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The Island Of Maui

"Hawaii's Magic Isle"


Find Out What Only The Local's Know! Discover What Tours, Hotels And Attractions To Patronize And The One's To Stay Clear Of While Vacationing Here.... How To Have Local Vendor's Lining Up Begging For Your Business Instead...

From: Hawaiian Joe
Re: The Island Of Maui

Maui Island Background And History

Maui - The Magic Isle

Maui's color is pink and its flower is the Lokelani rose.


Maui offers great diversity in its landscape, attractions (both scenic and man-made), lodging choices and the ability for visitors to enjoy themselves. With two of the world's best scenic drives (the roads to Hana and up Haleakala), Maui is a great destination that's exotic but not too foreign; Hawaiian but familiar. It's truly a tropical paradise, offering everything a visitor would want to see or do.

 Did you ever drive above the clouds? You will – if you decide to visit the lofty, cloud-topping summit of Maui's huge Haleakala volcano.

Maui is the second largest of the islands in land area. It's centrally located among the other islands and offers steep mountains, spectacular waterfalls, remote valleys and lush rainforests. With more than 120 miles of shoreline encompassing 80 exquisite beaches, sparkling seas and coral reefs, along with an abundance of attractions and things to do, Maui meets almost everyone's idea of the perfect tropical paradise.


The ancient god Maui is known throughout Polynesia, not just in Hawaii. He is sometimes called Maui of the Thousand Tricks. Hence the island's name "The Magic Isle."


Topographically, Maui has three distinct areas: the rugged and largely unexplored mountains of West Maui, the valley in the center, and Haleakala to the southeast.


Maui is known as "the Magic Isle," or "the Valley Isle," because of the large plateau between its two massive volcanoes, Haleakala and ancient Mauna Kahalawai. It's also possible that it may have been named the Valley Isle by ancient Maui people for the Iao Valley, which figures so prominently in the island's history. This was where, in one of Hawaiian history's bloodiest battles, Kamehameha the Great conquered the island. It remains a popular tourist site to this day for its historic importance, green beauty and steep cliffs.


An awe-inspiring attraction on Maui is Haleakala, the showpiece of a 27,000-acre national park. This massive volcano is officially classified as "active" but not currently erupting. Its name means "House of the Sun," and it's the highest point on the island. Stark and barren, it's an unforgettable place to experience.


A good travel agents will tell their clients to drive to the summit to watch the sunrise (when clouds are least likely). Another very popular activity (for the moderately adventurous) is to bike down from the top.

On the eastern part of the island lies the picturesque town of Hana. Another great recommendation for visitors is to drive the 50-odd miles on the Hana Highway to experience the lush rainforest sights along the way. There you can visit both the sleepy little town itself and the freshwater Pools at Oheo a little farther down the road from Hana.


On the western shores of Maui lies the town of Lahaina. Once a raucous whaling center with a rough, tough history, Lahaina is now a great collection of historical sites, restaurants and shops, and is one of Maui's most popular visitor attractions.

 While some people have the false idea that Hawaii is super-expensive, many mid-priced yet extremely comfortable accommodations are available. There are some downright bargains for the budget-conscious too, as well as upscale and super luxurious for those of you who want the very best. The bottom line: For what you get for your money, Hawaii is an outstanding value.

Accommodations come in all price ranges. Condos, rented homes and bed & breakfasts, along with other unique options (such as tents on the sand), are available.

Maui has two major resort/accommodation areas: West and South Maui. Both are made up of smaller communities and resorts, and offer a great base for you while you discover the many wonders of the Valley Island, with accommodations that range from the opulent to the quaint. You’ll also discover lodging choices in the leeward towns of Kahului and Wailuku.

West Maui offers lodging in the port town of Lahaina, the resort area of Kaanapali, the condo areas of Honokowai, Kahana and Napili, and the resort area of Kapalua.

The South Coast (which is actually more west-facing) offers lodging choices in Maalaea and Kihei, and the more upscale Wailea and Makena areas. A few charming properties are located in Hana, with some lovely Bed & Breakfasts and small inns hiding out in Upcountry Maui.

Maui's Attractions

Haleakala National Park - House of the Sun

Maui's main attraction, Haleakala volcano - whose official status is "active, but not currently erupting" - attracts more than 1.3 million visitors per year. The drive to the summit rises from sea level to 10,000 feet in only 37 miles. There are at least 33 switchbacks, so expect a slow, careful drive.


Watching the sunrise from the summit is the park's most popular activity and a tradition for most visitors. Sunsets here can be spectacular also, but clouds are more likely.


Another popular activity for active outdoor types is to bicycle down from the top. (Several local vendors provide the bikes and have guides to accompany the cyclists down.) Clients who visit should wear something warm, because the temperature drops a lot as you get higher.


Haleakala, the world's largest dormant volcano, is 10,023 feet high and has a crater big enough to hold Manhattan Island.


Honolua Bay

Honolua Bay – beloved to surfers, revered by Native Hawaiians, treasured by conservationists – is the azure jewel of the Honolua ahupua’a  (ancient Hawaiian land division) on Maui’s northwest shore. Bordered north and south by basaltic cliffs, the bay is a marine conservation area home to colorful corals, green sea turtles and thousands of tropical fish.


On any given day visitors trek through to snorkel the bay’s warm turquoise waters. Farther up the road, and a dusty assortment of surfers’ trucks lines the old pineapple road leading down the bluff. At the base of the steep, slippery trail is the right-breaking point surf described by The Encyclopedia of Surfing as one of the best waves in the world.

Lahaina and Environs

Lahaina, whose name means "merciless sun," was the royal capital of the early kingdom. It became a raucous town in the mid-1800s, when it was known as the "whaling capital of the Pacific." Today, it's the biggest attraction in West Maui and a National Historic District, offering restored buildings, museums, missionary homes, and much more for those interested in its rich history.


For those who love to eat, shop and party, the broad spectrum of stores, boutiques, nightclubs and eating establishments will satisfy almost everyone. You can ride a restored sugarcane train which takes you between Lahaina and Kaanapali, Maui's largest resort area.


A must-see sight for those who visit the central area of Maui is the Maui Ocean Center located at the Maalaea Harbor Village. This five-acre complex features local sea-life. The star attraction is the immense 100-foot long, 600,000-gallon tank, which has a walkway through it, allowing for a three-sided view of the marine creatures.


The lush Maui Tropical Plantation lies to the north of Maalaea at Waikapu. There, you can take a 40-minute tram ride through fields of papaya, sugarcane, pineapples and other tropical agricultural products on a real 120-acre working plantation.


Other attractions nearby include Kepaniwai Park. Once the site of a ferocious battle in 1790, it's now a cultural tribute to the ethnic groups that settled Maui.


The adjacent Nature Center Interactive Science Arcade offers hands-on and interactive natural science exhibits and is fun and educational for the entire family.


Founded in 1831, the Lahainaluna High School in Lahaina was the first American school established west of the Rocky Mountains.

Whale Watching Excursions

Immense Pacific humpback whales migrate from Alaska each year to give birth and winter in Hawaiian waters, primarily between December and March.

They come relatively close to shore and provide an amazing and inspiring sight as they leap, spout and spy-hop (peek above the waterline to see what's happening). They're particularly prevalent in the channel separating Maui from Moloka’i and Lana’i, making Maui a prime whale watching location.


On Maui you can visit museums and exhibits dedicated to both the whales themselves and to the whaling industry of the mid-nineteenth century. You can also book whale-watching cruises that are offered not only from Maui but also from the other islands for an up-close look at these gentle giants.


Pacific humpback whales, Hawaii's state mammal, are endangered. Of the 1,500-2,000 remaining, about 1,200 come to the islands to spend the winter.

The Road to Hana

It's 53 miles of horseshoe turns, one-lane bridges and narrow shoulders, packed with beautiful sites and vistas. Driving the road to Hana is another tradition for visitors to Maui. Some elect to leave the driving to someone from an escort service so they can see everything along the way without worrying about the twisting drive. The Hana Highway is one of the world's greatest drives, filled with lush tropical foliage, waterfalls, freshwater pools and breathtaking scenery.

Hana, a sleepy little town that lies toward the end of the highway, is reminiscent of old Hawaii. Because of its green, tropical location, it's sometimes known as "Heavenly Hana."


Hotels and several roadside stands sell picnic baskets with food for the long trip to Hana.


Farther down the road from Hana, in Haleakala National Park, is Oheo Gulch, featuring about two-dozen pools. With a beautiful series of waterfalls cascading into the sea, it's a sight to see and offers swimming (when the flow is gentle) and picnicking.


Charles Lindbergh, the famed aviator, is buried in the churchyard of the Kipahulu Hawaiian Church, a couple of miles beyond Oheo Gulch.

Molokini Crater

A Marine Preserve and one of Hawaii's best dive and snorkel spots is this sunken, crescent-shaped volcanic crater off Maui's western shore. Its clear, calm, protected waters are home to a multitude of sea-life, including great swarms of colorful fish, sea turtles, reef sharks and manta rays.

 Whaler's Village

A collection of shops and restaurants, the village also has a free museum dedicated both to humpback whales and the industry that revolved around them. Of special note is the re-creation of a whaling ship's forecastle that strikingly conveys the living conditions of the whaling men.

Bailey House Museum

In Wailuku is the headquarters of the Maui Historical Society, located in what was once the home of missionary and sugar planter Edward Bailey and his wife. It now provides a look back at missionary life in the 19th century, with artifacts and paintings.

Sugar Museum

The Alexander and Baldwin Sugar Museum, near Kahului, was built in 1902 and is still functioning. The supervisor's house has been turned into a museum chronicling the sugar industry.

Upcountry Maui

Along the northern slope of mighty Haleakala lies Upcountry Maui. This is a scenic area dotted with cattle ranches and farms principally producing Maui Onions (which are sweeter than most), hibiscus and the otherworldly protea flower.


Makawao, with its Old-West flavor coupled with trendy art galleries, is a unique blend of new-age and cowboy.



Down by the seashore in East Maui is little Paia, a small bohemian town with specialty shops and eateries and is especially noted for windsurfing at nearby Hookipa Beach.

Tedeschi Vineyards

Located in Upcountry Maui, this winery offers picnic areas under spreading trees and some fine wines, including sparkling wines and one made from pineapple juice. Wine tasting takes place in a cottage once used by King Kalakaua.

Maui Arts And Cultural Center

Comprising a visual arts gallery, a 300-seat experimental theater, an outdoor amphitheater, and a 1,200-seat main theater, this state-of-the-art entertainment venue in Kahului is a showcase for world-class talent, along with the best in local and Hawaiian entertainment.


The Banyan Tree in Lahaina was planted in 1873. It's now more than 50 feet tall, has 12 major trunks and shades two-thirds of an acre. It's so big that special events are held under it.


A state park on the outskirts of Hana that offers camping or rustic cabins. There's an easy six-mile trail that parallels the ocean and meanders by lava cliffs, groves of stately lauhala trees, caves, a blowhole and Waianapanapa Beach.

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