ever make this trip again I will determine that I will stop and take as many great photos as I can. This is a twelve hour day and I can either enjoy the moments or drive like a maniac and miss the magic...so for me it's the stops and photos and memories.

So with all batteries fully charged and the tank full of gas away we go. I will stop at every great photo pullover. I will put all of my co-travellers in every photo no matter how much they protest so years from now we can show our loved ones how happy we were on our Maui trip. When someone gets behind me on the road and seems to want to go faster I will pull over and wave goodbye. This is going to be a day of peach and joy. About half way along the famous road we will stop at Puaa Kea State Park for a swim in the waterfall pool and take advantage of the clean restrooms. We will get to Hana town around 11am and I will stop at the Hotel Hana Maui for an early lunch and eat in their dining room. If we get to the hotel before they're ready to serve lunch I will walk the gallery in the hotel that is world class or take a short drive to Hana Bay for another couple of photos and maybe an ice cream cone at Tutu's.

After lunch we will head toward the Seven Pools in Kipahulu. It is another hour drive each way, and we will want to be out there at least an hour to swim in the pools, hike the bamboo forest and get some photos of each of us cliff jumping from various outcroppings above the pools, so I will stop and pick up some more beverages and sandwiches from Hasegawa's before I head out of Hana town. Both Hasegawa's and Hana Store close around 6p, and with no other place to get food or gas, I want to make sure if we decide to enjoy the pools a little longer than scheduled and miss the stores' closing time we will still have some food to make the trip back to Paia in the dark. Like I said, this is a12 hour day, but you will end up with a hundred photos that will stay with you forever. I will unwind after the long drive by blogging about my day on my Maui.net page and then I will send my photos to my friends via Maui.net's email program and call it three perfect Maui vacation days. This may not be your three perfect days, but if you are even a little bit like me you will have spent three unreal days on your Maui vacation.

Hana hou.

find more by Kean Salzer