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by Rena Fulgencio, student writer


Taking a vacation doesn’t have to mean months of planning and a ton of money. If you ever feel like being spontaneous and just taking a trip on a whim, exploring the island of Maui for a day might be an option. This is how some friends and I did it.

The night we decided, we booked the first flight out of Honolulu at 5 a.m. on Aloha Airlines. The tickets were $39 one way, and with taxes and fees, we paid $89.80 per person roundtrip. It took an hour to get to the airport from Waianae and only 37 minutes to get to Maui’s Kahului Airport. There is a bus system on Maui, however, it is limited; so we rented a car at the airport, a compact for $71.27, including tax and insurance, for one day.

Our first stop was Maui Mall for breakfast at IHOP, where former American Idol finalist, Camille Velasco, used to work. The 4.2-mile drive took 10 minutes. From there, we drove 5.4 miles, which took 15 minutes through Wailuku’s morning rush hour to Iao Valley, where native Hawaiians would gather to honor Lono, the god of agriculture, during the annual Makahiki festival, a celebration of the abundance of land and sea.

In the valley, a paved walkway leads to Iao Needle, a 2,250-foot basaltic rock towering over the Iao stream, which flows through the center of Pu‘u Kukui Crater.

Later that day, we took a quick trip to Lahaina, a 30-mile drive that took about 50 minutes and included a stop at the scenic point at Malaaea, from which we could see three neighboring islands: Molokini, Kaho‘olawe, and Lana‘i. We spent little time in Lahaina, where there are half a dozen malls and about 60 art galleries, museums, and historic sites.

From Lahaina, we headed around Haleakala to the Hana Highway. The Hana Highway has about 60 bridges and more than 600 curves, according to Maui residents. On the way, we stopped at Waianu Fruit Stand, known for shave ice and banana bread. We bypassed the Wailua Overlook, where visitors can see a shrine to Our Lady of Fatima and lo‘i or taro patches. We also bypassed Waikane Falls, which is accessible to swimmers and Nahiku Village Park, a good place to stop for a picnic.

We stopped at Waianapanapa Park, which has a black sand beach. We wanted to visit the top of Haleakala before dark, a 2.5-hour drive, so we never made it to Hana town, which means we missed the red sands of Koki Beach, Wailua Falls, the seven sacred pools, aviator Charles A. Lindbergh’s cabin and much more, on the way to Hana.

Haleakala is the world’s largest dormant or “sleeping” volcano. This “House of the Sun,” which is what its name means, is 10,023 feet high, 3,000 feet deep, and has a circumference of about 21 miles. Although Haleakala is a popular site to view the sunrise, the sunset was still a nice ending to our one-day vacation.

On the way back to the airport, before we returned the rental car, we stopped at Krispy Kreme for donuts for our families. Because O‘ahu does not have a Krispy Kreme, it was a treat. Total cost for our trip, split among three people, $161 each.

So, if you’re looking for a quick getaway, it’s possible, and Maui has a lot to offer visitors even if only for a day.


Rental Car
Krispy Kreme
Cost per Person



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