By Kate Harris
While Maui has been a long time Honeymoon destination favorite, we are lucky to call it a weekend getaway! Spending time every winter on Oahu where our family lives, means we get to take advantage of inter island flights. So we pack a ton into a short time and rest when we return. However, being vegan and living our values as we travel brings a challenge even in a state with many like minds as it caters towards the typical tourist. Hawaii is a state with an incredibly rich culture, appreciation for the aina (land) and respect for others. The aloha spirit is one you will likely carry with you long after your visit.
Maui has a wonderful mix of rural vibes, resort style and local community making it a great island for those that are adventurous but prefer to fly below the radar.
Tourism can often come into conflict with the culture and strength of the community, as many resorts source employees from abroad, profits not staying on the islands, and traditions watered down with commercialism. Homelessness has been on the rise as a result of tourism, and beaches are being inundated with plastic pollution. Our mission when traveling is to be a part of the solution, not the problem. Here are some suggestions to help you do the same while celebrating your new marriage!
Our travel style is pretty casual. We prefer to immerse ourselves in a culture and support local, so veer away from resorts.
Air BnB is a tricky beast in Hawaii. In 2019 a law was passed curtailing this type of rental. Homelessness has become an ever increasing problem as housing stock gets transitioned into temporary rentals and affordable long-term options dwindle. The law combats this by only allowing a certain number of people to get legal certificates to operate house sharing facilities. As this is implemented, many non legal listings are being shut down. So if you book on a home share site, ask to see their certificate so you don’t run the risk of showing up and having no place to stay. Other great options are condo rentals. These are rooms built specifically for tourism and often come with many additional amenities.
Near our favorite town of Paia you can find a number of wellness centers. Enjoy a retreat-like experience at Lumeria Maui, where you can immerse yourself in wellness from yoga to spa treatments and vegan food sourced directly from the grounds. Or stay at the historic Inn at Mama’s Fish House, family owned, located in a coconut grove near some of the world’s best surfing. Their infamous restaurant will make up a delicious tofu curry for dinner.
Book a trip with Four Winds Maui and enjoy a snorkel or whale watch trip. Vegan meal option included.
Loads of hikes on island will leave you feeling fulfilled and likely muddy. We recommend AllTrails to choose the perfect one for your abilities. But make sure you include one at Haleakala National Park. We recommend sunrise (but bring layers!) Also not to miss is the Waihee Ridge Trail and the Lava Fields.
Leilani Farm Sanctuary is home to chickens, pigs, ducks, rabbits, donkeys, goats, and more. Book a tour and get ready for some snuggle time!
Visit Ahimsa Sanctuary Farm in Haiku. A self-sufficient, sustainable farm, they grow everything they need using organic methods, renewable resources and permaculture. Take an eco tour, and stay for a farm to table meal.
When in Hawaii…it only seems appropriate to have a traditional luau experience with a hula and feast. And Old Lahaina Luau makes it vegan friendly!
Saving the best for last here! Vegan options were surprisingly not abundant in Maui, but that’s ever changing. Breaking it down by location, here’s where we had some good luck!
West Maui (Lahaina)
A’a Roots vegan cafe perfect for an acai bowl, Buddha bowl or burrito before hitting the trail or beach.
Choice Health Bar offers all the typical Hawaiian cafe eats plus raw desserts and can be found in three locations around the island.
Moku Roots is a must add to your Instagram feed, but also an in person must. Loads of allergy free items, and almost 100% vegan, gluten free and local organic. A rotating menu of photo worthy zero waste dishes.
Central Maui (Airport)
The Farmacy Health Bar is our first stop after deplaning (although two locations are on island.) Breakfast all day, smoothies, hot plates, salads, and even a Pay it Forward donation to help someone in need get a soup with bread.
Down to Earth is our second stop, where we stock up on vegan staples and grab a few treats. It’s our favorite health food store chain.
North Coast (Paia)
Flatbread Company is a New England pizza chain with this Maui outlier. While the vegan pie is delicious, we almost always create our own or veganize the veggie special.
Island Fresh Maui offers plenty of vegan options, mostly in the form of smoothies. But you can veganize a salad, wrap or toast option as well.
Paia Bowls because you can never have too many smoothie bowls! Try a super coffee too.
Mana Foods is our favorite local health food store. Shoes seem to be optional. Great prices, organic options and a food bar.
South Shore (Kihei)
Fork and Salad because sometimes you have to eat something other than an acai bowl. Build your own or choose from their creations. Turn into a wrap or sandwich if you need something bready. Food sourced from local farms.
Joy’s Place is where you go for organic nourishing food. With a number of vegan and raw food options, this is a delicious nutrient dense break from the tourist options.
Brekkie Bowls to satisfy that acai need! Build your own to have some real fun.
That’s a Wrap only has one vegan wrap, but loads of vegan bowls, from frozen to warm. Or go hot with an espresso and baked good. Husband and wife owners committed to sourcing local organic.
Sprout Vegan Cafe veganizes some favorite Hawaiian dishes. Bowls, sushi, on bread, wraps, smoothies and sweets. All vegan. Try the kimchi fries!
Veg Out is a casual hippy vegetarian spot in Haiku with a globally inspired menu.
Maui Kombucha pairs organic raw food with homemade kombucha. Get your fill of cashew cheezes and raw desserts and let their Boochtenders serve you some drinks!
East Maui (Hana)
Coconut Glen’s Ice Cream is totally vegan with island flavors like Lilikoi and Pinapple Banana. Served out of a bubble bus. No one will judge if you call it a meal!
This is where things fell short. A nice dinner out was a struggle. We generally had luck with Thai restaurants (not quite fine dining though), and a few places will cater if you call ahead. Notably, Mama’s Fish House and The Wooden Crate at Lumeria. Also the Lahaina Fish Co.
For a more complete listing, check out the Vegetarian Society of Hawaii and Maui Vegan Food Guide
Kate & Keith are wedding and event photographers creating a work/life balance around sustainability and the outdoors. Both vegan, they are committed towards zero-waste initiatives and founded a non-profit (Sustainable Seacoast) in their home area to aid restaurants and events in eliminating single use plastics. Their passports show Southern Maine as home but are often found at family bases in New Jersey, Oahu, and Mount Desert Island, Maine. Loving to travel, they drive their Lobster Van (Promaster conversion) across the country for weddings, stashing their tiny Lagotto Romagnolo (dog) between camera bags and a Nutribullet, and using Happy Cow to explore vegan eateries along the way. They can easily be bribed with coconut milk cappuccinos. Read Kate and Keith’s articles