Happy New Year! Blue Besos is starting the year with a travel blast. Future posts will feature dining out in Vancouver, a Seattle girls’ trip and snowboarding in Revelstoke, but first let’s partake in some tropical thunder. Maui is one of the most beautiful places on earth. If your vacation brain has enough juice to plan a few day trips in between those pineapple-soaked cocktail umbrellas, you’ll have the holiday of a lifetime. If you can drag yourself out of bed early enough (perhaps you’re a morning person and this isn’t an issue for you, but a deep love of sleep is my nemesis) a lava hike is a lovely way to start the day. Drive til the end of the road in South Maui. At La Perouse Bay, known for great snorkelling, there’s a lava field that stretches for miles, from the last eruption on Maui. Haleakala Volcano blew her top back in 1490, or 1790, depending on who you talk to. Walking through it is like taking a walk on the moon, except with gravity. Or maybe Saturn. The loose lava rocks on the path are potential ankle busters, so you have to keep an eye on your feet, which is a challenge, because at this time of year the whales are going crazy, jumping out of the water and in general just trying to distract you. Also, be on the lookout for the random goat that crossed my path.Jawz food truck is perfectly positioned for your lava-induced appetite just ten minutes up Makena Alanui Road. A dude from North Idaho, who’s been known to snowboard in Alberta when he’s not hanging loose, serves up fish and shrimp tacos. To be clear, he wasn’t hanging loose over the taco fixings. They weren’t the best tacos in the world, but with some BYO Coronas to wash ‘em down, they’re like a mirage come true.Conveniently located right across the road from the taco truck is my favorite beach on Maui. So far. A long, treed path separates Big Beach from the well-maintained free parking lot. It’s also one of the few beaches I’ve seen with lifeguards, who occasionally make ominous announcements via loudspeakers about the spinal injury potential of body surfing.Besides the super-soft sand and the snorkeling along the edges of this cove, the lovely thing about this beach is that it is in a state park, which means no hotels or condos along the shore. The only thing looming behind you is a cliff dotted with trees.But if the absence of beach bars makes you miss the party, there’s one in the cove next door! Accessible by scrambling over a narrow cliff path, Little Beach is a favorite with the clothing-optional crowd…… and the drum circle on Sundays.Back on Big Beach, which empties out quickly at the end of the day, the sun sets over Kaho’olawe, a truly uninhabited island.Next, stroll through the zen front entrance of the newest luxury hotel on the beachfront boardwalk, Maui Andaz, a short drive north in Wailea. Worth walking through just to appreciate the Miami-meets-onsen design aesthetic…… it’s even better if your final destination includes Chef Morimoto’s most recent restaurant in his current world takeover (watch out, Wolfgang). Set poolside between the hotel and the beach, Morimoto Andaz opened in Fall, 2013. Behind that locally sourced tuna and softshell crab rolls is a sake tasting. Oyshi.If the sake gives you a thirst for dramatically lit photo shoots, pause to ponder the infinity pool’s lava rock wall. And check back for mmmore of my favorite Mmmaui days.