A zip through Maui

DSC09339Tropical vacations are meant to be leisurely affairs. Weeks upon end of lazing on sandy beaches, sunglasses covering your pupils as you fall deeply in love with a novel, sip way too fruity cocktails, and delight in the endless sun, the jaw-dropping sunsets, and the lovely beach-wear that makes you look (and feel) sexy.

Yet what happens when you don’t have weeks? Do you still go to Hawaii–be it a three-hour or eight-hour flight away? My answer is…yes, of course.

Even a day in Hawaii is worth the effort. I mean just consider those first moments after arrival–the whoosh of air, warm air, the scent of pikake, the twang of an accent, the joy of seeing chickens at the rental car agency.

Last month, I was just on assignment in Maui for less than a week. Not many people schlep to Hawaii for less than seven full days, but this gal (and her whole family) hopped over the Pacific for a meager five nights. Sure, I could have used another six nights there to fully decompress. But sometimes you just gotta take what you can get. On this whirlwind of a trip, I was researching hotels and activities for Fodor’s Hawaii and Fodor’s Maui, so I was on the go most of the time.

Truth is, Maui can be explored in five days. Here’s how…

Day one: Do nothing! Flying, getting your car, and getting checked it kicks your butt. Don’t do anything but get a yummy meal. Ours was at Mama’s Fish House–a sweet beachfront joint in Paia.

Day two: Get Hana over with. No offense, Hana, but you are quite a time sucker. A time sucker that needs to be experienced, especially by first time visitors. So do it while you have energy, jet lag, and mainland go-go-go-ness on your side.

IMG_1456Day three: Soak up Upcountry. Check out Haleakala. Sample lunch at O’o Farms. Tour a couple of Maui’s farms. Then eat at Haliimaile General Store.

Day four: BEACH! All day. Doesn’t matter which one, though if you want the island’s best sunbathing and swimming head all the way up to Napili Bay. On the way through towards Lahaina, eat at Leoda’s Pie Shop.  And on the way back, check out out Star Noodle.

Day five: Bodyboard the massive waves at Makena; or take a snorkel trip to Lanai before catching your evening flight home.

Want more Maui ideas, pick up a copy of Backroads and Byways of Hawaii.

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