After our time in Kaanapali, we wanted to spend time somewhere a bit more low-key and realistic. Paia is a small town with big vibes. Surfing and sustainability seems to be the focus of this community. We stayed at the only place we could afford which happened to be an awesome little lodge – Nalu Kai Lodge.
It was the perfect location to explore the rest of Maui. We spent the next week exploring north-west Maui, the Waihee Ridge, and various spots along the Road to Hana including a black sand beach, Haleakala National Park, and the Pipiwai Trail.
And when we weren’t off exploring, we were chilling out around town enjoying what the local community had to offer. This usually included some form of amazing vegan food!
One thing we loved about local Maui communities was their passion for nature and sustainability. There were always recycling options, heaps of businesses that didn’t use any single-use plastic items, and plenty of signage/murals/bumper stickers promoting environmental responsibility.
The only grocery store in town was a giant health food store called Mana Foods. Not only did they stock mostly organic/local/healthy foods, they had a huge fresh food section with ready made hot meals and salads sold by the pound. Simply grab whichever size of recyclable cardboard box you wanted, fill with desired meal, and pay at the counter. The whole town seemed to eat here, and highlights included their tofu scramble breakfast burrito, rice salads, and vegan baked goods. It’s also worth noting that this is where John and I first got to try Ben & Jerrys new range of dairy free ice creams 😛
In terms of wildlife, we were ecstatic when we found these insanely beautiful Gold Dust Day Geckos everywhere – around our lodge, sharing tables at the coffee shop next door, and sun baking on rocks. They’re actually native to Madagascar and came over here as stowaways!
But the highlight had to be seeing over 80+ basking Sea Turtles on Ho’okipa Beach!
They were protected by a rope and some volunteers who control the viewing and safety of the turtles, which was wonderful to see.
They looked relaxed and cosy and the volunteers did a wonderful job of answering the publics questions and protecting the turtles. It’s so inspiring to see people taking in interest in wildlife and being educated by passionate individuals.
We highly recommend Paia as a central place to stay in Maui!