Gluten Free Travel: Pt 2, Maui, Luau & Snorkeling


We arrived in Maui after a long day in Honolulu. It was about all we could do to get to our condo, unzip the luggage, find our toothbrushes and crash in bed.

Next morning husband and I woke to beautiful weather, brewed a big pot of dark yet smooth Kona coffee, and sat on the balcony while waiting for the girls to rise. Once they got up and got themselves dressed, we headed down to the small restaurant they had in the facility to have breakfast. We stayed on the western side of the island, in Kaanapali. It’s a beautiful side of the island, quieter and lower key than the south eastern side down near Kihei. We loved it. There was plenty for the girls to entertain themselves with on our first leg in the islands, but not so ‘touristy’ that us adults were put off.

Gluten Free was really quite available we found in our travels through the islands. My husband utilized his ‘YELP’ phone app to find places and check reviews, and the only time we had a mediocre meal was the one time we ate in Kauai as a walk-in with no – Yelping. (is that what its’ called? well, that’s what I’ll call it!) Since we were 5 days in Maui, we utilized the kitchen in the condo to have breakfast and make lunches. Right up the street from us was a ‘Times’ grocery store that was quite busy and appeared used by the locals. It was suggested to us to stop at the Walmart on the way out of the airport, but it was pitch black, late in the evening, and we just wanted to find our place and sleep. Walmart may have been cheaper, but for lunch meats, corn tortillas, lettuce, eggs, sausage and fruit for breakfast/lunch it was reasonably priced.

So we hit the store after breakfast, went back to the room, packed the cooler with waters, GF sandwiches (corn tortillas, lunchmeat, mayo and lettuce) and headed off to the beach. By the way, if I have not said this before, I HIGHLY recommend packing a collapsable cooler in your luggage. We used it everywhere we went, and that is highly advisable when you have someone who has dietary issues. It was just easier to pack a lunch or snacks to the beach than worry about local joints who didn’t know the ingredient lists of their products. Plus, it’s a great way to save a buck you can then spend on something else; for example, a trip to Molokini (see previous post!) or Mai Tai’s! (Just remember to pack some extra heavy duty ziploc bags in your luggage to put ice in!)

For eating out in Maui and Kauai, you can’t go wrong with the group who runs a number of the restaurants on the islands, which thankfully sports Gluten Free menus or accommodates GF selections. On Maui there was Duke’s Beach House in Kaanapali, Kimos in Lahaina, and on Kauai there is Keoki’s.

Here is the link to check out the Menu

Luau on Maui:

Here is my one word of caution for all Hawaiian travelers who have gluten issues: either find a Luau which offers gluten free options or don’t bother going. My daughter was frustrated and hungry went we left, and considering the price of a Luau, we were disappointed. The salad dressings had soy, the meats (except for the kalua pork), the vegetables, even the fish all had soy or gluten. Since she also has sun allergies and has to stay away from citrus, the fruit platters were off limits also. She ate pork and that was about all. (She was not interested in the taro root vegetable dish, which she said looked like green slime. And it did. ) The entertainment is fun, but I’m guessing you can find a free or food free version of a hula dance show somewhere else.


Be sure to rent the snorkel gear from a local shop and snorkel. It’s amazing over on the west side where it’s more volcanic rock and there is a lot of reef. I saw a sea turtle on my first outing and the fish are breathtakingly beautiful. The vibrant colors of the fish and clarity of water just can’t be beat. The place I got my gear from in Kaanapali gave me a bottle of de-fog and custom fit the mask and flippers. It was worth the little higher price compared to the gear I rented on Kauai that was not custom fit and didn’t include the de-fog. You can find places that are cheaper, but decide what you want and need and then price shop. I’d rather have gear that fits than gear that didn’t fit as well. I found I was much more comfortable and fussed less with leaky or foggy masks, and my flippers never tried to fall off with the custom fit shop. It’s up to you. But if you don’t snorkel while in the islands, you are missing out on a lot of what makes the hawaiian islands unique and breathtaking. So, just like Molokini and Hana are a ‘must’, so is snorkeling. Just do it.

coming soon: Pt 3, Kauai

4 thoughts on “Gluten Free Travel: Pt 2, Maui, Luau & Snorkeling

    • #1 thank you holly, i love to cook. this was a summer meal of hanger steak, chimichuri sauce, black beans and rice. #2. we took a family vacation to the hawaiian islands. it was simply heaven!


  1. Kim

    Hello! I see you mentioned Duke’s in your review. We have been thinking of staying at the Konua Kai and since Duke’s is the main restaurant on the property, it is very important to us that they are versed in Gluten Free (my husband is a Celiac). I’ve read other reviews saying the Duke’s was completely clueless (i.e. putting panko bread crumbs on food, thinking that is was “rice based” but not sure…etc). But these were older reviews (2010). What was your experience at Duke’s?


    • Hi Kim, my youngest daughter is gluten intolerant and we had no problems with Dukes when we were there. They have a gluten free menu, and that is what my daughter ordered off of. We are not celiac, but my daughter is careful about what she orders. I cant remember off the top of my head what she ordered, but she enjoyed all her meals on Kauai. We also ate at a WONDERFUL tapas restaurant there. You can google it I’m sure. My husband found the eating places via Yelp. There was a fantastic place, i think it was called the Beach House that also is GF. They were the most upscale place on the island and it was phenomenal. (i had the best maui maui i’ve ever had there) It was on the way to the blow hole observation point.
      My advise would be to call, or double check with your waiter before going, or while making reservations. If you have any doubts whatsoever, check with a manager.
      We found all places very accommodating. Thanks for checking out my blog! Come back sometime, I do post a lot of GF food due to my daughters dietary constraints.
      (the chicken fingers are amazing!)


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