7 Tips For Visiting The Valley Isle For the First Time (and During The 2022 Holiday Season)!

Posted by Mapuana Andrade on Monday, December 5th, 2022 at 10:54am


If there's one thing we know about the holiday season, travel is at an all-time high, especially here in Maui. So many people love making the trip to the Valley Isle, where they can spend their winter months laying out on the beach and exploring lush forests and crystal clear waters. For some, the 2022 holiday season will be their first time visiting the island! So we thought we'd put together our favorite seven things you should know before stepping off the plane at OGG. 


1. Maui and The Valley Isle are one and the same.

If you have been racking your brain about why "Valley Isle" pops up when you're googling what to do on Maui, don't be alarmed. Maui and all the other Hawaiian Islands have famous nicknames that highlight something they are known for! The Valley Isle comes from Maui having two major mountain ranges, Haleakalā and Kahālāwai (the West Maui Mountains), that create a "valley" for the rest of the island.


2. Sunrise Visits to Haleakalā Require a Reservation

Above the white clouds on top of Maui's upcountry skyline lies magnificent Haleakala. The dormant volcano, one of the most treasured sites on the island, sits at 10,023 feet above sea level and is home to one of the most breathtaking sunrises, but you’ll need to plan in advance to make the morning trip.

Haleakala National Park charges a fee to enter. Prices are $30 per vehicle or $25 per motorcycle. If you are entering on foot or bike, the cost is $15 per person. You can also purchase a park-specific annual pass for $55. Note: Sunrise visitors will have to reserve access on the Haleakala National Park Summit Sunrise Reservations page.


3. You'll Definitely Want to Rent a Car

Maui is one of the most beautiful places in the world - but public transportation is not the easiest to navigate when on vacation. There are only 13 fixed routes along the public bus system, and Ubers are slim to none. We recommend splurging on a rental car to ensure you see all the waterfalls you wish! 


4. It's the Prime Season for Whale Watching

It's no secret that Hawaii has some of the best whale watching in the world. There's nothing better than marveling at one of the most majestic ocean animals while mere meters away from the beautiful Hawaiian coastline. The Maui channels boast warm, safe, and shallow waters humpback whales happily flock to with their young. To make the most of your adventurous day, some tours offer delicious meals, snacks, and beverages on the boat ride. 


5. Get to Know Maui's Major "Cities"

Maui has a couple of major "cities" (more like major towns). It'll be good to spend some time looking at a Google Map and thinking about what you want to get out of your trip! For example, those who want a luxurious resort-style vacation should head South to Wailea/Makena or North to Kapalua. Those wanting a true "local" and laid-back experience might enjoy Wailuku and Paia/Haiku. Looking to do some surfing and layout on the beach? Lahaina and Kihei are always sunny and have the best beginner waves. 


6. Make Sure You Stop at Minit Stop for a Spam Musubi 

Spam Musubi. It's not a Maui beach day unless you stop at Minit Stop or 7-Eleven for a delicious shoyu-flavored spam musubi. I mean, only in Hawai'i can you get quality food at a gas station for everyone. 


7. Eat Your Way Through Maui with Happy Hours

There are so many ways to eat your way through Maui. So much food so little time. Whether you are on a budget, want to experience dining like a local, or love a good bang for your buck, happy hours on Maui are your new best friend. Happy hours are locals' favorite pastime and pau hana ritual! $3-12 for drinks and pupus? You can't go wrong. Look up your favorite restaurants and see what they do for happy hour, or read up on one of Maui's many happy hour guides! 

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