Maui wedding

10 Maui Wedding Planning Mistakes

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A dream come true for couples around the world, deciding to host your wedding on one of the most beautiful islands in the world is a true gift to yourself and your guests! While getting Maui’d comes with its fair share of obvious perks, many couples underestimate the amount of work it takes, especially when planning from thousands of miles away. Photos from successful Maui weddings by Natalie Brown.

Here we offer our advice for common mistakes to avoid when planning your perfect Maui wedding, and remember, you’re on island time. Enjoy it!


#1 Not Enlisting Help

Olowalu Plantation wedding

One of the most crucial mistakes in planning any wedding is not enlisting help, and often, the right kind of help. While you may initially think you can handle all the details on your own or with just the help of friends and family – from the cocktail menu to the place settings to the floral arrangements, marriage license and officiant – it’s highly recommended to hire a professional that knows the ins and outs of the local wedding industry and can recommend other vendors in the process.

Luckily, as Maui is one of the most popular wedding destinations in the country, there are a multitude of professional wedding planners and agencies that are all too happy to help you get the details right the first time!


#2 Not Setting a Realistic Budget

Haiku Mill wedding

Often this begins with creating a finalized guest list. As soon as you know how many people are going to make it to Maui for the wedding, it’s best to set a realistic budget with a little room for error. The last thing you want is to blow your budget, adding extra stress to the planning process and not accounting for last minute expenses like wedding transportation, license fees and day-of preparations such as hair and makeup. Sit down and have a serious discussion about your wedding budget with your partner, families and wedding planner, and save yourself the anxiety of accidentally going way over budget.


#3 Not Booking a Photographer Early Enough

Olowlau Wedding

Don’t leave this until the last minute! Take time to browse the best Maui wedding photographers, such as Natalie Brown, and reserve their services (and wedding date) as far in advance as possible. One of the most important aspects of your Maui wedding day, you want to ensure that the memories of you and your loved ones are captured by a true professional whose style you admire and trust.

After all the hard work to make sure your tropical wedding is everything you’ve imagined it would be, it’s nice to have someone on your side capturing the happiness and beauty of your big day!


#4 Not Preparing for the Weather

Maui wedding couple

While it’s all too easy to assume Maui has 365 of nonstop weather perfection, that’s actually not the case. When planning your wedding, be sure to prepare for rain, wind, and other unpleasant weather scenarios (minus extreme cold and snow, of course). We recommend reserving a tent for your seating area in case of a surprise rainstorm, and be sure to consider the average weather of your chosen Maui location. While south and west Maui are typically dry and hot, areas like Upcountry, Haiku and east Maui often see much more rain and humidity.


#5 Lack of Communication with Guests

bridesmaids in Maui, Hawaii

First off, you shouldn’t assume that everyone you invite will be able to make it to your wedding. Maui is far, and plane tickets alone can cost upwards of $1,000 depending on their point of origin. For the guests who can make it, be sure to give them plenty of notice to book their accomodation, rental cars, and final details of the trip. You’ll also want to thank them for making the journey (though Maui isn’t the worst of destinations, obviously), and let it be known that you appreciate the effort!


#6 Not Confirming Wedding Details

Maui wedding details

It’s easy to get lost in the details of your big day, but one of the biggest bummers is realizing too late that you never actually finalized arrangements with your preferred vendor. Be sure to get everything in writing, as contracts are a standard part of reserving any major service or business for your Maui wedding day. This also helps ensure that no big surprises or issues come up the day of your wedding, as you have written proof of what was previously agreed upon and the associated costs with it. Once again, a wedding planner can be crucial for this stage of planning!


#7 Getting Overwhelmed & Indecisive

Maui wedding couple

From Pinterest boards to magazines to suggestions from your friends and family, deciding what you actually want on your wedding day is a task in and of itself. However, it’s recommended that you make decisions and stick with them, especially later in the planning process, as changing at the last minute can prove to be a costly, time consuming and stressful task. While the details of your big day are important, remember that you’re likely the only one who’s going to remember what your centerpieces looked like or what the 4th song on your playlist was. Make quick decisions you know you’ll be happy with, and move on!


#8 Leaving Everything Until the Last Minute

wedding details

There’s nothing worse than realizing the day before the wedding that you haven’t called to update the caterer with the final guest count, reserved times with your photographer or finalized the transportation details to and from your venue. Plan ahead, make lists, ask your wedding party and family for help with tasks that can be taken care of ahead of time, and spend the day before your wedding relaxing and enjoying the scenery instead of running around trying to get in touch with vendors for last minute changes, favors and suggestions. Everyone is ultimately there to celebrate you, so make sure they have a good time as well!


#9 Forgetting to Take Precautions

bride and groom

Thrilled by your arrival in paradise, don’t forget to take common precautions the few days leading up to your wedding. On Maui, this particularly includes applying plenty of sunscreen, making sure your bathing suit doesn’t create unwanted tan lines for you or your wedding party, taking time to drink plenty of water (skip that 4th mai tai for now), watching out for the powerful shore break (namely at Big Beach), and not partying too hard the night before the wedding. While it can be tempting to celebrate the wedding early, nothing ruins your big day quite like being hungover, sunburnt, injured, exhausted, or all of the above. Rest, relax, hydrate, and don’t underestimate the power of the sun!


#10 Stressing Over the Little Things

wedding kiss

As far as we know, no one has ever died because the caterer didn’t pack enough salad forks or the flowers didn’t perfectly match the cocktail garnishes. Mistakes happen, and you shouldn’t expect everything to go perfectly to plan, even on Maui. Remember to be thankful for the opportunity to celebrate your love in such a gorgeous location, and don’t let the small things ruin a gorgeous wedding celebration. Relax, enjoy the island as much as possible, and remember why you came to Maui in the first place!

waterfalls Maui

11 Days on Maui

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With 440-plus islands on Earth, vacationers have a surplus of sandy shores from which to choose—from the glamorous, white-washed cliffs of Santorini to the romantic, glassy-watered coves of Saint Martin.

And yet, global travelers consistently choose to spend their hard-earned vacation days, honeymoons, and holidays on Maui, which, as the second largest island in Hawaii, sees more than 2.2 million visitors per year.

11 day Maui itinerary

It’s no wonder. Frequently rated the #1 island in the world, the Valley Isle has it all—sugary beaches, radiant waters, rugged coastlines, stunning flora, and beguiling fauna. And from ziplining through lush valleys to diving off shimmery waterfalls to eating five-star cuisine (often with an ocean view), Maui also offers countless things to do—so much so planning an 11-day trip to the island can leave even the most decisive among us dizzied.

While part of the appeal of vacations is going with the flow—particularly in Hawaii—having a general outline of where and how to spend your days will give you the freedom to enjoy each experience to the fullest.

Here, then, is the ultimate 11-day Maui itinerary—which will hammer home why the island is a premier vacation destination.

Day 1: Chill

1 day chill

Maui is tops when it comes to beaches: 120 miles of the island’s 727 square miles are coastline, making it the leading Hawaiian island in terms of the highest number of accessible swimming holes, sunbathing spots, and snorkeling venues.

Dive into it all by spending your first day on Maui luxuriating in its sunny splendor, and go big in doing so—literally—by heading to Big Beach. Traditionally called “Oneloa,” its Hawaiian name, “long sand,” couldn’t be more accurate—this ravishing shore stretches 3,300 feet long and over 100 feet wide. Arrive early with coffee, pastries, and cold drinks in hand, spread out your towel, and “ahhhh” your way towards an 808 perspective.

After a refreshing lunch at The Market (try a seared ahi melt with garlic aioli), deepen that sense of peace by hitting up the ‘Awili Spa & Salon at the Andaz (a hip, airy hotel on Wailea’s Mokapu Beach). Apothecary Consultants will hand-craft an elixir to meet your body’s needs (think: papaya and passion fruit oils from locally-grown fruit), feed you lemon-infused water and dried mango, and then ease your muscles (to accentuate your Hawaiian experience, try their lomi lomi treatment). Named one of the best transformational wellness destinations in the world by Town + Country magazine, this 14,000-squre foot spa will put you in total harmony.

Spend your evening gazing out at the moonlit water from a perch at Humble Market Kitchin in the Marriott next door. Here, Roy Yamaguchi—a preeminent Hawaiian chef whose plantation roots make their way onto the plate—serves up dishes grounded in Hawaii’s multi-ethnic history. Go authentic kama’aina with Yamaguchi Style Ramen (which arrives with dumplings, sous egg, and pork belly) or get Pacific with the Misoyaki Butterfish with choi sum and tri-pepper soy. After a scoop of Sandy Beach gelato at Island Gourmet Market, cruise down to Wailea Beach to dip your toes in the still-warm water.

Day 2: Splash

Day 2 Splash

Kiteboarding hit the Hawaiian scene in a major way in the late 1990s, when the world’s first kiteboarding contest was held on Maui’s wind-whipped North Shore. Since then (and, we should note, earlier), vibrant-colored kites have dotted the island’s waters, giving beachgoers much to marvel over—and riders the thrills of their lives.

Experience it for yourself with a morning lesson with the Kiteboarding School of Maui; the company has brilliant instructors and some of the best insights to waves on the island.

Still your sea-legs when you’re pau by heading into Paia for some browsing, chowing, and souvenir shopping. Accomplish the first at Mahina, a sweet boutique that sells some of the most economical but cutest fashions on the island. For lunch, stroll into Flatbread Company, where you can design a delicious pizza pie with locally-sourced ingredients (like Maui pineapple and upcountry goat cheese). As for souvenir shopping? One of your best bets is Alice in Hulaland, where you can grab quirky t-shirts and clever hats.

Then head west before the sun sets: Your evening will be spent watching Darren Lee pay tribute to Elvis Presley at Maui Theatre’s Burn’n Love. Voted the island’s #1 show by TripAdvisor, this super-entertaining performance proves that Maui’s got talent.

Day 3: Soar

Day 3 Soar

Thus far, Maui may seem to be all glittery-sanded beaches, posh resorts, and sparkling water. And while this may be true (and true in spades), Maui also features vertiginous cliffs riven by waterfalls, the world’s largest dormant volcano, and gorges that seem to—and do—go on for miles.

Revel in its hidden beauties aboard a chopper with Blue Hawaiian Helicopters. Their remarkably-quiet, Eco-Star aircrafts (and friendly, knowledgeable staff) has earned them the reputation as the best air tour company in Hawaii. Jump on for an instructive, spine-tingling excursion—the vistas you’ll see will stay with you for a lifetime.  Call 1-800-745-2583.

Your head may be swimming from all that beauty, but there’s more to be seen—this time on the island’s upper slopes. After a lunch of pasta and vino at Makawao’s Casanova’s—an iconic Italian eatery that’s been on the island for three-plus decades—make your way to The Secret Garden. Created by Executive Director of the Divine Nature Alliance Eve Eschner Hogan, this beautiful and beguiling, 11-circuit labyrinth will take you closer to Maui’s healing magic.

Afterward, spend what’s left of your Maui day exploring the shops of Makawao, where you’ll find funky galleries next to upmarket boutiques. (Be sure to stroll into The Mercantile for organic body products and lavish linens.) Then cozy up to a seat at the bar at Makawao Steak House, a rustic, moody spot that pays homage to Hawaiian’s paniolo past and serves up some of the choicest cuts on the island. Splurge on dessert, no matter if you’ll be wearing a swimsuit tomorrow: Their Café O’Lei Crunch is downright sumptuous.

Day 4: Explore

Day 4 Explore

Start your fourth Maui day with a morning hike along the paths of Iao Valley, a stunning, verdant dell located in the center of the island. Rich in soul and history—Iao is the site of the Battle of Kepaniwai, in which King Kamehameha vanquished the Hawaiian Islands—this popular attraction’s paved walkways lead to spectacular views of the island. Bring your suit if you dare: its stream is ice-cold but uber-refreshing.

With your appetite climbing, head down to the county seat of Wailuku, where you’ll be pulling up a chair at Sam Sato’s. Widely renowned for its dry mein with char siu pork and bean sprouts, this industrial haven bowls out some of the best—and most popular—noodles in Hawaii (to the tune of 350 pounds of pasta per day).

Post-lunch, score an in-depth look at Maui’s ocean wonders at the Maui Ocean Center. Located in Maalaea—a lovely, windswept town globally known for possessing one of the world’s fastest waves—this enormous aquarium provides entertainment for hours. Between its 750,000-gallon Open Ocean Exhibit (complete with a 54-foot walk-through tunnel that provides up-close-and-personal looks at Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles) and its Shark Dive—wherein certified divers can leap in to observe six species of sharks—it’s no surprise Maui Ocean Center has been dubbed the aquarium of Hawaii.

Day 5: Bathe

Day 5 Bathe

In the sunshine, that is: Lahaina—the former capital of Hawaii—translates to “merciless sun” in Hawaiian for good cause: Temps here rocket higher than anywhere else on the island (the town of Kihei being its closest competition). And while such heat may be sweltering for some, it makes swimming and snorkeling in the Pacific all the more seductive.

Experience the best of the west side’s clear waters at Olowalu—an aquamarine enclave between Maalaea and downtown Lahaina. Here, you’ll be presented with some of the best snorkeling on the island, thanks in part to the lack of trades and the clarity of the water. With a reef extending 3,000 feet beyond the shore, you’re likely to observe manta rays, rare coral (Oluwalu Reef possesses twenty-four species, with some as old as five centuries), and Black Tip reef sharks (which, by the way, are harmless).

Then, shower off the sand and put on your vintage aloha attire: Your evening will be spent at the Feast at Lele, an extravagant, five-course dinner prepared by celebrated chef James McDonald and set to dances and chants from myriad Polynesian islands. Intimate and romantic, this flawless fete has earned praise from Travel + Leisure as featuring “the most fabulous cooking on Maui.”

Day 6: Climb

Day 6 Climb

Haleakala has inspired reverence since Hawaii was first discovered by Polynesian settlers in 500 A.D. Since then, the mountain has become one of the most sacred places in the Hawaiian Islands (to note: ancient Hawaiians looked to the mauka—or mountains—for wisdom and answers) and one of the most visited volcanoes on the planet.

A mere glance at its numbers explains why. The entirety of Haleakala National Park encompasses close to 30,000 acres, while its colossal crater—filled as it is with lava tubes, cinder cones, and caverns—is 7.5 miles long, 2.5 miles wide, 21 miles in circumference, and 3,000 feet deep.

Reach its top while the sky is still dark and you’ll be blessed to watch the sunrise of your life—a surreal experience that’s made all the more majestic by the alpine air, heart-stopping views, and moonscape-y look (vegetation here is scarce). What vegetation that does exist, however, ought to be savored after you’ve finished witnessing dawn’s performance: The Haleakala Silversword—a strange, spindly plant that seemingly belongs on another planet—is found nowhere else on the planet.

Brunch is best enjoyed amid the fragrant scent of lavender (with panoramic views to boot), both of which you can find on the grounds of Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm. 45 different types of lavender perfume the air while bonsai-style avocado trees and flamboyant protea vie for attention. Take a seat at their café after picking up some lavender-scented bath goodies; fresh scones and lavender-infused lattes have never tasted so luscious.

When you’re ready to descend—at least a few hundred feet—head to Ocean Organic Vodka Farm and Distillery, where spirited guides will show you how their star spirit is manufactured from homegrown sugarcane and distilled water. Their tour includes a visit to their 6,000 square foot solar-powered warehouse and a stop at their Martini Garden; here, swills are crafted from Maui’s bounty—including the lavender you just wowed over.

Day 7: Glide

Day 7 Glide

Being completely surrounded by lucid, shimmering water certainly has its benefits; chief among them is the chance to take to the Pacific aboard a fast, exhilarating vessel.

Hawaii Ocean Rafting offers the ultimate in aquatic experiences by ferrying small parties of guests to Maui County’s reefs, where tropical marine life is found in abundance—including moray eels and honu. Out in the vast ocean, you may also spot schools of Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins—inarguably one of the smartest and most dynamic animals on the planet—and, from May to November, pods of Humpback whales. With tours that max out at 16 passengers, journeys with Hawaii Ocean Rafting are peaceful, thrilling, and private. Call (808) 661-7238.

Back on land, make the most of your West Maui day by voyaging to Whalers Village in Ka’anapali. Set on one of the most magnificent stretches of sand on the island, this outdoor plaza is a shopper’s mini-Shangri La (think: Lululemon, Sephora, and Kate Spade). Stop in at their whaling museum—where you can view 19th scrimshaw—before splurging on dinner at Japengo: Tucked into the Hyatt, this award-winning Asian eatery dishes out some of the freshest and most delectable sushi on the Valley Isle.

Day 8: Ride

Day 8 Ride

In 1786, a French explorer known as “the Comte de La Perouse” sailed into Maui’s southern seas and anchored down, thus earning his place in history as the first European to land in Hawaii. Today, La Perouse Bay—the result of Haleakala’s last eruption four years after the Comte’s arrival—remains desolate, rendering it one of the most unspoiled regions on the island.

And what a region it is: miles of serrated lava rocks give way to untouched coves brimming with tide pools and exotic marine life, while remnants of Hawaii’s storied past—including temples and villages—dramatize the eerie and astonishing landscape.

Absorb it all astride a horse by booking a trip with Makena Stables. Morning rides take visitors along the rock-strewn shoreline, where you’ll be supplied extraordinary views of Molokini and Kaho’olawe.

After your ride, pick up lunch at Island Gourmet Market—the store has everything from chicken katsu to chilled papayas—and head to the southern end of Kamaole Beach Park III. A favorite among kama’aina, this is a delightful place to take in the sight of kites in the sky—and enjoy a splash in the water.

Gear up for an evening to remember at Hotel Wailea, Relais & Chateaux, a boutique, adults-only spot in the shadow of Haleakala, where you’ll be trying out an aerial silks yoga class. Accessible to students of all levels, this gentle but invigorating class utilizes a silk hammock to realign your posture (and will leave you feeling wonderfully boneless).

Then skip into the resort’s sultry restaurant, where its starlit ambiance and inspired dishes (such as shrimp carbonara and kampachi crudo) will demonstrate why it was named one of the world’s 100 most romantic restaurants by Open Table.

Day 9: Savor

Day 4 Explore

Maui’s natural beauty can be relished around every bend, whether it’s a knockout sunset or a hibiscus in bright, striking bloom.

Hana, however, is a moment-by-moment experience in exquisiteness—a place where trees grow in rainbow hues and waterfalls plummet from the heavens.

Getting there is half the fun: Fifty-plus miles that traverse more than 600 hairpin turns, 60 stone bridges, and too many awesome sights to count. While many visitors to Maui elect to go with a tour—Valley Isle Excursions does a bang-up job of providing a comfy ride, excellent stops, and fascinating information—just as many choose to do the Road to Hana on their own. And for good reason: You’re free to stop where you please—and get lost in the wilderness if you so choose. (This is, after all, a vacation.)

If you go with the latter, start your Hana day with breakfast at Café de Amis in Paia (indulge in a sweet Nutella crepe for all-day energy) before heading to Peahi, where, depending on the swells, you’ll see waves so jaw-dropping you’ll understand why this surf spot was nicknamed Jaws. Next up? Waianapanapa State Park, where a trek down to the sea will bring you into contact with a black sand beach surrounded by ultra-lush greenery (as well as lava tubes, blowholes, underwater caves, and a seabird colony). Grab lunch in Hana town—one of the last bastions of Old Hawaii—before taking your eats to Koki Beach, a picturesque cove tucked onto the rugged coastline. Then conclude it all on the Pipiwai Trail in Kipahulu, where you’ll traipse through a copse of bamboo to reach two showstoppers of waterfalls. (“Heavenly” Hana, indeed.)

Day 10: Swing

Day 10 Glide

Discover the opposite of Hana’s raw beauty on the manicured slopes of Wailea’s Emerald Course, one of three tony ranges designed by two of the most famous golf course designers (Arthur Jack Snyder and Robert Trent Jones, Jr.). Here, soul-stirring views of the outlying islands compete with breathtaking vistas of Haleakala, while the warm air and chattering birds will remind you that you’re smack dab in paradise.

Following your win—however you may define it—head to Po’olenalena Beach in Makena. This expansive stretch of golden sand (its meaning is “yellow head”) offers terrific swimming opps—and ample space to sprawl out in the sun.

After a cup of French-pressed 100% Kona joe at Honolulu Coffee—a breezy, pleasing venue in The Shops at Wailea—head towards Maalaea. Kealia Coastal Boardwalk, to be exact, a divinely quiet beachside promenade that’s part of a 700-acre refuge for Hawaiian seabirds.

Then pop into Seascape Restaurant in Maalaea for an ice-cold drink (try a Cucumber Watermelon margarita for the epitome in refreshing) before strolling down the harbor to the Ali’i Nui. Once aboard this sleek, 65-foot catamaran, you’ll be treated to a glass of bubbly as you chase the falling sun, ultimately watching it slink beyond the horizon from a perch at the Nui’s teakwood bar. With delicious pupus and luminous views, the Ali’i Nui puts the royal in treatment.

Day 11: Sail

Day 11 Sail

In a different kind of way entirely: Spend your last day on Maui (this time around) at Honolua Bay, where you’ll be joining forces with Hawaiian Paddle Sports for an epic and insightful canoe tour.

Beginning at DT Fleming Beach Park in Ka’anapali, this adventure will take you to Mokule’ia (christened Slaughterhouse Beach, due to its proximity to the former Honolua Ranch slaughterhouse), where you’ll be offered a cultural lesson on how Hawaiians survived and thrived prior to Western contact. Certified naturalists will then take you into the oh-so-glorious Honolua Bay for an interpretive snorkel tour and marine life instruction.

Back on land, head back to the heart of Lahaina, where, sandwiched between one of the world’s largest banyan trees and Lahaina Harbor, you’ll find the Old Lahaina Courthouse; here, brief videos and bygone displays will transport you to the mid-1800s, when its jail brimmed with smuggling sailors and whaling ships stormed its port. Now a repository of artifacts and art, this museum is a fine reminder of Hawaii’s rough-and-tumble history.

Let it be a theme that extends into evening as you take in the grandeur of Drums of the Pacific. Located at the Hyatt in Ka’anapali, this mesmerizing luau features a traditional imu ceremony, Polynesian cuisine (like makamaka with medallions of Molokai sweet potato and haupia with toasted coconut), and authentic dances from Samoa, New Zealand, Fiji, Tahiti, Tonga, and, of course, Old Hawaii. With one of the most dazzling fire dance finales in Polynesia, this gorgeous performance underscores precisely why Maui is No Ka Oi.

aloha olympics

Aloha Olympics

By | Hawaii, Maalaea, Maui | No Comments

We’re not sure about you, but the Summer Olympics are one of our favorite things to watch! And as much as we support all of our U.S. teams and athletes, we can’t deny our excitement for the Aloha Olympics, open only to Hawaii residents.

So without further ado, we present the Aloha Olympics.

volcano volleyball

Volcano Volleyball 

This Aloha Olympics team sport begins with a qualifier round on flat ground to see who will be given the advantage of the higher elevation side of the net once the official games begin on the slopes of Haleakala Volcano. The two teams of 6 will be challenged not only by the intensely sloping ground, which must be played at elevation levels of no less than 8,000 feet, but the added challenges of occasional fly-by clouds or Nene goose visitors.


tiger shark tagging hawaii

Tiger Shark Tagging

Working in teams of two, Tiger Shark Tagging is… well… just like it sounds. Departing from the starting point of Makena “Big” Beach on the most ideal murky-water days, athletes will swim out to sea in shiny, metallic wetsuits in search of tiger sharks. While one team member is in charge of grabbing the shark’s dorsal fin and holding on for a ride of no less than 10 feet, the other team member must attach a satellite-transmitter within the following 20-second span. Whichever team tags the most tiger sharks in 2 hours is deemed the winner.


rainbow gymnastics

Rainbow Gymnastics

Known for its extreme difficulty, Rainbow Gymnastics is also limited by its ability to only commence once an appropriately bright rainbow has been spotted by a member of the Aloha Olympics Board. Once this has occurred, a chosen gymnast from each island must then tumble their way in the direction of the perceived end of the aforementioned rainbow. Whichever gymnast can successfully complete the most amount of required tumbling skills without veering from the rainbow’s end path will be awarded the Gold medal.


pele persuasion

The Pele Persuasion

The Hawaiian Goddess of Fire, Pele is widely recognized for her ferocious and unforgiving temper. In this Olympic Sport, brave residents must travel to Hawaii’s Halemaumau Crater at the summit of Kilauea Volcano in order to gather sizable amounts of lava rock and sand to remove from the park. Whoever escapes and avoids Pele’s Curse of noticeably bad luck for the remainder of the Olympic Games is deemed a lucky winner indeed. Gold, silver and bronze medals go to the three participants who escape any obvious bad luck, as they have somehow managed to charm Pele despite all odds.


resort rugby

Resort Rugby

By far the most costly sport in the Aloha Games, Resort Rugby is held at one of Hawaii’s top 5-star resorts, previously chosen by a vote from Hawaii’s resident population. Two teams of 15 players must then play a full game of Rugby in the resort lobby, with the winning team deemed as the one who causes the least damage to the interior of the resort without forfeiting any kind of normal or expected roughness of play. You know the saying, “like a bull in a china shop?” Yeah well, around here we say “like a rugby game in a resort.”


synchronized surfing

Synchronized Surfing

Since surfing competitions are a dime a dozen, the Aloha Games decided to step it up a notch and pair up surfers for partnered Synchronized Surfing, a graceful and elegant sport that pits two rival surfers against each other and forces them to choreograph a surfing routine that compliments their similar skills and styles. Points are earned by not only the amount and level of tricks performed, but synchronicity, costume design, creativity in choreography, chosen wave soundtrack, and level of overall camaraderie.


speed snorkeling

Speed Snorkeling

Armed with a GoPro, mask and fins, this individual Olympic sport challenges athletes to snorkel a total of three of Hawaii’s best snorkeling sites, all while capturing GoPro footage of an extensive list of endemic marine species. Similar to an underwater scavenger hunt, speed snorkelers must pair their quick swimming speeds with their keen eye for spotting some of Hawaii’s most unique marine life, from the easy-to-spot Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles to more elusive species like the Hawaiian Chub, Hawaiian Garden Eel, Male Psychedelic Wrasse, Hawaiian Pigfish and more.


whale weightlifting

Whale Weightlifting

If you think you’ve seen it all, think again. As opposed to the standard barbell and weight plates, a humpback whale is substituted in this Aloha version of Olympic weightlifting. Using the entire resting weight of a volunteer humpback, athletes must perform two standard competition lifts, the snatch and the clean and jerk. The individual with the highest average of humpback whale movement, most often measured in millimeters, takes home the Gold medal. And likely a hernia.


blowhole basketball

Blowhole Basketball

Played with the standard two teams of 5 players each, blowhole basketball is pretty much exactly like it sounds. Substituting the basketball hoop for one of Hawaii’s many blowholes, as well as regular basketballs for their biodegradable counterparts, team members must be careful not to slip on wet ground, and learn the art of dribbling the less-bouncy, environmentally-friendly balls on the surrounding sharp lava rock while still abiding by Olympic basketball rules and regulations.


musubi mayhem

Musubi Mayhem

One of the most beloved foods in the Aloha State, spam practically has its own section on The Food Pyramid. Musubi Mayhem is a team sport consisting of 5 well-known spam aficionados from each Hawaiian Island. After lining up with all of the necessary ingredients, including spam, rice and seaweed, each member of the team must construct a perfectly made Spam Musubi in relay-fashion. Once each member on the team has completed the building process, the relay begins again to see which team can consume theirs the fastest.

…and for those of you still in the dark


 If you got a chuckle, please share this with a friend.  If you’re upset, lighten up.  It’s not real.

weird aloha

Roger Gildersleeve

Life Lessons from a Legendary Maui Captain

By | Hawaii, Maui | 3 Comments

By Chris Norberg

Reflecting on what I’ve learned from a friendship with Roger.

Roger Gildersleeve Maui

Captain Roger Gildersleeve gave me the support and confidence to live the life I lead.  He was my first marketing client on Maui, where I help promote his beautiful vessel the Kai Kanani.  He gave me a shot, and his confidence in me was priceless.  I now have 70 clients, support a family of four, and am positively growing every day thanks to his inspiration.

His loss is being felt throughout the islands, but his absence is not what this article is about.  It’s important we share what he left behind.

I’ll never forget my first meeting with Roger.  He’d seemed to have figured things out.  Having had been through a life threatening illness (physically evident from a scar on his head.)  He admitted to looking at the future with a positive nature and love for life.  He was taking advantage of the gift of second chance.

For those not on Maui, it would seem that running a successful luxury catamaran in paradise would leave very little room for negativity.  Those that live on Maui know that life’s challenges follow anywhere you go. But for Roger, even during a particularly stressful time in his life, he remained positive, celebrating each small success he managed during the turmoil.  At least to me, he always seemed to be living with that 2nd lease on life mentality.  Each additional breath was a blessing.  Can you imagine our world if we all had that gift?

Over the near decade that I’ve had the pleasure of knowing him, he’s increased his dependency on his Kai Kanani ohana.  He treated his captains and crew like family–he’s given his trust to great people like Captains Cary and Anthony–in order to spend his valuable time doing what he loved (even more than being on the water): time with his kids and grand kids.  He’d also spent countless patient hours taking the most beautiful photos of birds I’ve ever seen.  He dove into photography like a boy in love.  His passion was infectious.

Kai Kanani captains

I loved meeting with him.  We would talk work, but we mostly talked family and art.  He would always emphasize how important it was that he support what I was doing.  What client does that?  (Now that I write that, I have a few clients that do.  Unique to Maui?  Not sure.  Whatever it is, it’s a beautiful thing.) His trust was a big boost for me, which gave me more motivation to promote his business.

Roger Gildersleeve left behind qualities that are instilled more than ever in his Maui ohana.  Kindness, respect, love, passion, accountability, great humor, creativity, stability, encouragement, and warmth.  His loss is crushing, but what we have gained from his time with us eclipses all.

Captain Roger

He would listen, but he didn’t waste time.  I regret not having shared with him the kind words I spoke about him to others.  He will be greatly missed and I’m so grateful for his being here.

On that note, I’d like to share my thoughts on someone else that has helped shape my life on Maui.  Greg Hoxsie introduced me to Roger, ultimately encouraging him to take a chance on this web geek.  Greg has helped dozens of people (at the very least) towards success on Maui.  His selfless guidance has been an inspiration.  There are many others on this incredible island that have similar generosity.  I’ll make sure to let them know how I feel from now on.

Captain Roger, you will be missed.  Mahalo for everything.

Maui sailing captainMost of the photos were taken by Greg Hoxsie.

sailing around Maui

Treat Yo Self!

By | Maalaea, Maui | No Comments

luxury resortRaise your hand if money has ever stopped you from doing something absolutely amazing.


Now assuming you’re not Larry Ellison, and everyone else has answered in the affirmative, let’s now assume that you have the opportunity to explore Maui with the ultimate ‘treat yo’self’ mantra in mind. You don’t need to be Ellison to enjoy some luxurious Maui experiences.  It’s worth holding back on consistent and extravagant vacation indulging in order to enjoy one or two truly sumptuous life long memories.

While everyone’s list would obviously vary based on their specific desires and interests, we hope you enjoy the following treat yo’self suggestions! And get a +1 to join you. Ahem.


Snorkel in Style

The reefs and ocean life around Maui are a ton of fun to float over and through.  Snorkeling is one of the most popular things to do for visitors, which is why it’s worth finding a private charter away from the crowds.  You can take a small group with Hawaii Ocean Rafting or charter their private scarab.  Both trips offer the thrill of flying over the water at fun speeds, as well as peaceful snorkeling at your destinations.

snorkeling in Maui

Call (808) 661-7238 for the 6 passenger scarab or small group rafting trips.


Champagne & Helicopters

Yep, you read that right.

helicopter Maui Hawaii

On Blue Hawaiian Helicopters’ own Maui Spectacular Tour, not only will you experience a helicopter tour of the whole island of Maui, including the remarkable West Maui Mountains and otherworldly Haleakala Volcano, but you’ll briefly land in Upcountry Maui for none other than a champagne toast before continuing onto the remainder of your full island aerial tour. Heyo!


Chef’s Table Dinner

Located at the stunning Maui Tropical Plantation, The Mill House Restaurant is the stuff foodie dreams are made of. With exquisite views of the West Maui Mountains and finely manicured Plantation grounds, sit back and enjoy craft cocktails under the stars along with 7 courses of innovative, fresh, farm-to-table cuisine at their weekly Chef’s Table dinner events. Call (808) 270-0303

Maui dinner

Bonus? Nobody’s ever complained about having to look at Executive Chef Jeff Scheer make them seven courses of delicious food. Nope.


Outcall Massage in your own room

When there’s valuable mai tai drinking and sunbathing time to be had, who wants to waste it on a drive to a massage studio?  Maui’s Best Massage will drive to your hotel, resort or condo, set up their massage table in your room, set some mellow music and melt all your cares away.  They offer soothing relaxation massage, deep tissue, couples massage as well as lomi lomi.

massage Maui Hawaii

Or, if you’re staying near Wailea, you can go to their studio at 161 Wailea Ike Place, Suite A105-2.  Call (808) 426-7418 for an appointment.


Spend the Night on a Sailboat

Though purchasing your own private yacht sounds more Ellison-like than anything, it also sounds like kind of a lot of work, both paper and maintenance wise. So for purposes of a one off treat yo’self moment, we recommend hiring a private sailboat (and the skills of a private sailboat captain) for ultimate Pacific Ocean awesomeness.

Maui sailing charter

Shadowfax, a sailboat offering private tours to areas of Maui, Lana’i and Moloka’i, also offers the option of overnight sailing tours in the comfort of its spacious cabin. With the friendly and welcoming Captain Mike behind the wheel, you’ll set sail for wherever the hell you please, enjoying amazing activities like whale watching, stargazing, snorkeling, dolphin watching, stand up paddling, eating, drinking and more along the way. Arrange for some French champagne, freshly caught fish and eco-friendly sparklers to accompany you – hey, it’s our fantasy! – and thank us later. Preferably with an invite, of course.


Sport a Sparkly Mermaid Tail

It’s no Batman costume or fine leather goods, but it is a sparkly, wearable mermaid tail. Cheehoo! Available for purchase from Maui’s own Hawaii Mermaid Adventures, these mermaid’ing pros know just how to make you feel like a legit mermaid, or even merman.

Mermaids going wild

With three current options to choose from, including the Catalina Aqua Sparkle, Sea Green or Sea Pearl Mermaid Tails, these 4-way nylon stretch beauties will have you feeling fancy, sparkly, and ultimately glorious in no time.


Host a Private Luau

If married couples can do it, so can we! Instead of celebrating recent nuptials, however, how about we simply celebrate life with a private luau? On a Wednesday! Just because! From authentic hula dancers and fire spinners to traditional Hawaiian food, an actual private luau on Maui sounds like the paradise party of a lifetime.

Private Luau in Maui

Hire yourself a mai tai mixologist to accompany the evening entertainment, and you’re set.  Or, book an inexpensive Maui luau.  Learn about your options and find the best luau for your group by calling (808) 892-3177.


We hope this list of Maui experiences treat you well!  You deserve it.

chefs bbq

Chef’s Barbecue Celebration

By | Maui | No Comments

Maui Chefs Invitational: BBQ

What happens when you pair eight prominent chefs with a perfect Maui Sunday and live music by the inimitable Marty Dread—and set it all among the exquisite grounds of Maui Tropical Plantation?

Nothing less than pure exuberance, fantastic eats, and a celebration that’ll appeal to the whole family.

chefs bbq

The 1st Annual Maui Chefs Invitational—a three-day fête showcasing some of the most visionary culinary masters in the U.S.—will culminate in a barbecue and celebration on Sunday, November 13th. Held in gorgeous Waikapu, this five-hour shindig will highlight Maui’s marvelous bounty and give kama’aina and keiki the chance to come together to enjoy what these star chefs have to offer. TICKETS

Intrigued? Here’s the deets:



Sunday, November 13th, 2016


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Scuba Diving Spots

Best Scuba Diving in the World

By | Hawaii, Maui | One Comment

We’ve put together some of our favorite spots to scuba dive around the world.

World Scuba Diving Map

These scuba dive spots are just a few of the best in the world.  Please add more suggestions in the comments below, and we’ll add them to the list.


Barracuda Point, Sipadan Island, Malaysia

Boats at Dive Site in Sipadan Island, Sabah, Malaysia

Wall and drift dives await advanced scuba divers at this famous spot.  Jacques Cousteau raved about the water clarity and abundant ocean life here in Pulau.

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