We woke up early to enjoy fresh Kona coffee, lilikoi, starfruit, and banana bread from the farmer’s market on our balcony, and we watched as a double rainbow revealed itself over Ka’anapali Beach. For me, Maui was an island of diversity – it offered me the ability to snorkel in the most beautiful beaches around the world, while a massive shield volcano loomed miles away, and miles from that boasted a tropical jungle. Today we were visiting the last active volcano in Hawai’i outside of the Big Island, Haleakalā. Dating tests have indicated that it last erupted in the late 1700s.
Maui, HI (‘Elima: ‘Ohe’o Gulch, Pipiwai Trail, Hamoa, Red Sand Beach, Wai’anapanapa State Park)
Our journey along the backside of Mount Haleakala started early Wednesday morning in hopes that we would make it to the ‘Ohe’o Gulch and Pipiwai Trail before the crowds. Traveling up the backside of Mount Haleakala also allowed us to avoid traffic, as a great number of people forego this beautiful drive due to rental restrictions. The backside of Mount Haleakala is known to host particularly sharp, curvy, unpaved roads with high cliffsides overlooking the coast. While it can be considerably dangerous, particularly during heavy rainfall, I cannot imagine traveling to Maui and missing out on the beautiful views of the upcountry fields or the volcanic cliffsides. (more…)
Maui, HI (‘Ehā: Rafting & Snorkeling)
Alan and I woke before sunrise for our rafting and snorkeling venture. We chose to tour with a company called Blue Water (known for their personalized, adventurous excursions) in hopes that we may avoid a typical tourist-centric trip out to sea. The Kanaio and Molokini Snorkel and Rafting excursion fit our tall order. The tour allowed us to observe a variety of remote snorkeling sites, sea turtle habitats, and a rare, uninhabited part of the island, the volcanic Kanaio coast. (more…)
Hang Gliding Maui, Hana, HI
Hang gliding in Maui proved to be the highlight of our trip! We arrived at the Hana airport to meet Armin, an FAA-certified flight instructor and tandem hang gliding pilot, who was going to be teaching us how to pilot a motorized hang glider, commonly referred to as a “trike.” The aircraft featured tandem seating (much like that of a motorcycle), as well as dual control from front and rear seats, and a backup ballistic parachute system, which acted as a way to insure our safety. The micro-light aircraft featured a hang gliding wing and weight shift operation, very much like a traditional hang glider, but was powered by a reliable 912cc 4-cycle Rotax aircraft engine. This type of trike offered comfort and convenience, allowing us to enjoy more flight time high above Hana. (more…)
Maui, HI (‘Elua: ‘Ulupalakua Winery & Kula Botanical Gardens)
We started our day with a beautiful drive to the Tedeschi Vineyards located in ‘Ulupalakua, upcountry Maui. When we left West Maui I immediately noticed the transition to the quiet and peaceful countryside. The drive allowed us an opportunity to slow down and soak up the scenery. We were away from the hustle and bustle of the tourist towns/attractions, and we were more likely to see a cow or a mongoose than another person. (more…)
Maui, HI (‘Ekahi: Farmers Market, Feast at Lele)
Our first day in Maui was centered around exploring the island and taking in its beauty. I got off of the plane and first noticed the mountainous range next to the airport, then a beach at its base. Kanaha Beach is just a hop, a skip, and a jump away – only a leisurely three-minute drive from the airport. We visited the farmers market on the roadside (to Lahaina). They sold fruit smoothies, fresh fruit and vegetables, coconut candy (more on that later) and homemade banana bread. The market stands held dragon fruit, mango, pineapple, starfruit, papaya, coconut, avocados, and taro.
Costa Rica (Day 4: Punta Leona, Shipwrecked at Tortuga Island)
We left the wilderness of the jungle and drove another three hours to the coast, Punta Leona, Puntarenas. We had a rental house that we were going to use for the remaining duration of our stay in Costa Rica. Mario and Nilla’s boat, lovingly named after her cat, Balloo, was docked at Punta Leona. We made plans to sail to Tortuga Island, fish, and snorkel for a while. Tortuga Island, named after its turtle-like shape was expected to have white sand and clear water, so I anticipated prime snorkeling territory, but we could not have anticipated what was yet to come.