Maui, Hawaii

As we promised, we didn’t stop traveling once we had a baby…on the contrary, as soon as S finished her 2 month vaccines, we were on a 12 hour plane ride past the other side of the country.

We booked this trip when S was around 1 month. We wanted to see how she was behaviorally – we figured out pretty quickly that we were very lucky and she has been a comparatively easy baby. She doesn’t cry for hours on end for no reason – and at this age, she generally likes being held, eating, and sleeping. I wasn’t too worried about the plane ride since I suspected she would just sleep the whole time, and I was right: the white noise from the plane knocked her out and she slept the entire ride. She didn’t even wake up upon takeoff or landing to nurse (even though I was fully prepared to!).

We were lucky enough that we had some friends to babysit S during the first part of our trip so that we could do some things without her (snorkel together and sunrise at Haleakala). But, we basically did almost everything we would have done pre-baby, although we did have to take turns for some treacherous hikes and waterfalls. S enjoys being rolled around in her stroller or being carried in her baby carrier, so I think she was living her best life since we were out and about everyday – she did get a little fussy if we sat at the beach for too long, but so did her dad, so it was okay 🙂 Overall, a very successful first baby trip, and we hope to be able to travel again soon! Unfortunately M has to go to work before I go back to work since he won’t be able to physically go into lab then as he’s going to be the primary parent at home, and Covid cases are rising drastically in Europe so we don’t have anything planned until 2022…but perhaps that will change.

This was a great age to travel, since we could travel relatively light especially as I’m exclusively breastfeeding. If you followed my last post, the great update is that since then, breastfeeding has become much, much easier. I don’t even pump anymore since I have an oversupply (possibly from early pumping) so I’m able to save milk leakage into bottles for when I’m out and need someone else to feed her. The only baby gear we really needed to fit into a suitcase was her portable bassinet (since we booked Hawaii so late and there’s so much pent-up demand that neither of the condos we booked had a crib) and her baby tent to protect her from UV rays. Gate-checking her stroller and car seat was very convenient, and it was also great to board the plane earlier than everyone else.

S now sleeps through the night for 12 hours straight, and is very happy when I’m out with friends or on a walk. For how much everyone said our lives would change, she hasn’t completely thrown everything into disarray – it helps tremendously that we have family to help out if we want a date night, and that she’s generally a pretty easy baby! Even so, I can’t wait to go back to work, especially now that many of my friends are back to work. It’s no fun hanging at home with baby all day, even though she’s starting to get cute 🙂

We spent 11 days in Maui, which is approximately 8 more days that we would have spent without baby. But, it was actually really lovely taking everything slowly, although we were ready to go home at the end of the trip (for the first time on a vacation!) Perhaps that’s mostly because I missed Panda though 🙂 Maui was a perfect trip with a baby, although out of the Hawaiian Islands we’ve been to, objectively I like Maui the least since it’s the most resorty and developed. It’s a great place to go when you’re old and retired though (or spend a few days at), since the beaches are GREAT.

We split our time on Maui into three blocks: Lahaina (the west side of the island), Hana, and Wailea. Because of the time difference, we usually got up quite early to get good spots on the various beaches, and went to bed shortly after the (beautiful) sunset.

Lahaina

Some of the best snorkeling on the island was found here, so we booked a nice condo near Kaanapali. Highlights included:

Honolua Beach: THE best snorkeling, and a really beautiful walk through a jungle to get to the rocky beach.

Dragon’s Teeth

Walking around Lahaina town. Favorite places to eat included Down the Hatch happy hour. I also waited in line at Gazebo restaurant for breakfast for 2 hours. The food was delicious, but go when you’re not in a rush!

Haleakala Sunrise. This wasn’t near Lahaina but given the altitude we couldn’t take baby S, so our friends watched her while we went to sunrise. Tickets were extremely hard to get but we got lucky. Our friends went for sunset since they couldn’t get sunrise tickets, and the view still looked spectacular, so I’d imagine it’s basically the same.

Kapalua Beach: Good snorkeling (M saw a shark!), and a cute beach path. Overall the beaches on this side of the island were a little washed away so there wasn’t that much space, but the snorkeling was great.

Nakalele Blowhole: A nice little hike, but the area here was also a highlight. Lahaina and the surrounding areas are extremely resort-y, with tons of golf courses etc; the road became super remote after driving 5 minutes north and was like a mini road to hana.

Hana

Usually people do the road to hana in a day, but we wanted to stay in Hana for at least a night since we thought it would be too much to do with a baby. I am so glad we did, because the Hana-Maui resort was one of the best resorts I’ve ever stayed at. I wasn’t that excited to stay based on the photos, but basically you get your own little cabin (but beautifully appointed) with a deck, cliffside next to the ocean, and the entire resort is super peaceful. The path to the famous Red Sand beach was also right on the resort.

Hana is very quiet, so we barely were able to get enough meals (there were a few food trucks, but that’s it), so I’m glad we only stayed for two nights – but it was a magical two nights.

Our favorite stops on the road were the PipiwaiTrail (which we did with S in the pouring rain), and the Black Sand Beach hike.

Black Rock Beach

Garden of Eden

Wailea

Wailea is the fancy resort area, and IMO has the best Maui beaches. The beaches were so big, the sand was so soft, and the sunsets just glorious. We rented a condo on the end of the Wailea beach path, which was amazing because we got access to the best beaches without paying exorbitant resort prices. We were able to walk down to all the fancy resorts and get cocktails there, and were very glad when we saw all the pools there super crowded, as I didn’t feel that $2,000 a night was worth it for a public beach and a super crowded (albeit glamourous) pool.

We had some beautiful sunsets, great snorkeling at various beaches in the area, and some wonderful poke from Foodland. Maui food is extremely expensive, and I think my favorite food from the trip was still grocery store food (musubis and poke!)

Central Maui

On our last day we spent our time at the Iao Valley and Maui Plantation. One of my favorite restaurants of the trip was the Mill House at the Maui Plantation, and we didn’t even plan on eating there!

We had a restful, restorative trip, and were excited to come home and get back to a routine with our little family. Stay tuned for what’s next…:)

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