Maui Island, Hawaii Attractions
Top Tourist Attractions in Maui Island
Main town: WailukuMaui Island lies west of the Island of Hawaii and is separated from it by the Alenuihaha Channel. Maui lies about 68 miles/110km from Oahu as the crow flies.
The second largest island in the Hawaiian archipelago, Maui covers an area of 694sq.miles/1887sq.km with a coastline of 120 miles/193km.The island resembles Tahiti in shape. It evolved from two volcanoes - first, West Maui with the 5789ft/1764m-high Puu Kukui and later East Maui with the 10,026ft/3055m-high Haleakala. This latter volcano's crater, before it became extinct centuries ago, threw up so much lava over its slopes that a pass developed between the two parts of the island.The western old part of the island consists of a rugged mountainous landscape dissected by deep valleys. This area proves difficult to penetrate and has only been opened up by the coast road. Separated by the isthmus with its surrounding plains, the eastern part of the island joins it. This area, twice the size of the west, is dominated by the powerful Haleakala volcano.The origin of the nickname "Valley Island" remains unclear. One explanation refers to the isthmus as the valley between East and West Maui, another links the name with the valleys of western Maui and especially with Lao Valley.Maui's mountainous relief causes its weather to vary quite strongly but on the whole it is relatively in line with the other Hawaiian islands. It enjoys high temperatures of about 30°C and low temperatures of 15°C - apart from Haleakala where a temperature of minus 11°C (a record for the Hawaiian islands) was recorded in 1961. It seldom rains on Maui and the rainfall is scattered very unevenly. While it generally rains more in East Maui than in the west, Puu Kukui (with an average rainfall of 441in./1120cm a year) counts as the wettest place on the island. The old coastal port of Lahaina (only 6 miles/10km away as the crow flies) experiences only about 191/2in./50cm of rain a year, with none falling between May and September. In the impenetrable areas to the west of the island, some endemic plants have survived. The fertile, weathered lava plains of the pass offer good conditions for growing sugar cane and pineapples.With the exception of Nihau Island, which is populated entirely by Hawaiians, the 15% of Kamaainas (natives) living on Maui make it the island with the largest percentage of resident Hawaiians. The largest ethnic group on the island is the whites (36%), followed by the Japanese (23%) and the Filipinos (17%). The remaining 9% comprises several nationalities.The development of mass air travel in the 1960s led to the onset of tourism on Maui. Today, it is even possible to fly directly from the American mainland to Kahului.Following Oahu, Maui (with about two million tourists a year and with more five-star hotels than any other island) is the most-visited island in the Hawaiian archipelago. However, no intensive building has occurred on Maui in comparison to Honolulu or Waikiki. One reason lies in the tough building regulations of the County of Maui, another is that Maui's many beaches have made concentrated building unnecessary. In most cases, the hotel complexes (with the exception of Kihei) are fairly far apart. Many experts on Hawaii prefer Maui to the other islands. Maui itself is not modest - its motto is Maui no ka oi (Maui is the best).
Kahoolawe Island is uninhabited and is considered holy ground by the Hawaiians. Members of the Protect Kahoolawe Ohana group often celebrate religious feasts on the island.
A number of companies offer a range of sporting activities.One unique to Maui is a tour which drives participants to the top of Mount Haleakala and provides the bikes and the convoy escort to allow the ride down from 10,000 feet. Hundreds of people participate each morning.Scuba and snorkeling tours and lessons abound. Sightseeing and sunset cruises are available for those who do not want to get wet.Horseback riding, and motorcycle rentals are readily available.Several nature guided walks are offered.Several companies offer helicopter flightseeing.Several golf courses are available for visitor usage.Several magazines list and advertise these activities and many shops offer discounts.
Take in some of the islands culture by attending a Luau. Luaus involve an evening meal (buffet style) which usually consists of roast pig, followed by traditional dancing displays.
Whale watching tours from Maui allow visitors the opportunity to see humpback whales in the wild.
Maui - Events
There are a number of interesting annual events on Maui.
Lahaina - Lahaina Whale and Ocean Arts Festival
The Lahaina Whale and Ocean Arts Festival takes place each year in March, in Lahaina, to celebrate the migration of the humpback whales. Much of the celebrations take place in Banyan Tree Park, with artists and entertainment, and information on whales presented by various research groups.
Lahaina - Banyan Tree Birthday Party
Each year in April there is a Banyan Tree Birthday Party in Lahaina in honour of the towns famous Banyan Tree. The tree was planted in 1873. There are a number of arts and displays as well as a birthday cake.
Lahaina - Celebration of Canoes
THIS ATTRACTION NO LONGER EXISTS.This two week celebration near at the end of May honors the canoe which made voyage between all of Polynesia possible. Celebrations include luaus and other cultural events as well as a parade.