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Maui General Information

Plantations brought so many different people to Hawaii that the state is now a rainbow of ethnic groups: Living here are Caucasians, African Americans, American Indians, Eskimos, Japanese, Chinese, Filipinos, Koreans, Tahitians, Vietnamese, Hawaiians, Samoans, Tongans, and other Asian and Pacific islanders. Add a few Canadians, Dutch, English, French, Germans, Irish, Italians, Portuguese, Scottish, Puerto Ricans, and Spaniards. Everyone's a minority here.

In combination, it's a remarkable potpourri. Many retain an element of the traditions of their homeland. Some Japanese Americans in Hawaii, generations removed from the homeland, are more traditional than the Japanese of Tokyo. And the same is true of many Chinese, Korean, Filipinos, and others, making Hawaii a kind of living museum of various Asian and Pacific cultures.


Maui Restaurants

With soaring visitor statistics and a glamorous image, the Valley Isle is fertile ground for Hawaii's famous enterprising chefs (like Roy Yamaguchi from Roy's; Gerard Reversade of Gerard's; James McDonald of I'o and Pacific'o; Peter Merriman of Hula Grill; Mark Ellman of Maui Taco and Penne Pasta Cafe; D. K. Kodoma of Sansei Seafood and now, Vino; and Beverly Gannon of Haliimaile General Store and Joe's Bar and Grill), as well as an international name or two (Wolfgang Puck of Spago). Plus a few newcomers are cooking up a storm and getting a well-deserved following (Jennifer Nguyen of A Saigon Cafe, Tom Lelli of Mañana Garage, Dana Pastula of Café O'Lei restaurants, and Don Ritchey of Moana Bakery and Café). Dining on Maui has become a culinary treat able to hold its own against most major metropolitan areas.

The Banyan Tree Restaurant (tel. 808/669-6200): Fasten your seat belts food fans: This is one of the hottest, most creative chefs to come to Hawaii in decades. Australian Chef Antony Scholtmeyer, operating out of the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua, is dishing out a blend of flavors and textures like crispy-skin moi (the Hawaiian fish of royalty) or honey-roasted duck breast.

Mañana Garage (tel. 808/873-0220): It's great fun dining here, and the food is fantastic, too. Tuck into fabulous arepas (cornmeal-cheese griddle cakes with smoked salmon), fried green tomatoes, excellent ceviche, and a host of new flavors in an ambience of spirited color and industrial edge. You'll dine among vertical garage doors, hubcap table bases, cobalt walls, and chrome accents, with Buena Vista Social Club on the sound system and very hip servers who will bring you the best desserts in this neck of the woods -- Kahului, of all places! The chef, Tom Lelli, came here from Haliimaile General Store.

A Saigon Cafe (tel. 808/243-9560): Jennifer Nguyen's unmarked dining room in an odd corner of Wailuku is always packed, a tribute to her clean, crisp Vietnamese cuisine -- and the Maui grapevine. Grab a round of rice paper and wrap your own Vietnamese "burrito" of tofu, noodles, and vegetables.

Café O'Lei (tel. 808/661-9491): The delicious, creative cuisine of Dana Pastula, who managed fancy restaurants on Lanai and in Wailea before opening her own, has two restaurants serving her fresh, healthy cuisine: Café O'Lei Lahaina and the Ma'alaea Grill. For reasonably priced, interesting, and memorable meals, don't miss the chance to eat at the O'Leis.

Vino Italian Tapas & Wine Bar (tel. 808/661-VINO): Probably the best Italian food on Maui is served at this exquisite restaurant, overlooking the rolling hills of the Kapalua Golf Course. The surprise is that it's run by two Japanese guys -- D. K. Kodama, chef and owner of Sansei Seafood Restaurant and Sushi Bar, and master sommelier Chuck Furuya. The two teamed up to create this culinary adventure for foodies. Every dish is perfectly paired with wine (the wine list alone features more than 150 selections, many of them estate wines exclusive to Vino). The menu changes constantly but always has homemade pastas and seafood masterpieces.

Sansei Seafood Restaurant (tel. 808/669-6286 in Kapalua and 808/879-0004 in Kihei): Relentlessly popular, Sansei serves sushi and then some: hand rolls warm and cold, udon and ramen, and the signature Asian rock-shrimp cake with the oh-so-complex lime chili butter and cilantro pesto. This Kapalua choice is flavor central -- simplicity is not the strong suit, so be prepared for some busy tasting. Another branch has opened in Kihei.


Maui History

According to our kahunas, Maui started five million years ago. It was the result of volcanic eruption on the ocean floor creating two adjacent volcanoes. An undersea volcano, an embolic island try to reach the surface. These volcanoes formed into one island and became Maui. One of the volcanoes that were made was the West Maui Mountains that became extinct million years ago. The other volcano is Haleakala which is 10,023 above sea level. Haleakala is now considered a dormant volcano. Fountains of molten magma soared into the sky as eruption followed eruption. Red lava ended in huge clouds of steams as they flow slowly into the ocean. Lava flows and the gradual erosion of the volcano's slopes combined together to form a land bridge between the islands. The isthmus became the rich plain of Central Maui, which today is where most of islands agriculture, industries and population are located.

The first people to migrate here in Maui were the Marquesas. They sailed in 750 A.D. from the pacific in their flagged doubled-hulled sailing canoes. The Marqueses didn't know anything about the island. They just notice that every time their birds go to this direction and come back after several month are much fatter. Marquesas started traveling. They chose the best of their best to go to their new land. Example is they brought with them their best hunters, so that they won't starve when they reach their destination. They also brought with them their families, animals, crops, and plants. For hundreds of years they built grass houses and stone temples, made tapa cloth and outrigger canoes, fished and ground the root of the taro plant into poi. The Tahitians followed the Marquesas and brought with them their goddesses and religion. The Tahitians introduced to the islands the kapu system, a strict social order that affected all aspects of life and became the core of ancient Hawaiian culture.

The Hawaiians were living on simple life style. This changed when Captain James Cook discovered Maui on November 26, 1778. In Cook's wake came traders, whalers, and missionaries. At the height of the whaling era (1840-1865). Lahaina served as anchorage for more than 500 ships.

The mid 1700s began the modern Hawaiian history. King Kamehameha I took up residence in Lahaina after conquering Maui in bloody battle in Iao Valley. Kamehameha's descendant reigned over the islands until 1872. They were followed by rulers from another ancient family of chiefs, including Queen Liliukalani who ruled in 1893 when the monarchy was overturned. One year later, the Republic of Hawaii was founded. The island was annexed by the United States in 1898 and made territory in 1900. That made Hawaii the 50th state in U.S.


Maui Golf

Seventy million years ago, Nature created Hawaii – a paradise of green-carpet valleys, emerald mountains draped in mist, and an ocean as blue and deep as the sky. It is a setting so perfectly sculpted, it’s clear that golf was part of Nature’s master plan. Our fairways are lush and bordered by rainforests and wild seascapes...And our hazards are a natural part of the landscape.

From lush hillside courses with views of neighboring islands and whales breaching offshore, to black lava layouts dotted with white sand bunkers, Hawaii offers you all the challenges and all of the pleasures of golf on more than eighty courses, spread over six uniquely different islands. So it isn’t surprising that eight Hawaii courses can be found in Golf Magazine’s list of Top 25 U.S. Golf Resorts (no other state has more than two).

In some circles, Maui is synonymous with golf. The island's world-famous golf courses start at the very northern tip of the island and roll right around to Kaanapali, jumping down to Kihei and Wailea in the south. There are also some lesser-known municipal courses that offer challenging play for less than $100.

Golfers new to Maui should know that it's windy here, especially between 10am and 2pm, when winds of 10 to 15 mph are the norm. Play two to three clubs up or down to compensate for the wind factor. I also recommend bringing extra balls -- the rough is thicker here and the wind will pick your ball up and drop it in very unappealing places (like water hazards).
Stand-by Golf (tel. 888/645-BOOK or 808/874-0600; between 7am and 9pm. Stand-by offers discounted (up to 50% off greens fees), guaranteed tee times for same-day or next-day golfing.

Golf Club Rentals (tel. 808/665-0800; has custom-built clubs for men, women, and juniors (both right- and left-handed), which can be delivered island-wide; the rates are just $20 to $25 a day. The company also offers lessons with pros starting at $150 for 9 holes plus greens fees.

Makena Golf Resort – South Course – 18 holes – Par 72 – 7,014 yds. – Phone: 808-874-1111 – Fax: 808-879-8763 - $98 to $110.

Makena Golf Resort – North Course – 18 Holes – Par 72 – 6,914 yda – Phone: 808-879-3344 – Fax: 808-879-8763


Maui Airport

If possible, fly directly to Maui. Doing so can save you a 2-hour layover in Honolulu and another plane ride. If you're headed for Molokai or Lanai, you'll have to connect through Honolulu.

If you think of the island of Maui as the shape of a head and shoulders of a person, you'll probably arrive on its neck, at Kahului Airport.

Kahului Airport:
United Airlines (tel. 800/241-6522; offers daily nonstop flights from San Francisco and Los Angeles; Aloha Airlines (tel. 800/367-5250; has nonstop service from Sacramento, Oakland, Orange County, and San Diego, all in California. Hawaiian Airlines (tel. 800/367-5320; has direct flights from Portland and Seattle; American Airlines (tel. 800/433-7300; flies direct from Los Angeles and San Jose; Delta Airlines (tel. 800/221-1212; offers direct flights from San Francisco and Los Angeles; and American Trans Air (tel. 800/435-9282; has direct flights from Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Phoenix.

The other carriers -- including Continental (tel. 800/525-0280; and Northwest Airlines (tel. 800/225-2525; -- fly to Honolulu, where you'll have to pick up an interisland flight to Maui. (The airlines listed in the paragraph above also offer many more flights to Honolulu from additional cities on the mainland.) Both Aloha Airlines and Hawaii an Airlines offer jet service from Honolulu.

Don't expect to jump a ferry between any of the Hawaiian Islands. Today everyone island-hops by plane. Since September 11, 2001, the two inter-island carriers have cut way, back on the number of interisland flights. The airlines warn you to show up at least 90 minutes before your flight and believe me, with all the security inspections, you will need all 90 minutes to catch your flight. Also, be sure to book your inter-island connection from Honolulu to Maui in advance.


Maui Communications

Electricity-- Hawaii, like the U.S. mainland and Canada, uses 110-120 volts (60 cycles), compared to the 220-240 volts (50 cycles) used in most of Europe and in other areas of the world, including Australia and New Zealand. Small appliances of non-American manufacture, such as hair dryers or shavers, will require a plug adapter with two flat, parallel pins; larger ones will require a 100-volt transformer.

Taxes-- the United States has no VAT (value-added tax) or other indirect taxes at a national level. Every state, and every city in it, has the right to levy its own local tax on all purchases, including hotel and restaurant checks, airline tickets, and so on. In Hawaii sales tax is 4%; there's also a 7.25% hotel-room tax and a small excise tax, so the total tax on your hotel bill will be 11.42%.

Telephone & Fax-- The telephone system in the United States is run by private corporations, so rates, particularly for long-distance service and operator-assisted calls, can vary widely -- especially on calls made from public telephones. Local calls -- that is, calls to other locations on the island you're on -- made from public phones in Hawaii cost 50¢.


Maui Nightlife

Centered in the $32-million Maui Arts and Cultural Center in Kahului (tel. 808/242-7469;, the performing arts are alive and well on this island. The MACC remains the island's most prestigious entertainment venue, a first-class center for the visual and performing arts. Bonnie Raitt has performed here, as have Hiroshima, Pearl Jam, Ziggy Marley, Tony Bennett, the American Indian Dance Theatre, the Maui Symphony Orchestra, and Jonny Lang, not to mention the finest in local and Hawaiian talent. The center is as precious to Maui as the Met is to New York, with a visual-arts gallery, an outdoor amphitheater, offices, rehearsal space, a 300-seat theater for experimental performances, and a 1,200-seat main theater. The center's activities are well publicized locally, so check the Maui News or ask your hotel concierge what's going on during your visit.

People are still agog over 'Ulalena, an extraordinary production that tells the story of Hawaii in chant, song, original music, acrobatics, and dance, using state-of-the-art technology and some of the most creative staging to be seen in Hawaii. There's nothing else like it in the state. A local and international cast performs this $9.5-million production at the comfy Maui Myth and Magic Theatre in Lahaina. Recently opened at the Kaanapali Beach Hotel is a wonderful show that is perfect for the entire family, called Kupanaha.

Nightlife options on this island are limited. Revelers generally head for Casanova in Makawao and Maui Brews in Lahaina. Because they are in different parts of this spread-out island, you'll either have to drive a great distance to these clubs or explore what's happening in the major hotels near you. The hotels generally have lobby lounges offering Hawaiian music, soft jazz, or hula shows beginning at sunset.

Car rental

Maui Car Rental & Transportation

The only way to really see Maui is by rental car. There's no real island-wide public transit.

Maui has only a handful of major roads: One follows the coastline around the two volcanoes that form the island, Haleakala and Puu Kukui; one goes up to Haleakala's summit; one goes to Hana; one goes to Wailea; and one goes to Lahaina. It sounds simple, but the names of the few roads change en route. Maui has one of the least expensive car-rental rates in the country -- about $44 a day (including all state tax and fees); the national average is about $54. Cars are usually plentiful on Maui, except on holiday weekends, which in Hawaii also means King Kamehameha Day, Prince Kuhio Day, and Admission Day. Rental cars are usually at a premium on Molokai and Lanai, so book well ahead.

All the major car-rental agencies have offices on Maui, usually at both Kahului and West Maui airports. They include: Alamo (tel. 800/327-9633;, Avis (tel. 800/321-3712;, Budget (tel. 800/572-0700;, Dollar (tel. 800/800-4000;, Hertz (tel. 800/654-3011;, and National (tel. 800/227-7368;
To rent a car in Hawaii, you must be at least 25 years old and have a valid driver's license and a credit card.

Insurance -- Hawaii is a no-fault state, which means that if you don't have collision-damage insurance, you are required to pay for all damages before you leave the state, whether or not the accident was your fault. Your personal car insurance back home may provide rental-car coverage; read your policy or call your insurer before you leave home. Bring your insurance identification card if you decline the optional insurance, which usually costs from $12 to $20 a day. Obtain the name of your company's local claim representative before you go. Some credit card companies also provide collision-damage insurance for their customers; check with yours before you rent.

Easy Riding around Maui
Don black denim and motorcycle boots and ride around Maui on a hog, available for $99 for 6 hours and $149 a day at Island Riders, 126 Hinau St. (by Pizza Hut), Lahaina (tel. 800/529-2925 or 808/661-9966;, and in Kihei at 1975 S. Kihei Rd. (tel. 808/874-0311). Forget the greasy Hell's Angels image; latter-day Wild Ones are buttoned-down corporate types or California Highway Patrol officers on holiday. Whether you blast up Haleakala's grand corniche or haul ass to Hana, it's the most fun you can have on two wheels. This toy store for big boys and girls also rents exotic cars (Dodge Vipers, Prowlers, and Corvettes), which start at about $169 for 5 hours and $249 a day. They also have 4x4 Jeeps starting at $69 for 8 hours and $79 for 24 hours.

Mopeds are available for rent from Toy Cars, 640 Front St., #5, Lahaina (tel. 888/628-4227 or 808/661-1212; Mopeds, which start at $35 for 4 hours and $50 for all day (8am-4:30pm), are little more than motorized bicycles that get up to around 35 mph (with a good wind at your back), so I suggest using them only locally (to get to the beach or to go shopping). Don't take them out on the highway because they can't keep up with the traffic. Toy Cars also rents motorcycles and dune buggies.

Other Transportation Options
Taxis -- For island-wide 24-hour service, call Alii Cab Co. (tel. 808/661-3688 or 808/667-2605). You can also try Kihei Taxi (tel. 808/879-3000), Wailea Taxi (tel. 808/874-5000), or Maui Central Cab (tel. 808/244-7278) if you need a ride.
Shuttles -- SpeediShuttle (tel. 808/875-8070; can take you between Kahului Airport and all the major resorts from 5am to 11pm daily (for details, see "Landing at Kahului Airport" under "Getting There,").

Holo Ka'a Public Transit (tel. 808/879-2828; is a public/private partnership that has convenient, economical, and air-conditioned shuttle buses. The costs range from free shuttle vans within the resort areas, like Wailea, to just $1 for the bus from Kaanapali to Lahaina.


Maui Weddings

Maui is a great place for a wedding. Not only does the entire island exude romance and natural beauty, but after the ceremony, you're only a few steps away from the perfect honeymoon.

More than 20,000 marriages are performed each year on the islands, and nearly half of the couples married here are from somewhere else. This booming business has spawned dozens of companies that can help you organize a long-distance event and stage an unforgettable wedding.

The easiest way to plan your wedding is to let someone else handle it at the resort or hotel where you'll be staying. Most Maui resorts and hotels have wedding coordinators who can plan everything from a simple (relatively) low-cost wedding to an extravaganza that people will talk about for years. Remember that resorts can be pricey -- be frank with your wedding coordinator if you want to keep costs down. You don't have to use a coordinator: You can also plan your own island wedding, even from afar, and not spend a fortune doing it.

The Paperwork-- To obtain a marriage license, contact the Marriage License Office, State Department of Health Building, 54 S. High St., Wailuku, HI 96793 (tel. 808/984-8210;, open Monday through Friday from 8am to 4pm. The staff will mail you a brochure called Getting Married and direct you to the marriage-licensing agent closest to where you'll be staying on Maui.


Maui Shopping

Maui is a shopaholic's dream as well as an arts center, with a large number of resident artists who show their works in dozens of galleries and countless gift shops. Maui is also the queen of specialty products, an agricultural cornucopia that includes Kula onions, upcountry protean, Kaanapali coffee, world-renowned potato chips, and many other tasty treats that are shipped worldwide.

With a well-heeled flourish, The Shops at Wailea, an upscale shopping-and-restaurant complex, opened in South Maui in 2001. The 16-acre complex features more than 50 shops and five restaurants, including Louis Vuitton, Tiffany, Gap, Banana Republic, and the ever-popular local retailers Martin & MacArthur and Ki'i Gallery. This is resort shopping much in the vein of Whalers Village in Kaanapali, where shopping and restaurant activity is concentrated in a single oceanfront complex. The Shops at Wailea signal a repositioning of the resort as a place of heightened commercial activity.

Don't ignore central Maui, home to some first-rate boutiques. Watch Wailuku, which is poised for resurgence. The town has its own antiques alleys, the new Sig Zane Designs has brought a delightful infusion of creative and cultural energy, and a major promenade on Main Street is in the works. The Kaahumanu Center, in neighboring Kahului, is becoming more fashionable by the month.

Upcountry, Makawao's boutiques are worth seeking out, despite some attitude and high prices. The charm of shopping on Maui has always rested in the small, independent shops and galleries that crop up in surprising places.

Central Maui
Kahului's best shopping is concentrated in two places. Almost all of the shops listed below are at one of the following centers:

The once rough-around-the-edges Maui Mall, 70 E. Kaahumanu Ave. (tel. 808/877-7559), is the talk of Kahului. Newly renovated, it's now bigger and better and has retained some of my favorite stores while adding a 12-screen movie megaplex that features current releases as well as art-house films. The mall is still a place of everyday good things, from Long's Drugs to Star Market to Tasaka Guri Guri, the decades-old purveyor of inimitable icy treats, neither ice cream nor shave ice but something in between.

Queen Kaahumanu Center, 275 Kaahumanu Ave. (tel. 808/877-3369), 5 minutes from the Kahului Airport on Highway 32, offers more than 100 shops, restaurants, and theaters. Its second-floor Plantation District offers home furnishings and accessories, and gift and accessories shops. Kaahumanu covers all the bases, from arts and crafts to a Foodland Supermarket and everything in between: a thriving food court; the island's best beauty supply, Lisa's Beauty Supply & Salon (tel. 808/877-6463), and its sister store for cosmetics, Madison Avenue Day Spa and Boutique (tel. 808/873-0880); mall standards like Sunglass Hut, Radio Shack, and Local Motion (surf and beach wear); and standard department stores like Macy's and Sears and great specialty shops like Sharper Image.

Edibles-- The Star Market and Long's Drugs in the Maui Mall, Foodland in the Kaahumanu Center, and Safeway at 170 E. Kamehameha Ave. will satisfy your ordinary grocery needs. On Saturday you may want to check out the Maui Swap Meet.
Down to Earth Natural Foods, 305 Dairy Rd. (tel. 808/877-2661), a health-food staple for many years, has fresh organic produce, a bountiful salad bar, sandwiches and smoothies, vitamins and supplements, fresh-baked goods, snacks, whole grains, and several packed aisles of vegetarian and health foods.

Maui's produce has long been a source of pride for islanders, and Ohana Farmers Market, in the Kahului Shopping Center (tel. 808/871-8347), is the place to find a fresh, inexpensive selection of Maui-grown fruit, vegetables, flowers, and plants. Crafts and gourmet foods add to the event, and the large monkey pod trees provide welcome shade.

Wailuku-- Located at the gateway to Iao Valley, Wailuku is the county seat, the part of Maui where people live and work. Wailuku's attractive vintage architecture, smattering of antiques shops, and mom-and-pop eateries imbue the town with a down-home charm noticeably absent in Maui's resort areas. The community spirit fuels festivals throughout the year and is slowly attracting new businesses, but Wailuku is still a work in progress. It's a mixed bag -- of course, there's junk, but a stroll along Main and Market streets usually turns up a treasure or two.

West Maui
Lahaina- merchants and art galleries go all out from 7 to 9pm on Friday, when Art Night brings an extra measure of hospitality and community spirit. The Art Night openings are usually marked with live entertainment, refreshments, and a livelier-than-usual street scene.

What was formerly a big, belching pineapple cannery is now a maze of shops and restaurants at the northern end of Lahaina town, known as the Lahaina Cannery Mall, 1221 Honoapiilani Hwy. (tel. 808/661-5304). Find your way through the T-shirt and sportswear shops to coffee at Sir Wilfred's Coffee House, where you can unwind with espresso and croissants, or head for Compadres Bar & Grill, where the margaritas flow freely and the Mexican food is tasty. For film, water, aspirin, groceries, sunscreen, and other things you can't live without, nothing beats Long's Drugs and Safeway, two old standbys. Roland's may surprise you with its selection of footwear, everything from Cole-Haan sophisticates to inexpensive sandals. At the recently expanded food court, the new Compadres Taquería sells Mexican food to go, while L & L Drive-Inn sells plate lunches near Greek, pizza, Vietnamese, and Japanese food booths.

The Lahaina Center, 900 Front St. (tel. 808/667-9216), is still a work in progress. It's located north of Lahaina's most congested strip, where Front Street begins. Across the street from the center, the seawall is a much-sought-after front-row seat to the sunset. There's plenty of free validated parking and easy access to more than 30 shops, a salon, restaurants, a nightclub, and a four-plex movie-theater complex. Ruth's Chris Steak House has opened its doors in Lahaina Center, and Maui Brews serves lunch and dinner and offers nighttime live music on weekdays. Among the shopping stops: Banana Republic, the Hilo Hattie Fashion Center (a dizzying emporium of aloha wear), ABC Discount Store, and a dozen other recreational, dining, and entertainment options.

The conversion of 10,000 square feet of parking space into the re-creation of a traditional Hawaiian village is a welcome touch of Hawaiiana at Lahaina Center. With the commercialization of modern Lahaina, it's easy to forget that it was once the capital of the Hawaiian kingdom and a significant historic site. The village, called Hale Kahiko (, features three main houses, called hale: a sleeping house, the men's dining house, and the crafts house, where women pounded hala (pandanus) strips to weave into mats and baskets. Construction of the houses consumed 10,000 square feet of ohia wood from the island, 20 tons of pili grass, and more than 4 miles of hand-woven coconut sennit for the lashings. Artifacts, weapons, a canoe, and indigenous trees are among the authentic touches in this village, which can be toured privately or with a guide.

Kaanapali-- Whalers Village, 2435 Kaanapali Pkwy. (Tel. 808/661-4567). Although it offers everything from whale blubber to Prada and Ferragamo, it is short on local shops, and parking at the nearby lot is expensive. The complex is home to the Whalers Village Museum, with interactive exhibits and a 40-foot sperm-whale skeleton, but shoppers come for the designer thrills and beachfront dining. You can find most of the items featured here in the shops in Lahaina and can avoid the parking hassle and the high prices by skipping Whalers Village.

Kahana/Napili/Honkowai-- Those driving north of Kaanapali toward Kapalua will notice the Honokowai Marketplace on Lower Honoapiilani Road, only minutes before the Kapalua Airport. There are restaurants and coffee shops, a dry cleaner, the flagship Star Market, Hula Scoops for ice cream, a gas station, a copy shop, a few clothing stores, and the sprawling Hawaiian Interiorz.

Nearby Kahana Gateway is an unimpressive mall built to serve the condominium community that has sprawled along the coastline between Honokowai and Kapalua. If you need women's swimsuits, however, Rainbow Beach Swimwear is a find. It carries a selection of suits for all shapes, at lower-than-resort prices, slashed even further during the frequent sales. Hutton's Fine Jewelry offers high-end jewelry from designers around the country (lots of platinum and diamonds), reflecting discerning taste for those who can afford it. Tahitian black pearls and jade are among Hutton's specialties.

Kapalua-- A Creative Way to Spend the Day--Make a bowl from clay or paint a premade one, then fire it and take it home. The Art School at Kapalua (tel. 808/665-0007;, in a charming 1920s plantation building that was part of an old cannery operation, features local and visiting instructors and is open daily for people of all ages and skill levels. Projects, classes, and workshops at this not-for-profit organization highlight creativity in all forms, including photography, figure drawing, ceramics, landscape painting, painting on silk, and the performing arts (ballet, yoga, creative movement, Pilates). Classes are inexpensive. Call the school to see what's scheduled while you're on Maui.

South Maui
Kihei is one long stretch of strip malls. Most of the shopping here is concentrated in the Azeka Place Shopping Center on South Kihei Road. Fast foods abound at Azeka, as do tourist-oriented clothing shops like Crazy Shirts. Across the street Azeka Place II houses several prominent attractions, including General Nutrition Center, the Coffee Store, and a cluster of specialty shops with everything from children's clothes to shoes, sunglasses, beauty services, and swimwear. Also on South Kihei Road is the Kukui Mall, with movie theaters, Waldenbooks, and Whaler's General Store.

Upcountry Maui
Makawao-- Besides being a shopper's paradise, Makawao is the home of the island's most prominent arts organization, the Hui No'eau Visual Arts Center, 2841 Baldwin Ave. (tel. 808/572-6560; Designed in 1917 by C. W. Dickey, one of Hawaii's most prominent architects, the two-story, Mediterranean-style stucco home that houses the center is located on a sprawling 9-acre estate called Kaluanui. A legacy of Maui's prominent kamaaina (old-timers) Harry and Ethel Baldwin, the estate became an arts center in 1976. Visiting artists offer lectures, classes, and demonstrations, all at reasonable prices, in basketry, jewelry making, ceramics, painting, and other media. Classes on Hawaiian art, culture, and history are also available. Call ahead for schedules and details. The exhibits here are drawn from a wide range of disciplines and multicultural sources, and include both contemporary and traditional art from established and emerging artists. The gift shop, featuring many one-of-a-kind works by local artists and artisans, is worth a stop. Hours are Monday through Saturday from 10am to 4pm.

Edibles-- Working folks in Makawao pick up spaghetti, lasagna, sandwiches, salads, and wide-ranging specials from the Rodeo General Store, 3661 Baldwin Ave. (tel. 808/572-7841). At the far end of the store is the oenophile's bonanza, a superior wine selection housed in its own temperature-controlled cave.

Down to Earth Natural Foods, 1169 Makawao Ave. (tel. 808/572-1488), always has fresh salads and sandwiches, a full section of organic produce (Kula onions, strawberry papayas, mangos, and litchis in season), bulk grains, beauty aids, herbs, juices, snacks, tofu, seaweed, soy products, and aisles of vegetarian and health foods. Whether it's a smoothie or a salad, Down to Earth has fresh, healthy, vegetarian offerings.

T. Komoda Store and Bakery, 3674 Baldwin Ave. (tel. 808/572-7261), has spent in this spot, untold numbers have creaked over the wooden floors to pick up Komoda's famous cream puffs. Old-timers know to come early, before they're sold out. Then the cinnamon rolls, doughnuts, pies, and chocolate cake take over. Pastries are just the beginning: Poi, macadamia-nut candies and cookies, and small bunches of local fruit keep the customers coming.

Fresh Flowers in Kula
Like anthuriums on the Big Island, proteas are a Maui trademark and an abundant crop on Haleakala's rich volcanic slopes. They also travel well, dry beautifully, and can be shipped with ease worldwide. Among Maui's most prominent sources is Sunrise Protea (tel. 808/876-0200;, in Kula. It offers a walk-through garden and gift shops, friendly service, and a larger-than-usual selection. Freshly cut flowers arrive from the fields on Tuesday and Friday afternoons. You can order individual blooms, baskets, arrangements, or wreaths for shipping all over the world. (Next door, the Sunrise Country Market offers fresh local fruits, snacks, and sandwiches, with picnic tables for lingering.)


Maui Beaches & Activities

From brilliant pearl white, to stark volcanic black, the sands of Maui beaches are as varied as the people who come from around the world to enjoy them. And here you will definitely find a beach that suits you perfectly. Some beaches are so small and tucked away you’ll need an experienced guide to help you find them, while others — like famous Kaanapali or Wailea — are ranked among the best beaches in the country. And when you’ve had enough fun in the sand, a world of water activities awaits you. Snorkeling, scuba diving, sailing, surfing, windsurfing, boogie boarding, skim boarding, jet-skiing, catamaran cruises, deep sea fishing and charters of every kind can be found on Maui.

On Maui, you’ll find a year-round schedule of cultural events and traditional celebrations, including a thrilling line up of performances at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center in Kahului. Visit the Hui Noeau Visual Arts Center in Makawao and the Schaefer International Gallery in Kahului for some impressive Visual Arts exhibits and displays. Choral concerts, classical performances, jazz pianists, comedy shows and Polynesian drumming competitions are just a mere sampling of Maui’s diverse art scene.

Maui offers spectacular adventure rides through rugged ranch lands, into tropical forests, and to remote swimming holes. One of our favorites is Piiholo Ranch, in Makawao (tel. 866/572-5544 or 808/357-5544; A working cattle ranch, owned by the kamaaina (longtime resident) Baldwin family, this is a horseback-riding adventure with a variety of different rides to suit your ability, from the morning picnic ride, a 3 1/2-hour ride on the ranch, with a picnic lunch, for $160 per person, to private rides, including working with the cowboys to round up the cattle, at $190 per person per hour.

If you're out in Hana, don't pass up the Maui Stables in Kipahulu (a mile past Oheo Gulch; tel. 808/248-7799; Not only do they offer two rides daily (9:30am and 1pm) through the mountains above Kipahulu Valley, but you also get a fantastic historical and cultural tour through the unspoiled landscape. It is an experience you will not forget. Both rides are $150.

For those horse lovers who are looking for the ultimate equine experience, check out Frank Levinson's "Maui Horse Whisperer Experience" (tel. 808/572-6211;, which includes a seminar on the language of the horse. It costs $200 for half-day and $300 for full-day workshops.

Plunging 100 feet below the surface of the sea in a state-of-the-art, high-tech submarine is a great way to experience Maui's magnificent underwater world, especially if you're not a swimmer. Atlantis Submarines, 658 Front St., Lahaina (tel. 800/548-6262 or 808/667-2224;, offers trips out of Lahaina Harbor every hour on the hour from 9am to 2pm at a cost of $80 for adults and $40 for children under 12 (children must be at least 3 ft. tall). Allow 2 hours for this underwater adventure.

The best beaches in Maui

Kapalua Beach: On an island of many great beaches, this one takes the prize. A golden crescent with swaying palms protected from strong winds and currents by two outstretched lava-rock promontories, Kapalua has calm waters that are perfect for snorkeling, swimming, and kayaking. Even though it borders the Kapalua Bay hotel, the beach is long enough for everyone to enjoy. Facilities include showers, restrooms, and lifeguards.

Kaanapali Beach: Four-mile-long Kaanapali stands out as one of Maui's best beaches, with grainy gold sand as far as the eye can see. Most of the beach parallels the sea channel, and a paved beach walk links hotels and condos, open-air restaurants, and the Whalers Village shopping center. Summertime swimming is excellent. The best snorkeling is around Black Rock, in front of the Sheraton; the water is clear, calm, and populated with brilliant tropical fish.

Wailea Beach: This is the best gold-sand, crescent-shaped beach on Maui's sunbaked southwestern coast. One of five beaches within Wailea Resort, Wailea is big, wide, and protected on both sides by black-lava points. It serves as the front yard for the Four Seasons Wailea, Maui's most elegant hotel, and the Grand Wailea Resort Hotel & Spa, it’s most outrageous. From the beach, the view out to sea is magnificent, framed by neighboring Kahoolawe and Lanai and the tiny crescent of Molokini. The clear waters tumble to shore in waves just the right size for gentle riding, with or without a board. While all the beaches on the west and south coasts are great for spotting whales and watching sunsets, Wailea, with its fairly flat sandy beach that gently slopes down to the ocean, provides exceptionally good whale-watching from shore in season (Dec-Apr), as well as unreal sunsets nightly.

Maluaka Beach (Makena Beach): On the southern end of Maui's resort coast, development falls off dramatically, leaving a wild, dry countryside punctuated by green kiawe trees. The wide, palm-fringed crescent of golden sand is set between two black-lava points and bounded by big sand dunes topped by a grassy knoll. Makena can be perfect for swimming when it's flat and placid, but it can also offer excellent bodysurfing when the waves come rolling in. Vistas of Molokini Crater and Kahoolawe can be seen off in the distance.

Waianapanapa State Park: In east Maui, a few miles from Hana, the 120 acres of this state park offer 12 cabins, a caretaker's residence, a picnic area, a shoreline hiking trail, and, best of all, a black-sand beach (actually small black pebbles). Swimming is generally unsafe, though, due to strong waves breaking offshore, which roll into the beach unchecked, and strong rip currents. But it's a great spot for picnicking, hiking along the shore, and simply sitting and relaxing.

Hamoa Beach: This half-moon-shaped, gray-sand beach (a mix of coral and lava) in a truly tropical setting is a favorite among sunbathers, snorkelers, and bodysurfers in Hana. The 100-foot-wide beach is three football fields long and sits below 30-foot black-lava sea cliffs. An unprotected beach open to the ocean, Hamoa is often swept by powerful rip currents. Surf breaks offshore and rolls ashore, making it a popular surfing and bodysurfing area. The calm left side is best for snorkeling in the summer.

Hulopoe Beach (Lanai): This golden, palm-fringed beach off the south coast of Lanai gently slopes down to the azure waters of a Marine Life Conservation District, where clouds of tropical fish flourish and spinner dolphins come to play. A tide pool in the lava rocks defines one side of the bay, while the other is lorded over by the Manele Bay Hotel, which sits prominently on the hill above. Offshore, you'll find good swimming, snorkeling, and diving; onshore, there's a full complement of beach facilities, from restrooms to camping areas.
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