Vacation with the Volcano!
Article & Photograph by Michael Morcos
Coming from a land without them, flying over the mouth of Maui’s volcano is an impressive sight! Maui is a wonderfully green gem in the Hawaiian islands and is renowned for its beaches and central “potentially hazardous” volcano!
We flew into Kaanapali, a beautiful resort town with a three mile beach that was once named America’s Best Beach. This former retreat for Hawaiian royalty is now a popular getaway for everyone.
Kaanapali was Hawaii’s first planned resort, and is a model for resorts around the globe. All amenities are available, including championship golf courses, cliff diving and the open air Whalers Village, a world-class shopping area with a variety of exceptional shops, restaurants and a renowned whaling museum.
From Kaanapali on the west coast, I had the drive of a lifetime along the Hana highway toward the city of Hana. Hugging the coast, drivers must be careful and attentive, which is difficult along this amazing road that is filled with breathtaking views and approximately 620 curves along Route 360!
After driving through thriving rainforests, cascading waterfalls, plunging pools and dramatic seascapes, you arrive at historic St. Sophia’s Church, announcing your arrival into Hana, where the meadows roll right up to the main street. The town of Hana is very quiet and has very few tourists as compared to the rest of the island. Though small, there are many lovely things to see and do. The historic Travaasa Hana, a luxurious retreat rooted in Hawaiian tradition, unique souvenir shops, swimming and sunbathing at Hamoa Beach that author James Michener felt was the most beautiful beach in the Pacific. Seeing the Hale Piilani, the state’s largest heiau (Hawaiian temple), in Kanahu Gardens, is a particularly special site to visit.
Also present is the heart of the island, the Haleakala, or East Maui Volcano, a massive volcano that forms more than 75% of the Hawaiian Island of Maui. The drive up was incredible, twisting and turning, and the change in landscapes, from tropical to dry mountain desert is marked. Hiking way up to the clouds to see the top of the Volcano at a height of over 10,000 feet. There are even signs on top that indicate to move slowly due to low levels of Oxygen, but the view from on top was out of this world. The crater was something out of a sci-fi lunar scene and you could get a 360° view of the ocean and the whole island of Maui.
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