Category Archives: Essentials

5 Tips for Planning Your Girlfriend Getaway to Maui

An escape to paradise is always pure bliss, but being accompanied by your closest girlfriends can make the trip that much more memorable.  Hana is the perfect place to grab your favorite gals, relax on the beach with an icy drink in hand, or go explore the gorgeous tropical terrain.  Here are 5 steps to making the most of your vacation with your closest girlfriends.

  • Plan it Out Ahead of Time - Sure, every vacation needs a little spontaneity, but when you bring together a group of women, all with differing opinions, you may find it hard to agree on the day’s activities.  Talk about what interests you ahead of time, whether it be getting a massage that incorporates traditional Hawaiian techniques, or maybe exploring a rushing waterfall.  If you have a basic plan, you can optimize your time…or you can split up the group for part of the day to make all parties happy.
  • Budget, Baby - Are you staying overnight at the stunning Travaasa Hotel Hana, or are you opting for a more economical lodging option?  All inclusive accommodations, or just a place to crash?  Fine dining every night, or quick bites from roadside stands on the winding Road to Hana?  Talking about your trip budget with your girlfriends ahead of time will help ensure that everyone feels comfortable with the money being spent, and you can focus less on dollar signs and more on your time together.
  • Invest in a Good Camera - You’ve got your closest girlfriends having fun in the Hana sun – you’ll want to capture all the memories and gorgeous vistas.  Make sure you have a nice digital camera that can freeze all these wonderful moments for you to go back and reflect on.
  • Coordinate Wardrobes – No, we’re not talking about wearing matching magenta bikinis while frolicking on the beach, but it may be a good idea to chat about the type of clothes you’ll be packing.  If Emma goes super casual in shorts and tees, but Stacy is rocking her pearls and heels, it could make for an awkward night out.  Best get it all out on the table.
  • Have a Blast – When you hop on that plane to head to Hana, make a promise to yourself and to your friends that you are going to leave your stress and worries at the airport terminal on the mainland.  Take this time to decompress, relax, unwind and have a fabulous time!  Maybe you start your vacation with a spa treatment, or a calming walk on the beach.  Whatever it is, make sure that you enjoy every minute in paradise.

Photography Tips for Beginners

Road to Hana

So you finally did it, you decided to take that much needed vacation to paradise…and let’s be honest, there isn’t a more scenic place to visit than the intimate coastal town of Hana, located in gorgeous Maui.  While you’re sure to experience lush tropical forests, sparkling waterfalls and stellar sunsets, you’ll probably want more than memories to reflect upon after your travels. They say a photo’s worth a thousand words, and if that’s the case, with so many photogenic spots, you’ll have enough material for a novel.  Here are 5 top tips for capturing picture perfect moments in Hawaii.

1) Go Digital - Yes, we know there are those old film traditionalists out there, but for the modern traveler, there is nothing more convenient when on the go than to be able to review your picture right after taking it.  You’ll be confident that you got the shot, and when photographing people, you can make sure no body blinked.  (They’ll appreciate that later.)  Don’t waste money on film, and if you don’t like the shot, just delete.  Easy!

2) Invest in a Good Camera - While the point & shoot digital cameras are handy and easily slip into a back pocket, while traveling in Hana, you may want to consider bumping up to a DSLR.  You’ll have much more control over your camera settings, and you can use interchangeable lenses to get a good perspective on things.  (For beginners, we suggest a 55-200mm and 18-55 kit lens.)  If price is a concern, suggest buying a refurbished Nikon or Cannon.  You still get the warranty for about half the price.  (Visit Adorama Camera for deals and steals.)

3) Take The Reigns - If you do go with a DSLR, learn how to use it!  All intro-cameras will come with a convenient automatic setting, but also will typically feature MASP controls as well.  (Manual, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority and Program.)  If you can take a good picture with Automatic, just wait until you use the manual settings.  While intimidating at first, once you learn how to use it, it makes a world of difference.  For an easy to use quick tutorial, we suggest the Magic Lantern Series, which offers specific DVDs based on your camera body…(and is a lot easier to get through than a 300 page manual.)

4) Don’t be Afraid to Play withe Perspective - Yes, traditional landscape shots are great….but feel free to get creative.  Maybe angle the camera for a twist to the standard shot, or play with the camera focus and aperture to place different emphasis on areas of the photo.  You can turn a standard photograph into a work of art.

5) Go Big or Go Home- Shoot in RAW, providing your computer is equipped or has the software to open these kind of files.  You’ll have the ultimate flexibility to do a little post-shoot editing, and if you want to blow up the image, you won’t have to worry about pixelation.


Plan a Perfect Proposal in Hana, Hawaii

Cool ocean breeze, crashing waves, tropical landscapes…You pull out a ring and you’re on your way to happily ever after.  If you’re one of those suave ultra romantic types, a proposal in Maui will be a one of a kind event that your partner will remember forever…after all, they do call it Heavenly Hana for a reason.

If you’re looking to arrange the ultimate proposal, here are 7 tips for planning an evening that she’ll never forget.

1) Plan ahead: While women love surprises and spontaneity, there’s nothing more romantic than a well planned proposal.  There are a number of breathtaking spots on the Road to Hana that will make an absolutely stunning backdrop.  The first thing you’ll need to determine what type of background paints the perfect proposal picture: Beautiful beaches, flowing waterfalls or lush tropics all provide different feels, depending on the proposal you’re going for.

2) Honokalani Black Sand Beach is located in the Wainapanapa State Park and is a unique location for a beach proposal.  For the adventurous couple, spend the day exploring caverns, hiking trails and more before the big moment.

3)While the above beach is beautiful, it also tends to be a bit touristy at times.  If you’re looking for a more private proposal, about a mile past “downtown” Hana on the S. Hana Hwy. and left onto Haneo’o Rd is Hamoa beach—a perfect place to get down on one knee amidst the crashing waves.

4)Speak from the heart.

5)Don’t forget a camera!  Doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but you’ll both want to remember this moment.  Even if it’s one of those extended arm self shots…you’ll be glad you have it.

6) If you’re looking to propose on the high seas, there are several different charter trips in Hana available to choose from.  Just remember not to be standing too close to the edge when you propose.  Last time we checked, diamonds don’t float….

7) End the night with an overnight stay at the breathtaking Travaasa Hana.  With the quaint sea ranch cottages, attention to detail, and delicious dining options, it’s the perfect way to wrap up an amazing day.  You’ll also be happy to not have to drive The Road to Hana after the proposal, as the trip can take up to four hours!


Congratulations!  And here’s to lifelong happiness!


The Essential Items for a Hana Beach Excursion


Picture this; you’re on a white sandy beach, the radiating Pacific sun is beaming down on you, beautiful wave after wave comes crashing down on the shore, and you’re surrounded by lush vegetation as far as the eye can see.  Only places like this exist in commercials, right? Wrong. If you’re looking for a breathtaking setting like this, then look no further than the gorgeous beaches of Hana on the island of Maui.

In order to make the most of your blissful beach day, you’ll need to remember a few select items to bring with you.  It can transform a day on the water to one of the most spectacular experiences of your vacation.

Protection. Do not make your eyes or skin a victim of Hana’s hot sun. Nothing will ruin a perfect day on the beach like wicked sunburn and the need to squint all day. Therefore, be certain to wear your favorite pair of sunglasses and at least lather up with some SPF 30!

A surf board. Maui is home to some of the world’s best waves and if you’re one to hang ten, we would hate for you to miss out on the opportunity of a lifetime. If surfing is not your thing, then pack a boogie board or prepare for a day of body surfing. You won’t regret it!

A pair of binoculars. So we’re serious about the lush vegetation. Hana is a tropical paradise, secluded from the buzz of the everyday world. There are huge trees, endless beaches and the ocean, all of which you will want binoculars for to see all these features up close and personal.

Camera. Don’t save all this beauty just for your memory. Not that we doubt your abilities to recollect how amazing your experience here was, but you will want to show all those folk at home just what they are missing out on!

A lounge chair. Spend your day on the beach kicking back in a comfortable chair suitable for a sandy adventure. This will make the experience so relaxing and enjoyable that you may just never want to leave.

So there you go, the list of essentials that will make your beach excursion in Hana, Maui unforgettable.


Amazing Books for your Next Beach Vacation in Hana

If you ask us, there is nothing better than soaking in the rays on a spectacular Hawaiian beach with a novel that tantalizes, torments and tempts you to keep turning the pages. Now we all know that there are a countless number of tales that will make a day on the beach fly by but what makes up the formula for the perfect beach read? It may consist of marvelous adventure accompanied by witty humor, or perhaps it’s a daunting struggle in the pursuit of one’s ultimate dream. Maybe the perfect beach novel involves the transformation of oneself to end up in a state of self-realization, or quite simply an age old story that will fulfill your seaside state of mind.

Regardless of your genre of choice, were quite certain that you can’t go wrong with any of the following novels the next time you have hours to burn on one of Hana’s beautiful beaches:

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway:
Ernest Hemingway’s, The Old Man and the Sea, is a classic novel about an elderly fisherman named Santiago who is on 84 day streak without catching one fish. Little does he know that his luck is about to turn around on day number 85 when he hooks a giant-sized marlin. Be sure to find out who wins this epic battle. Santiago? Or the opposing marlin?

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen:
At the age of 23, Jacob Jankowski, finds himself suddenly departing from veterinary school at Cornell University when he learns that his parents were killed in a car accident. Jankowski jumps on the first train he sees and quickly learns that it belongs to a traveling circus. Pick up Water for Elephants to see what unfolds in this tale of grief, adventure and love.

The Last Summer (of you and me) by Ann Brashares:
Ann Brashares, The Last Summer (of you and me) is the story of a recent college grad named Alice who is set to spend another summer at her family mansion in Fire Island, a gorgeous getaway from life in New York City. This heart-wrenching novel is one filled with lustful romance that is bound to leave you wanting more and more.

Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh:
If you haven’t before read this one of a kind story, be sure to take Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s, Gift from the Sea, on your next Hana beach vacation. Lindbergh enlightens us on her experience in youth, love, loneliness, satisfaction and peace. She reflects on her experiences during a vacation by the sea which draws inspiration from unique shells on the beach. A true beach classic!