Our favorite destination for 2017 is Maui: ‘The Valley Isle’
Beaches dominate the lifestyle in Maui.
People come to Maui to experience Hawaii. Maui has a diversity of microclimates and unique towns. People move to Maui from all over the world. In a coffee shop in Kihei and you might find an artist, an Swedish real estate developer, and a former city attorney who surfs every day. Artists have always been drawn to Maui for the beautiful landscapes. There is an art market due to the many tourists who visit Maui every year.
Despite its common place traffic snarls, Maui remains a haven of natural beauty. It has beaches, wilderness, deep valleys, mountains, golf courses and fern forests.
Maui Island was named after the demigod Maui. He is the super hero of the Hawaiian Gods.
When choosing where to stay you must choose by area and by town. You will likely want to fly into Kahului regardless of where you are staying on the island. Driving for an hour along the beautiful coast is usually better than spending a fortune flying into Kapalua.
Here is a breakdown of Maui by area.
This is your best chance of having sun 100% of the time as it is the desert side of the island. South Maui packs some great beaches, restaurants, and activities. Kihei is less expensive, but only south Kihei is really nice (in my opinion.) South Kihei Road runs the entire length of both north and south Kihei, so don’t be fooled. We like everything south of Kanani Road. Wailea and Makena have amazing resorts and condos on golf courses with great beaches.
“The green mountains roll down to the sea, and rainbows crown their mighty peaks. The highest is Puu Kukui, the ‘hill of light’, once regarded as the juncture between heaven and earth.” -National Geographic Traveler
West Maui is also on the dry desert side of the island. Lahaina Town is very concentrated and busy with great shopping and lot of restaurants on the water. Kaanapali and Kapalua are towns with golf courses on the water and hotels or resorts. Napili is a more quiet village area with some pretty beaches too. Kahana is located between Kaanapali and Kapalua and has some nice beaches with good prices on accommodations.
Front Street Botiques at Night
The capital of the united Hawaiian Kingdom was Lahaina. It was moved in 1845 to Honolulu.
Lahaina was an old port of call for whalers and sailors in the 19th century. The whalers are long gone but you can still see the whales out in the ocean.
Today it is a nice waterfront town of art galleries, boutiques, shops, and interesting local characters. The wooden buildings that house the shops and galleries along Front Street are a must see. Not taking the landscape for granted, it boasts breathtaking views of Moloka’i and Lana’i.
Every fall, humpback whales migrate over 2,500 miles to Hawaiian waters to mate and give birth. Once hunted to near extinction, they’re slowly increasing in numbers. In the fall through early spring, you can often see these gentle giants breaching right off shore. The best time for whale watching is generally December or January to April every year. There are many tour operators who offer whale watching boat excursions right from Kaanapali Beach or Lahaina.
Not many visitors stay Upcountry, but we recommend it to those that want a cooler experience with great views. These quiet villages are high on the slopes of Haleakala, so you won’t have beaches, but you’ll likely be able to see them! The weather is much cooler. It’s gorgeous with some beautiful landscapes.
The Village of Hana is paradise in the middle of lush green fern forests and waterfalls. The scenic journey includes a hairy, twisting drive on narrow cliffsides. Going slowly and carefully is a must.
Hana is generally what you think of when you imagine Hawaii. It has ultra lush rainforests that hug pure coastlines of lava rock, empty beaches, and slow living. This is where all the waterfalls are too. There aren’t many choices on where to stay, but you can rent a condo/house or stay at the Travaasa Hotel. Renting a place can be good, but we’ve had a few bad experiences. Staying at the hotel is one of the best experiences I’ve had while in Hana. It’s in the heart of town with incredible amenities, aloha staff, and a full spa with amazing ocean views.