Hawaii

Maui, Hawaii

A- Overview:
Two million people now visit Maui each year, and 120,000 people make the island their home. Maui, which is located midway between Oahu and Hawaii, showcases a mix of eclectic styles and cultures; in some villages, ancient Hawaiian is still spoken, as nearby five-star resorts beckon the rich and famous. Asian and Polynesian influences are evident everywhere, from cuisine to clothing to architecture.

Known locally as the Valley Island, Maui reigns as the second largest of the Hawaiian Islands. A spectacular dormant volcano, 10,023-foot Haleakala erupted five million years ago to create the 279-square-mile island, together with the now-extinct Pu’u Kukui. As gentle mists move through the valley between the volcanoes, rainbows spring from nowhere and lush sugar cane wafts in the balmy trade winds. The valley forms the island’s verdant agricultural center, where tropical fruits and flowers grow in abundance.

The island was first settled in 750 AD by the Marquesas, who sailed the Pacific in double-hulled sailing canoes. For centuries the Marquesa people survived on the island, building houses and stone temples and enjoying the fruit of the vibrant land. Tahitians followed, bringing their own goddesses and the “kapu” system, a rigid caste order that dictated social standing that dictated Hawaiian culture for centuries. The islanders’ lifestyles changed forever when Captain James Cook “discovered” Maui in 1778, and led the influx of traders, whalers and missionaries. The only U.S. state with a royal history, Hawaii was ruled by kings until the monarchy was overturned in 1898 and the island chain was made a territory two years later.

Several of the island’s cities are renowned for their special flavor. Located on the island’s northwest coast, Lahaina is a little whaling town with a storied past – irreverent whalers clashed with Christian missionaries trying to save the islanders’ souls. Many of Lahaina’s buildings are now listed as National Historic Landmarks, and its museum documents the harsh whaling life that made it a boomtown of the mid-19th century. Pa’ia, a former hippie hideout of the seventies, has become a favorite of the young windsurfing crowd, and Ho’okipa Beach is the place to watch the world’s best sailboarders ply their trade.

Outdoor lovers will be especially happy in Maui, as the stunning terrain offers so many camping and hiking opportunities, and the warm oceans are ideal for year-round swimming, sailing and whale-watching cruises. Adventurous travelers can arrange for a helicopter tour of the more remote regions, or arrange a paraglide tour in the mountains. Each year, more than one million people make their way to eastern Maui to visit the Haleakala volcano, possibly the island’s most breathtaking feature. The volcano last erupted about 200 years ago, and the view from its uppermost rim into its 3,000-foot-deep crater is nothing short of magnificent – like the rest of this exotic island.

B- City Information:
Time Zone:
Hawaii

Getting Around:
Visitors to Maui will likely arrive by plane at one of the island’s three airports (Hana, Kahului and Kapalua), though it’s possible to sail to the island if you have the time. Once on Maui, most visitors choose to rent a car. Hawaii’s drivers are safe and courteous, and there are several well-marked major roads on Maui to make navigating relatively easy. Still, some steep and winding roads will require an extra cautious hand behind the wheel, and rental companies refuse to allow their cars on some of the unpaved, bumpy dirt roads, where a four-wheel-drive vehicle is the only safe choice. Some visitors choose to charter an airplane or helicopter to tour the island’s more remote, but breathtaking, regions.

Weather:
All the Hawaiian islands boast pleasant year-round temperatures and lots of sunshine, so it’s tough to pick a bad time of year to visit Maui. During winter months, the temperature averages 80 degrees, increasing closer to 90 degrees in the hottest part of the summer, but trade winds usually keep the temperature comfortable. Rainfall increases slightly as the temperature drops in winter; much of Maui’s rainfall occurs on the north coast and in the remote interiors of the mountains. Since the island was formed by active volcanoes, its landscape encompasses 11 different climate zones and your weather will be dictated by local patterns and where you happen to be on the island.

C- Attractions/Things To Do:
Haleakala National Park
Haleakala Crater Road, Makawao
808-572-9306
Haleakala’s steaming plume beckons from miles away. It’s not difficult to imagine the demigod Maui capturing the sun and holding it captive here in the “House of the Sun” (as Polynesian lore dictates), demanding more hours of sunlight for islanders. Haleakala is a breathtaking spot, a 10,023-foot-tall dormant volcano whose lava formed most of East Maui. The cinder cone-covered crater floor measures more than 24 square miles, and is a 3,000-foot drop from its upper rim. More than one million people visit Haleakala annually.

Maui Ocean Center
192 Ma’alaea Road, Ma’alaea
808-270-7000
Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily
Admission Charged
As an island, Maui enjoys a special link to the sea. The Maui Ocean Center explores that link; indoor and outdoor displays at the aquarium feature 2,000 sharks, fishes and other sea creatures as well as vast displays on Hawaii’s black lava shores and colorful coral.

Maui Tropical Plantation
1670 Honopi’ilani Highway, Waikapu
800-451-6805
Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily
Admission Charged
A tram ride transports tourists through this lush region of the island as a narrator tells of its rich agricultural heritage. The 120-acre plantation encompasses more than 60 acres of pineapple, sugar cane, mangoes, guavas, papaya, ginger and coffee, and also showcases dozens of varieties of tropical orchids.

Sea World
191 North Kihei Road, Kihei
808-879-8860
Hours: 8 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. daily
Admission Charged
A two-hour boat ride takes visitors to see Hawaii’s most impressive residents – its whales. On most trips, boats are able to get so close that observers can see the barnacles on the whales’ backs, and may get sprayed by the splash as their great tales slap the water’s surface. You can also expect to hear the whales as they converse with each other in their clicking, singing “language.”

Whalers Village Museum
Kaanapali Beach, Lahaina
This museum, in the heart of Lahaina, documents the sleepy port city’s evolution to a whaling boomtown. Home to an impressive collection of whaling memorabilia, the museum shows what life was like between 1825 and 1860 for the men who led the harsh whaling life aboard tiny boats chasing 45-ton quarry. The exhibit includes harpoons, sea chests and a re-creation of the typical six-man crew’s quarters. Films about whales and whaling history are shown throughout the day.

Hike Maui
Kahului
808-879-5270
Hours: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily
Admission Charged
Some of Maui’s most incredible scenery can only be viewed on foot. A guide will lead your group on a four-and-a-half-mile mountain hike to the upper ridges of the West Maui mountains. A picnic lunch, supplied by the outfitter, awaits at the top, but you may already be full if you’ve stopped to sample the wild fruit and berries along the path.

Maui Paraglide
Kula
877-463-5944
Hours: 9 a.m. to 3 pm. daily
Admission Charged
Riding a tandem paraglide (with a flight instructor along), you’ll take a once-in-a-lifetime soar over the Haleakala’s magnificent terrain and hover over its 3,000-foot-deep crater.

Maui Downhill Tours
199 Dairy Road, Kahului
808-871-2155
Hours: 6:45 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Admission Charged
After a light, pre-dawn breakfast, the outfitter will drive your group to the summit of Haleakala to watch the sunrise. Then, depending on your skill and adventure level, you’ll take one of five bicycle trips and coast down the volcano past incredible scenery and through the switchbacks toward Pa’ia for a full-day adventure. Those with younger children should be advised that, for safety reasons, children under 12 are not permitted.

Sunshine Helicopter
107 Kahului Airport, Kahului
808-871-0722
Hours: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, weather permitting
Admission Charged
Since more than half of the island is inaccessible by car, visitors may choose to take this memorable flight over Haleakala’s crater and the surrounding volcanic landscape.

D- Family Fun Attractions:
Haleakala National Park
Haleakala Crater Road, Makawao
808-572-9306
No child will forget a visit to Haleakala, a 10,023-foot-high dormant volcano. Views from the crater to its 24-square-mile floor will create a lasting impression, as will the park’s hiking and camping opportunities; one trail loops all the way through the volcanic crater.

Maui Ocean Center
192 Ma’alaea Road, Ma’alaea
808-270-7000
Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily
Admission charged.
This 75,000-gallon aquarium allows children to feel as if they are swimming with the 2,000 fishes, sharks and other sea creatures as they view marine habitats from an acrylic tunnel beneath the water’s surface. The Ocean Center features a “Discovery Journey,” in which participants descend from black lava and sandy beaches past underwater coral and rare fish through sea caves and into the depth of the ocean.

Maui Tropical Plantation
1670 Honopi’ilani Highway, Waikapu
800-451-6805
Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily
Admission charged.
A tram ride transports tourists through this lush region of the island as a narrator tells of its rich agricultural heritage. The 120-acre plantation encompasses more than 60 acres of pineapple, sugar cane, mangoes, guavas, papaya, ginger and coffee, and also showcases dozens of varieties of tropical orchids. After the tram, children will be entertained by Hawaiian hula dancers and demonstrations of native crafts.

Hike Maui
Kahului
808-879-5270
Hours: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily
Admission charged.
Some of Maui’s most incredible scenery can only be viewed on foot. A guide will lead your group on a four-and-a-half-mile mountain hike to the upper ridges of the West Maui mountains; what better way to help a child burn off some excess energy and help establish a bond with nature?

Sea World
191 North Kihei Road, Kihei
808-879-8860
Hours: 8 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. daily
Admission charged.
A two-hour boat ride takes visitors to see Hawaii’s most impressive residents – its whales. On most trips, boats are able to get so close that observers can see the barnacles on the whales’ backs, and may get sprayed by the splash as their great tales slap the water’s surface. You can also expect to hear the whales as they converse with each other in their clicking, singing “language.”

Whalers Village Museum
Kaanapali Beach, Lahaina
This museum, in the heart of Lahaina, documents the sleepy port city’s evolution to a whaling boomtown. Home to an impressive collection of whaling memorabilia, the museum shows what life was like between 1825 and 1860 for the men who led the harsh whaling life aboard tiny boats chasing 45-ton quarry. The exhibit includes harpoons, sea chests and a re-creation of the typical six-man crew’s quarters. Films about whales and whaling history are shown throughout the day.

Sunshine Helicopter
107 Kahului Airport, Kahului
808-871-0722
Hours: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, weather permitting
Admission charged.
Since more than half of the island is inaccessible by car, visitors may choose to take this memorable flight over Haleakala’s crater and the surrounding volcanic landscape. Children should be equally thrilled at the experience of riding in a helicopter and the magnificence of the view.

E- Events & Entertainment:
January:
Celebration of Whales

March:
Art Maui
Prince Kuhio Day, a local celebration to honor the man who might have been Hawaii’s king had the islands not become part of the United States (March 26)

April:
Buddha Day

May:
Lei Day
Maui Music Festival

June:
King Kamehameha Day, honoring Hawaii’s first king with parades and festivals
Kapalua Wine and Food Symposium
Makawao Rodeo

July-August:
Bon Odori festivals, honoring many islanders’ Japanese ancestors

September:
Taste of Lahaina, a food festival featuring competitions between Maui’s top chefs

September-October:
Aloha Festivals, designed to promote native culture

December:
Na Mele O Maui, featuring arts, crafts and performances by native schoolchildren