I finally made it to Maui. It took four decades and a level of self-awareness that I was unaware I inherently needed before making this pilgrimage. A few months shy of my 40th birthday, my spirit was drawn to the highly spiritual Hawaiian island—and I had no idea why. The timing was divine. Yes, Maui is lauded for humpback whales that journey from the North Pacific during the winter months, the Iao Valley, Mama’s Fish House, and pristine golden sand beaches. But unbeknownst to many, the second largest of the Hawaiian archipelago also has healing powers. Across the island, sacred spaces and places present energy vortexes that have the ability to raise one’s vibration, if you allow these energies to activate within you. Energetic healing is a choice. I’m grateful that Maui chose me. I was ready.
As a well-traveled creative who has visited over 60 countries and lived in three, all by my lonesome, I went into this trip manifesting transformation. Travel has nourished me since my mother introduced it to Kahkuyan, Noni, and me in the 80s via road trips up and down the Eastern Seaboard. Back then, leaving our two-family Southeast Jamaica Queens home, loading up in mommy’s green Chevy, and setting out on a new adventure was liberating. Luther Vandross would be on blast and cast-iron skillet fried chicken was always on deck, as we cruised on 95.
Stepping into 40, reflection was inevitable. Travel has filled my cup for over three decades, and I forecast that it will continue to feed me for the next 30 and beyond. Going is transformational, after all; if you go with clear intention to stretch, learn, see, taste, touch and experience new ways of being and engaging with the world, and the humans that live in it.
Back in October, I spent a week at the Waliea Beach Resort, a sprawling 22-acre oceanfront property cradled by two crescent-shaped beaches — Ulua to the north and Wailea to the south. During my stay, I encountered an 80-year old female sea turtle while snorkeling through the coral reef directly in front of the resort (the wise ones always seem to find and bless me). Many mornings, I would tuck into the lounge chairs on my suite’s spacious lanai amidst the chirping birds and swaying palms and wait on the sunrise. We often broke day together. Everything at Waliea honors nature. The resort is committed to being stewards of the land and cultivating memorable regenerative travel experiences that just so happen to be luxurious too.
Reserve a Cabana at the Maluhia Pool
There are three (soon to be four) pools on property and Maluhia is the adults-only option. I highly advise that you spend at least one full day enjoying the serenity pool and its infinity edge. Reserve a private cabana and take in unobstructed views of the Pacific Ocean with a cocktail, fresh fish dish and a tropical fruit plate nearby.
MOA Turtle Tour
If swimming with turtles has been on your bucket list, Maui is the place to make it happen. Waliea’s reef is home to hundreds of fish species. You’re bound to encounter a colorful medley gliding through the reef during the 90-min snorkeling tour.
Treat yourself to a Balinese Massage. This signature treatment was utilized for centuries to strengthen and heal the body by combining stretching, long stroke and palm, and thumb pressure techniques. Tension and stress will leave the body, allowing ease and harmony to flow right on in.
Hawaiian Outrigger Experience
All of Maui’s beaches are considered sacred. In Hawaii, you ask the ancestors for permission to enter the ocean. Before pulling our outrigger canoe into the sea, Kevin, our tour guide, belted out a soulful chant—communicating with his elders and seeking their blessing.
A unique and interactive cultural experience, HOE celebrates Hawaiian legends, mythology and indigenous ocean life.
Lei Making and Malama Quilting
Leis and quilts are a treasured part of Hawaiian heritage. Leis were first introduced to the Hawaiian Islands by early Polynesian voyagers, but traditional Hawaiian quilting is said to date back to medieval times. Whether you’re traveling solo, with your girls or exploring Maui with the fam, find time for these activities, designed to deeply immerse you in Hawaiian culture.
Te Au Moana
Dine, drink and dance under the Maui skies at Te Au Moana, a dazzling lūʻau that celebrates and connects the Hawaiian Islands and its royal descendants. The stories told in Te Au Moana, which translates to “the ocean tide,” exemplify the depths of knowledge and respect Hawaiian people have for the earth and all its glory.
Mama’s Fish House
Spend the day in Pā’ia, a hippie beach town where tie dye everything, crystals, and swanky boutiques are plentiful. When you’re done shopping, head over to Mama’s Fish House. Start with the Lobster Bisque, Ahi and Kula Persimmons Ceviche, and Kusshi Oysters. For your main, go with the Mahi-Mahi in Macadamia Nut Crust with Tristan Island Lobster—its been the most popular dish on the menu for 30 years. Pro Tip: secure a reservation as soon as you purchase your flight. Due to high demand, this spot tends to be booked three to six months in advance. You’ll soon understand why.
Humble Market Kitchin
There’s no shortage of delicious dining options on the property but if you’re looking to please your palate with Hawaiian-inspired fare served alongside panoramic beach views, Humble Market Kitchin by Roy Yamaguchi is it. Start with the Charred Brussel Sprouts & Cauliflower, Japanese Style Chicken & Mochi Waffles for your main, and end on a sweet note with whatever the chef recommends.