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Guidebook for Mana Kai 407

Mary

Guidebook for Mana Kai 407

Snorkel Boat Trips
First of all, if you come to Maui, in my opinion, you must get out on the water somehow. It is such an amazing experience to be out on the clear blue water, looking back at Maui and surrounded by the other islands. Even if you have no plans to snorkel, consider an excursion. It is not unusual for there to be passengers onboard who are not planning on snorkeling. Sometimes they just choose to swim. Others just enjoy the day out on the water. Definitely consider booking a snorkel boat trip. It is hard to imagine a trip to Maui without seeing its underwater world. Most tours provide equipment for the trip and a lesson for first-timers. Frequently they even provide something like a boogie board with window built-in so you can just lay on it and look down into the water. There are lots of boat companies. They range in price, type of vessel, number of passengers, and point of departure. We have been on many different tours with many different companies and had a good time. In this guide, I am highlighting our two favorites.
We have been going back to Redline Rafting again and again. We like the smaller size and thus a smaller number of passengers on each boat. They leave early, so they are usually the first snorkeling boat to the popular spots. They are flexible with the itinerary so if dolphins or whales are spotted we can head over to check it out, or if wave and wind conditions are not favorable they can choose a different snorkel area. One of our favorite stops is at a spot on the backside of Molokini Crater for a unique experience. All of the captains and crews that we have had have been top-notch. Lastly, we love that they leave from the Kihei boat ramp, which is about a five-minute walk away from the condo. We are usually back in the condo by noon.
Redline Rafting
2800 S Kihei Rd
We have been going back to Redline Rafting again and again. We like the smaller size and thus a smaller number of passengers on each boat. They leave early, so they are usually the first snorkeling boat to the popular spots. They are flexible with the itinerary so if dolphins or whales are spotted we can head over to check it out, or if wave and wind conditions are not favorable they can choose a different snorkel area. One of our favorite stops is at a spot on the backside of Molokini Crater for a unique experience. All of the captains and crews that we have had have been top-notch. Lastly, we love that they leave from the Kihei boat ramp, which is about a five-minute walk away from the condo. We are usually back in the condo by noon.
This is a different style trip from Redline Rafting. Redline is a tour of Molokini crater as well as South Maui snorkel spots. Trilogy focuses more on tours in West Maui. Secondly, Trilogy’s vessels are large catamaran sailboats rather than Redline’s fast motorboats. Having said that, it is a great experience when they raise the sails and sail back to the harbor. The larger boat means more passengers, but they don’t feel overcrowded. Actually we enjoy that there is more variety in getting up and moving about the boat. The crew really pampers you, and they seem to be always feeding you, even providing a hot lunch. They leave from Lahaina Harbor in West Maui which is about a 45-minute drive from the condo. The boat returns to Lahaina harbor mid-afternoon
Trilogy Excursions
Slip #98 Wharf St
This is a different style trip from Redline Rafting. Redline is a tour of Molokini crater as well as South Maui snorkel spots. Trilogy focuses more on tours in West Maui. Secondly, Trilogy’s vessels are large catamaran sailboats rather than Redline’s fast motorboats. Having said that, it is a great experience when they raise the sails and sail back to the harbor. The larger boat means more passengers, but they don’t feel overcrowded. Actually we enjoy that there is more variety in getting up and moving about the boat. The crew really pampers you, and they seem to be always feeding you, even providing a hot lunch. They leave from Lahaina Harbor in West Maui which is about a 45-minute drive from the condo. The boat returns to Lahaina harbor mid-afternoon
The coral reef right in front of the resort is one of my favorite places to snorkel. I frequently see turtles, eels, dozens of different types of colorful tropical fish, and once a monk seal. There are other great spots as you travel south along the coast with convenient shore access. They are easy to find with a google search of best places to snorkel in South Maui.
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Keawakapu Beach
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The coral reef right in front of the resort is one of my favorite places to snorkel. I frequently see turtles, eels, dozens of different types of colorful tropical fish, and once a monk seal. There are other great spots as you travel south along the coast with convenient shore access. They are easy to find with a google search of best places to snorkel in South Maui.
Food scene
There are so many places to get great food on Maui from relatively inexpensive to world-class fine dining. I wanted to share with you some of the places we often go to, but definitely try other places too! (Nothing is really inexpensive...it's Hawaii, everything comes over on a ship.)
This may seem like a funny recommendation for dining, but this is our go-to spot after we've landed and left the airport. Located in Kahului, they have a huge salad bar and hot food bar. There is also a made to order counter for sandwiches, burritos, stir-fry, and more. Pizza is sold by the slice. It is quick and there is something for everybody. While we are there, we pick up a few groceries for later that day and for the morning. (We are not light packers, so we don’t have room in the rental car for a lot of groceries.)
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Whole Foods Market
70 East Kaahumanu Avenue
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This may seem like a funny recommendation for dining, but this is our go-to spot after we've landed and left the airport. Located in Kahului, they have a huge salad bar and hot food bar. There is also a made to order counter for sandwiches, burritos, stir-fry, and more. Pizza is sold by the slice. It is quick and there is something for everybody. While we are there, we pick up a few groceries for later that day and for the morning. (We are not light packers, so we don’t have room in the rental car for a lot of groceries.)
Mama’s Fish House Restaurant is a Maui Institution. It is a marvellous combination of setting, ambience, and fine dining. It sits in a converted beach house in a coconut grove on a secluded white sand beach. Inside, hinged windows open to let in the trade winds and Polynesian artifacts and original oil paintings decorate tropical hardwood walls. The rooms are filled with spectacular flower arrangements and tapa print cloths cover the tables. Many diners claim this is their must-do dining experience while on Maui. Price is $$$$. The most popular time for a reservation is around sunset...and you will need a reservation! That is the reason I listed Mama’s Fish House as number two on the list. If you think you are interested in going, stop reading this now and call for a reservation. They are booked weeks and even months in advance. They also serve lunch. Parking is limited and is valet only. They only permit guests to arrive 15 minutes prior to their reservation. During some of the low season months, it might be possible to get a same-day reservation around lunchtime or mid-afternoon. It is about a 45-minute drive from the condo. Mama’s Fish House is located just outside of the town of Paia. Paia is a great little surfing town to explore. Another spot you might want to get to while you are in the area is Ho’okipo beach park. When you first enter there is a place to park on the cliffs overlooking the bay. This is where surfers go for “the Big Waves”, especially after off-shore storms. (Plan on getting your hair blown around...just saying in case you are planning on heading over to Mama’s afterwards.)
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Mama's Fish House
799 Poho Place
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Mama’s Fish House Restaurant is a Maui Institution. It is a marvellous combination of setting, ambience, and fine dining. It sits in a converted beach house in a coconut grove on a secluded white sand beach. Inside, hinged windows open to let in the trade winds and Polynesian artifacts and original oil paintings decorate tropical hardwood walls. The rooms are filled with spectacular flower arrangements and tapa print cloths cover the tables. Many diners claim this is their must-do dining experience while on Maui. Price is $$$$. The most popular time for a reservation is around sunset...and you will need a reservation! That is the reason I listed Mama’s Fish House as number two on the list. If you think you are interested in going, stop reading this now and call for a reservation. They are booked weeks and even months in advance. They also serve lunch. Parking is limited and is valet only. They only permit guests to arrive 15 minutes prior to their reservation. During some of the low season months, it might be possible to get a same-day reservation around lunchtime or mid-afternoon. It is about a 45-minute drive from the condo. Mama’s Fish House is located just outside of the town of Paia. Paia is a great little surfing town to explore. Another spot you might want to get to while you are in the area is Ho’okipo beach park. When you first enter there is a place to park on the cliffs overlooking the bay. This is where surfers go for “the Big Waves”, especially after off-shore storms. (Plan on getting your hair blown around...just saying in case you are planning on heading over to Mama’s afterwards.)
This Starbucks opens at 5:30 am. This may seem really early, but it is likely you will experience some kind of jetlag the first morning. Hawaiian time is two or three hours behind Pacific time. (Hawaii does not observe daylight savings time.) You may be finding yourself waking up around 4:00 am. Once the sun starts coming up, we often walk along the beach to the Marriott, and then to the Starbucks near the main entrance. There is outdoor seating with a picturesque garden and places for kids to explore. In the condo we do provide complimentary coffee for the first morning too.
Starbucks
3700 Wailea Alanui Dr
This Starbucks opens at 5:30 am. This may seem really early, but it is likely you will experience some kind of jetlag the first morning. Hawaiian time is two or three hours behind Pacific time. (Hawaii does not observe daylight savings time.) You may be finding yourself waking up around 4:00 am. Once the sun starts coming up, we often walk along the beach to the Marriott, and then to the Starbucks near the main entrance. There is outdoor seating with a picturesque garden and places for kids to explore. In the condo we do provide complimentary coffee for the first morning too.
This is definitely our go-to Sushi place. It is in an unassuming strip mall in Kihei. We once met one of the members of this family-owned business on a flight to Maui. Not only do they own two sushi restaurants on Maui, but also a fishing boat! It is a small place, with a friendly, casual vibe. The fish is always great, and the rolls are non-traditional and inventive. Sushi is pretty much what is on the menu, so not a great place if someone in your group doesn’t eat sushi. Check to see when they have happy hour pricing. No reservations taken.
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Miso Phat Sushi
1279 S Kihei Rd
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This is definitely our go-to Sushi place. It is in an unassuming strip mall in Kihei. We once met one of the members of this family-owned business on a flight to Maui. Not only do they own two sushi restaurants on Maui, but also a fishing boat! It is a small place, with a friendly, casual vibe. The fish is always great, and the rolls are non-traditional and inventive. Sushi is pretty much what is on the menu, so not a great place if someone in your group doesn’t eat sushi. Check to see when they have happy hour pricing. No reservations taken.
Another very popular sushi place in Kihei is Sansei Sushi and Seafood Restaurant. It is a much bigger space than Miso Phat and has more of a variety of items on the menu. They take reservations. They are well-known for the 50% off special until 6 pm on Sundays and Mondays. It is common to see a line forming an hour before with people even coming with folding chairs and books around 4 pm to be among those seated at 5pm.
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Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar
1881 South Kihei Road
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Another very popular sushi place in Kihei is Sansei Sushi and Seafood Restaurant. It is a much bigger space than Miso Phat and has more of a variety of items on the menu. They take reservations. They are well-known for the 50% off special until 6 pm on Sundays and Mondays. It is common to see a line forming an hour before with people even coming with folding chairs and books around 4 pm to be among those seated at 5pm.
Monkeypod is a lively restaurant with terrific food, a large selection of craft beers, a renowned mai tai, and great service. The place is usually packed at dinner time, is loud, and is a better spot for a happy gathering of family or friends than a romantic dinner. The menu is varied and contains “modern twists” on traditional dishes. Food is primarily locally-sourced. It seems that any time I talk to someone who has also vacationed in the Kihei/Wailea area, they ask me if we ate at Monkeypod. It seems to be the “it” restaurant in the area. Even though it can be really crowded at dinner we have enjoyed our time there. We often go for an early or late lunch and avoid the crowd.
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Monkeypod Kitchen by Merriman
10 Wailea Gateway Place
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Monkeypod is a lively restaurant with terrific food, a large selection of craft beers, a renowned mai tai, and great service. The place is usually packed at dinner time, is loud, and is a better spot for a happy gathering of family or friends than a romantic dinner. The menu is varied and contains “modern twists” on traditional dishes. Food is primarily locally-sourced. It seems that any time I talk to someone who has also vacationed in the Kihei/Wailea area, they ask me if we ate at Monkeypod. It seems to be the “it” restaurant in the area. Even though it can be really crowded at dinner we have enjoyed our time there. We often go for an early or late lunch and avoid the crowd.
This restaurant shares the same parking lot as Monkeypod, but is an undiscovered gem. Perhaps it is the name. For years I assumed it was some sort of pita sandwich place. So NOT true! They specialize in fresh fish, and also have their own “fishing boat captain.” They describe their cuisine as a blend of Greek marries Italian with a touch of Hawaiian. They will make adjustments to meet dietary needs. The menu ranges from simple greek dishes such as gyros, kabobs, hummus to elegant entrees.
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Pita Paradise
34 Wailea Ike Drive
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This restaurant shares the same parking lot as Monkeypod, but is an undiscovered gem. Perhaps it is the name. For years I assumed it was some sort of pita sandwich place. So NOT true! They specialize in fresh fish, and also have their own “fishing boat captain.” They describe their cuisine as a blend of Greek marries Italian with a touch of Hawaiian. They will make adjustments to meet dietary needs. The menu ranges from simple greek dishes such as gyros, kabobs, hummus to elegant entrees.
Sarento’s is a great beachfront open-air restaurant just across the lawn from the Mana Kai. From 8 am to 2 pm they offer what they call their brunch menu with about half of the items being traditional breakfast items and the rest more in line with a mid-day meal. Starting at 5 pm, the tablecloths come out, the menu becomes more sophisticated, and the prices go up as it transforms into a fine dining experience. It is a great place to watch the sunset and a romantic evening. Also great for groups of six to twelve or so people who are looking for a quiet setting.
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Sarento's On the Beach
2980 South Kihei Road
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Sarento’s is a great beachfront open-air restaurant just across the lawn from the Mana Kai. From 8 am to 2 pm they offer what they call their brunch menu with about half of the items being traditional breakfast items and the rest more in line with a mid-day meal. Starting at 5 pm, the tablecloths come out, the menu becomes more sophisticated, and the prices go up as it transforms into a fine dining experience. It is a great place to watch the sunset and a romantic evening. Also great for groups of six to twelve or so people who are looking for a quiet setting.
5 Palms is the Restaurant located right on the grounds of the Mana Kai. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner and also have a sushi bar. Great covered deck that almost always has seating. Their Happy Hour food and drink specials are probably the best value on the island.
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5 Palms Restaurant
2960 South Kihei Road
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5 Palms is the Restaurant located right on the grounds of the Mana Kai. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner and also have a sushi bar. Great covered deck that almost always has seating. Their Happy Hour food and drink specials are probably the best value on the island.
Manoli’s is where we go when we are looking for a casual family meal, or for take-out for a meal to enjoy on our lanai. It seemed a few years ago they were a bit hit or miss, but in the last couple of years, they have been more consistently good. Besides serving lots of pizza, they have a variety of other entrees on the menu as well as salads and desserts. The garlic bread is really good! They have gluten-free pizza crust as an option. The restaurant itself is open-air, on a hill, near a golf course, and many tables have a view. We have never tried their delivery. We just go and pick it up ourselves.
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Manoli's Pizza Company
100 Wailea Ike Drive
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Manoli’s is where we go when we are looking for a casual family meal, or for take-out for a meal to enjoy on our lanai. It seemed a few years ago they were a bit hit or miss, but in the last couple of years, they have been more consistently good. Besides serving lots of pizza, they have a variety of other entrees on the menu as well as salads and desserts. The garlic bread is really good! They have gluten-free pizza crust as an option. The restaurant itself is open-air, on a hill, near a golf course, and many tables have a view. We have never tried their delivery. We just go and pick it up ourselves.
This restaurant is situated at the heart of the Grand Wailea Maui Resort. Going to lunch or dinner here is a good reason to “go see” the Grand Wailea. The views and grounds are really magnificent. As diners, your parking will be validated. Bistro Molokini offers views of the ocean and surrounding islands. We often come here at lunch when it seems a bit hot out because it always seems a little cooler in this somewhat open-air restaurant. We also come here at dinner time if we are looking to go out for a nice dinner, but not wanting the expense or fuss of a fine dining experience. They describe their food as a blend of California and Island cuisine. The restaurant features a wood-burning oven. They accept reservations. Most of the time we have had good luck just as walk-ins.
Bistro Molokini
3850 Wailea Alanui Dr
This restaurant is situated at the heart of the Grand Wailea Maui Resort. Going to lunch or dinner here is a good reason to “go see” the Grand Wailea. The views and grounds are really magnificent. As diners, your parking will be validated. Bistro Molokini offers views of the ocean and surrounding islands. We often come here at lunch when it seems a bit hot out because it always seems a little cooler in this somewhat open-air restaurant. We also come here at dinner time if we are looking to go out for a nice dinner, but not wanting the expense or fuss of a fine dining experience. They describe their food as a blend of California and Island cuisine. The restaurant features a wood-burning oven. They accept reservations. Most of the time we have had good luck just as walk-ins.
Ziplining
Maui has a number of different ziplining experiences. I am recommending two of our favorites. We have "zipped" with them a number of times. My recommendation is based on professionalism, scenery, adrenaline factor, and location.
Flyin’ Hawaiian The mission of Flyin’Hawaiian is to provide a great adventure experience while conserving and restoring the natural vegetation. If you are driving between Kihei and Kahului, look up at the green mountains of West Maui and search for their ziplines. You probably won’t see them because they have been very careful to place them in a way to have minimal environmental impact. My understanding is that building the zipline was a way to generate income and protect a long stretch of the West Maui mountains from development. During the tour, the guides water new plantings of indigenous plant which as they re-establish themselves may further hinder future development of these picturesque mountains. They claim to have one of the longest and one of the fastest zips. Sounds true. Great guides, scenery and adrenaline rush.
Flyin Hawaiian Zipline
1670 Honoapiilani Hwy
Flyin’ Hawaiian The mission of Flyin’Hawaiian is to provide a great adventure experience while conserving and restoring the natural vegetation. If you are driving between Kihei and Kahului, look up at the green mountains of West Maui and search for their ziplines. You probably won’t see them because they have been very careful to place them in a way to have minimal environmental impact. My understanding is that building the zipline was a way to generate income and protect a long stretch of the West Maui mountains from development. During the tour, the guides water new plantings of indigenous plant which as they re-establish themselves may further hinder future development of these picturesque mountains. They claim to have one of the longest and one of the fastest zips. Sounds true. Great guides, scenery and adrenaline rush.
This is also a great zipline experience! It is in up-country Maui, and is one of the most popular zip lines adventures on Maui. The actually have two different courses. One features rolling meadows, deep gulches, and hilltops with spectacular views. They feature a side by side zipline with a length of over half a mile. The other course is the Treetop course which is comprised of a course through the treetop canopy and zipping from platform to platform. We have also done both of these course a number of times, and love the natural beauty of zipping through trees, great guides, and long zips.
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Piiholo Ranch Zipline
799 Piiholo Road
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This is also a great zipline experience! It is in up-country Maui, and is one of the most popular zip lines adventures on Maui. The actually have two different courses. One features rolling meadows, deep gulches, and hilltops with spectacular views. They feature a side by side zipline with a length of over half a mile. The other course is the Treetop course which is comprised of a course through the treetop canopy and zipping from platform to platform. We have also done both of these course a number of times, and love the natural beauty of zipping through trees, great guides, and long zips.