Many of you will probably not know it but when I was in my early twenties I actually chose to have a destination wedding. This trip of a lifetime was just one of the events in my life that formed my strong passion for travel early on. I made a tropical beach destination a condition for getting married, and to my surprise my then boyfriend (now husband) called my bluff and agreed to travel to the other side of the world to get married on a beach in Maui. Or to say it in other words, we got maui’ed.
Imagine this: As a twenty-four year old German girl I had never been further away from my home town than Morocco and Turkey. To cross all of the USA and then some to get hitched on a tropical beach, basically in Clint Eastwood’s backyard beach (or so we’ve been told), this really was something else.
And Maui is a wonderful place to get married. It is lush and green, not too big, with a great choice of wonderful attractions and of course a balmy climate to die for. We spent our 10 days on the island driving around, snacking on homemade banana bread and colourful shaved ice, visiting ancient temples and exploring historic villages. We had a wonderful time.
And getting married on a beach? We couldn’t have asked for a better scenery, a more beautiful ceremony. For us, eloping to Maui was the right choice.
If you are considering a destination wedding in Maui yourself or maybe just a vacation, here are our 6 most favourite attractions on the island.
1- Hana Highway
A 100 kilometre long stretch of winding road that hugs the tropical rainforest side of the island. It connects Kahului in the north of Maui with the rather traditional village of Hana. Since we stayed in a cottage in Hana we travelled this road quite a fair bit, and even though it takes around 2.5 hours to travel all the way to Kahului we loved every minute of it. Why? Because of the mix of winding road, pristine waterfalls and scenic coastal views.
2- Seven Sacred Pools
The humid air on the eastern side of Maui calls for some refreshing freshwater pools, and the Seven Sacred Pools in ‘O’heo’o Gulch are perfect for a swim in a stunningly beautiful tropical environment. Daredevils will climb the slippery rocks to jump into the pools (which is currently prohibited due to the danger of landslides) but even if you choose to stay dry the scenery is still worth the drive. Make sure you arrive early as this attraction is so popular that it fills up quickly.
3- Haleakala Crater
If you are after an otherworldly experience I can warmly recommend to you a visit to the Haleakala Crater. The trip up through the cloud cover is just mind-blowing, the views from the top onto the clouds like an experience from Mars. We particularly loved the silversword plants, an extremely rare plant that can be found 2.100 metres above sea level in Maui. They really look like an alien plant species! If you can make it out of bed in time, viewing the sunrise from the crater is one of the most magic experiences you can get in Maui.
The small town of Lahaina is a popular tourist resort but still maintains a relaxing and romantic atmosphere. Once the capital of the kingdom of Hawaii, it later became a centre for the whaling industry, and this heritage is evident when you walk along the Lahaina Front Street. What we found fascinating was the difference in climate compared to the wet and tropical east coast where we stayed; in Lahaina the grass was yellow and the wind was dry. If you are visiting during the migration season, keep an eye out for the whales that pass the waters just off Lahaina.
5- Hana Cultural Centre and Museum
If you want to understand a little bit more about the history of Maui and its people then the Hana Cultural Centre is a must-do. You will find here traditional Hawaiian artefacts and tools displayed, huts that have been built the traditional way, and there is also a quaint old courthouse that is worth seeing. We definitely learned a lot when we visit. Did you know for example, that usually a favourite cousin was picked to be sacrificed for the construction of a new hale?
6- Hamoa Beach
This beach will be forever in our hearts because this is what greeted us every morning when we left our cottage to explore the island. Hamoa Beach is located right behind Hana on the Hana Highway, a sheltered bay with some fantastic surf conditions and quite a few shady trees and not much else. A wonderful quiet spot, quite off-the-beaten track which really gives you this very special Hawaiian feel without the tourists.
There is of course so much more to see and do in Maui. We hope that we will be able to return one day to pick up where we left. Maybe our 25-year wedding anniversary will be a good occasion!
Did you know… that as citizens of certain countries you do not need a visa to enter the US? Currently, citizens of 38 countries such as Australia, many EU countries, Japan, South Korea and the United Kingdom are included in the US Visa Waiver Program. To apply, these citizens need to be holders of a valid ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation) visa waiver for the USA. For further information and to apply for your ESTA visa, visit the official website.