While it’s often painted as the perfect honeymoon or family destination, Maui offers a whole new variety of opportunities for those intrigued enough to explore it on their own. If you can’t seem to find the perfect travel partner, sometimes all you need to do is look in the mirror, as Maui is the perfect place to explore, learn, relax and indulge in some much-needed solo time.
#1 Get Out of Your Bubble
Hawaii is the most isolated population center on Earth, which makes it the perfect place to step out of your comfort zone and try something new. Take a hike inside the crater of the world’s largest dormant volcano, paddle alongside humpback whales in an ocean kayak or learn how to surf in the same waters where the sport was invented. Whatever your ideal getaway, Maui is full of opportunities to make your trip memorable and unique. At Travaasa Hana, there are several experiences available to help you step out of your comfort bubble, including traditional Hawaiian throw net fishing, outdoor yoga classes, hula lessons, lei making classes and more.
#2 Explore Maui’s Natural Beauty
It’s no surprise that our favorite side of Maui is the rugged and remote area of Hana. While most visitors spend a full day exploring the landscapes along the Road to Hana, we recommend an extended stay at Travaasa Hana in order to experience what Hawaiian life is truly all about. Since we are the first resort on the island to greet the morning sun, we encourage guests to stick around to witness the breathtaking sunrise spectacle before exploring East Maui’s many natural wonders, including black and salt and pepper sand beaches, cascading waterfalls, freshwater caves, bamboo forests, botanical gardens, lava tubes and scenic cliffs. No trip to Maui is complete without exploring the island’s natural treasures, so pack your adventure shoes and enjoy a perfect day in the great outdoors.
Some of our favorite stops along the Road to Hana are Paia Town, Twin Falls, Wailua Valley State Wayside, Wai’anapanapa State Park, Hamoa Beach and Ohe’o Gulch (aka Seven Sacred Pools).
#3 Discover the Meaning of Aloha
Without the distractions of other people, you’ll be able to discover the meaning of aloha firsthand. Listen and learn from the locals, offer your expertise, give back to nature, show respect for the culture, appreciate the peace and quiet and come to Maui with an open mind.
Take a tour of the beautiful Kahanu Garden and Pi’ilanihale Heiau, which include rare plants from the Pacific Islands that were brought to Hawaii on ancient voyaging canoes. Don’t skip a visit to Pi’ilanihale Heiau, the largest ancient place of worship in Polynesia, made entirely of lava rock and registered as a National Historic Landmark.
Many Maui residents started out as visitors who simply never returned home, and the way of life here usually has a lot to do with that. Once you know what aloha really means, you can apply it to your daily life, even after you return home.
#4 Make your own Agenda
The beauty of solo travel is that you can (and should) do what you’ve always wanted to do on vacation. This is your time to relax, explore, nap, eat, be merry and do whatever you want to do.
For the foodies, we recommend our Executive Chef’s local and seasonal specialties, a style known as Hana Fusion. For the adventurous foodies, don’t leave Maui without trying Fried Spam Musubi. For the lounging types, kick back in a Sea Ranch Cottage with a private hot tub, take up residence in the hammock or catch some shade in one of our pool chairs with an ocean view. For the outdoorsy types, visit Pipiwai Trail, a 4 mile roundtrip hike leading to a giant banyan tree, through a bamboo forest and ending at Waimoku Falls, a 400 foot cascading waterfall.
#5 Meet People
While it’s certainly important to enjoy your own company on a solo vacation, there are plenty of opportunities to meet other travelers to share your experience with along the way. Strike up a conversation with someone during dinner or while lounging at the pool. Sunsets are a great time to socialize – It’s the perfect opportunity to sit back, relax and soak in the scenery of paradise.
#6 Watch the Sunrise from the Summit of Haleakala
Maui is definitely one of those places where renting a car, especially if you’re only here for a limited amount of time, is necessary. Take the winding road through beautiful Upcountry Maui to reach the summit of Haleakala Volcano at 10,000 feet above sea level. Make sure to pack a blanket, sweatshirt and pants as the temperature at the summit is usually between 35 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Also bring a flashlight, camera, water and snacks to make the most of your trip. While a 3:00 a.m. wakeup call may not be your cup of vacation tea, how often do you get the chance to watch the sunrise from the top of a volcano?! It’s one of the most magical places to take in the beauty of the island and a view you’ll never forget.
Fill up your gas tank and map your route the day before you go. Check the Sunrise Time Chart to know how far in advance you need to leave. Also be aware that cattle often graze on Crater Road from September through March, so drive slowly and be on the lookout around blind curves. The cost for entering Haleakala National Park is $10 per vehicle, which is good for up to 3 days and the perfect excuse to visit the Kipahulu Area of Haleakala National Park.
On your way back down, make sure to stop at T. Komoda’s Bakery in Makawao for one of their famous cream puffs or Grandma’s Coffee House for some well deserved coffee and cornbread benedict.
#7 86 the Cell Phone
While it’s tempting to constantly share all the beautiful landscapes, people and places you’re discovering, remember that it’s more important to enjoy it for yourself, too. Set aside a couple of days to leave your camera or cell phone behind and practice the good old-fashioned art of living in the moment. If your family and friends back home are that anxious for an hour-by-hour update, they should have come along! To eliminate any temptation, Travaasa Hana even offers a Hana Cell Phone Hotel to ensure that you check into relaxation and out of reality.
#8 Be Aware
Traveling solo shouldn’t have to be a cause for concern. That being said, it’s always good advice to make sure you’re aware of your surroundings, especially when exploring alone. If you plan on swimming, surfing, snorkeling or hiking, for example, always plan on going with a buddy. The ocean can surprise even the most confident swimmers with variables like strong wind, waves and currents, so ask around or join a group before going out alone. There’s so much to do and see on Maui, so don’t let the fact that you’re traveling solo hold you back. Chances are that whatever you want to explore, other people do too.
#9 Treat Yourself
Celebrate the fact that you’re in paradise! Whether that means treating yourself to a Ho’ala (“to arise”) Refining Clay Body Wrap at Travaasa’s beautiful spa, learning the art meditation with the sound of rolling waves in the distance or relaxing on as many of Maui’s 81 beaches as possible, take the time to reward yourself for conquering your first (or 50th) successful solo trip.
Whatever you do in Maui, don’t forget to relax. This is your time to enjoy panoramic views of the Pacific from the privacy of your own lanai hot tub, listen to the tranquil sound of rolling waves as you relax on East Maui’s Hamoa Beach and enjoy a fresh fruit breakfast with a view. Too often people get the urge to over-plan their vacation, worrying that solo time equates to boredom. Instead, leave ample time to discover Maui on your own terms, even if that means driving aimlessly until you find the perfect waterfall or beach.
Do you have other tips to share for solo travelers? We’d love to hear from you!