Maui is Magical All Year Long

by Selena Swartzfager on November 18, 2022 in Food+Drink,

Maui is the Hawaian island of relaxation and spiritual awakening

Maui, one of 100 Hawaiian Islands, is one of the most magical places on earth. It’s about more than just spending time on the beach and swimming in the stunning clear blue water. It’s about interacting with the gods of Hawaii such as Na-maka-o-kaha’i (goddess of water and the sea), Paka’a (god of the wind), Lono (god of peace/learning) and Laka (goddess of beauty). Upon arrival you will feel the strength of Paka’a. You may encounter Na-maka-o-kaha’i in a misty rain that results in a rainbow. Be sure to enjoy the spiritual side that Hawaii has to offer. The best type of travel is where you immerse yourself into the culture of the land in which you were visiting.

So many choices, where to stay?

The Royal Lahania Resort offers three types of lodging: Tower Rooms (shown here with a great view of the ocean), Cottages (for larger groups) or the Royal Beach Cottage (for a family with a private pool). Photo courtesy of Royal Lahania Resort.

A stay at Kaanapali Beach Resort is the way to go. There are so many properties that are part of this resort that you simply cannot go wrong. However, if you are wanting the true Hawaiian experience you can choose from either Royal Lahaina Resort & Bungalows or the Ka’anapali Beach Hotel. Both have cultural education departments that offer courses for visitors such as traditional lei making, navigating by the stars and hula dancing. Your instructors will be native Hawaiians that can teach you not only history but some of the language as well. Fun fact: At the Royal Lahaina be sure to see Chico in the lobby each day for a fresh flower to put in your hair.

Kāʻanapali Beach Hotel is officially recognized as “Hawaii’s Most Hawaiian Hotel” and a variety of complimentary Hawaiian cultural activities are scheduled daily. Photo courtesy of Kaanapali Beach Hotel.

Your Maui experience will be much more memorable if you take a trip to Kipuka Olowalu where you can learn Malama ‘Aina (to care for the land and its natural resources). Many times we travel without gaining a full appreciation of the land which we are visiting. Under the guidance of Cultural Practitioner Ua Aloha Maji, you will begin the day with a prayer to the gods asking for their permission to work on the land, followed by learning about natural Hawaiian habitat and nurturing the land in which you are visiting. Be sure to hang out with the volunteers to talk afterwards where they may pick a noni off a Noni tree and share it with you. Fun fact:  The locals say this fruit has liver cleansing properties and can be used to treat high blood pressure. While not tasty at all, what medicine is?

The Olowalu Valley has historically been an area of refuge for those seeking sanctuary. People were once deemed untouchable once stepping into the Valley’s borders. Photo courtesy of Kipuku Olowalu.

A trip to the Hawaiian islands would not be complete without a snorkel outing. On the Teralani Snorkel Sail you will feel like the Hawaiian kings and queens who sought a relaxing, rejuvenating retreat in Kaanapali. On this year-round excursion, find a spot on the catamaran to relax and the crew will serve you breakfast with juice, lunch and beverages of your choice. They have several prime snorkeling locations where you will surely see sea turtles and vibrant colored fish that are magical in their natural habitat. This is a half day outing and worth every cent.

Sea turtles you are sure to see while snorkeling are very curious creatures that will want to check you out while you are checking them out. Photo courtesy of Teralani Snorkeling Adventures.

You didn’t realize you were a #foodie?

It is not too early to start planning your trip to Maui to coincide with the 2023 Hawai’i Food & Wine Festival. This event is like no other. The first night in 2022 consisted of ten superstar chefs, many of which have been on the Food Network. They created artistic delights not to be missed. From ceviche prepared by Chef Timon of The Katherine in Fort Lauderdale, to lobster puffs prepared by Chef Issac of Pacifico on the Beach in Lahaina, to a Macadamia Nut and Honey Cream Puff prepared by Chef Lee Anne Wong of Papa’aina in Lahaina. Portions were just the right size allowing you to sample all the dishes and return for seconds of your favorites. Have fun ranking them in order of your enjoyment! A festival such as this allows you the convenience of tasting dishes prepared by ten amazing chefs in one place as opposed to having to travel to ten separate restaurants, some of which are an ocean away. You may not have considered yourself a #foodie before, but after this trip you certainly will! Stay in the loop on 2023 plans by joining their newsletter.

The first night of the 2022 Hawaii Food & Wine Festival on Maui consisted of ten superstar chefs, many of which have been on the Food Network. See anyone you recognize? Photo Courtesy of Hawaii Food & Wine Festival.

If you travel at another time, no worries! Fine dining abounds at restaurants located in the Kaanapali Beach Resort. Royal Ocean Terrace at Royal Lahaina Resort & Bungalows is an open-air, ocean front restaurant overlooking the neighboring islands of Lanai and Molokai.  Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

At the Royal Ocean Terrace you will hear the waves crashing on the beach while enjoying Hawaiian Regional specialties such as the Poke with an island cocktail as a great afternoon snack. Photo courtesy of Royal Ocean Terrace.

Another must stop will be Huihui Restaurant at Ka’anapali Beach Hotel which is a new beachfront restaurant that pays homage to the longstanding tradition of Hawaiian wayfinding via the stars. The breakfast menu includes a Hikina Bowl and fresh local fruits along with local coffee that is so smooth you won’t need creamer, making your morning lovely. 

Bring your appetite for amazing flavors when you visit Huihui. Breakfast can be this fabulous. Photo courtesy of Mieko Hoikoshi.

Enjoy Asian flavors with island flair at Japengo found at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa. You absolutely cannot go wrong with this menu, but the favorites are Eggplant Szechuan, Stir Fry Baby Bok Choy and anything off the sushi menu.  

Early Polynesians were guided to the Hawaiian Islands with the help of the stars and now Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa invites guests to take a Tour of the Stars with their very own rooftop astronomy program! Enjoy this tour after dinner at Japengo. Photo courtesy of Hyatt.

On your way out of town, stop by the Choice Health Bar, found at the Whalers Village Shopping Center Food Court. Within walking distance along the boardwalk from most Kaanapali Beach Resort properties, all menu items are 100% plant based.  CHB keeps it fresh and keeps it local! With all the eating you probably did while in Maui, a cold pressed juice may be just what you need before heading to the airport.

Just remember, life is too short for bad food.

Getting there

With direct flights from Dallas, Texans can be in Maui in a mere eight hours, which isn’t bad considering it takes twice this long to drive from one side of Texas to the other.  When you arrive at the Kahului Airport (OGG) you can either rent a car or take a car for hire to West Maui.  After arriving at the Resort all things are within walking distance, or you can take the Kaanapali Trolley which runs throughout the resort daily and is complimentary to resort guests. 

After your trip to Maui, you will return home with a new appreciation for the Polynesian culture that is such a rich part of Hawaii.  You will wonder, when will I be able to return to this magical place again?

Photo courtesy of Selena Swartzfager.


Cover photo courtesy of Kaanapali Beach Resort.

Selena Swartzfager is a travel writer, nonprofit president, an amateur athlete, lover of adventures and life. Her favorite type of travel allows her to learn about history while enjoying things for the first time. Follow her on Instagram.