Day 2 in Maui started early in an attempt to get ahead of the crowds. As you may be able to tell by now, I am the traveler that rarely sleeps or rests on my escapes. There are only so many hours in each day and I make sure it is packed full of adventure. We headed a few miles north of our hotel on the west coast of Maui to Napili Bay. I had read that this was a good place to swim with turtles and that was what I wanted to include in each day’s escape. I could see them from the shore as they were popping their heads out for a quick breath of air but due to the full moon the night before, the water was rough from the high tide and it made seeing turtles while swimming difficult.
We then decided to head south to try another place to snorkel, stopping at Boss Frog’s Rentals to pick up some equipment. Boss Frog’s is located throughout Hawaii and specializes in organizing tours and renting all types of water supplies. The staff there are very helpful in suggesting places to explore from a local’s point of view. We rented a paddleboard for a reasonable price of $37 for 24 hours and they strapped it safely to our small rental car. We drove as far south on the island as possible ending at a gravel/dirt road that lead to La Perouse Bay, a beautiful beach surrounded by dry lava beds and a view of bright teal blue water. After parking in the small lot, we hiked down a portion of the Hoapili Trail. The trail length is a challenging 5.5 miles and takes at least 6 hours, therefore if you plan on reaching the end, take plenty of water and dress appropriately. The beach in closed due to it being a marine life conservation area and no fishing or swimming is allowed but it is a beautiful sight!
Our next stop was Ahihi-Kinau Natural Reserve Area. There is a large parking lot attended with helpful rangers who give out information on where to snorkel and how to protect the reefs while swimming. There are two paths leading to the snorkeling areas that take you right into the water. Unless you have tough feet I suggest wearing flippers or water shoes while in the water because it is quite rocky. There is an area that is perfect for surfers and that is where I decided to paddleboard and snorkel. Sadly, I didn’t see any turtles here but saw some of the most beautifully colored reefs and lots of fish.
Big Beach and Makena Beach State Park were our next stops. Big Beach is named just for that, it is one of the longest beaches on Maui and known for great boogie boarding, surfing, paddleboarding, and snorkeling. The tan-colored sand is some of the softest I have ever felt. The tide was again not good so we walked around the beach, resting for a bit in the warm afternoon sun. The beach is lined with big palm trees and is perfect for a quick nap if you do not want to sit in the direct sun. After the quick rest we headed out for Maluaka Beach. Parking is limited here to only parallel parking on side streets. It was worth the effort to get to Maluaka Beach as this was the best snorkeling and paddleboarding of the day.
The next place we stopped at was Five Caves which I had heard was another fantastic area for snorkeling. Five Caves is a somewhat hard place to find unless you look close for the signs with arrows leading down through the lava rocks. The tide was very rough and crashing over the rocks so we knew that it was not a good time for snorkeling. We talked to a local who was sitting there on the rocks reading a book and he told us that this was the best ever place to snorkel but it was the “king tides” going on due to the full moon that were caused the rough water throughout the island. With that we were very disappointed we could not snorkel here and learned an important lesson for others, make sure to check the tide reports prior to making the trip down to Five Caves.
To end the afternoon, we made one more stop at McGregor Point Lighthouse. This picturesque lighthouse sits on a beautiful cliff overlooking the amazing beaches below. Our stomachs started grumbling from a day full of swimming and paddleboarding as we headed off to Duke’s Beach House for dinner. Since we had not stopped for lunch and were starving, we indulged in nachos, salad, garlic fries, the best fish and chips, and some refreshing drinks. We sat at the bar to eat our feast and watched another beautiful Maui sunset. I highly recommend Duke’s to end a busy day because of the great food, even better drinks, and live music. Day 2 ended without swimming with turtles but lots of paddleboarding and fantastic beaches!