- Travel Guide
The thought of lying on sun soaked beaches regularly named “the best” by travel magazines is enough to make any of your friends jealous. But once you arrive on Maui, you’ll see there’s so much more for them to envy.
Most flights arrive at Maui’s main airport, Kahului Airport (OGG). Many airlines fly direct to Maui while others include Maui as a stopover. You’ll find resorts and hotels of every size and budget in Kapalua, Kaanapali, Lahaina, Kihei, Makena and Wailea on the sunny western coast as well as one resort in Hana in East Maui. It’s about a 45-minute drive from Kahului Airport to Lahaina.
The second largest Hawaiian island has a smaller population than you’d expect, making Maui popular with visitors who are looking for sophisticated diversions and amenities in the small towns and airy resorts spread throughout the island.
From the scenic slopes of fertile Upcountry Maui to beaches that have repeatedly been voted among the best in the world, a visit to the Valley Isle recharges the senses.
Maui Geography & Maps
Maui is separated into 5 distinct regions: West Maui, South Maui, Central Maui, Upcountry Maui and East Maui. The Hawaiian Islands are generally drier on the western, or leeward side, and wetter on the eastern, or windward side. Most Maui resorts can be found in sunny West Maui and South Maui while you can find the lush drive to Hana in East Maui.
Maui contains a number of microclimates. It is generally drier on Maui’s leeward side where you’ll find the spectacular beaches and resorts of Kapalua, Kaanapali, Lahaina, Kihei and Wailea along the western coast. On the wetter windward side you’ll find lush Iao Valley and the scenic road to Hana. It’s warmer along the coast than Upcountry Maui where temperatures are typically 8-10 degrees cooler. If you’re driving up to the 9,740-foot Haleakala Visitor Center atop Haleakala National Park, expect temperatures in the 40s or lower. There are generally two seasons in Maui. Winter (November through April), when temperatures typically range in the low-70s to mid-80s, and summer when the high can run into the low-90s.
Legends say the demigod Maui pulled the Hawaiian Islands from the sea and lassoed the sun atop Haleakala, the island’s highest peak. The island of Maui was named after this mythological being, perhaps because the shape of the island is said to resemble his head and body.
King Piilani was the first ruler to unite all of Maui under a single family of alii (royalty) in the early 15th century. In 1790, King Kamehameha I defeated Kahekili, Maui’s last king, after a fierce battle in the iconic Iao Valley. Kamehameha took control of Maui and made Lahaina the new capital of the unified Hawaiian Kingdom. For nearly five decades, Lahaina served as the center of government for Hawaii. Simultaneously, the town experienced a surge in its whaling industry.
Maui’s first sugar mill began operations in 1828. As the sugar industry in the islands grew, an influx of plantation workers from China, Japan, Puerto Rico, Korea, the Philippines, Portugal and Europe arrived in Hawaii. These immigrants became the foundation of the multi-ethnic culture of Hawaii today.