You may be wondering, “What’s in all those
other places on the map you haven’t mentioned? Are they
places where I might want to stay?” Good question.
Kahului (ka-hoo-loo'-ee) and Wailuku (wy-loo'-koo)
in Central Maui are the commercial and government centers.
Kahului has the main airport, the large vessel harbor, and
the major shopping centers; Wailuku is the Maui County seat.
Kahului has a couple of modest hotels, but we don’t recommend
them for vacation stays.
Paia (pa-ee'-ah) is a fun little town, and the ocean
off Paia is famous as one of the world’s windsurfing
meccas. Definitely worth a visit if you like watching the
sport. The areas of Haiku (hy-koo'), Makawao
(ma'-ka-wow)and Kula (koo'-la) are known as Upcountry
because they lie on the slopes of Haleakala (ha-lay-ah-ka-la'),
which make them a bit cooler than the towns at sea level.
Upcountry is an interesting mix—working families, artists,
ranches with cowboys, even a winery. You can find some vacation
rentals in all of these areas but no hotels or condos.
The other towns on the map are all on Maui’s
north shore, most of which is lush, tropical, very scenic
and very green. Why? Because it rains a lot here. The northeast
tradewinds blow moist ocean air up the slopes of Haleakala
and the West Maui Mountains, where the air cools and turns
to rain. Oh, and you get a lot more wave action in the water,
so the surfers (experienced ones) love it. For beach bums
and sun lovers, not a good choice. We love the north shore,
we just don’t recommend you stay there unless you really
know the area.
The famous Hana Highway from Paia to Hana is one of
the most scenic roads in Hawaii, or anywhere for that matter.
We highly recommend you take the drive, which will take the
better part of a day. Hana (ha'-na) has a number of
vacation rentals and one luxury hotel, the Hotel Hana-Maui.
We suggest you go to Hana for a day trip first to see if you
would like to stay longer. Our favorite part of the drive
is the part beyond Hana, all the way around East Maui and
on to Kula. You get an incredible range of terrain and microclimates,
from rainforest to near desert.
The last town on the map is Kahakuloa (ka-ha-koo-low'-ah)
on the north shore in West Maui. Kahakuloa was about as remote
as you could get on Maui until a few years ago when they improved
the road from Wailuku and laid out a subdivision there. Not
a place for vacation stays.