You can safely travel to Hawaii with Celiac Disease, and you can really enjoy your vacation. Over the holidays, I visited Honolulu, Hawaii for 1 night and then spent the rest of my vacation on the Island of Maui. I found some wonderful gems and have some great tips for your next Hawaiian vacation.
Book a hotel or condo with a kitchen and stock up on groceries
When you arrive in Kahului, Maui, there are stores close to the airport where you can buy all the gluten-free foods you love. We visited Costco and Whole Foods. Both were very crowded, and Whole Foods had limited stock, especially of gluten-free bread. I also visited larger grocery and drug stores Foodland, Longs Drugs, and Safeway.
I loved visiting some smaller local natural food stores. My favorites for gluten free, dairy free foods were Hawaiian Moons in Kihei, Hawaii and Manna Foods in Paia. Both stores are worth a stop if you are in the area. They had all our specialty favorites, and some nice local foods. Finally, I visited the Upcountry Farmers Market where I bought some gluten-free, vegan truffles and some delicious coconut yogurt. There were so many delicious fresh fruits and vegetables there. They also even had some unique items for gifting. I would highly recommend visiting a local farmer’s market.
Research Before Your Trip
Based upon where I was staying, I looked up restaurant options. I searched the internet and looked at apps like Find Me Gluten Free and Gluten Dude. I also reached out to a local expert @MauiGlutenFree. I was unable to connect with her for my trip, but I have heard from others that she helped them plan where to eat on their trips. Through my research, I was able to eat safely at some wonderful restaurants.
Coconut Fish Café (2 locations in Kihei, Hawaii) They had a very extensive gluten free menu and the staff there was well-versed in cross-contact. I ate the Local Style Grilled Mahi Mahi Plate, and it was delicious. Other people recommended the fish tacos.
Hali’imaile General Store is located in Upcountry Maui. This farm to table restaurant has many gluten-free options. They do not have a dedicated fryer, so fries are not safe for people with Celiac Disease. I chose the Coconut Fish Curry, and my friends had the Kalua Pork Enchilada Pie which was also gluten free. Both dishes were delicious. We visited here after we went to the Upcountry Farmer’s Market, but it would be a good stop after a trip up to Haleakala.
The Cinnamon Roll Place Maui (Kihei, Hawaii) – This is the one that surprised me the most. They bake gluten free cinnamon rolls first thing in the morning.
Miss Arepa (Lahaina, Hawaii) The only 100% gluten free restaurant I visited on the trip. Everything here is made with corn. We tried a variety of dishes from a traditional Arepa to both the sweet plantains and the crispy Plantains or Tostones. The staff was wonderful, and the food was delicious. We got it to go and ate it in the car while whale watching.
Poke Bobs is a food truck at the end of the road to Hana in Hana, Hawaii. This food truck seemed to be the safest one for me. I bought a poke bowl. The fresh fish was marinated in gluten-free soy sauce and placed on top of rice and spring mix. It was topped with avocado and some delicious sauces. This was a 10 out of 10.
Enjoy the natural beauty of this beautiful paradise
There are so many things to do in Maui that have absolutely nothing to do with food. This is the perfect place to enjoy a vacation without a worry for food.
The best part is many of the things are completely free. You can take a scenic drive, hang out at the beach, hike on many beautiful trails, swim, and whale watch from the shore.
Bring your snorkel or rent or buy one and you can snorkel offshore. We went snorkeling at Napili Beach. You can also book an offshore snorkeling or diving tour. If you
Rest and Relax
This is the most important. When you have autoimmune disease, your body works overtime most of the time. It is so important to take time for relaxation and rest. Destress from your regular life, and enjoy the time away from your normal life.