If you're headed to Maui, Hawaii, the Road to Hana needs to be your priority!

The Road To Hana, Maui’s Epic Drive.

The Road to Hana, Maui needs to be on your travel bucket list

Aloha!  If you read my blog, than you’re probably a travel addict with a travel bucket list a mile long. The Road to Hana needs to be at the top of that list if you haven’t already checked it off. What is the Road to Hana? It’s basically Hawaii’s answer to the scenic Highway 1 along the California Coast. Are you ready for this…quite possibly sacrilege coming from a California girl…but I think the Road to Hana surpasses Highway 1, making this Maui drive one of the most scenic drives in the world.

 

 

If you're headed to Maui, Hawaii, the Road to Hana needs to be your priority!

 

Flight Attendant Tip: You’re going to need to get a rental car to get around the island and I highly recommend an SUV. Don’t forget, if you’re flight crew, check for discounts. I got an insane deal for five days and the guy at the counter was stunned. I call that a win. Anyways, make sure you get an SUV because on the Road to Hana, not all roads are paved. 🙂 You’ll see in one of my pictures below. It got quite rough and I’ve very glad we weren’t in a tiny convertible.

 

 

 

If you're headed to Maui, Hawaii, the Road to Hana needs to be your priority!

 

Anywhere you want to stop along the Road to Hana, you can explore and hike back to a waterfall, you might have it to yourself if you want to swim around. Just be sure to bring bug spray. I recommend this one. The beauty of Hana is to stop along the way. That’s why I say at least a full day but up to three days depending on how many hikes you want to do.

 

Waterfalls along the Road to Hana

 

My absolute must-do hike on the road to Hana is the Bamboo hike. That’s what I call it, but there so many waterfalls on this hike I guess it should be called the Waterfall hike. 😉 The hike begins at the Seven Sacred Pools, several waterfalls that flow into each other and during certain seasons you can swim in. Keep on trekking up the path though and eventually you’ll get to a bamboo forest. It’s absolutely magical, like being in another world. Check out my pics if you need a little inspiration 😉 I wish I could fill this entire post with the bazillions of pictures I took.

 

The Road To Hana needs to be on your travel bucket list

 

The great thing about the Bamboo hike on the way up from The Seven Sacred Pools is that it’s a very easy hike. As you can see in the pictures, much of it is flat trekking. The incline (when there is one) is quite gradual. If you want to get close to the falls or swim in the pools (which is seasonal), make sure you wear a swimsuit or bring waterproof clothes. When I was there, no one was allowed to swim in the pools, so no cute bikini waterfall pics this time. Just a cheesy one of me with my jacket wrapped around my hips. 😉 I’m such a cool kid…I’ve even been known to travel with a fanny pack from time to time.

 

Hike back to this amazing waterfall on the Road to Hana.

 

The bamboo hike is just one of hundreds of possible stops along the road to Hana where you can hike, gaze, or simply fill your Instagram waterfall quota. If you’re an aviation nerd like me (or if you’re a flight crew on a layover) consider putting a visit to Charles Lindbergh’s grave on your Road To Hana pit stop list. The aviation legend (first solo flight across the Atlantic) loved Maui and wanted to be buried on the island. It took us forever to find the church (because it’s so small and there’s no signs), and once we did, we were astounded at how low key it was. I guess I thought there’d be a gigantic airplane sculpture or something. Instead, it was an incredibly non-descript grave. Lindbergh’s still got an amazing view though, and the tiny church and cemetery overlook the ocean.

 

 

Aviation addicts can visit Charles Lindrave in Maui, Hawaii

 

Flight Attendant Travel Tip: Start from Paia and drive toward Hana. Paia has an assortment of restaurants and a grocery store if you want to purchase picnic items or road trip food. I recommend that you not arrive too hungry to Hana as it is quite a sleepy town and I was not successful in finding good food there. No one wants a hangry road tripper. Since I had wanted to get an early start to the Road to Hana, we stayed a couple nights in an airbnb. *If you haven’t signed up yet, you can get $35 towards your next stay* Not familiar with Airbnb? No worries, check out my latest Airbnb post here about my wonderful stay in Paris, The Coolest Airbnb in Paris.

Tip #2. Start early and don’t even think about doing this drive after the sun goes down. Sight-seeing all the glorious flora on both sides of the road is what makes the trip so magical. Not only that, but some of the roads so get quite bumpy and treacherous. Not dangerous, but you definitely want 100% of your faculties. Diminished eyesight on unpaved roads isn’t something anyone wants to deal with on a vacation road trip.

Another tip: I mentioned this in my other Maui post, but when I’m on the island, I would be lost without this book. Especially if you’re doing the Road to Hana, bring a great book with you that will detail many of the waterfalls and beaches you are seeing on the drive and it will tell you exactly what mile markers to look for if you want to hike or pull over for a selfie. 🙂

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Final Verdict The Luv Aviatrix on the Bamboo HIke along the Road to Hana

The winding road, lush jungle scenery, cascading waterfalls and turquoise ocean water make this drive incredibly unique. Throw in a rainbow every few miles and you’re experience the ultimate Hawaii vacation. The Road to Hana is the best of Maui. Stop wherever you like, hidden beaches, waterfall hikes, bamboo forests…the possibilities are endless on Maui. So get on a plane to OGG, rent a car and set out on the most amazing drive you’ll ever take, Maui’s Road to Hana.

So, have you done the Road to Hana? What were the highlights for you?

 

 

Haven’t been to Maui and done the Road to Hana yet? Put it on your travel bucket list and pin this image for later 🙂

 

The Rooad to Hana in Maui Hawaii is one of the most scenic drives in the world

 

A Flight Attendant's Guide to Maui

Maui: A Flight Attendant’s Guide

A Flight Attendant's Guide to Maui, Mai Tai Service

 

A Flight Attendant's Guide to Maui

Aloha! I count my lucky stars that I’ve been able to explore Hawaii so much. As a flight attendant, travel is a major perk of the job, so it’s a crime not to get around. I love all of Hawaii, but Maui might possibly be my favorite island. Each island has their own vibe though, so really I suppose my favorite island just depends on what I’m in the mood for. But whenever people ask, my initial response is always Maui. Maui is amazing because it has the romantic, quiet beaches, it has epic hikes, snorkeling, whale watching, and an unforgettable highway that should be on everyone’s travel bucket list. But I’ll get to Maui’s Road to Hana in a little bit.

Maui, the Basics

 

Maui is known for whale watching, rainbows, gorgeous beaches and amazing fresh seafood. To get to Maui, you”ll have to fly into Maui’s Kahului airport, OGG. There are many airlines that service the airport. For those of you who know me, I started off my flight attendant career with the Alaska Airlines air group. This means I’m particularly biased when I recommend flying Alaska Airlines into Hawaii. One of the perks is the welcome to Hawaii complimentary Mai Tai service. Yep, a free Mai Tai to get you ready to arrive in Paradise. That being said, I’ve heard Hawaiian is great, and my friends at Virgin America and Delta have always treated me great well. XOXO

To get around the island (and to fully appreciate it) I whole-heartedly recommend renting a car, preferably a four wheel drive to better navigate the Road to Hana as some roads are not paved. Although it’ll be expensive, I recommend visiting during whale-watching season. Whether I was driving, dining or laying on a beach, I was always seeing whales breach and it was incredible. Check the weather because part of Maui’s magic is that the weather is always changing. One minute it’s raining, the next minute you’re getting sun-kissed and gazing at rainbows. Pack accordingly with a light rain jacket and bug spray never hurts in these climates.

 

Rainbows in Maui, a Flight Attendant's Guide to Maui

My Favorite Beach

 

Maui is always on every “Best Beaches” list, whether it’s Conde Nast, Frommers, you name it, Maui will have multiple beaches on that best beach list. Maui has white powder sand, black sand, every shade of stunning sand you can dream of. Some beaches lay in front of fancy resorts and some you can hike to. There’s so many unique beaches and that’s why when I announce my favorite beach, I’m sure I’ll get someone disagreeing with me. Kaanapali is super popular, and very beautiful, but Oneloa, also known as Big Beach, is definitely, hands down my favorite beach on Maui. I’ve been there a few times and it’s usually less busy, and sometimes it even feels like you have the place to yourself. Big Beach is beautiful to just relax, or if you’re feeling active, boogie board or snorkel. I snorkeled here and although sometimes the waves are a bit heavy, I still saw lots of beautiful fish. Most of all, I love the way the beach curves and you can get a great view of it by climbing up a hill to Little Beach. That’s right, climb over a hill and down on the other side is Little Beach, a clothing optional beach 🙂

 

Big Beach, Maui Hawaii

A Flight Attendant's Guide to Big Beach, Maui Hawaii

 

Visit this Big Beach, because I insist, but don’t forget some of the other famous beaches. Like I mentioned, Kaanapali is probably Maui’s most famous beach. Chances are, if you’re staying in a big hotel on Maui, you might be staying on Kaanapali. Personally, I prefer the Kihei area because there are a lot of things that are walkable and it feels less resort-like and like more of a town. If you’re on honeymoon, go with romantic resort areas on Maui like Kaanapali or Wailea.

 

A Flight Attendant's Guide to Maui, Kaanapali Beach

 

A Flight Attendant's Guide to Maui, Black Sand Beach

 

 

A note on snorkeling in Maui: There are many “trips” that you can pay for, but snorkeling is great just about everywhere and you can certainly just go on your own if you bring a snorkel or rent one. The bummer about paying for a snorkel tour is that you’re subject to weather influencing the visibility. Maui water is super clear, but bad weather is bad weather, unfortunately. I have done the Molokini Crater trip and I was very disappointed. The visibility was bad due to wind and on top of that, it was so crowded I didn’t get the feel of being in another world like I usually do when snorkeling. I highly recommend renting or bringing your own snorkel gear and going for a swim whenever the mood strikes you. I used my favorite Maui book, Maui Revealed for all the best snorkeling spots.

 

My Favorite Place for a Drink

   Hint: It’s everything you expect for a romantic, Hawaiian evening Lilikoi Martini

 

For my birthday, I wanted nothing more than a good view, good sushi, and an amazing cocktail.  I got all three at the 5 Palms in Kihei. The 5 Palms is at the Mana Kai resort in Kihei and it rests right on the beach, offering amazing views from both inside and outside the restaurant.

My to-die-for drink is the Lilikoi Martini. When I ordered it, I didn’t know what Lilikoi was exactly, but it sounded Hawaiian so I figured I couldn’t go wrong. I was so right. To this day, it’s my favorite cocktail I’ve had anywhere. It probably didn’t hurt that the sunset I was gazing out at, and the whales breaching in the distance, all made the drink taste even more magical.

The 5 Palms doesn’t disappoint, which makes it very popular and a reservation is absolutely necessary! Trying to walk in? Expect to be turned away or asked to wait for some time. Waiting can stil be fun though because you’ve got a great view. The second time I went to the 5 Palms, I waited about 30 minutes to get in, but was able to watch the whales breaches just off the beach. Amazing. This place isn’t cheap, but it’s not super expensive. Budget wise, I’d say it’s a once-per-trip visit kind of establishment. 😉

 

The Road To Hana Coconuts on Maui Hawaii

 

If you go to Maui for no reason other than to experience the Road To Hana, you must go. The Road to Hana is quite possibly one of my favorite world experiences and it should be on everyone’s travel bucket list. I recommend dedicating at least an entire day (we’re talking set you’re alarm to wake up early) to three days depending on what your travel goals are while on Maui. But what is the Road to Hana? Basically, it’s Hawaii’s answer to California’s Highway 1. Both famous drives cling to rocky cliffs, offering earth-shattering ocean views. What makes the Road to Hanna even more special is that every couple seconds, you’re passing waterfalls. I promise your neck will hurt from taking this drive because on one side you have beautiful ocean vistas, on the other side is jungle and waterfalls galore. The road to Hana is so spectacular, I dedicated a post to it here.

 

 

 

A Flight Attendant's Guide to Maui

 

 

In Summary, Don’t Leave Maui Without…

Whale WatchingTaking Snorkel Selfies in Maui, Check out this Flight Attendant's Guide to Maui

Chasing rainbows

Eating and drinking as much as you can:

fresh fish (ideally macademia encrusted), Hawaiian shaved ice, tropical drinks, repeat

Driving the road to Hana

Checking out each Maui beach, whether it’s black sand or white powder. Grab a snorkel!

Have you been to Maui? Tell me, what’s your favorite thing to do on the island?

Aloha and Happy Traveling

XOXO The Luv Aviatrix

 

P.S. Notice how I haven’t put any accommodation recommendations? Let me know if you have any! I’ve always stayed in AirBnBs there and while I’ve had luck everywhere else in the world, I haven’t had success in Maui. Every place I’ve stayed has been lackluster. I even had one host greet me by insulting my shoes. Yep. That happened.

P.P.S. Planning a trip to Maui? Below are my two fav Hawaii/Maui travel books. Please note that these are affiliate links, which mean I get a commission, but I promise, I wouldn’t steer you wrong. Pretty much anyone who’s been to Maui will recommend the book, Maui Revealed 🙂

 

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Jeep in Kauai

7 Reasons Why Hawaii Should Be Your Bachelorette Party Getaway!

Hawaii Bachelorette Party Ideas

Aloha! As a flight attendant, I’m fortunate to be able to travel a lot. Hawaii is an easy getaway for me since I’m on the West coast. I’m ashamed to admit that the first few times I went to Honolulu, I scoffed at the idea of visiting the Polynesian Cultural Center. I finally went after taking my mom to Honolulu and maybe it’s because I have a dirty mind, but it was like Magic Mike Live, but in Hawaii. My face is literally getting red just thinking about it. The entire time I was there I thought, this needs to be my bachelorette party getaway…if I ever get married lol. So far all you gals that ARE engaged, this is my argument for making a Hawaiian getaway part of your bachelorette party getaway plans.

Reasons to have your bachelorette party in Hawaii

 

Kauai, Hawaii

1. Hawaii is never a bad idea. Let’s be honest, it’s paradise!

 

Exhibit A above. The beaches, the weather, the smiling people and aloha spirit. I’ve never been to Hawaii and not had the time of my life. Nothing is more memorable than leaving footprints in pristine Hawaiian sand or gazing out at a fresh rainbow after a brief, warm sprinkle. Have your bachelorette party in paradise and I guarantee it’ll become a tradition, a Hawaiian girls getaway that you and your closest friends can remember forever. After all, you and your hubby-to-be deserve a romantic honeymoon, but don’t you and your besties deserve a special vacay? I think so!

 

2. The Polynesian Cultural Center…Hawaii’s Gift to Women

Like I mentioned before, on many of my previous visits to Honolulu, I’d shunned the idea of taking the time to visit the Polynesian Cultural Center. It’s not that I’m not interested in culture, I majored in Anthropology, so I love it. But if I’m on a quick getaway, I always just assumed the PCC would be stuffy and full of tourists. I avoided the Polynesian Cultural Center like I avoid the Mona Lisa exhibit in the Louvre. Big Mistake. I think everyone should visit the PCC…especially women. There was so much history…but goodness, it’s like they hire the best looking men of the islands to reenact the historical practices. I literally felt like a predator watching them show me how to make a woven basket or build a fire. And don’t even get me started on the Haka. What is a Haka, you ask? It’s an incredibly testosterone driven war dance, as equally sexy as it is terrifying. Maybe it’s the romance novel writer in me, but seeing these guys pounding on their chests and sticking their tongues out nearly rendered me to a puddle on the floor. The only reason I didn’t melt was one of the Hawaiian Shaved Ice vendors helped me cool down with the yummy treat! The ladies of your bachelorette party are sure to get into trouble here. I know I got a couple numbers while I was there 😉

 

Feast your eyes on some Polynesian Culture Center  studs. Like Magic Mike, but sexier…a bit primal. 🙂

 

Polynesian Cultural Center HonoluluPolynesian Cultural Center HonoluluPolynesian Cultural Center Honolulu

 

Polynesian Cultural Center Honolulu

 

3. All the exotic drinks..Honolulu Mai Tai

 

Tiki Bars, need I say more? There’s going to be drinking at a bachelorette party, so why not drink fresh Mai Tais and beautiful Orchid-topped Pina Coladas? Or how about Pineapple juice and champagne, a Pimosa so to speak 😉 If anyone in the bachelorette party is a non-drinker worries, you’ll still feel exotic drinking fresh coconut milk. Yummm…

 

Kauai Pina Coladas

 

4. Take a group surf lesson!

 

This idea is for the epic bride-to-be. It’s so fun, but it’s not for the hung-over bachelorette group. So if you’re planning on doing a lot of vacation drinking during your bachelorette party getaway, maybe steer away from this option. Does this warning sound like it’s coming from personal experience? That’s because it is. LOL. On my last girls getaway…well, let’s just say what happens in Hawaii stays in Hawaii 😉 Drink too much the night before at your own risk though because yours truly got seasick during her surf lesson. Getting rescued by the studly surf instructors was definitely not on my to-do list. Speaking of instructors…The surfers are all super sexy, especially at Waikiki beach. All the girls will enjoy a little hands on action with the instructors. Nothing beats leaving Hawaii knowing you tried something different, and maybe even caught a wave!

 

5. Instagram material for life 😉

 

Let’s be honest, the vacation didn’t happen if you didn’t take a bunch of pictures and post them on social media. Whether it’s exotic beaches, exotic drinks, bikini selfies or food porn pics, Hawaii provides plenty of photo ops.

 

Hawaii Flora   Hawaiian Shaved Ice kauai napali

       Kauai Sand             Honolulu View

6. Rent a Jeep, take the top off and sing!

 

When in Hawaii, you definitely need a ride. I whole heartedly think that a jeep is the only way to go. Cram all your girlfriends into it, take the top down, and blast some of your favorite tunes. Singing cheesy pop songs at the top of our lungs and having the Hawaiian breeze whip through our hair created iconic moments that I’ll never forget. Depending on how many girls are in your bachelorette party, you’ll need one or two. Have a bachelorette caravan if you have to! This was such a great memory from my last girls trip in Hawaii!

 

Jeep in Kauai

 

 

7. Take a Hula dancing lesson

 

Besides being a blast, learn some skills that you can take back home and impress your man with. After all, the art of hula dancing is by far, one of the most beautiful, sexy, graceful dances in the world. Do a private group lesson for your bachelorette party, get dolled up, and learn how to hula. Some companies will let you request a location, I’m thinkin’ beach. Some instructors, like Sarah Chang will even help choreograph a wedding dance!

Bottom Line… There are endless Maui Hawaii Embry Riddle Hatreasons to create a memorable bachelorette party in Hawaii!

 

 

I’ve left you with 7 since it’s a lucky number. And honestly, even if you’re not planning a bachelorette party, take your best girls to Hawaii and start an annual tradition anyway! Sometimes life gets busy and where better to reconnect with friends than paradise?

P.S. Looking for a Honolulu hotel? Check out my review of the Aston Waikiki, here.

Aloha & Happy Traveling

XOXO

The Luv Aviatrix

 

 

Honolulu Aston Waikiki

Hotel Review: Honolulu, Aston Waikiki Beach

Hotel Review for Aston Waikiki Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii

As I flight attendant, I stay in hundreds of hotels, so I’ll admit, I have high expectations. So I’m always excited to let my fellow travelers in on what I think about the places I’m staying.

Flight Attendant Tip: Don’t forget, if you’re flying to the island (and you probably are), Alaska Airlines has a complimentary Mai Tai service to get you ready for your exotic vacay!

Honolulu, especially the Waikiki Beach area, hosts thousands of tourists every day. Hawaii is an idyllic vacation and I always say that Honolulu is for Hawaii beginners. What do I mean by that? The Hawaiian islands all have unique characteristics that make them special, whether your plan is to venture around volcanos, hike to waterfalls, or lay on the beach with your lover all day long, each Hawaiian island is sure to please. The island of Oahu, has a little something for everyone and is a great starting point for Hawaii newbies. Is it my favorite island? Not by a long shot. Is Honolulu my favorite Hawaiian getaway? No way. Is Honolulu amazing and do I tell everyone to go there? Yes!

 

Where to Stay and what will it cost me?

 

An arm and a leg. Sad, but true, almost every hotel in the Waikiki area is expensive year round. That’s because there really is no high and low season for Hawaii. This is because like Paris, Hawaii is always a good idea! Although it’s expensive to stay in Waikiki, I do think it’s important for first time visitors to experience the Waikiki area. This is because it’s easy to navigate on foot. Due to of all the tourists, Waikiki has a lot of the beautiful, sometimes cheesy things that first time visitors look for, whether it’s free hula dancing shows or fire dancers in the park, you’ll never run out of fun things to do. Including hustlers trying to throw fliers into your hands for the tour excursion they’re selling. They’ll promise you it’s the best deal, but be wary. But I digress…onto our featured accommodation.

 

Aston Waikiki Beach

 

Ocean view rooms start at a little over $200, unless you get lucky with a crew special (which often are sold out). It’s located right on Kalakaua avenue, which hosts many restaurants, hotels and shops and more importantly, it’s right across from the beach. Even better for families, the beach in front of the Aston Waikiki has a barrier to block the waves, creating a protected ocean pool to swim.

 

Honolulu Waikiki Beach

What I liked about the hotel

 

For the price (because $200 for an ocean view in Waikiki is actually pretty decent), the view is amazing. I love that the room I had on the forward right side of the building had a sweeping view of the entire avenue and beach front. I’ve been centrally located before, facing forward and it’s a gorgeous view, but I think I favor this one. I love that this hotel is located down at the end of the main drag because it’s a little less crowded and a little more quiet. Also, I feel like admitting this is cheesy, but I liked the restaurant/bar at the hotel. It’s an indoor/outdoor tiki bar that faces the ocean so it’s got a great view. It also has fun drinks, yummy food and entertainment in the evening. I would definitely go back to that tiki bar even when I’m not staying there. It’s called Tiki’s Bar and Grill.

The beds and amenities were good/average.

 

 

Honolulu Aston Waikiki

 View from my room

 Honolulu Aston Waikiki

What I didn’t like

 

The pool was very lackluster. Honestly, that’s not a huge deal to me because when I’m in Hawaii I prefer to be on the beach anyway. If you are a pool person, probably pass on this hotel. The pool is a bit old school, small and always filled with kids. Not very many places to lay out in the sun. I didn’t have many complaints about the hotel, but if I had to come up with something else, it’s that it didn’t have a very Hawaiian feel about it. Some hotels in Waikiki go above and beyond with gorgeous fragrant flora and pineapple juice upon arrival and this hotel didn’t really give me that same welcome to Hawaii feel. The view from the balcony was great, but I guess I should mention that it was a bit small compared to other Honolulu hotels such as the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa. But that’ll cost a bit more.

Bottom line: The Aston Waikiki is a great hotel, not my favorite in Honolulu, but a solid choice. No matter where you stay, make sure you have an ocean view. It makes waking up all the more magical. At the end of the day, anywhere you stay in Hawaii will be brilliant, because it’s an amazing place.

Happy traveling.

XOXO

The Luv AviatrixThe Luv Aviatrix in Honolulu