We just got back from spending the entire month of December in Maui Hawaii and all I can say is I am having withdrawals already :(! Traveling right now is your own independent choice, but we personally never felt safer than in Hawaii due to the fact anyone traveling to the island has to have a Negative Covid test. I work remote, and my kids are virtual learning so it just felt like the right time to make this trip. Also we live in North Carolina since everything is shut down I wanted the kids to be able to be active outside and learn by exploring new areas! Below is everything you need to know about planning a trip to the Island right now (Also giving away a free RT flight to hawaii over on my instagram here if you want to enter, closes Jan 5th!)
How to get there:
- Fly into OGG airport for Maui. We chose to fly Hawaiian Airlines due to the fact they have their own Covid testing kits they mail to you, and they also just set up drive thru testing for their customers. You can read more on their site here. They also are still blocking middle seats. I did see American and other Airlines are starting to participate in Covid testing as well so just double check the airlines.
- Hawaii Arrival Process: First step will be each adult needs to create a Safe Traveler profile on Hawaii Travel site here. On the site you will fill out all info on the trip, your info, and also upload your test results once complete. They will provide you with a QR Code that I suggest printing out as well or screenshotting in a folder on your phone for easy access. (Every airport/hotel will ask for this upon arrival).
- Take a pre-travel test: forego the quarantine by taking a pre-travel test. The test must be from a state-approved testing provider. The test must be administered no more than 72 hours prior to the scheduled departure time of the final leg to Hawaii. For trans-pacific travel, test results must be received prior to flight departure.
- Types of Tests: Since we flew Hawaiian we paid $90 per person (anyone under age 5 doesn’t have to take a test FYI) for their Vault Virtual testing. This test was a very simple saliva test and once complete you drop off at the nearest UPS. Because I was paranoid, I also opted to pay for the drive thru Nasal testing that was $119 per person with a 24 hour turnaround time on results. More info on both here.
- Things to note: Best to do layover in a city that has these testing sites for ease of travel. We stopped in LAX. Also print out all documents and upload PDF into safe traveler site within 24 hours of departure. They didn’t check our paperwork till we got to Hawaii, so prepare to wait in the lines and have someone check all your documents upon arrival.
Now that you are in the clear, Where to stay:
Resorts VS Vacation Rentals:
- Resorts: Wailea is mainly where all the luxury resorts are and this side of the island rarely rains! We had ONE rainy day the entire time, and it maybe lasted an hour? There are also resorts on the West side, Napili area, that are worth checking out if you are going to explore the island and prefer the hotel route. You can see all the ones we checked out and explored on my instagram highlights here & reels.
Our all time favorite Resort was Four Seasons Maui, it was 5 star all around. Here is what I loved about it:
- The rooms! We stayed in an Ocean View one bedroom suite. The rooms had two bathrooms, it felt bigger than normal apartments with a huge lanai. The doors also had cameras on them to see anyone knocking (that was a first).
- The pools: 3 total, very spread out. An adults only with infinity, a family pool with TWO hottubs! and a kids pool with mini slide and waterfalls.
- The Luxury feel: The service was top notch. The drinks were amazing, as well as all the restaurants and room service. We also saw several celebrities while on site so that is when you know its high class.
- Kids Camp: It was daily and free! My kids lived there and it was such a relief for me to be able to work and enjoy the resort at the same time while they met other kids.
- The beach/location: They have their own little beach area with SUP boards and snorkeling gear out front you can sign up to use.
- Fitness: They have SUP work out classes and Beach Yoga I did one morning, so calming! (plus a gym and game room on site)
- If you are staying long term I suggest looking into rentals that are more affordable and hoping around the island. I also loved being able to have a kitchen and do our laundry with small kids. We switched up airbnbs on the West side Napili Area and also rented a few in Paia. I only rent from superhosts because you know the reviews and guests don’t lie!
Where to eat (advanced ressys always, these were our favs!):
- South Maui/ Wailea Area:
(Four Seasons Maui)
Ferraros Bar e Ristorante
Duo Steak & Seafood
The Feast at Mokapu Luau
(Fairmont Kea Lani)
- West Maui (Napili/Kanapali area):
Merrimans- Drinks/sunset great
AAroots- breakfast/Acai Bowls
Cliff House at Montage
Burger Shack-Lunch on the beach at the Ritz Kapalua
Honu Seafood & Pizza
Ululani’s Shaved Ice
Oluwalu Juice Truck (fresh coconuts)
- North Shore Maui (Paia/Haiku)
Paia Fish Market
Mamas Fish house
Jaws- Road to Hana, good smoothies
Garden of Eden- road to Hana, food truck!
What to do:
- Sunrise Snorkel Tour: We booked this exact one here with Kai Kanani. I recommend doing this the first couple days of the trip since you are already adjusting to the time change anyways it will be easy to get up at 5am! The breakfast was amazing, you snorkel two spots and see turtles. We also were lucky enough to catch whales!
- Nakalele Blowhole: West Maui, about 20 minutes from Napili area and a windy road. Hike down the mountain to see the rocks and water shoot through! Wear water shoes.
- Northshore Zipline: This is in Haiku, North shore Maui. Family Oriented, ages 5+ and this was our kids favorite activity! Took about 2 hours and 7 courses.
- Road to Hana: Start in Paia, this drive is windy and could take a full day if you make every stop. I paid $7 for this self guided app that was amazing since you loose service. It is called: Gypsy Guide in app store. We only made it to twin falls and Garden of Eden with small kids. I have a complete Road to Hana List Ill put together on another post someone sent to me as well!
- Helicopter Tour: Book an epic experience with Hawaii VIP
- The Feast at Mokapu (Andaz Maui)- The perfect luxury outdoor lu’au you can get in Wailea! They serve a 3 course meal and the kids are able to run around and play while you enjoy the show!
- Haleakala National Park: Drive above the clouds at Sunrise by booking an appointment here or go at sunset no reservations needed!
- IOA Valley National Park: A fun drive and day hike of exploring.
- Rent a Cabana for a Pool day with the kids: We loved Fairmont Kea-Lani & The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua for day passes!
- Relax at the best beaches: For families I loved Baby Beach and Ho’okipa on the North Shore where you can also see turtles.
DM me on Instagram if you have anymore questions for your trip! Have so much fun!