I've Fallen in Love-- with Maui
Written by
Siggy Buckley
May 2014
Written by
Siggy Buckley
May 2014

Breathtaking beaches, excellent food, charming local people, rainforests, a volcano, rainbows and coral reefs – all of that you will find on Maui, one of the Hawaiian islands that has been nominated “best island” by Condé Nast Traveler for several years in a row.

What impressed me most, however, were the progressive policies and high standards regarding environmental matters applied on Maui. Tourism has not spoilt its natural beauty. Hawaii was the first state to ban billboards. A couple of years ago Maui banned plastic bags. The island grows most of its own produce and meat, often organic. Little farms are supported by local restaurants. You will find duck and venison or wild hog on many menus. I have never had water this good in a restaurant. Water is such a culinary delight! It comes from Maui’s many waterfalls and is also filtered by osmosis systems. Solar energy and wind turbines can be spotted all over the island.

Sugar canes fields cover a great deal of the island. A rusty looking sugar mill near Maui’s airport is a landmark you can’t miss. Freshly harvested canes are processed here first and raw sugar is then sent to the mainland, CA, for further refining. Maui also has coffee plantations and wineries.

The island’s weather is very agreeable. Since temperatures hardly go higher than 87 degrees and the prevailing trade winds cool the air not many places have AC. Our hotel room had it but its restaurant, reception area and lounges were open air and made pleasant by a gentle breeze ─ it could be gusty too.

Maui’s mountains are part of the large Hawaiian Island volcanic mountain range peaking at 10,000 feet. Their top is often covered in clouds and mist. A helicopter ride gave us an impressive view of Maui’s stunning topography and spellbinding sights. A submarine ride opens up the underwater world and coral reefs around Maui. We left the whale watching trip for another visit since it was pretty much the end of the season. However we saw turtles among the rocks on the beach just below our hotel in Wailea.

Hawaiian culture and history was completely new to me. The first settlers arrived from Polynesia about 2000 years ago. We got a glimpse into their folklore at a luau (BBQ) we attended. A storyteller told their version of creation accompanied by pretty dancing couples in their traditional costumes.

A word about prices: Be prepared to have a hole burnt into your pocket by Maui’s culinary delights. Salads cost between $10 -20; an entrée will set you back by $30-70 in most restaurants. The only chain restaurants we saw were in the highly commercialized area near the airport.  Gas is one dollar per gallon more expensive than in FL, but this compact little island is only 727.2 sq mi. Our tank lasted almost a week.

It is a dreadfully long flight to Hawaii; in our case even three and it took longer than going to Europe, but it was so worth it! Back home I started to look for a home exchange ─ our usual way of traveling─ for next year: from one paradise to the other. There are still six more islands to explore. The language is beyond me… (see example in picture)

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