Maui, Molokai, and Lanai
The Magic Isles
An introduction to the Hawaiian islands of Maui,
If there is one reason for Maui's enduring popularity it is it's
diversity -- the island's uncanny ability to dazzle and soothe
almost at the same time.
The second largest island in the Hawaiian chain, Maui is 48 miles
long and 26 miles across. But into that space is packed long, sandy
beaches, tropical rainforests, rolling green pasture lands, dryland
forests, and spectacular rocky cliffs.
Although Maui's average temperature is between 75 and 85 degrees,
in one day you can huddle at the top of Haleakala Crater watching a
sunrise in 40 degree weather, sit on the sand at Kihei enjoying the
tradewinds at noon, and watch the sun set in the west in the cooler
The close proximity to Maui of the neighboring islands of Lana`i
and Moloka`i, both a part of Maui County, gives the feeling of
being sheltered by a large, relatively calm lake. There is a coziness
about seeing another island off in the distance. One you can almost
reach out and touch.
On any given day, you can hop on a ferry, small plane or catamaran and
spend time snorkeling off one of Lana`i's beaches, or trekking the east
end of Moloka`i with Hawaiian guides who are natives of the island.You
can do this without ever having to go through the annoying process of
packing and unpacking, or airports and check-in counters.
Maui's beaches are legend. Pristine and sheltered, especially on the
leeward coasts, they have been lauded on top 10 lists for years. The
beach fronting the Kapalua Bay Hotel is among the best. But you can't
dismiss the stretch of white sand at Kaanapali, or the beaches of Kihei
and the continuous coves at Wailea and Makena.
Even Hana's Hamoa Beach has received accolades for having the perfect
wave during certain months of the year. If it's not the beaches, it's
the water and wind conditions on the north shore that bring surfers
and windsurfers to Maui.
When the wind picks up, you can see clusters of brilliantly colored
sails dotting the shoreline. Maui's particular ocean conditions have
made it a worldwide mecca for windsurfing.
Maui is about discovery. The naturalist can hike Maui's forested trails
and view native plant species, watch rare birds in its wetlands, and
follow the highways of ancient chiefs. County and state parks are open
for camping and make overnight accommodations a bargain.
If you love the glitter and good life, Maui has that too. Maui's hotel
and restaurant chefs are among the best in the country. In a few short
years, new young chefs have redefined island cuisine through festivals
at the top resorts. Kapalua has its Kapalua Wine and Food Symposium,
Wailea, its Food & Wine Masters, Kihei, its Taste of South Maui and
Kaanapali hosts the annual Maui Onion Festival at summer's end.
Maui's resident population represents an ethnic mix of Caucasians, Japanese,
Filipinos, Hawaiians and Chinese. It's a racial cauldron created by the sugar
and pineapple industries, that exits today in harmony and adds interest
to any visit.
This melting pot has created a unique cultural mix that extends to
activities open to everyone. Each summer the Japanese population holds
lantern-lit Bon Dances each weekend to honor ancestors. During Aloha Week
in the fall, and to celebrate the first king to unite the islands,
Hawaiian community gathers its resources for parades and exhibits. There
are Filipino barrio fiestas, and church feasts in the primarily Portuguese
the Upcountry slopes.
Your Maui visit can be just about anything you want it to be. If what you
need is an escape by snorkeling in warm, clear waters, or perhaps just surf,
sand and golf. Maui has some of the best. If a vacation without learning is
no vacation at all, there are specialized programs available for everyone
from the history buff to the outdoorsman.
There are the luxury resorts that line Maui's south and west shores; resorts
that take a back seat to no other destination. There are condominiums that
offer moderately-priced vacations to families and the budget-minded. Want a
more intimate stay? Try a bed and breakfast on the slopes of Haleakala
volcano, or in the lush, tropical Hana district.
Diversity is what the islands of Maui, Moloka`i and Lana`i are all about.
It's that very diversity that creates the magic.
Article Courtesy of the Maui Visitors Bureau
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