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Maui never grows old. Year after year, it tops traveler surveys as one of the world’s most preferred destinations.
Alongside the island’s tried-and-true attractions, it steadily upgrades its appeal with new or improved activities that delight first-time and repeat guests alike.
Following are five of the newest reasons to return to Maui soon.
Aloha Hour at RocksaltSheraton Maui Resort & Spa recently debuted Rocksalt, a lively indoor-outdoor restaurant with views of the ocean and Puu Kekaa (Black Rock). Now the Kaanapali-based eatery has introduced Aloha Hour, which takes place daily from 5:30 to 7 p.m.
Here, clients choose from a menu of $8 shared dishes, such as Hawaii-raised kampachi with carrot dashi, pickled limu, lotus root chip, cucumber and radish. Beverage highlights include $5 beer and wine and $9 specialty drinks such as the Maui Salty Sailor with gin, guava juice, grapefruit juice and a sea salt rim.
“By offering some of our small plates and cocktails at an appealing price point, we hope guests will leave feeling intrigued, excited and wanting more,” said Lyndon Honda, Rocksalt’s executive chef.
Aqua GlidersHere’s another Kaanapali news flash: Clients can now rent an Aqua Glider, a stand-up board that allows them to rise above coral reefs and float next to the shore. Since the area’s waters are clear and usually calm, it’s a fun and easy way to explore Kaanapali’s sea life. Visitors of all ages and abilities can go for a spin on the stable gliders, which are outfitted with pedals.
“Aqua Gliders have a propulsion system similar to an elliptical trainer and a waist-high handle bar for steering,” said David Weiss, executive vice president of Aqualani. “There is very little instruction needed. For guests, it offers a beautiful, stress-free and visually stunning cruise along the Kaanapali coastline.”
Aqua Gliders rent for $75 per hour from four northwest Maui resort locations.
Fishpond Canoe ToursCulture connoisseurs give high marks to the outrigger canoe tours that take place on Koieie Fishpond, situated just north of Kihei. As clients paddle, they learn about its important role in Hawaiian lifestyle over the centuries while enjoying views of Haleakala volcano.
“Our tour is authentic: It educates guests about our current accomplishments and challenges and leaves visitors thinking about how this project will affect our future generations,” said Joylynn Paman, executive director of Maui Fishpond.
Tours are enhanced by turtle sightings, while guides add meaning by presenting traditional Hawaiian chants. In addition, Maui Fishpond has started promoting a package deal combining a 90-minute paddle with a day pass to the Maui Ocean Center for $70 per adult and $40 per child.
Guided Walks on a Historic TrailIn the 16th century, early Hawaiians built the Hoapili Trail to unify Maui’s districts. Today, guests of The Fairmont Kea Lani Resort can discover the coastal route during 4-mile guided walks led by Heather Reck, the hotel’s energy ambassador. Lasting from 6:30 to 10:30 a.m., each hike covers the south Maui portion of the trail, where clients savor ocean panoramas and see ancient artifacts such as stone walls and heiau (temples).
“We want to connect travelers to the unique culture and mana (power) of the island,” said April Storey, guest experience director for The Fairmont Kea Lani Resort. “Guests who join us on this tour return to the resort truly inspired, having enjoyed both a great workout and a deeper sense of place.”
Tours cost $125 per person.
Maui Sunday MarketFood trucks, crafters, artisans and live music unite in Maui’s new Sunday Market, featuring more than 30 booths. It takes place each Sunday from 4 to 8 p.m. in the Kahului Shopping Center parking lot, near Kahului Airport and the island’s cruise ship harbor.
The casual gathering brings together the community and visitors in a congenial setting for sharing stories and spreading aloha. Adding to the allure are activities that spotlight Hawaiian cultural traditions and practices.
“Often, visitors crave an authentic island experience,” according to Luana Mahi, the co-originator of Sunday Market. “Our market’s offering of local foods, entertainment and vendor products really resonates with this audience. Everyone is made to feel at home, further strengthening the event’s spirit of ohana (family).”
Admission to the market is free, as is parking.