We took five buses to get to Kihei from Kaanapali, which took just over three hours. The system lines up each transfer closely to one another, except at Piilani Village – but theres a Starbucks so we were fine.
With transit we were able to see a lot more than we would in a car. We looked into renting before we left, but on top of the $600 or so for 12 days, there was also insurance and a huge premium for being under 25. So car or accommodation…
I definitely knew my way around all of populated Maui within the first two days. It’s $4 for a day pass or $2 for a single ride. The one issue however, they are very strict on luggage. We were travelling with two day packs small enough for carry-on, but still ran into problems. I almost didn’t get on one bus because the driver didn’t like the size of my pack – I had two blankets strapped to the side. Another backpacker we saw wasn’t allowed on because of his full size pack. Discrimination of tourists, or a boost on the rental car industry? Either way, the packing decision to not check our bags saved us.
There was a heavy downpour when we got to the hotel. On a three minute walk to lunch my maxi dress soaked right through. Up until then I thought Vancouver Island got heavy rain, but it really doesn’t in comparison. It just lasts days instead. While we were waiting to check in, we ate at the 5 Palms at the north end of Keawakapu, the last beach in Kihei before Wailea. Our Maui-priced 20$ burgers were a good way to kill time before the rain let up.
The South Kihei beaches are some of the best on the island, with the three Kama’ole beaches in town and Keawakapu to the south. Once the rain cleared up, we walked the beach to Wailea beaches Mokapu and Ulua. There were surfers at every rocky point break. Strong, short waves close to shore. The beaches were crowded, but mostly with families or elderly couples. Everyone in Kihei was so active, I loved it. Elderly couples strolled up and down the beaches, and in the morning everyone was out for a jog or a walk on the beach trail that goes from Keawakapu to the 3 Kama’oles.
We spent our three days in Kihei on the beach in the morning, and exploring in the afternoon. We would walk 2 miles to the store for fresh food and more beer, which was such a good way to experience the town. One of our grocery trips, we walked to Wailea where I expected another surf town shopping centre. I wasn’t expecting the beautiful outdoor mall we walked into, which is apparently the nicest in all of Hawaii.
The first shop we went into was Celebrities, a collector’s gallery full of pop art, photos, and work by or featuring celebrities.
There’s a path that runs from our hotel up along the bluffs and in front of the Kama’ole beaches. Around the boat launch a runner pointed out a rocky cove where there are two turtles who feed there in the morning.
This guy was five feet below us, feeding at the shoreline. He was was an easy 150lbs, with a huge shell covered in seaweed. His friend was much smaller and didn’t come in very.
On our last night in Kihei we walked up to Taqueria Cruz, a BYOB taco place across from Kam II. Gill ordered the shredded chicken burrito; I ordered the fish taco burrito – they have two options, one with fish taco ingredients and another with burrito fillings. Bad description, but anyway they were both delish and with the fresh chips and salsa they gave us I literally waddled home.