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Travel Gluten Free

Jul 22, 2020

Travel Gluten Free Podcast

Episode 97

Hawaii Insider Part I | Maui and Lanai


This is the first of a three-part series where I chat with Tony Labbe of @labbetravel about the culture, things to do, and insider tips on six of the Hawaiian Islands. In part I this week, I’ll be talking to Tony about the beautiful islands of Maui and Lanai, what’s unique about each of these islands, his favorite places to stay and recommendations on the best times to snorkel, SUP and why you want to plan rest and relaxation time on your vacation!


Remember to be safe, wear a mask, wash your hands often, and definitely do not travel if you are in a high-risk group for COVID! See the link on Hawaii travel restrictions below for the latest information on Hawaii travel.


The Hawaiian Islands


Did you know there are a total of 132 islands in Hawaii? With eight main islands, Hawaii is the only state that is entirely surrounded by water and the only state that was formerly ruled by a monarchy and the only state that grows coffee.


The earliest settlers arrived in Hawaii around 800Ad, and Captain Cook was the first European voyager to discover Hawaii in 1778. Once Hawaii was incorporated into the United States, Lahaina, Maui was the first capital, which was then moved to the current capital of Honolulu on the big island. 


Mauna Kea, on the Big Island, is the tallest mountain in the world when measured from the seafloor, and Hawaii has many active volcanoes that are in the process of making this island chain larger every year. Besides being the tallest mountain, this is also the location of a ski resort and receives snow every winter!


My guest, Tony Labbe, suggests trying several different restaurants while visiting any Hawaiian Island as world-renowned chefs are cooking up exquisite meals at many of the culinary choices in Hawaii. For those of us who are gluten-free, this equates to having the ability to safely eat gourmet meals with a beautiful view of the ocean!


Cruise Hawaii


Tony suggests flying into Hawaii and starting at one of the islands for your Hawaiian cruise. When you begin your Hawaiian journey from the islands, you’ll forgo the long trip across the ocean and spend many of your cruise days at sea. Easily go island hopping and find new adventures on your journey!


Things to do in Maui


From its famous beaches to the peak of Haleakala, Maui offers a wealth of unforgettable sites and activities. The name Maui translates into "the best" in Hawaiian, and for travel, Maui has the most adventures to offer, including hiking, beaches, mountains, and nightlife. Before you go, note that this island definitely has a touristy feel. 


Lahaina and Ka'anapali are the two most western towns in Maui and offer spectacular beaches. Lahaina is a historic whaling town where you can find fantastic dining and shopping. Check out Front Street for a thrilling night in one of their many nightclubs. In western Maui, you can find a wide variety of hotels and many beaches to enjoy.


Tony's advice for those traveling to Maui is to divide your trip into a more activity-based trip and spend some time on the quieter side of Maui to enjoy some rest and relaxation. He also recommends Joe's Bar and Grill and Roy's to experience food from a Pacific Rim chef. Additionally, you should visit the Haliimaile General Store to get away from the hustle and bustle of the beach.


For the gluten-free, I'd highly recommend Maui Brick Oven, the only dedicated gluten-free restaurant.  You can eat amazing foods such as mozzarella sticks, fried onion rings, and the best Italian food I've had in many years! Tony recommends the celiac-friendly Mama's Fish House Restaurant for the best fish dishes on the island. 


When your sweet tooth is calling, I'd recommend Maui Bread Company as they have several delicious gluten-free selections that you will want to bring home in your suitcase. Also, visit Sugar Beach Bake Shop for doughnuts, muffins, and gluten-fre


The Road to Hana


“The road to Hana is more about the experience and journey itself than the destination.” Travel the road less traveled and the only road that leads to the eastern side of Maui. Stop along the way to swim in beautiful waterfalls, stop at the botanical garden and take breathtaking photographs of the rainforest. Make sure to stop at the art shop and the vegan ice cream shack to grab a scoop of animal-free, handmade ice cream. When you get to Hana, check out the general store and the park that the locals frequent.


See Haleakalā


Haleakalā is a shield volcano on the east side of Maui Volcano. The highest point is at 10,023 feet and is known as “the house of the sun.” This volcano forms more than 75% of the geographic mass of Maui. Bundle yourself up, bring a blanket, and visit at sunrise for a gorgeous view of the curvature of the Earth, which is one of the most highly photographed pictures of this popular volcano. Take a bicycle tour down the volcano to finish up your incredible experience of this national monument.


Visiting Lanai


Looking off the coast of Maui is the island of Lanai. You can easily take a ferry to Lanai from Maui. There is no shortage of fantastic golf and luxury places to stay in Lanai. Tony suggests staying at one of the two Four Seasons resorts. Manelli Bay at the beach is his favorite spa resort.


You'll want to end your vacation in Lanai as it's more relaxed and an excellent place for rest and relaxation. If you're going to be more active, definitely scuba dive the shipwreck at the back of the island, go SUPPING or take a morning snorkeling expedition before the trade winds come up and make the water cloudy.


Four Season's Japanese Sushi at Nobu is Tony's favorite dining experience on Lanai. Sushi chef Christopher "Tex" Texeira was born and raised in Kailua on Oahu and leads this exquisite dining experience. While you're in Lanai, check out the shopping outlets nearby. Take a ride into the small town of Lanai City to explore this small town and talk with the locals.


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Links and Resources Mentioned

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COVID travel report on Hawaii Travel


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