Magical Maui, Hawaii, Adventures
By Candyce H. Stapen
On Maui, despite its popularity and its plush resorts, you can still enjoy cultural and eco-adventures that give you a sense of Hawaiian traditions, landscapes and natural wonders. Biking down the slopes of a dormant volcano, savoring an authentic luau of songs and dances, snorkeling amidst schools of rainbow colored fish and hiking across an ancient lava field to watch a blow hole shoot spray high into the air are among my favorite magical Maui adventures.
Bike down Haleakala. Your teen will admire your stamina if you pedal down Maui’s dormant volcano. The 38-mile trip snakes from the 10,000-foot high moonscape of the volcano’s crater past the mid-mountain fields and farms to the sea level sugarcane fields in Paia. Several bike companies offer guided tours, including Maui Downhill. Minimum suggested age is 12.
Taste Hawaiian Cuisine: Many hotels and outfitters offer Hawaiian luaus. Although most are overpriced buffet lines of mediocre food packaged with eclectic singers and dancers, one luau is worth the price. Old Lahaina Luau delivers a mix of traditional and contemporary food and dancing in a pleasing outdoor waterside setting. The show’s chants and dances detail the Polynesian migration, the ancient hula, the legend of Pele the fire god as well as tales of warriors and lovers. The food is good, the dancers and singers are talented and the narration is helpful. Reservations required
Snorkel at Molokini: At Molokini, a partially submerged volcanic crater and marine preserve off the coast of Maui, you snorkel with hundreds of rainbow colored fish –as well as many other snorkelers. In spite of the crowds, you still see scores of parrotfish, yellow tangs, black triggerfish and many other tropical beauties. It’s best to go early in the morning when the sea is calmer than in the afternoon. Among the many companies offering trips is Four Winds.
Hike Across an Ancient Lava Field and to a traditional Taro Farm: The Nakalele Blow Hole’s fame is well-earned among nature lovers, but few visitors seem to venture to this spit of land, a million year-old coastal lava field several miles north of the resort area of Kapalua on Maui’s west side. The silky, black field of lava rocks creates a striking contrast to the blue Pacific. With a thundering whoosh, white sea spray suddenly shoots 20 feet in the air; the mist lingering long enough to arc into a rainbow.
Maui Eco-Adventure Tours take visitors to off-the-beaten path places that showcase a bit of the true Hawaii. The day-long blow hole outing also may include the Kahakuloa valley, Waihale, about eight miles east of Nakalele. After hiking into the woods, across a rope bridge and through stands of banana, java plum and coconut trees you reach the terraced taro ponds of a traditional Hawaiian farming community.