If the Cold and Snow Have You Feeling Sluggish, Book Your Hawaiian Vacation to Restore the Soul

Benefits of Using a Travel Agent

• “One-stop shop” convenience for airfare, lodging, activities and more

• Added value with access to exclusive, customized deals

• Expert, first-hand advice

“I have been sending people to the islands for years. I have visited five of the islands and know them inside and out,” says Colleen Renner, owner of 19th Hole Travel, a division of Groupit Travel. 

If Colleen doesn’t know about an activity or adventure you are interested in, she has many contacts she can go to for advice. She is also a golf expert and has golfed many of the courses on Maui.

Colleen has booked trips ranging from a solo traveler staying for two weeks to a family of 30 who flew from different parts of the country. She arranged flights from airports all over the United States, coordinated arrival times to avoid multiple trips to the airport, arranged car rentals and booked excursions ahead of time.

“I add value to my clients’ trips,” she says. “From the start of the vacation to when they come home, I am with them.”  

To contact Colleen Renner, email her at colleen@groupittravel.com.




Need some vitamin “sea” and every possible activity you can think of (or not) to renew your mind, body and spirit this winter? “Maui no kai oi” means “Maui is the best,” and this tropical paradise is a playground for all ages, from the beach lover to the adventure seeker.

I have a special affinity for this place, where the spirit of aloha seeped into my soul during my first visit almost four decades ago. It is the place that could even squelch my wanderlust. I smile with happy tears as the plane descends over the Pacific and feel my heart yearning to go back the moment I leave.

The health benefits of breathing the ocean air, swimming in the sea and just being near the water are just the beginning.

“We are beginning to learn that our brains are hardwired to react positively to water, and being near it can calm and connect us, increase innovation and insight and even heal what’s broken,” marine biologist Wallace J. Nichols says. “There are all these cognitive and emotional benefits that we derive every time we spend time by the water.”

“Oh, Maui. It is so beautiful,” Colleen says. “It is hard to describe it until you have seen it and experienced it for yourself.”  

Project Relax

Let the rejuvenation begin. Find a quiet condo complex, a full-service resort, or a private home that works as a base camp for your family and enjoy the flora, fauna, people and the food.

“A luau is a must,” Colleen says.

Immerse yourself in the rich, legendary culture and food. A beach vacation will restore all five senses.

Sink your toes in the sparkling sand and become “grounded” as you walk barefoot. Stimulation of the complex network of nerves in our feet also stimulates our minds and bodies as free ions are absorbed. The air heavy with saltwater provides cleansing benefits as our lungs breathe in beneficial negative ions that calm the brain. Listen to the waves and look at the cobalt, azure and cerulean blues of the water to reduce stress. Your mind and body are in a mild meditative state from the natural cleansing that happens just being by the ocean.  

Step into the Ho’ oLa Spa located at Honua Kai Resort and Spa, where wildcrafted ingredients, indigenous to the Maui mountains and ocean, are used to further pamper your senses.

Whale Watching and Water Time

Get on and in the water for more excitement. Early mornings are often best for calmer seas before the trade winds pick up later in the day. 

Humpback whales migrate to the warm waters of Hawaii every winter, where they breed and nurse their young. These majestic mammals are as curious about their observers as we are about them. It is estimated that more than 10,000 humpbacks—more than half of the total population—make their winter home in the channel between Maui and the surrounding islands.

Many outfits offer whale watches with experienced naturalists. Humpbacks are very acrobatic and breach, slap their tails and pectoral fins and spy hop. Captain Steve’s Rafting has been offering small-group whale watches since 1986 that create an intimate, interactive experience.

The comfortable rigid-hulled inflatables make for some of the most up-close whale encounters on the water. Whales often glide right under the rafts, and the crew provides a wealth of facts about these gentle giants. Hydrophones allow guests to listen to the whales’ songs. CaptainSteves.com

Trilogy Excursions has been sailing from Maui since 1973 and offers unparalleled service on sleek catamarans. Snorkel trips, romantic Captain’s Sunset Dinner Sails and Discover Lanai Tours are highlights. Guests have Hulopo’e Beach Park and Marine Preserve on Lanai to themselves.

Snorkel, SNUBA, take a narrated tour of historical Lana’i City and explore a variety of tidal pools. SNUBA (no certification needed!) lets you stay underwater and breathe through a simple regulator connected to an air source that floats on the surface. Reef fish in every color of the rainbow abound. Green sea turtles are common, and you might even see an endangered hawksbill sea turtle. SailTrilogy.com

All that Maui Has to Offer

Golfers can perfect their swing in paradise, too. From the famed bucket list-worthy Plantation Course at Kapalua Resort to Wailea Golf Club and Kaanapali Golf Resort, breathtaking ocean and mountain vistas abound.

The fabled Road to Hana is a full-day adventure with surprises around many of the 600 turns. Twin Falls is a short drive from Paia, and the first set of falls is an easy walk from the road. Hang out with locals and tourists as brave souls dive and jump off the rocks into the natural pool.

Grab a front row seat to watch surfers and windsurfers dart in and out of the waves at Jaws, and stop for an appetizer and a cocktail at Mama’s Fish House. People from all over the world gather at this iconic restaurant, and you might just rub elbows with your favorite celebrity.

Enjoy bounties from the sea at Paia Fish Market with three locations on the island. The draw includes a variety of fresh fish plates prepared just the way you like it: grilled; blackened; Cajun-style; or sauteed in butter, fresh garlic and lemon. Reasonable prices and casual picnic table dining add to the charm.

Monkeypod Kitchen by Merriman offers stunning views, farm-to-table ingredients and an edgy twist on traditional tropical cocktails such as mai tais and pina coladas. As the website proclaims, “Monkeypod Kitchen is passionate about handcrafted food, drink and merrymaking.”

With live music by local musicians; a friendly staff; and support of local and organic farms, ranches and fishermen, Monkeypod makes it is easy to unwind while enjoying one-of-a-kind drinks and dishes.

“Aloha” means hello, goodbye and love. Fall in love with Maui, and you will be planning your next trip before you even leave.