Hawaii - Maui and Kauai

Related article: Big Island and Oahu


Despite being the second largest island in Hawaii, Maui is still significantly smaller than Big Island, which means it's much easier to navigate among different locations. The island has beautiful beaches, the famous Road to Hana, and the must-see sunrise at Haleakalā National Park. 

Haleakalā National Park

Haleakala has three distinct areas, two of which are very popular with visitors: the summit area and Road to Hana. The summit area can be accessed via the Haleakala Highway. Watching sunrise is incredibly popular here. In fact, it's so popular that starting on Feb. 1st, 2017, reservations are required! We got up at 3PM to drive to the summit area from Kihei area where we stayed. The sunrise was totally worth it. It was more than epic - we saw full moon and sunrise at the same time on two different sides! Unfortunately, I was able to snap a shot to include both due to the crowds.

Sunrise at Haleakala National Park
Twilight at Haleakala National Park

Road to Hana

Undeniably, Road to Hana is one of the top attractions on this island. It passes through many viewpoints/lookouts/trails that are breathtakingly beautiful. I have read some articles talking about how dangerous this road could be, but it isn't bad at all. We drive the road twice in a compact car without any problems. Of course, being cautious is always good because the road can get pretty curvy. Another reason for being cautious is that Maui's weather is unpredictable. It could be sunny at the moment, and raining heavily in the next few minutes, and then become sunny again a few miles away. 

Lush Lookout on the Road
Keanae Lookout
Sunset at Ke‘anae Peninsula
Ke‘anae Peninsula

Rainbow rises from the sea
I don't quite remember the name of this waterfalls. It's conveniently located near a bridge.
Opaekaa Falls. There is a parking lot, and a small sidewalk lead to a few viewpoints of the waterfall. To get a view like this, a telescope lens will be required.
Gold dust day gecko

Wailua Falls

More Photos on Maui

Sunset on Kihei
A view from the apartment we rented
Wailea Beach
Humpback Whale Diving
Humpback Whale


Kauai, despite being the smallest one of all four main islands, is my favorite island. The moment we landed in the airport, we found out it's an incredibly scenic island. Not only it has beautiful beaches, but also magnificent canyons, beautiful valleys, a lighthouse, and abundant birding opportunities. 

Kīlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge

Kīlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge is a national wildlife refuge located on the northwest coast of the island. There is an old lighthouse on the very edge of the shoreline. The scenic area is also an excellent opportunity for birding. 

Sunset at Kīlauea Lighthouse
Giant waves crashing the coastline 
Giant waves crashing the coastline 
Endangered Hawaii Goose
Red-footed booby, most visible seabird in Kīlauea 
Laysan albatross
Red-crested cardinal

Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge

Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge is another national wildlife refuge on the island, located within the Hanalei River Valley. The refuge is the home to four endangered waterbirds, Hawaiian stilt, Hawaiian coot, Hawaiian moorhen and Hawaiian goose.

Hanalei Valley Lookout. This spot is easily accessible off Kuhio highway.
Dance with me. Hawaiian stilts.
Hawaiian stilts
Hawaiian moorhen
Hawaiian Goose
Pacific golden plover
Hanalei Valley

Kalalau Lookout

Kalalau Lookout is a perfect view of the heart of the Kalalau Valley - an iconic scene of Kauai. The coast of the valley, called Na Pali coast, is the backdrop of many films including King Kong. The only way to gain access to Kalalau Valley up-close is through an 11-mile hike from Ke'e Beach. It's something that cannot be easily done within a single day, so we only visited the Lookout to get a glance at the magnificent view.

Kalalau Valley from Kalalau Lookout. Once the sun sets, it gets freezing there. 

Waimea Canyon State Park

Waimea Canyon is a vast canyon about ten miles long and 3600 feet deep, nicknamed the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. There are two convenient lookouts to provide breathtaking views, the Puu Ka Pele Lookout and Puu Hinahina Lookout.

Waipoo Falls and Waimea Canyon
Waimea Canyon

More Photos in Kauai

An unknown stop we made when driving back to the hotel from Waimea Canyon.
Rainbow rises from the sea


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