If you're looking for the most balanced island in Hawaii that's blessed with natural beauty, outdoor fun, creature comforts, top-notch dining, and warm alohas, look no further. This is what a Maui itinerary in 5 days looks like which combines the top things to do with hidden gems all-in-one.
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Table of Contents
Looking for something specific in this Maui itinerary? Jump to the section that you're interested in.
Here's what we're covering:
- Maui highlights
- Maui Itinerary in 5 Days
- Add-ons and alternatives
- Where to stay in Maui
- Quick Maui travel guide
- Frequently asked questions
- The 5 Day Maui Itinerary Experience
Maui is the ultimate adventure. With 5 days, you'll just scratch the surface but this itinerary is created to make sure you get to see all of that raw beauty while also making sure you try the island's rich and delicious flavors and have some time to chill.
Here are the top 5 highlights from Maui that is one of my favourite islands in Hawaii (second to only Kauai).
- Haleakala sunrise
- Turtle town
- Road to Hana
- Pipiwai trail
1. Haleakala sunrise
2. Turtle Town
3. Road to Hana
4. Pipiwai Trail
Maui Itinerary in 5 Days
As Hawaii's second largest island, it truly is a place of multiple contradictions. On one hand you have all of the ethereal rainforests, lunar-like surfaces of Healeakala, and volcanic coastline. Then you have the big towns of Lahaina, Kapalua, and Waimea that are dotted with resorts, high-end shops, packed sandy beaches, farm-to-table restaurants, and galleries.
That's precisely the allure of Maui.
I wish I could cram more in 5 days but any more and you won't be able to find time to slow it down as well. Don't worry though, when you get to the end of this article, I'll also get to a few of the things I wasn't able to fit in and a couple of optional add-ons.
Maui is the kind of place that you don't just visit once so leave a things left on the bucket list so you can come back for more.
Trip planning map
One of the cornerstones of our itineraries are maps with all points of interests marked as you'll also find in the French Polynesia 2 week itinerary, Greece island hopping itinerary, 2 day Istanbul itinerary, and Hong Kong in 2 days itinerary.
With this map, you'll be able to bring this with you and have it ready for you on your phone or use it as part of your itinerary planning.
Tip: View the Maui itinerary in 5 days trip planning map in full screen and create a copy (this step is key) for yourself. Make tweaks for your own trip and in Google Maps, you'll be able to view it by going into the menu, selecting “My Places” and the “Maps” tab.
Day 1 – Welcome to Maui
The first day is always a bit shortened because each of you will be arriving to the island at different but regardless of your itinerary, there's still plenty of things to do and with ample time to get situated.
When you arrive in Maui's Kahului Airport (OGG), you'll immediately pick up your car rental. It's high recommended that you book ahead to make sure you get the car class you want (*nudge* your chance to get convertible) and also to be able to apply those car rental coupon codes.
Once you're on the road, it's time to start exploring!
From the town of Kahului, you'll head to The Sacred Garden of Maliko. Instead of starting with the adrenaline stuff, your first day is much more laid back and this gives you a chance to find your zen after a long flight.
This 10,000 square feet greenhouse nursery is filled with tropical plants but what I love about it are the 2 labyrinths. You don't have to spend too much time here but 30 minutes will give you chance for peaceful reflection.
The garden is just up the hill from Makawao Town. Drop by here and check out a few of the shops near the corner of Makawao Ave. and Olinda Rd. You never know what goodies you'll find here.
You'll undoubtedly be hungry at this point so head to Paia Town in the North Shore.
When you arrive, you'll be struck by the bohemian-style of village with plenty of wellness shops, yoga studios, spiritual centers, and mindful murals.
Parking here isn't difficult as there is a large free public lot which I'd recommend over fighting over street parking.
For lunch, you'll be eating at Paia Fish Market. With their selection of fresh catches of ono, mahi mahi, red snapper, all prepared in a variety of ways, this is a seafood lover's paradise. Fish portions are plenty here and make sure to not miss their cajun rice.
The rest of the afternoon is yours to roam around Paia. Before you go, make sure to hit up Tobi's Shave Ice.
At this point, you still haven't checked into your accommodations yet. Get back in your car and head the place that you booked. In my case, this was the vacation condos at Aina Nalu Lahaina by Outrigger.
Personally, staying in Lahaina is my preference because I enjoy the town and a majority of attractions are concentrated on that side of the island but really you can't go wrong with anywhere in Maui.
Once you're settled in, you'll have time to walk into the town of Lahaina and catch the sunset as well!
For dinner, there are plenty of choices to choose from which is another reason why Lahaina is so great. Kimo's Maui is a highly-rated restaurant that's right on the water with postcard views of Lanai and Molokai.
Make sure to try their kalua pork lettuce wraps, fish tacos , ahi poke, and of course, something called Hula Pie (macadamia nut pie) which was invented here.
Lastly, make sure to visit the local Foodland so that you're stocked up especially if you have a full kitchen like at the Aina Nalu.
Day 1 Summary
What you'll see:
- Sacred Garden of Maliko
- Town of Makawao
- Town of Paia
Where you'll eat:
- Lunch – Paia Fish Market – High quality seafood in huge portions and at a good price. You can't go wrong!
- Dessert – Tobi's Shave Ice – While in Paia, this is a great spot to cool down and start your daily shave ice streak in Maui.
- Dinner – Kimo's Maui – One of the best restaurants in Lahaina. Try to get outdoor seating if possible and leave room for Hula Pie.
Where you'll stay:
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Day 2 – Road to Hana and Back
The Road to Hana is one of those signature experiences in Maui that you can't miss. Following Hana Highway (HI-360) with its 620 curves and 59 bridges, you'll be spending a jam-packed day driving around the eastern shore of the island.
To make sure you make the most out of your day, start off as early as you can. By that, I mean 6AM.
For breakfast, whip up something quick at your apartment or if you're in a rush, I recommend heading to Zippy's, a Hawaiian fast food chain. Here, you'll be able to pick up a breakfast bento and also something for the road like a Zip Pac or Surf Pac.
Your first stop is Twin Falls, your first waterfall along the Road to Hana that's part of a family-owned farm. You'll find the Lower and Upper Falls here. The Lower Falls is a short walk from the parking lot while the Upper Falls is a one-mile round trip through a trail.
Road To Hana Audio Guide Apps
To help in your Road to Hana road trip, there are two different audio guide apps out there that I can recommend. Both of these apps use GPS to pinpoint where you are and as you're driving, you'll get commentary, stories, and directions to where you should visit.
The app doesn't require data so it works offline.
Honestly though, if you've done the pre-planning, you shouldn't have any trouble seeing every thing you want to.
Between mile markers 4 and 5 is Huelo Lookout which is a side-of-the-road rest stop with beautiful panoramic views of East Maui.
Before you go, grab a fresh fruit smoothie at the fruit stand. They even have something called The Hana Highway Potion and the Cure Smoothie to help with those with motion sickness from all of Hana highway's curves.
Passing by the rainbow trees, you'll eventually make it to the Garden of Eden Arboretum. Splashed with colors from tropical varieties of flowers, plants, tress and more, spend time along the 2.5 mile walking trail and views of the waterfalls in the distance and the Rainbow Overlook.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Address: 10600 Hana Hwy, Haiku, HI 96708, United States
Hours: 8AM-4PM daily
Price: $15/adult (16+), $5/child (5-16), free for kids 5 years and under.
Discounts: If you're a party of 5 or more, military, student, or AAA, be sure to ask for a discount.
Website: Maui Garden of Eden
Facilities: Bathrooms (real ones) and a garden cafe.
Time to spend here: 30 minutes
Diverting from the Hana Highway, make your drive into the Keanae Peninsula just past mile marker 16. This is a traditional village known for its taro fields. Driving around, you'll also pass by a historic stone church built in 1856 and more rocky coastline.
Before you swing out of the peninsula, make sure to stop by Aunty Sandy's for their famed banana bread and shave ice.
Continuing along, another scenic stop you'll want to make is the Wailua Valley State Wayside. Climb the hilly terrain to get to one of the best lookouts on this road trip with unforgettable views of both the mountains and the ocean.
Another quick stop you can make is to the Upper Waikani Falls. Also known as Three Bears, parking is a bit tough to get here but if you can make it, this is the best waterfalls along the road.
At this point, it's perfect timing for a real rest stop. The Pua'a Ka'a Falls and State Park is a peaceful location with a quick waterfall hike and freshwater pool. More importantly, they have restroom facilities here and a great spot to picnic to have lunch.
Refuelled, you'll be ready to see something super unique which is the Hana Lava Tubes. This is a family-friendly self-guided adventure that many guides leave out. Descend into the world's 18th largest lava tube with the help of an included flashlight. They even have a large botanical maze that's included with admission.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Address: 205 Ulaino Rd, Hana, HI 96713, United States
Hours: 10:30AM – 4:00PM daily
Price: $12.50/person, free for kids 5 years and under.
Recommended gear: Slippery so make sure to have good shoes. No gloves needed. Flashlights included.
Facilities: Porta-potties and picnic tables.
Time to spend here: 45 minutes
Website: Hana Lava Tube
Next up is Wai'anapanapa State Park that has everything from a black sand beach, sea arches, freshwater caves, a blowhole, hiking trails, cliff jumping, and panoramic views.
Budget about an hour here. You can either hang out on the black sand/pebble beach and in the water or go exploring the various volcanic features that are around.
You'll finally make it to the town of Hana. While there isn't much to see here, a recommended spot is the Kaihalulu Red Sand Beach. It will take a bit of effort to get there with its hidden and rocky trail but you'll marvel at how different the red sand against the backdrop of the deep blue is compared to the black sand beach you just saw.
At this point, you're starting to swing back around on the Road to Hana. One stop you'll make is between mile markers 45 and 44 to see Wailua Falls. At 80 feet, there's a bridge platform to see the full cascade. You can also hike to the pool itself but I'd save your energy.
Parking can be a problem here and since it's a quick stop, you can skip it if it's looking bad. Don't worry, there are more waterfalls to come!
The final big push for this Road to Hana itinerary is coming up. Parking at the Kipahulu Visitor Center lot, you'll embark on the best hike in Maui – Pipiwai Trail.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Address: 205 Ulaino Rd, Hana, HI 96713, United States
Hours: 9AM – 5PM daily (warning: the gate is locked at 5PM with little to now grace period)
Price: $30/car (good for 3 days) and this is the same pass you'll need for Haleakala Summit so make sure to save this and use it 2 days later. Entry fee is currently credit card only.
Recommended gear: Water, sunscreen, mosquito repellant, and wear sturdy shoes such as the Keen Newport H2.
Facilities: Restrooms and picnic tables.
Time to spend here: 2.5 to 3 hours
Website: Kipahulu Visitor Center
What I love about the Pipiwai Trail is how diverse it is. I'm not going to spoil too much of what you'll encounter along the way but expect to see a few glorious waterfalls, a mystical bamboo forest, and a giant banyan tree.
On more of a practical note, make sure you have enough time to do this because if the gates close at 5 and it takes 3 hours to do, you want to start this hike at 2PM. Also, note that this trail can get muddy and will require good footwear to get over branches, rocks, and tree roots.
When you come back down from your hike and if you have some extra time, make sure to drop by the Ohe' o Gulch a.k.a. The Seven Sacred Pools. You can go for a dip or just walk around to get a view of the rolling cascades.
I wasn't kidding when I said it would be a packed day right?
If you're up for it, the only winery in Hawaii that produces sparkling wines is MauiWine. Have a sample of their delicious pineapple wines like my favourite Maui Splash. A heads up that they're only open Wednesdays to Sundays 11AM to 5PM so if this is something you want to fit in, start earlier in the day or cut out something from earlier.
You'll no doubt be exhausted so drive back to your hotel and if it's in Lahaina, treat yourself to a chocolate mac or banana cream pie at Leoda's Kitchen & Pie Shop.
For dinner, I have a feeling something low key and easy will be on your mind so drop by Aloha Mixed Plate or Prison St. Pizza for some local and delicious Hawaiian eats.
Day 2 Summary
- Twin Falls
- Huelo Lookout
- Garden of Eden Arboretum
- Keanae Lookout
- Wailua Valley State Wayside
- Upper Waikani Falls
- Pua'a Ka'a State Wayside
- Hana Lava Tubes
- Wai'anapanapa State Park
- Kaihalulu Red Sand Beach
- Wailua Falls
- Kipahulu Visitor Center
- Pipiwai Trail
- O'heo Gulch
Where you'll eat:
- Breakfast – Home or Zippy's – You can grab something at your apartment if you have supplies or breakfast at Zippy's.
- Drinks – Huelo Lookout Fruit Stand – Grab a smoothie from here!
- Snack – Aunty Sandy's – They have the best banana bread.
- Lunch – Zippy's – I recommend the Zip Pac or Surf Pac to go so you can have it at your picnic spot.
- Snack – Leoda's Kitchen and Pie Shop – An institution in Maui! Their pies are so good that you'll want to come back every day. Open 10AM – 6PM.
- Dinner – Aloha Mixed Plate or Prison St. Pizza – Currently Aloha Mixed Plate may be closed but the popular local pizzeria will also hit the spot.
Where you'll stay:
Day 3 – Snorkel Day
After a packed day on Hana Highway, it's the perfect time in your 5 day Maui itinerary for a day out on the beach. Today is focused on West Maui.
Start your morning right with breakfast at the popular 808 Grindz Cafe. All the locals on the island will tell you to make sure to get the pancakes with mac-nilla sauce on the side.
Load up your car with all of your beach, snorkel, and exploring gear and start at your furthest point first – Nakalele Blowhole. Here the pressure of the waves jettison water up to 100 feet in the air through a small hole in the lava rock.
On the other side of the blowhole, make sure to catch the heart-shaped hole in the middle of the lava rock that frames the coastal backdrop.
Next, start working your way back counter-clockwise. The rest of your morning will be at Honolua Bay which offers some of the best snorkeling in Maui.
TIP: In your planning, try to make it to Honolua Bay before 10AM because the parking situation can get a bit tricky.
After you descend through the enchanted forest along the access trail, you'll arrive at the protected bay. While this isn't quite the sandy beach you imagined, you'll find excellent snorkeling especially along the right-hand side (north) or left-hand side (south) edges of the bay.
When you've had your fill of snorkeling or your stomach is growling again, hop down towards Kapalua. The Gazebo is a bit of an institution here and while you might have to wait in line, it's totally worth it.
TIP: Parking here can get challenging. First try to find a spot by the street, Napili Place. If that fails, there's some street parking along Lower Honoapiilani Road but just make sure you're parked on the side that's allowed.
Work off that delicious meal by doing some of the Kapalua Coastal Trail which follows Maui's northwest coast.
Do as much of the trail as you'd like and settle back at Kapalua Bay Beach. This is another one of the great spots to snorkel with the added benefit of having a soft white sand beach.
You can stay for much of the afternoon if you'd like or if you'd like to change it up, you could also head to the one beach south of it which is Napili Bay Beach. This is another popular beach in Kapalua that's slightly more low key and offers great sunset views as well.
To wrap up for the day, make sure you have a change of clothes or head back to your hotel. For dinner, you're headed to one of the biggest gems on the island which is the restaurant Koiso.
Koiso is a sushi bar that delivers an excellent 13-piece omakase (chef's selection) experience for $45. Of course, you can order a-la-carte but I'd always start with the omakase. All the fish they have are fresh and simply the best you'll find on Maui.
TIP: To secure a spot, make sure to call to make a reservation at least 30 days ahead.
If you're low on gas, make sure you fill up. Also, don't be up too late because tomorrow starts ridiculously early.
Day 3 Summary
What you'll see:
Where you'll eat:
- Breakfast – 808 Grindz Cafe – Breakfast/lunch spot in Lahaina that serves up yummy dishes without breaking the bank.
- Lunch – The Gazebo – A fabulous breakfast and lunch spot with an incredible view.
- Dinner – Koiso – This omakase sushi bar is magical on so many levels. Watching master Hiro-san is like watching a performance just like the best restaurants in Tokyo. You have to call to make reservations.
Where you'll stay:
Day 4 – Haleakala Sunrise
Sunrises are always one of the hardest things especially if you're not a morning person but in this instance, you're going to have to make an exception. The Haleakala sunrise is simply breathtaking.
You'll need to head out the door between 2AM and 3AM so it'll feel like all you got was a nap. Wear off that grogginess by brewing a coffee at your apartment or pick something up along the way.
The drive up to the Haleakala National Park Summit entrance will take up to 2 hours. Take it slow and be alert around all the corners.
In recent years, the National Park Service has had to implemented a lottery reservation system to handle the sheer volume of people going up to see the sunrise. It's for the better but this means that you'll need to be on-the-ball 7 days before you plan on going.
The sunrise itself is nothing short of spectacular. I've gone up on two separate occasions and it's the kind of thing where never know what you're going to expect. You could get a clear sky or clouds and heavy fog could overtake the summit. Both are amazing.
As you wait patiently in your viewing spot, the darkness will give way to hues of purple and blue. In one moment, the sun will peak up through the horizon and will glow through the fog, reflect off the layer of cloud, and stretch its rays on the crater valley below.
Snapping way, you'll start seeing the scene develop like a polaroid with sweeping lines of dust, jagged rock, clouds magically disappearing, and hues of red, gold and green. Stay at least 20 minutes after sunrise to see the whole show.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Address: Haleakala Hwy, Kula, HI 96790, USA
Price: $1 online reservation fee and $30/vehicle for the entrance fee whic his paid at the gate. However, if you already visited Kipahulu Visitor Center for say the Pipiwai Trail (Day 2 of the Maui itinerary), you can simply show your receipt since this is within 3 days.
Recommended gear: Layer up here (jacket, gloves, and trail quilt) as the temperatures at the summit are 20F colder than at sea level. For sunrise, it can get to freezing so be prepared. Bring water, sunscreen (and actually put it on before you go), headlamp, and good footwear. Lastly, make sure you have a full tank of gas and snacks.
Facilities: Visitor center and bathroom.
Time to spend here: The main sunrise slot is 3AM – 7AM so plan for 4 hours (or more if you plan on hiking).
Website: Haleakala National Park
- Where can you book tickets? The government booking site here.
- When are tickets released? You can book 7 days in advance. They release new tickets at 7AM HST every day. Let's say you want to book something on March 16. You need to be on the system March 9 at 7AM HST to grab that ticket. Tickets are per vehicle.
- When are sunrise times? NPS has a handy page here with sunrise and sunset times throughout the year.
- Where is the best view of the sunrise? There are 4 primary lookout points for the sunrise: Visitor Center, Puʻuʻulaʻula (Summit Observation Deck), Kalahaku Overlook, and Leleiwi Overlook. The best out of all of them is still the one right by the Haleakala Visitor Center because it has the best elevation without foreground obstruction (i.e. Summit Observation Deck). If you're adventurous, there's an even better spot further down the Pā Ka'oao Trail where it'll be less crowded.
- Is the bike ride tour recommended? If it's your first time, I would say do it on your own so you have maximum flexibility on how much time you want to stay here. If you've been here before, I'd totally recommend doing the downhill bike ride experience that includes the summit or the express tour that starts right before the gate.
- Are there hikes you can do from here? The Keonehe'ehe'e (Sliding Sands) Trail can be a 0.5 mile round trip to the first overlook but if you want to go further down into the crater, you can do the full-day 11 mile hike that ends at Halemau'u.
- Is it better to book a sunrise tour? For something more stress-free where you don't need to book your own reservations and drive up, sunrise tours that include breakfast are a great option.
- Are pets allowed? Dogs are permitted in parking lots. roadways, and paved paths only and must be leashed at all times. However, they are not permitted on trails or in park buildings.
- Can you re-enter Haleakala on the same day? Since you have an entrance fee receipt, you can enter Haleakala National Park for free on days 2, 3, and 4 of this itinerary.
- Are reservations required for sunsets? No
- Practice – Do a trial run of the reservation system for another day just so you know what to expect and you can create your account ahead of time. The tickets can literally sell out in 1 minute.
- Reserve like a pro – Log into the reservation system 5 minutes before (6:55 HST) so you're ready.
- Start early – From either Lahaina or Wailea, it takes 1.5-2 hours to get to the gate. From the gate, it's another 30 minutes to the summit.
- Drive carefully – You'll be driving in the dark in the morning so be careful around the switchbacks and hairpin turns.
- Have a plan when you arrive – Know which spot you want to camp out at for the sunrise before the crowds arrive.
- Secret hack – If you can't get a ticket is to simply show up to the gate before 3AM because it isn't manned before then. This means a super early morning start but you'll get in for sure.
- Altitude – At 10,000 feet, if you have respiratory or medical conditions, proceed with caution.
- Don't forget about the stars – A good reason to come early is to have clear views of the Milky Way (if it's not foggy).
- Don't worry too much about the fog – Weather is unpredictable at the summit. In many cases the sunrise will start off quite foggy in the dark but once the sun breaks, the fog will give way to clear skies.
- Photographers – Remember to bring your tripod and practice shooting HDR. I recommend this travel tripod.
If you're not doing a guided tour or bike ride, spend as much time as you want here, going up to see the Summit Observation Deck, catch glimpses of the telescopes stationed here, try to do a short hike, or perhaps including a visit to the other overlooks at lower altitudes.
When you're happy with your visit, it's time to start driving back down. This time, with the light, you'll see a whole other side to all those switchbacks on the side of the volcano and down ot the far land below.
For breakfast, treat yourself to malasadas from Komoda Store and Bakery. These are a Hawaiian take on Portuguese deep-fried donuts coated with sugar and then skewered together on a stick. Their cream filled donuts are also very popular.
Your next stop will seem a bit unusual but trust me, head to Tamura's Fine Wine & Liquors. We're not loading up on alcohol but instead, head to back of the store and load up on poke. Their spicy ahi poke bowl over a bed of brown rice is to die for. Grab a couple of containers to-go for the perfect lunch on the beach.
Since it should still be pretty early, this is perfect timing to snag a parking spot in Kaanapali where you'll camp out for the rest of the day.
Depending on what you feel like, snorkeling at Black Rock Beach has great visibility in the morning. Kaanapali Beach is super relaxed for some sun and beach time. Lastly, there's Whalers Village for some retail therapy.
Make sure to head to the article on the best snorkeling spots in Maui for free parking tips on Black Rock Beach.
Head back to your hotel to clean up and change before heading into Lahaina for your sunset catamaran cruise which departs right downtown.
Kick back and relax on this 2-hour cruise where you'll jam to tunes, watch the sunset, and a lovely dinner – a perfect way to end the day.
If you want to top it off with your own dessert, make sure to visit Uluani's Hawaiian Shave Ice in Lahaina. Nothing beats it!
Day 4 Summary
What you'll see:
Where you'll eat:
- Breakfast – Komoda Store and Bakery – Fresh malasadas in Makawao.
- Lunch – Tamura's Fine Wine & Liquors – Best poke in Maui that's in a wine and liquor store. Who would've thought!
- Dessert – Ululani's Hawaiian Shave Ice – A staple franchise in Maui and the best shave ice in town.
- Dinner – Sunset catamaran dinner cruise – An experience that combines dinner, sailing, and sunset all-in-one.
Where you'll stay:
Day 5 – Molokini and Turtle Town
A Maui itinerary 5 days long goes by just like that. For your final day, you'll be embarking on an epic snorkelling adventure that you can only do by boat.
Head over to Ma'alea Harbor to make it for your 6:30AM departure. This is a half day snorkeling excursion to see Molokini Crater and Turtle Town.
While there are many places to snorkel in Maui, two of the best spots you simply can't drive up to.
Molokini Crater is a crescent-shaped, partially submerged crater, 2.5 miles off the coast of Maui. No longer active, it's become sunken paradise for marine live including a rainbow of fish and coral.
The boat ride is only 15 minutes and once you're there, you'll jump in and snorkel the surrounding waters of the reef with the help of a guide.
The second stop in your cruise is the aptly-named Turtle Town. Here, you'll learn about the famed Hawaiian green sea turtles, their habitat, why they hang out in this area, and also why they're considered endangered species.
You'll be able to snorkel here and have incredibly close encounters with turtles that will rival your previous day's sunrise.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Address: 192 Maalaea Rd, Wailuku, HI 96793 (Maui Ocean Center)
Price: The morning snorkel cruise starts at $79.95 USD.
Recommended gear: Snorkel rental is included but it's a good idea to pack water, sunscreen, sunglasses, swimwear, towel, and camera.
Facilities: Catamaran has bathrooms and showers.
For lunch, make a stop by Ululani's in Kihei before heading over to Monkeypod Kitchen in Wailea, a foodies and beer lovers paradise.
The afternoon can be as adventurous as you'd like depending on what you feel like.
La Perouse Bay is at the end of the road on this part of Maui and takes you right up to the lava fields which you can hike.
Adjacent to it is Ahihi-Kinau Natural Area Reserve, one of the best spots for snorkeling. It's believed to be one of the youngest eco-reef zones on Maui. While more for intermediate snorkelers, there's plenty to see here.
If you feel like you'd rather just take it easy or you manage to fit everything into the afternoon, your final stop for the day is Makena Beach (aka Big Beach). This is a massive beach that spans over a mile long. This is a great place to hang out for awhile, bringing your boogie board to play, snorkel, or lie in the soft white sand.
TIP: There is ample parking at this park unlike other beaches. Parking is $10 a day. There are also food trucks here if you get hungry.
What better way to cap off your trip than to do a traditional Luau. There are a number of options top choose from including Mokapu Luau and Myths of Maui Luau but if since you're already on the Wailea side of the island, I recommend Te Au Moana Luau.
Located at the Marriott Wailea Beach Resort, you'll be treated to an evening where you'll learn more about Hawaiian culture, get to see a pork roasting ceremony, watch plenty of hip swaying dancing, ridiculous flame spinning, and all with the backdrop of the sunset.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Address: 3700 Wailea Alanui, Wailea, Maui, HI 96753 USA
Schedule: They only operate Monday, Thursdays, and Saturday, starting at 4:30PM.
Price: $179.53 USD
Parking: Free in the parking garage but validation is required if you stay beyond 8:30PM. Valet parking is $40.
What's included: 3-course meal served family style, pre-show activities, open bar, song and dance performance, pork roasted underground in a traditional imu.
Time to spend here: The luau is 3-4 hours.
- Are alcoholic beverages served in the open bar? Yes, including great mai tais, punch, beer, wine, and basic mixed drinks.
- Is the seating indoors or outdoors? The tables are set up outdoors.
- Are there fire dancers? Yes!
- Do you get your own private table? Yes
- Get there 30 minutes early – The line can get long although currently it is assigned seating so it's no longer first-come-first-serve like before.
- Bring change of clothes – Since you'll be out for the full day, you'll want casual clothes to change into.
- Tips – Make sure to bring cash to tip the friendly bartenders.
After the luau, conveniently nearby is another island staple, Lappert's Ice Cream.
Day 5 Summary
What you'll see:
Things to do:
Where you'll eat:
- Breakfast – Molokini Crater and Turtle Town Snorkeling Tour – Included with your boat cruise.
- Dessert – Ululani's Shave Ice in Kihei – No shame in having shave ice practically every day.
- Lunch – Monkeypod Kitchen – A nice restaurant in the more upscale neighbourhood of Wailea that's worth trying.
- Dinner – Te Au Moana Luau – If you haven't done a luau before, this is your chance. It's a great all-around experience.
- Dessert – Lappert's Ice Cream – Really good ice cream just to mix it up ;)
Where you'll stay:
Add-ons and alternatives
I totally understand that everyone has different interest and requirements for their Maui vacation so I've listed out a few other spots that aren't in the 5 day itinerary that I think are worth of consideration.
Places to go
- Oneuli Beach – If you're looking for a proper black sand beach that isn't as pebble-filled, this is a great option and just north of Makena Beach.
- Waihee Ridge Trail – If you love the outdoors, this trail is less-travelled in West Maui with beautiful views both ways.
- Lahaina Pali Trail – They say that this is one of the best places to see the sunset.
- Maui Brewing Company – Micro-brewery on the island that offers food, beer, and facility tours as well.
- Iao Valley State Monument – A park that doesn't get a lot of attention in Maui but not-so-secretly swim spot in the river.
Activities to book
Here are a couple of activities that you should think about booking ahead of time.
West Maui Horseback Riding – 2-hour guided horseback riding to waterfalls and along the ocean.
Whale Watching from Lahaina – Catamaran cruise from Lahaina Harbor to see humpback whales. Whale season is between November and May, with the best time between mid-January and March.
Helicopter Tour – See the incredible beauty of both Maui and Molokai from the air. This 45 minute tour includes narration from a guide, and flies over rainforests and valleys.
7-Line Maui Zipline Tour – If you're looking for an adrenaline activity with the kids, this is a great option. This is located at a historic World War II base, “Camp Maui.”
ATV Adventure in West Maui Mountains – Another adventure that takes you through waterfalls, and parts of the valley in West Maui that regular cars and busses can't get to.
Road to Hana Adventure – I certainly recommend doing this drive on your own but if you're looking to be more hands-off, this is a great tour option.
Maui Pineapple Tour – This is quirky tour that's different from the rest. Learn about Maui's pineapple cultivation history including a tour of a working pineapple plantation.
Where to stay in Maui
There are so many choices when it comes to where to stay in Maui. Your choices will be determined by your budget but just as important is the town you want as your base of operations.
The top areas you want to be in:
WE STAYED HERE
Aina Nalu by Outrigger
Maui is the perfect place to book an apartment holiday home. You'll love the extra space and use of a full kitchen. The pool and bbq facilities are a nice bonus too. Right in the heart of Lahaina.
TIKI BEACH HOSTEL
This is a hidden gem of a hostel that offers a unique camping experience for a really low price. Best part is that it's right smack in the heart of Lahaina.
Puu Koa Palms
Another affordable apartment hotel that won't break the bank. While this is a bit further up on the North Shore near Paia, it makes this place makes a lot of sense for longer stays and those in large groups.
Cream of the crop when it comes to resort properties. Located in Kapalua, I love that you'll have easy access to Honolua Bay, Kapalua Coastal Trail, Kapalua Bay Beach and Napili Bay Beach.
Quick Maui travel guide
There are a couple of key things that are good to know as you ramp up your trip planning for Maui.
Money – The local currency in Maui is the US Dollar or USD. This should be an easy currency to get at home if you're not from the United States. Avoid airport money changers. For Canadians, your best bet is to buy USD from your bank. For those outside of North America, exchange your currency at a big bank in Honolulu if that's your first stop or withdraw USD from an ATM.
When is the best time? – Overall, shoulder season is the best time to come to Maui because the weather is not as hot and you don't have to deal with the large vacation crowds. This means April – May and September – November. If you're visiting specifically for whale watching, this is the best between mid-January and March. As for turtles, they're great all-year round.
Getting here – Kahalui Airport (OGG) is the primary international airport for Maui and the only and best way to get to the island. As a popular Hawaiian island, you'll be able to find direct flights from the USA, Canada, Japan, South Korea, and other countries. Otherwise, you'll most likely have to fly to Honolulu (HNL) and transfer to Maui. Hawaiia's main carrier is Hawaiian Airlines and service inter-island and international routes.
How do I get around? – If you have something like 5 days or less in Alicante, I wouldn't really recommend renting a car because it's so convenient to use public transit to get anywhere that you would need to go and this also includes a few day trips I didn't feature such as Benidorm, Guadalest, Calpe, and others. Otherwise, everything within the city itself is highly walkable.
Where should I stay? – I've listed all of the recommended accommodations above but in general when it comes to where to stay in Maui, Booking.com is going to be your best bet to find something that fits your budget. If Airbnb is more your thing, remember to sign up for a new account to get free credit.
Do I need travel insurance? – Travel insurance is highly recommended even if you feel completely safe in a place like Maui. You just never know what might happen especially if you decide to do some of the more adventurous activities such as ATV, horseback riding, and hiking. The best balance of price and coverage is World Nomads. If you're wondering why, make sure to read this.
Frequently asked questions
Starting July 8, 2021, pre-travel testing and quarantine requirements will be eliminated for domestic travelers who have been fully vaccinated in the United States (2 weeks beyond their final vaccine shot). At this point, restaurants will be able to get to 75% capacity although social distancing will remain and masks indoors required. When the state reaches 70% vaccination rate, all restrictions will be terminated. Travelers to Hawaii will need to upload your CDC issued vaccination record card to the state’s Safe Travels Program website and have that card with them upon arrival in Hawaii. For everyone else, there is a 10-day quarantine for in-bound visitors to all Hawaiian Islands unless you have proof of a negative COVID-19 test (state-approved trusted testing partner) taken 72 hours prior to departure to bypass this including travellers from Canada, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and French Polynesia. For Canada, the lab used must be approved by Air Canada (pay attention to the red asterisk) or WestJet. If you fail to do this, you'll have to do a 10-day quarantine. In addition, Maui has mandatory contact tracing through the AlohaSafe Alert app. The most up to date information can be found here.
5 days is the minimum number of days to see all of the highlights in Maui but if you have time, 7 days is ideal.
All of the large car rental companies are represented here such as Hertz, Avis, Enterprise, National, Thrifty, Budget, and others. For the best savings, make sure to check out their respective car rental coupon codes.
Like many of the other Hawaiian islands, the best time to go is during shoulder seasons when the weather is pleasant and the heavier holiday crowds diminish.. This is April to May and September to November.
Yes, it's incredibly easy to drive around the island. Where you have to be the most alert is on the Road to Hana and also that drive up to Haleakala Crater. No off-roading is required in Maui.
1. Snorkel Molokini Crater
2. Swim with Hawaiian green sea turtles at Turtle Town
3. Watch the sunrise at Haleakala Crater
4. Experience a luau
5. Drive the Road to Hana
6. Hike the Pipiwai Trail
7. Chill on Kaanapali Beach
8. Snorkel Honolua Bay
Maui is a popular island but it's nothing like Waikiki in Honolulu. What you'll find about Maui is that everything is spread out across multiple towns along the coast instead of one area concentrated area. With all of the nature available to you, you can easily find a quiet place to escape to.
The 5 Day Maui Itinerary Experience
Maui is one of those places that I could go back to over and over and never be tired of. I've gone twice and there's still so much more I want to explore.
What I really appreciate about the island is just how much variety of things to do and places to eat there are. From all the snorkeling you can do, hiking, beaching, there's equally a ton of top-notch restaurants, eateries, and hole-in-the-wall spots.
In Maui, nature is always at your doorstep while never being too far from comforts.
This Maui itinerary in 5 days is really awesome for both first timers and return visitors. If you have any questions about trip planning, feel free to drop a comment down below.
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