Maui is pretty, but for my money it’s always and always about the Big Island.
My sweets and I are planning a trip there next year. We’re going to divide our time between this AMAZING super-cheap Japanese hostel-type hotel (we’ll "spring" for the third floor, with a balcony view of the Pacific, for SIXTY-FOUR DOLLARS A NIGHT). It’s called Manago Hotel, and it’s just…well, it’s my favorite place in the world.
info on their insanely good homestyle Hawaiian restaurant, where locals congregate:
With the crazy amounts of money we’ll save here on a weeklong rate, we’re going to get a three-day stay at one of the many yet-to-be-determined fancy schmancy resort hotels. We’ll do the spa/massage/all that jazz thing there, but I guarantee you that Manago is where the real action will happen.
(It kind of hurts me to even talk about Manago to the internets; it’s like revealing grandma’s crazygood secret biscuit recipe or something. Then again, it made it into Gourmet magazine last year, so I suppose the secret is really and truly out. Recognize that Manago is NOT a touristy place; you will run into students, hippies, locals, and all manner of fascinating people. This, for my money, is 97.8% of the reason to travel anywhere, though, so I may not be your best guide for a romantic honeymoon. 😀 )
Manago’s located in Captain Cook, which has some of the best snorkeling in the entire world. It overlooks the Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Park, which is, in a word, magical. When I stay there, my normally in-bed-til-noon ass is up and running at about 5:30 am – all the better to rise with the sun, take the short, gorgeous drive down the most beautiful mountain on earth, stop by the little French bakery/coffee plantationfor some fresh brewed Kona coffee, pick up a pastry or two, and then go snorkeling in the bay before all the other tourists get up. You will, I GUARANTEE YOU, swim with sea turtles and/or dolphins if you get there early. And you will never forget it. (Just be cautious – even though the bay is usually calm, there are no lifeguards on duty and it can be dangerous to swim if you aren’t a solid swimmer.)
So much more. I could go on for days. I’ll spare you. But suffice it to say that if you go to Hawaii and do the whole luxury resort thing the entire time you’re there, you’re going to miss out on some awesome treasures. I can’t recommend this book highly enough:
There’s one for Maui too if you’re totally set on that as your destination. This series is beyond incredible for giving you the best bang for your buck in a notoriously expensive tourist economy and allowing you to see the Islands for what they really are, beyond the leis and greeters and tour buses.
God, I wish i were in Hawaii right now! Have an AWESOMESAUCE honeymoon, whatever your Hawaiian choices are!
Quick edit: Just to make sure I’m clear here, Manago is NOT a spa. Far from it, It’s bare-bones. It’s like going to camp. Like going to CAMP AWESOME. But no one’s gonna rub your feet or give you a lei there. Just want to be clear on that point. 😀
One more quick edit: Manago’s weeklong rate for a double room on the third floor, non-smoking, with a balcony, is 384.00. It’s about a fifteen minute drive from Kona. It’s in the most beautiful place on earth. It’s clean as a whistle, and there is NO TELEVISION (hooray and hallelujah!).
Yep. Hawaii lodging for 2, for a week, for under 400 bucks. How much do you love me right now? 😀