Hawaii travel guide and travel photography? Not really. More the collection of my favourite photos and thoughts of this beautiful island.

If you want a digested version of this post, then all you need to know is that Maui is sooo beautiful, and if you get the chance, you should definitely visit it!

For more, read on.

First, I have a confession to make. Hawaii was never on my bucket list. Not even close. It actually sounded too Americanized. Just sand beaches, cheesy sunsets and palm trees... kinda superficial.

But it was January, and minus 15 degrees in Toronto. So accompanying my dearest friend while he’s on his professional conference, on tropical island, is something I couldn't refuse.

So, no expectations, no big plans. I came for vitamin D and some laughs, but I left with so much more.

Where do I begin? This small island seems to have it all. Such a diverse and breathtaking nature. From moon-like volcano craters, big surfing waves, black lava sand beaches, rainforest and waterfalls to calm tropical crystal blue waters. Oh, and the rainbows, don't get me started on the amazing rainbows!

Flora and fauna loves it here too. Plants we adore and keep in our homes, grow wild here. Some, like xanadu (you know that big all time instagram favourite leaf) even look like weeds. True!

And when reading “during winter months humpback whales come to breed in waters around Maui..” and “..population of turtles..” I was like, “yeah, right, luring the tourists”... But not only did we see whales (can you spot whale spout in one photo?) and turtles and birds of all sizes and kinds, we saw them so many times, on designated spots, in front of our hotel, random walks, that it almost stopped being new and magical.

I also love how obviously local language and culture is so preserved, alive and encouraged absolutely everywhere. I tried making Lei - orchid necklace, and of course swing my hips in rhythms of Hula dance, for which I got diploma, haha with my name written in Hawaiian. Yep, call me Kalewi! :D

I don't know if it was the surreal experience of being so close to the wild life, energy of the volcano or if it was the 28 degree weather, either way it was impossible not to fall in love with this place.

Till next time we meet, Mahalo Maui! Hvala Maui!

When traveling (or when everyday living) I hate dragging things, and I try to pack as light as possible. That means my go to lens would always be the smallest one that fits my bag, and 50mm 1.4 is the absolute winner! I still don't own 35mm so I added 24-70mm for wide angles and exclusivity, in case I see Hawaii only once. But most of the time I was just using my iPhone 8 plus. In love with it and it’s portrait mode.

*Hey Universe, I've only been to Maui. And there are also Oahu, Kauai and Big Island. I hear they're pretty amazing too. Wink, wink!