“Maui No Ka Oi!” (Hawaiian for Maui is the best) This is the message will greet you as you get off the plane and take the escalators down to collect your bags, when you arrive on Maui. Maui has regained it’s title as the world’s best island and is considered one of the worlds safest vacation islands as well. Maui is beautiful, special and magical.
Maui’s nickname is The Valley Isle as is characterized by deep valleys, ridges and steep cliffs. Visitors flying into Kahului (kah-hoo-LOO-ee) Airport might also notice that the mountain’s “center” appears hollow. These geological features are the result of millions of years of erosion, and the bowline center due to the collapse of the volcano’s caldera many centuries ago.
Maui is full of fun and adventure. There are a ton of great things to do and your only concern will be having enough time to take it all in. Maui offers great surf, sand and sun along with a variety of visitor attractions like the Sea Life Park and the Lahaina strip. The variety and accessibility couldn’t be better. You are sure to find something that will excite you. Getting to know the layout of Maui a little before you land will give you “one up” when deciding where to go and where they are located.
Maui is the second largest of the Hawaiian islands and has the third largest population at 117,644. Maui county also includes the islands of Molokai, Lanai and Kahoolawe. These four islands together are called Maui Nui. Maui is the 17th largest island in the world and one of the best places you could ever hope to visit.
It is believed that Maui got it’s name from the legend of Hawaiiloa, the Polynesian navigator who discovered the Hawaiian Islands. The story states he named the island of Maui after his son who in turn was named for the demigod Maui. According to legend, the demigod Maui raised all the Hawaiian Islands from the sea. The presence of the demigod is very alive and to this day all islanders acknowledge Maui as being alive in spirit. Maui was known for his great fishing skills and athletic ability. There are still many visible works of art and songs depicting Maui throughout the islands. Old stories of Maui are still passed down through the generations and shared with visitors.
Maui can be divided into several regions:
- West Maui: With its abundant sunshine and plentiful water, West Maui was once a major Hawaiian population center and the favorite playground of royalty. The people grew sweet potato, taro, paper mulberry, ti, gourds, banana and coconut, and gathered lumber, firewood and cordage from the mountains. Today, West Maui includes the resort areas of Kapalua and Ka’anapali; visitor communities of Napili (NAH-pee-lee), Kahana (kah-HAH-nah) and Honokowai (hoh-noh-KOH-why); and historic Lahaina town.
- South Maui: South Maui is known for its coastal areas, with mile-after-mile of sandy white beaches, fringing reef and low-level wetlands. Sheltered on the leeward side of Mount Haleakala, this area is sunnier and drier than the rest of the island. South Maui was especially suitable for aquaculture, and remnants of ancient Hawaiian fish ponds can still be seen today. Today, South Maui includes the coastal communities of Ma`alaea (MAH-ah-LAI-ah) and Kihei (KEE-hey), and resort communities Wailea (why-LEH-ah) and Makena (MAH-keh-nah).
- Central Maui: The sunny isthmus between Maui’s two volcanoes includes residential communities, sugar and pineapple plantations, county and state government offices, and various visitor attractions including `Iao Valley, the Maui Tropical Plantation, golf courses, museums, parks, nature center, shopping complexes, an arts & cultural center, and special events.
- Upcountry: “Upcountry Maui” refers to the towns, ranches, vineyards, farmlands, and visitor attractions on the upper slopes of Haleakala, including the Haleakala National Park. Charming and rural, Upcountry Maui is the heart of the island’s agricultural industry as well as a thriving artists’ community and shopping hot spot.
- East Maui: This area of Maui ranges from Kahului Airport out to the community of Hana on the northeastern tip of the island, and is renown for great surfing, quaint towns, and lush rural scenery. Known as the windward side, it is largely undeveloped and much of the narrow road to Hana winds along the island’s beautiful northern coastline.
Many people who have been to Maui learn the saying, “Here today…..Gone to Maui”. Once you get there you’ll see why.
Maui General Information