Our Hawaii Honeymoon: A Travel Diary
Our Hawaii Honeymoon:
A Travel Diary
By Danielle DeSantis - Follow me on IG @singingdanielle
As you may or may not know, Louis and I got married in Lake George this past September and decided to wait to take our honeymoon. As a wedding singer, it's hard for me to take any time off during wedding season since couples book me so far in advance. We booked Hawaii as our honeymoon destination and have been looking forward to it for such a long time now. It's finally here!!! I'm going to keep a day-by-day diary for you guys so you can live vicariously through us while we're there. I'll tell you about all of our favorite (and not so favorite) places and things. And I'm sure we'll be posting a lot; Louis purchased a GoPro with like 12 accessories, a drone (I'm slightly scared), and a new laptop for this trip because he's been really into getting amazing footage/being tech savvy lately. He did a lot of video editing when he was younger as a hobby. Excited to just be in Maui with my best friend enjoying all it has to offer and pumped to be documenting as we go so we can share our experiences with you guys!
A special thank you to Allison and Josh with Over The Moon Vacations (who I'll talk about in more detail in the "recommendations" section of this post) for providing us with a wonderful itinerary for our honeymoon.
Which Islands did you go to?
Just one... Maui!
Where did you stay?
The Marriott Maui Ocean Club Molokai.
How Long did you go for?
What's The Time Difference?
HST is -6hrs back from EST.
DAY BY DAY
3:00PM (HST) Just landed in Maui. That was the Best. Flight. Ever. Seriously. (Sidenote: I was kind of hesitant to fly United because of the recent dog in the overhead incident but our flights were already booked for months sooo... we tried to not think about it.) United First Class to Hawaii is no joke!!! Never have I EVER been more happy or comfy on a plane in my entire life. I’ve aways wanted to fly in one of those little pods where you can lay down. Finally my dream came true. And it exceeded all of my expectations. I was fangirling about our seats for about 2 hours, slept for the next 4, then ate and watched movies for the remaining time. The food was fucking gourmet. The flight attendants treated us like royalty. Let’s just say I don’t think I can ever go back to economy and be amongst peasants ever again. (Joking. Kinda.)
5:00PM (HST) The airport transportation. SO cute. The sweetest cutest Hawaiian woman ever picked us up, and she played a little Maui video guide on a TV screen in the middle console while we drove to our hotel from the airport.
10:00PM (HST) It's soooo beautiful here. The first thing I do when I get to a hotel is unpack in a super OCD fashion. So I've already organized all my jewelry, on top of sink items, sunglasses, bags, and shoes. It's my favorite thing to do because once everything's out on display, it's super easy to choose my outfits and accessories each morning. After unpacking, we had our first Maui sunset which was just perfect and headed over to Kapalua Bay (about 15 minutes from Lahaina where we're staying) for dinner at Cane + Canoe in The Montage (a stunning hotel property). After dinner, we came back to the hotel room, watched some TV and are now about to fall asleep. Just how we like it. :)
Something new I learned today: Some of hawaii's delicacies include but are not limited to papaya (with lime), pineapple, macadamia nuts, and SPAM!
11:00PM (HST) Today was sooooooo fun. We woke up really early (like 4AM) because we haven’t adjusted to the time change yet and decided to just be up for the day because neither of us could fall back asleep. After Louis crashed his drone on its first ever flight outside on our balcony, we decided to go get some breakfast on property. *face palm* (side note: he ordered new wings for it off Amazon and they'll be here by Wednesday so he's going to be ok.)
After breakfast, it was time for our first excursion of the trip! We were picked up at noon for our snorkeling tour by the sweetest van full of people and traveled about 25 mins back towards the airport to a harbor with gorgeous boats. Our catamaran, Alii Nui, was the most beautiful of all so we were pretty excited to board. A fitting name, because from the second we got on until the moment we got off, we were treated like gold by the entire staff of the boat. They had fresh home cooked food for everyone, a fully stocked bar, and warm homemade macadamia nut cookies and cold mint towels for each of us on the way back to the harbor! We sailed for awhile, then they brought us to an amazing snorkel spot, where we were able to get tons of great GoPro footage (Louis put up the cutest video on his page just now - @louiedes24). Would definitely recommend the Alii Nui charters to anyone going to Maui. They also do sunset cruises. Today was the best first day imaginable. We both just love being out on the water.
Something new I learned today: Pau is a Hawaiian word that means "finished, kaput, the end."
10:15 AM (HST) Just woke up, brewed some coffee, and sliced up all the fresh fruit that was in our welcome basket. Waiting for Louis to wake up to eat it with me!!!
4:15 PM (HST) Today we decided to rent a Jeep Wrangler so we could explore the island a bit. *Highly recommended!* We ventured to a restaurant called Koa 156 which had the absolute BEST atmosphere and food. We were in heaven eating brunch right on the water. Afterwards, we drove around and checked out many local shops, beaches, and food trucks, and now we're on our way back to the hotel to get ready for tonight's LUAU! I'm so excited. I'm going to dress like Moana.
11:13PM (HST) I should have listened to everyone including Allison (our travel planner) who said to only do the Old Lahaina Luau. The one we went to, The Drums of The Pacific... just please don't ever go there! It was incredibly disappointing. I can't give a FULL assessment because we walked out before it even began. Prior to arriving, I envisioned an outdoor romantic luau on a grand lawn adorned with tiki torches and guests in gorgeous flowing maxi skirts and flowers in their hair (think "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" vibes). But upon entering the outdoor space, it actually felt like we were at Six Flags. This specific luau featured a cheesy host, watered down drinks and a really sad looking buffet. We were seated at a long wobbly ass stainless steel silver table next to folks who may or may not have just stepped off a cruise ship, all WAY too eager to make new friends. We took our table's turn for the buffet as our cue to exit immediately and ended up going to the beach with a bottle of rosé to watch the sunset instead, which was perfect.
Something new I learned today: If you are wearing a flower in your hair, wearing it on the right side means you're single! (And avoid luaus at all costs.)
11:25AM (HST) This morning we had a delicious breakfast at this little place Aloha Mixed Plate! Now it's photoshoot time. I set up some photoshoot collaborations via IG before getting here so we could have some great photos to remember our honeymoon by.
Pro Tip: If you're a blogger (or even if you're not) reaching out photographers that reside in your vacation destination is always a great idea! For example, I searched hashtags like #mauihoneymoon #mauiphotographers on IG and looked around for anyone looking to shoot couples. Then, I sent a few emails to set up shoots. A lot of times, photographers need new photos for their portfolios as well, so they might be willing to shoot free of charge! Remember, the worst that happens is they say no! Feel free to email me for a sample email for help with what to say.
12:55PM (HST) First we have a photoshoot with the dynamic duo, Dallin + Cienna (@dallinandcienna) and our second shoot is with the beautiful Mariah Milan (@mariahmilan). Can't wait! We're heading to a local fruit stand, a field of sunflowers, and then a private beach on a cape overlooking the water and mountains.
How cute is the Oluwalu Fruit Stand!?
10:15PM (HST) Tonight we ate at a great restaurant called, Pacific'O. Delicious food. Unreal service, atmosphere, and farm-to-table cuisine. Heading to bed because we're waking up in 3 hours for our sunrise volcano bike ride excursion!
Something I learned - ALL beaches in Hawaii are public! Even if they're behind someone's house! Did you know that!?
10:45 PM (HST) Okay. So. Today was the sunrise volcano bike ride day you may or may not have seen my unhappy Instastory about. Participants of this excursion get picked up at an ungodly hour (1:45AM) from their hotel, which leaves enough time to get biking/rain/wind gear provided by the excursion company, and then you get on a second bus to get to the top of an inactive volcano in time to watch the sunrise. Afterwards, you bike ride 22 miles at your own pace down to the bottom of the mountain, stopping at cute shops and stands along the way. I'm just going to be super honest and tell you guys everything. I want to always be honest about my experiences, good and bad.
Although others may have had a completely different experience, I felt the excursion company we decided to do this with, Bike Maui, was unorganized and unprofessional. To make a long story short, because of their disorganization at the gear shop, they forgot to call our names for the second bus and Louis and I got split up. The two seats left for us couldn't have been farther away from each other for the long ride up to the top of the mountain for sunrise. We're on our honeymoon, we're sleepy, and it's 3AM. Sitting next to strangers for this ride was infuriating. We had to look at all these people snuggled up with their significant other sleeping on each other in the middle of the night and I'm next to some stranger and he's smooshed in between a random family. It gets worse! The whole ride people are trying to sleep and both the driver and the main woman from Bike Maui both thought it was a good time for a tour of our surroundings that were barely visible in the darkness. Over the bus microphone, no less. Everyone was trying to sleep... Bizarre. Once we got to the top of the volcano, our guide woman didn't specify the correct railing to go to for sunrise, so we ended up missing the first few minutes of sunrise until we ourselves realized we were in the wrong spot. The sunrise was pretty bad (no visibility whatsoever as it was a rainy/foggy morning), but that's no one's fault of course. Just felt like the icing on the cake.
Once we were on our bikes and away from the driver, tour guide woman, and rest of the people (lol), we were able to relax and enjoy the day. It turned out to be a really fun bike ride. We took out our drone for some fun aerial shots of us biking, stopped at some adorable spots along the way (my favorite was a lavender shop called Maui Lavender!), and enjoyed each other's company as we rode our bikes 22 miles down to the bottom. That part I would recommend.
So. In conclusion of my extremely long rant, if you want to do this excursion, the bike ride portion really turned out to be fun. I just recommend you use a different company for the sunrise portion.
When we arrived back to our hotel, we napped for awhile, catching up on the sleep we missed between 1-6AM and then went to the beach for sunset. After sunset, we walked to Whaler's Bay again for dinner which is so convenient, and had such a great time listening to live music at Monkeypox Kitchen. Now we're about to get a good night's rest. :)
Something new I learned today: Make sure you have cash with you everywhere you go so you can stop at cute fruit stands, food trucks, and to tip everyone!
11:05PM (HST) OMG we had the BEST food experiences today.
Breakfast this morning was SO GOOD. Longhi's was recommended to us, and now I'm passing that recommendation along to you. By now, if you follow me, you must have realized I'm a serious foodie, so the whole appetizer before breakfast thing shouldn't be alarming to you. We started with a warm freshly baked cinnamon roll, then for my main meal I had the most delicious lobster omelette with zucchini, onion, and béchamel (hollandaise on the side) and Louis had banana + macadamia nut pancakes with a side of scrambled eggs and bacon. Holyyyyyy yum.
It rained literally ALL DAY today so we decided to go exploring with the Jeep and come home early to get ready for the one meal I had been patiently waiting for... MAMA'S FISH HOUSE!!! Everyone says the best things about Mama's so I really couldn't wait.
I can't say enough about Mama's Fish House. It 100% lived up to the hype. One of the best dining experiences of my life in a traditional Hawaiian setting with no detail left unthought of.
5:54PM (HST) Today we woke up at 5AM to do the legendary Road To Hana. It was raining again, so we weren't particularly excited about the long journey (with our Jeep roof on), but we ultimately decided we couldn't leave Maui without experiencing this famous road that everyone talks about. What kind of travelers would we be if we didn't? So we stopped for packed lunches, bought ourselves an app with an audio guide, and got on the road.
Pro Tip: One thing I will say is, if you're going to do the Road To Hana, make sure you download one of the apps that voice guides you along the way because there's no service whatsoever on the road. We used "Shaka Guide."
Some places we stopped along the Road were cute food trucks, beautiful waterfalls, a cave formed from molten lava, any huts that had bathrooms and wifi, and an awesome black sand beach.
Pro Tip: If you get carsick easily, or motion sickness in general, definitely take Dramamine before starting the journey. The Road is super winding, there's over 600 twists and turns on it.
So many people we talked to before coming here said it's the one MUST-DO thing in Maui. And we made it fun. But in all honesty, it felt a bit anti-climactic. It's an exhausting trip. If you can make it there and back in under 12 hours, you got lucky. Or you didn't stop at many of the sights. I'm glad we did it because it would have felt sacrilegious not to. We def made it fun, but I wouldn't do it again. I don't like the whole middle-of-nowhere-no-cell-service vibe. And I thought there would be crazier things to see. *shrugs*
11:30PM (HST) We had some fancy dinner reservations tonight at Merriman's which we would have loved to try since t's our last dinner here but. Sometimes getting undressed and ordering room service seems like such a better idea.
DANI SEAL OF APPROVAL
Cane + Canoe - We went here on the first night. Located in The Montage in Kapalua Bay which is just such a gorgeous property. The magical location was sooo worth the Uber ride over from our hotel. If you decide to go here for dinner, make sure you go down to the beach for sunset. Best views ever. Our first night felt so magical because of this stunning location. Fun fact: The menu has a few meals in collaboration with blogger, Be Well By Kelly which was so cool to see.
Pacific'O - Such a great vibe. Less casual and more expensive than most local dining options near our hotel, with outdoor seating and a super unique farm-to-table style menu. Our server was so knowledgable and explained that they use all local ingredients for their menu. All produce is fresh off their privately owned farm on the island and all fish changes daily, as they use whatever has been caught for that evening's dinner service.
Koa 156 - Casual and on the water, Koa 156 is really perfect for a scenic brunch or lunch. Go for the food and stay for the views.
Longhi's - This restaurant has two locations, one in Lahaina and one in Wailea. AMAZING breakfast. They have the most insane (and huge) lobster omelette and the most incredible banana macadamia pancakes. One of our best morning meals for sure.
Aloha Mixed Plate - Great outside casual restaurant for brunch or lunch. They have this super different amazing souffle pancake that Louis ordered and I obviously had at least 10 bites of and omg it was unreal.
Hula Grill - Located in the Whaler's Bay Village in Lahaina, just a tiny walking distance from our hotel. It was just OK food but we really loved the atmosphere and vibe. Sitting outside is ideal, but sitting inside and watching all the food come through expo overlooking the open kitchen is pretty cool, too.
Monkeypod Kitchen - Also over in Whaler's Bay Village amongst some cute shops and other restaurants. They had live music the night we went (an awesome acoustic duo) which is our favorite, and we just had the cutest low-key dinner. Food is mediocre, like a lot of places near our hotel but it's more about the Hawaii vibe.
Mama's Fish House - Saved the best for last. Seriously. Best dining experience ever. Totally lived up to the hype. Like one of the best meals of my whole life!!!!! From the service and atmosphere to obviously every single bite of food and even the tablecloth. It was just perfect. Our server was hilariously perfect and midwestern and it was just the icing on the cake, er, banana macadamia cobbler.
- Rent a Jeep (or whatever other vehicle you're into). While there are Ubers and cabs on the island, having your own rental makes it easier to jump up and go on an adventure. DEFINITELY do this if you're planning to do the Road To Hana. I can't imagine doing that drive on a tour or anyone else time.
- Have cash with you at all times! There are always people you need to tip and juice stands you're going to want to stop at.
- Bring warm clothes. Even though you are going to a tropical island, it gets pretty chilly at night. Especially bring warm clothes if you're doing any sunrise excursions.
- Eat the fresh fruit. It's the tastiest in the world!
Mariah Milan (@mariahmilan) I should preface this by saying I often have to do photoshoots in my line of work and have worked with many photographers around the country. My husband and I came to Maui for our honeymoon a few weeks ago and decided to schedule a photoshoot with Mariah after being impressed by the stunning photos on her Instagram page. We knew we wanted to capture some of our honeymoon! Look NO FURTHER for an amazing photographer than right here. I would highly recommend Mariah to anyone looking to get some beautiful photos for literally anything - their wedding, anniversary, honeymoon, engagement, etc. She is so talented and turns everything into magic through her lens. She grew up in Maui and has lived their her whole life, so she is a TRUE local! Because of this, she knows the most beautiful (and secret) spots for shooting, is so knowledgable about Maui culture, is able to share inside info on where to eat/where not to, which makes the experience that much more authentic. She is so caring and professional and direct, yet still laid-back. She even sends cute little tip emails leading up to the shoot so you feel prepared! During the shoot, she directs you and leads you into moments and poses so you never feel awkward. I can't say enough amazing things about Mariah. Thank you so much for giving us photos and memories that we will cherish for a lifetime!!!
Dallin + Cienna (@dallinandcienna) These two are absolutely adorable and #couplegoals. They are both so creative and excited to do and try new things with adventurous couples. They might make you lay down in the dirt opposite each other and put sunflowers on your faces, or run through a sunflower field with your significant other on your shoulders, but whatever they say, it's in your best interest to listen because they have serious vision.
Over The Moon Vacations. Allison and Josh, power couple and owners and founders of Over The Moon, travel the world together in order to better serve their clients. They're both so knowledgable and invested in each of their clients' honeymoon vision. They listen to the types of things you and your significant other are into, take into account the way you like to time your days, inspire you with their own ideas, create a custom itinerary with you, set up transportation for you to every destination, and all the planning is free of charge. I'm not sure how they do that, but they do. I would highly recommend to anyone going on a honeymoon, baby moon, or even just a random vacation to get in touch with them. The final PDF of your travel itinerary they send over becomes your bible throughout the trip, giving structure to your entire vacation and continuity to your days. Thank you both for your care and expertise, and most of all for helping to make our honeymoon a trip we will never forget.
So overall, we had the BEST time, a lot of amazing food.. Some things I wouldn't do again but happy we did them anyway, and SO many things and places I would recommend to others going to Maui (as you may have noticed). I'm sure I have even more to say and that I'm probably forgetting stuff but feel free to ask me anything!