As I’ve mentioned before, Maui VW camping is truly a killer experience. Not as in someone’s going to kill you, but you know…
And because I am the poster girl for outdoorsy adventures (ahem), or more likely because I am willing to write about ridiculously awesome experiences in exchange for ridiculously awesome complimentary local services, the kind and generous souls at Aloha Campers invited me to take out Ms. Ruby West, one of their many aptly-named VW Westfalia camper vans, for a 3-day camping excursion around Maui. To which I replied, friggin’ hell yeah! Obviously.
Maui VW Camping: The Basics
The camping plan was set in motion – Day 1 on the West side (originally Camp Keanae, but they are often allergic to communication), Day 2 at Wai’anapanapa State Park, and Day 3 at Kipahulu Campground in Haleakala National Park.
First off, I must say that all booking and communication with Aloha Campers was straightforward, simple, flexible and friendly. Delphine was particularly helpful in answering the most common questions about both camping and the van, and was as thorough with us as she would have been to anyone visiting Maui for the first time.
Guests can choose their own pick-up and drop-off times (as long as they fall within the 3 day minimum rental), and can drive anywhere on Maui with the exception of three areas – the unpaved backside of Haleakala, the full circle around the West Maui Mountains, and anywhere above the Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm at around 4,000 feet in elevation.
After a sweet-and-simple tour of our van, which came equipped with two double beds, vanity mirror, storage areas, sheets, blankets, pillows, towels, mosquito net curtain, large ice chest, booklet with information about Maui’s campgrounds, kitchenette with sink, double burner gas stove with propane, cooking utensils, plates, cookware, cups, french coffee press, water hose, jumper cables, toilet paper, broom, dustpan, owner manuals, map, guidebook, first aid kit, flashlight, screwdriver, beach chairs, folding table, lantern, and basically anything that might come in handy whilst camping in a tropical location, we were ready to hit the road!
The total for a three day rental with beach chairs and a small table included (which come in very handy) costs around $480, or a little more than $150 per day.
Day 1 – Camping in West Maui
For our first night in the camper van, we planned on staying at the official campground at Olowalu ($15 per person, per night), a picturesque spot in West Maui right beside the ocean and surrounded by many swaying palm trees.
After driving around a little, however, we noticed that the campground is really only cool for tent or cabin camping. The drive-in camping, at least as far as we could tell (the office is closed on weekends, and we arrived on a Sunday), is in a dirt parking lot with little to no view or privacy. And in an area of Maui known for its easy accessibility to plenty of lovely camping spots just off the highway, we decided to venture out of ‘official’ zone to a much nicer area with a view just a little further south.
So what does one do when it’s 2pm on a Sunday and you’ve got no agenda other than spending the evening in a van named Ruby? Well, you crack open a damn beer, slap on a thick coat’a SPF, post up on the beach, and enjoy yourself, yo!
And enjoy we did.
Peter, sir boyfriend and surfboard hoarder, enjoyed a nice pre-sunset longboard session while I did what I do best – drink beer in the sand and listen to dead blues guys sing their way into my white girl heart.
After an utterly lovely day of relaxation, we decided to cook up a sexy little dinner in Ms. Ruby. And by sexy I mean brats and tortillas and zucchini, because that’s about the sexiest thing I know how to cook. While we didn’t have a permit to camp overnight at that particular spot, no one seemed to care. Do what you will with that information.
Other than the noise from the cars cruising by on the Pali, this was a pretty perfect place to camp. We had the area mainly to ourselves, and the view of the West Maui Mountains to one side and the Pacific to the other is never a bad way to start or end your day. Plus, the van is a kickass addition to camping – you get a nice breeze through the pop-top roof, privacy from the snap-on curtains over the front windshield, and have a place to store all of your stuff, wash your hands, cook dinner, relax in the shade, and a bed to sleep on!
To sum up, Maui VW camping = Win. Come back to read our next two posts about bringing this bad gal to Hana, and in the meantime, go play outside.
Awesome photography provided by Sir Peter Rimkus of Two Tank Photo.