There’s good reason people can’t help but come back for more of Maui. As any seasoned, return visitor to the tropical Pacific islands will tell you, it’s simply Hawaii for all tastes.
From the bronze bodies that line Ka’anapali Beach in west Maui, to the glitz and glamor of Wailea, to the remoteness of Hana, and just about anything in between, you’ll find your dream destination here – and the probability is, not just once but again and again.
The western side of this much-vaunted “best island in the world” named Maui, features some of the most concentrated beauty of this wonderful place. Protected and picture-perfect bays such as Napili and Kapalua offer safe swimming for both youngsters and adults, some of the best snorkeling in the area for everyone, and your choice of any number of smaller, low-key accommodations and condominiums with a smattering of rental houses thrown in the mix.
Honolua Bay offers some of the planet’s most fabled surf in season, and the endless golden sands and crystal waters of Ka’anapali are the stuff of Hawaiian getaway dreams, lined with large, modern hotels, and good shopping and dining.
Lahaina banyon tree
Nearby historic Lahaina town is an easy drive from anywhere in the west with its colorful mix of art galleries, and island-style drinking and dining, not to mention its bustling harbor, a departure point for various activities out on the water. West Maui has something for everyone, all under the mantle of an agreeable, temperate tropical climate most of the year.
Head south to Wailea, and you might be forgiven for mistaking your surroundings for Beverly Hills. This is where the rich and famous stay and play: Premium shopping, dining, golfing and beach-going abound in this enclave of the very finest on the island. The beaches are glorious, the climate dry, the ambiance highly toned and luxurious. It’s the Hawaii-deluxe experience that you will find along this stretch of coastline, arguably unsurpassed anywhere else in the islands.
Not surprisingly, the counterpoint to Wailea lies as far removed from here as it is possible to be on a small island, on the very opposite side of the 10,000-foot dormant volcano of Mt. Haleakala. At the end of one of the most beautiful drives in the world, and a good few hours’ north and then eastward, is the Hawaii of old: the tiny unspoilt hamlet of Hana. The drive to Hana is amazing and so beautiful.
On Maui’s easternmost reaches, beyond the legendary surf breaks of the north shore and the sugarcane fields, here’s where you’ll find true peace and tranquility in a quintessential tropical rain forest setting dotted with waterfalls, bamboo forests and rustic roadside stalls. Accommodations are fewer but a good range of options does exist, and sandy strips like Hamoa Beach are uncrowded palm-fringed jewels. Hana is remote and may not be for everyone, but that’s what makes it the unique Maui experience that it is.
Wherever you end up staying on Maui, it’s hardly possible to leave and regret it. It’s a Hawaiian island small enough to see great diversity in short time and distance, yet big enough to leave something undiscovered for next time. I’d put money on it.
Do it once, and you too will be back for more of that tropical, Hawaiian paradise – Maui.