A Guide to Maui - My Island Home

May 18, 2009

Hana coastlineSecluded from the rest of the world, the Islands of Hawaii warmly welcome everyone visiting her shores. With a climate perfect for beach going, cooled by trade winds and infused with the scent of tropical flowers like plumeria, gardenia & tuberose, Hawaii is America’s vacation paradise and where I am blessed to call home.

The Island of Maui, also known as the land of the rainbows is incredibly beautiful and diverse. There are four topographical areas of Maui:
1. There is the soft, white sandy stretches of beach and the crashing waves which everyone expects when they visit Hawaii. You will find beach parks & sections where there is no one else on the beach. Your biggest decision will be “how big of a wave do I want to play in today?” or “how much of a breeze do I need to cool off? “Or if I’m snorkeling or scuba diving today, which coral reef should I go explore?

So, after a day or two at the beach, when your skin needs a rest from the accumulating sunburn, jump in your car and explore the other sides of Maui.

2. While on island you must take a drive up the slopes of Haleakala - which means ‘House of the Sun’ in Hawaiian. The terrain is all rolling hills with cows, horses, and every shade of green imaginable.
Spend a few hours in Makawao, which is an old cowboy town; if you arrive early enough, you’ll be able to enjoy a Komodo Bakery donut on a stick - worth the drive in itself. I’ve seen people line up at the door just to enjoy one of their famous cream puffs.

3. The crater of Haleakala appears to be like the surface of the moon. Haleakala Highway is one ofMy toes in Hana the fastest ascending road in the world. Take a jacket and long pants - it is cold up there! See the Silver-swords in bloom, located only on the crater’s edge. There are day hikes into the crater or get up at about 2:00am to drive up in the dark and see the sun rise out of the ocean - it is a spectacular sight! Haleakala houses one of the top Observatories in the U.S.

4. The tiny town of Hana is situated on the east side of Maui in a tropical rain forest. Plan your holiday so you can spend your last few days in Hana and really relax. There are no golf courses and very few televisions or radio in Hana. However, you will find black sand beach, bamboo rainforest, guavas & banana trees, 53 one way bridges and too many waterfalls to count!

Are you ready to pack a bag, grab your sunscreen and join us?

Contact me for more island vacation ideas, lodging & activities at 800 644-6659.

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Thank you for all of your assistance with our Maui weddingmoon!

May 11, 2009

humback whale - maui coastlineAloha Teresa -

I was just thinking of you yesterday. You really came through for us last Friday when we were turned around due to the fire on the road while trying to make it to our return flight after the wedding on Maui. We missed getting through to the airport by about 10 cars and the fire was right there by us.

It saved us a tremendous amount of time and stress to fly directly from the small Kapalua Airport to Kahului Airport. Some people on our flight did the long drive and said it was tedious and one lane in parts. We really appreciate your extra effort in putting that all together and changing our flights within an hour. Great job! It really helps to have a “Travel Agent friend on Maui”! [Read more]

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Hawaii on a Budget - Affordable Activities on the island of Maui

December 14, 2008

map of mauiThis is the 5th article in a series on how to vacation in Hawaii on a budget. I’ve been living it for 20 years so am sure I can add a few more ideas!

Maui - The perennial favorite island of many, Maui is Hawaii’s second largest island. Maui is named after the ancient god that raised the Hawaiian Islands up from the ocean. Although developed, there is plenty of room to get away from it all, with beaches and forests that are nearly as pristine as the Hawaii of old.

• Drive the Road to Hana and experience for than 600 hairpin curves as you gaze out on vistas that are far too distracting for any driver. On the way, stop to walk up to waterfalls or shop at roadside stands.

• The Red Sand Beach of Kaihalulu is both beautiful and, on occasion, au natural, so take care of taking the children. But while we are at it, all 81 of Maui’s beaches are free, so enjoy!

• Be sure to stop at the Lahaina Whaling Museum in Lahaina. If you are there on Friday, it’s Art Night on Front Street, sponsored by the Lahaina Arts Society.

• Walk on a black sand beach at Wainapanapa State Park.

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Hawaii on a Budget - Yes! Hawaii can still be affordable!

December 11, 2008

Maui beachHere’s a great secret - you don’t have to spend a fortune to spend time in Hawaii. Don’t get me wrong - if you want to stay at first class properties, fly in the front of the plane and eat at some of the world’s finest restaurants, Hawaii will certainly afford you the opportunity. However, it is also possible to visit Hawaii, see the sites, eat well and experience the Islands up close and personal without breaking the bank.

Airfares are a real trick, but here’s the trick - don’t buy a published fare! Any good Travel Agent (like me) will know how to purchase your ticket through a tour operator holding contracts with the airlines flying to Hawaii. Purchase a ticket with an online site and, chances are, you will pay hundreds of dollars more than the fellow sitting next to you on the plane.

In addition, remember that most of Hawaii has many, many budget-friendly accommodations. In fact, one of the suggestions we will make that applies to each of the islands below is to ask your travel agent about condominiums and smaller lodges and inns. Many of these establishments are perfectly well located, charming and offer a real opportunity to meet the locals in a way that the larger hotels and resorts do not.

The one quality that every island has in abundance is its scenery and the easy accessibility to the scenery via a rental car. Self exploration by automobile is one of the most exciting and least expensive ways to enjoy the islands.

Stay tuned for free/affordable activities while visiting my islands of aloha! Or better yet, email Teresa@Luxuryhideaways.net or call me at 800 644-6659 and hele on over here to the sunshine and palmtrees!

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Hawaii - What is the difference between the islands?

September 14, 2008

Iolani PalaceOahu: is home to Honolulu and the world-famous Waikiki Beach. 95% of the people that live in Hawaii, live on Oahu. Famous Waikiki has a lively nightlife and great shopping. Days can be spent either relaxing on the beach or surfing the huge waves on Oahu’s North Shore.

Visitors may like to take the opportunity to visit the Iolani Palace - A Hawaiian national treasure and the only official state residence of royalty in the United States, `Iolani Palace was the official residence of the Hawaiian Kingdom’s last two monarchs–King Kalakaua, who built the Palace in 1882, and his sister and successor, Queen Lili`uokalani. During the monarchy period, the Palace was the center of social and political activity in the Kingdom of Hawai`i.

Visit Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial - the final resting place for many of the battleship’s 1,177 crew members who lost their lives on December 7, 1941. The Memorial commemorates the site where World War II began for the United States. Experience history through the national memorial’s program tour, museum, and wayside exhibits.

LahainaMaui: is the Valley Isle of white-sand beaches and breathtaking vistas. Maui is the island to visit for the vacation of your dreams. On Maui you can experience the “real” Hawaii, go on a heart pounding adventure, or simply relax on the beach.

Our favorite time of year to visit is between November and March when the Humpback whales make their way to Maui to birth their calves and are frequently sighted offshore enjoying the warm Maui waters.

big islandHawaii: is referred to as the Big Island to distinguish it from the state of Hawaii. As its name suggests, it is the largest of Hawaii’s islands - in fact, it’s twice the size of all the other islands put together. The Big Island has it all - fiery volcanoes and sparkling waterfalls, black-lava deserts and snow-capped mountain peaks, tropical rainforests and miles of golden, black and even green sand beaches. This tranquil island is renowned for its beautiful exotic flowers, especially orchids. Its been described as looking like the inside of a barbeque pit on one side and a tropical rainforest on the other side.

conch shell blowingKauai: is known as the Garden Island and offers a landscape of luscious shades of green. Formed by one central volcano, the sheer height of the mountain means that the peak experiences excellent rainfall and the island has a number of picturesque rivers.

On any list of the world’s most spectacular islands, Kauai ranks right up there with Bora Bora, Huahine, and Rarotonga, you don’t just go to Kauai, you absorb it with every sense. Kauai may get more than its fair share of tropical downpours, but that’s what makes it so lush and green, and creates an abundance of rainbows.

molokaiMolokai: More secluded and less developed than Hawaii’s other islands, Molokai calls itself “the friendly isle.” It’s best known for its former lepers’ colony, now Kalaupapa National Historical Park. The remote park can be reached by hiking, on muleback, or in a small plane.

Those who drive Molokai’s coastal highway encounter St. Joseph’s church and tropical gardens, ancient temples and fishponds, a rainforest, and scenic waterfalls.

lanaiLanai: Get away from it all on Lanai. There’s no public transport on this tiny island, but you can rent a four-wheeler and drive 100 miles of paved and unpaved roads, past uncrowded beaches and pastoral terrain. Despite its size, Lanai offers a large variety of activities, including hiking through ancient ruins, horseback riding, shooting clays, golf, sampling traditional Hawaiian fare, and snorkeling in waters where spinner dolphins frolic. The island is a multifaceted place that’s so much more than a luxury resort. The traveler who comes to discover the island’s natural wonders, local lifestyle, and other inherent joys is bound to have the most genuine island experience.

Kahoolawe: Is an island that was used as bombing practice until recently. At this time there are local volunteer groups traveling to the island to plant vegetation and restore plant life to the island.

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The Aloha State Became the 50th State in 1959

July 21, 2008

But the history of Hawaii goes back centuries earlier. More than 1500 years ago, Polynesians from the Marquesas Islands first set foot on Hawaii’s Big Island. With only the stars to guide them, they miraculously sailed over 2000 miles in canoes to migrate to the Islands.

500 years later, settlers from Tahiti arrived, bringing their beliefs in gods and demi-gods and instituting a strict social hierarchy based on a kapu (taboo) system. Hawaiian culture flourished over the centuries, but land division conflicts between ruling chieftains were common.

In 1778, Captain James Cook, landed on Kauai at Waimea Bay. Naming the archipelago the “Sandwich Islands” in honor of the Earl of Sandwich, Cook opened the doors to the west. Cook was killed only a year later in Kealakekua Bay on Hawaii’s Big island .

In 1791, Kohala born Kamehameha united the warring factions of the Big Island and went on to unify all of the Hawaiian Islands into one Royal Kingdom in 1810. In 1819, less than a year after King Kamehameha’s death, his son, Liholiho, abolished the ancient kapu system.

In 1820, the first Protestant Missionaries arrived on the Big Island filling the void left after the end of the kapu system. Hawaii became a port for seamen, traders, and whalers. Throughout these years of growth, western disease took a heavy toll on the native Hawaiian population.

Western influence continued to grow and in 1893, American Colonists who controlled much of Hawaii’s economy overthrew the Hawaiian Kingdom in a peaceful, yet still controversial coup. In 1898, Hawaii became a territory of the United States.

In the 20th century, sugar and pineapple plantations fueled Hawaii’s economy bringing an influx of Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, and Portuguese immigrants. On December 7, 1941, the Japanese launched a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on Oahu. Four years later, on September 2, 1945, Japan signed its unconditional surrender on the USS Battleship Missouri , which still rests in Pearl Harbor today.

In 1959, Hawaii became the 50th State of the United States. Beyond the sun and surf of the islands, we urge you to discover the rich cultural history of the Islands of Aloha to add even more depth to your visit.

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Why should your next holiday should be a cruise?

May 30, 2008

A Hawaii cruise ship is a floating resort, with all the things a fine Hawaiian resort has to offer and more! As a matter of fact, cruise vacations have a higher percentage of satisfied customers than any other vacation experience. What are you waiting for?

Overall, a Hawaiian cruise vacation can be up to 50 percent cheaper than a Hawaii resort vacation and provides the opportunity to visit the four main islands of Hawaii: Oahu, Maui, Kauai and the Big Island. And one price includes accommodations, transportation, entertainment, dining, cultural activities, children’s programs and more.

Dollar for dollar, the price for Hawaiian cruise vacation packages including both room accommodations and airfare is relatively consistent between cruise ships and comparably rated resorts. But you’ll save big on the total cost of your Hawaii cruise vacation because all of your meals are included. Cruise ships provide tremendous variety and unlimited quantities of fresh food that you’ll pay at least $100 per person per day to duplicate on land.

In addition to the savings for food, entertainment and accommodations, there is no additional cost to go from one island to another. No inter-island airline tickets, no rental cars, not taxis, no daily tipping for bellhops and sky caps. Your ship gives you the entire Hawaiian experience, sailing from exotic port to another all while you sleep and for no additional cost.

Finally, a Hawaii cruise not only saves you money, it saves you valuable time as well. No packing and unpacking, checking in an out of hotels, dropping off rental cars, standing in line at airports, claiming your luggage, renting another car, or checking into another hotel.

Stay tuned, the Travel Gal will have more tips for your trip…

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