Aloha, welcome to Maui! Like most Hawaiian Islands, Maui was formed by volcanoes. Known as the “Valley Isle”, it has a variety of climatic and scenic contrasts. The massive
Haleaka Crater is the world’s largest inactive volcano and towers 10,032 feet above the sea. Endless seas of pineapple and sugarcane fields, magical waterfalls and a sublime palate of beaches welcome more than two million visitors per year. Maui has more miles of swimmable beach than any other island. Sands of white, black, gold, green and garnet create a scintillating oasis of colors. After Oahu it is the most visited Hawaiian Island.
We arrived on the Ocean Princess at the bustling port city of Lahaina. Lahaina was once the Pacific hub for America’s whaling fleet and is the island’s most popular resort center. It is an historical district that preserves its picturesque architecture from the 1800s. We took a Limo tour of the island from the port. During a scenic drive along the South Coast we stopped at an overlook of Ma’alaea Bay for some whale watching.
Then we visited the Maui Tropical Plantation. This amazing spot grows coffee beans and tropical fruits and sells them on site at their shops and restaurants. The best way to see this brilliant expanse of lush gardens is by zip-line. This adventure takes you tower to tower over the spectacular greenery.
Our next stop was Iao Valley State Park. Home to gorgeous rain-forests and waterfalls, the park’s skyline is dominated by the 2,250 ft. peak of Mt. Kuka’emoku. This was also a battlefield for early Maui warriors and is known as Wahi Pana O Na Ali’I (Sacred Place of the Chiefs).
We returned to Lahaina for a festive lunch at Captain Jack’s Island Grill and caught the kickoff of the BCS Championship – all the locals were pulling for Notre Dame to cheer Hawaiian born Manti Te’o. We walked off the meal with a stroll around the exotic Banyan Tree Park and shopped along the promenade. Vibrantly colored birds and vegetation along the walkways added to the pleasant ambiance. Our last stop was for a cup of Joe at the infamous Bad Ass Coffee Company near the pier.
Maui had a little bit of everything you’d want in an Hawaiian Island. It was definitely a great spot for spotting humpback whales. As we cruised out of Lahaina, we realized we were very fortunate to explore this fantastic port – Aloha Maui!