Coming to Our Annual Seminar & Business and Leadership Conference? Be Sure to Do Maui Like the Locals!

By Joanne Genadio

We are beyond thrilled to meet you all in Maui this May! I’ve been to the Hawaiian Islands once before. My first thought was, “If there’s a heaven, it looks like Hawaii!”

Nestled in the heart of the Pacific Ocean, Maui is the second-largest Hawaiian island, known for its killer landscapes, gorgeous beaches, and vibrant nightlife. There’s so much to see and do, you’ll have wrest yourself out of that beach chair and explore! Here’s where the locals go!

Take a drive on the Road to Hana! Whether you rent a car and drive yourself, or take advantage of the many van tours available, you should not miss the scenic Hana Highway! Word of caution, if you get car sick, take your Dramamine! The Road to Hana has over 600 turns and stretches 52 miles between Paia and Hana, with 59 stone bridges and hundreds of hairpin curves. There’s plenty of opportunities to stop and enjoy local fruit stands, farms, botanical gardens, and awesome views. Bring cash if you plan to stop for a bite. The little stands and shops don’t take credit cards. You will pass by lush rainforest, rugged ocean vistas, countless waterfalls, and probably quite a few spectacular rainbows, as well as some food stands that serve fresh banana bread, among other island staples, making it a photo buff’s must-do. Your Instagram will never be the same!

Paako Cove is the “secret cove” locals enjoy on the southwestern edge of Maui. It gets its reputation as a “secret” because you need to literally walk through a wall to even know it’s there. The cove is the perfect place to relax in the sun or snap some unforgettable photos of the coast and the far-off island of Kahoolawe. It’s a ten-minute ride from our host hotel.

The Olowalu Reef-Take a half hour ride from our host hotel up the beautiful Road to Hana to visit the Olawalu Reef. Known as the “Mother Reef”, it is home to coral that is over 1,500 years old. In 2017, the Olowalu reef was declared a Mission Blue Hope Spot—a place that is critical to the health of our oceans. It boasts a stunning diversity of coral and harbors the largest known manta ray population in the United States. A great place to snorkel!

Let’s Eat! –Any guide to where the locals go would not be complete without a list of places the locals love to eat. Beware the tourist traps, locals say they are many (Mama’s Fish House-shhhh!) To truly eat like the locals, they say look for the mom-and-pop eateries, where they say you find the “real soul” of Hawaiian cooking.

If you want to eat fancy, you’ll have plenty of options in Wailea. If you want to eat like the locals, get in an Uber. They say Kihei is the place to be. Luckily, it’s only a nine-minute drive!

For the island favorite, Loco Moco, head to Nalu’s South Shore Grill. It’s a bowl full of ingredients you’re not sure would go together, but the result is purported to be delicious! Put on your adventurous hat and give it a try! Nalu’s has several variations on the classic to choose from.

Kihei’s Da Kitchen is one of Hawaii’s most recognized restaurants. Featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, Da Kitchen’s focus is delivering quality local food in eyebrow-raising portions. Be sure to ask your server about the daily specials! You’ll get a real taste of farm (or sea) to table.

Coconut’s Fish Café is Maui’s top-rated casual restaurant. If you’re craving wild-caught fish, Hawaiian flavors, and family recipes, this is a can’t miss destination. Their fish tacos with wild-caught mahi are famous way beyond Hawaii’s shores.

One side note, if you’re a fly by the seat of your pants person, like I sometimes tend to be, Kihei is home to the best food trucks on the island. It’s not a bad idea to take a walk, see the sites, find a food truck with a fun menu and order away! Support local business!

I look forward to seeing you all in Maui. I DO NOT look forward to the plane ride. JFK-HNL-OGG