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Visiting Maui, Hawaii

Updated on February 22, 2013
Hula Girl Cafe
Hula Girl Cafe
Whalers Village
Whalers Village
Old Lahaina Town
Old Lahaina Town
D T Flemming Beach
D T Flemming Beach
Molokini Island
Molokini Island


The History of Maui, The "Valley Isle".

The island of Maui was settled in gradual waves. First Polynesians from the Marquesas came sometime before 450 AD. Then another wave from the Marquesas, and a third wave from Tahiti about 700 AD. Tahitians established core pieces of Hawaiian culture such as language, the class system, religion, and customs.

Maui’s religious temples are known as Heiaus and were build around 1200. Hawaiian legend accredits the Menehune with magical deeds that gave them the ability to build the Heiaus overnight from stone. Luakini (human sacrifice) was also carried out.

Maui was made up of 3 Chiefdoms until the 15th century. Wailuku, Lele, and Hana. In 1550 King Pi’ilani married the daughter of Ho’olae the 6th, Ali’i Nui of Hana, uniting West and East Maui. Maui was then ruled by a single joint Hawaiian family. The first road around the Island was constructed during this time.

From 1521-1530 castaways from Spanish shipwrecks, through oral tradition still found in Hawaii, told stories of Hawaii and how they got there. Many stayed and married into native Hawaiian families.

In 1778 Captain Cook became the first European explorer to see Maui. However he never set foot on the island. The first European to visit Maui was French explorer Jean-Francois de Galaup in 1786.

In 1790 the first American to visit was a fur trader named Simon Metcalfe who anchored south of Lahaina. Kamehameha I invaded Maui with 1200 warriors and cannons taken from Metcalf. He defeated Prince Kalanikupule in the Iao Valley. Kalanikupule escaped to Oahu. However he was eventually sacrificed to Kamehameha’s war god. In 1810 Kamehameha I conquered all the Hawaiian Islands and established the Kingdom of Hawaii.

In 1819 when Kamehameha I died Queen Kaʻahumanu challenged the established conventions of Hawaiian society. She ended the Kapu system (strict Hawaiian code of conduct) and destroyed the Heiaus (religious temples).

In 1821 the first Christian Missionaries arrived on Maui from New England. They eventually established a mission in Lahaina at the invitation of the Queen. The missionaries set up printing presses and began printing bibles. Converting native Hawaiians to Christianity was underway. Queen Keopuolani was the first royalty to be converted.

By the 19th century the success of the sugar cane and pineapple plantations brought immigrant workers to Hawaii. Foreign corporations became the power behind the Hawaiian government. The capital was moved to The Island of Oahu in 1845. Queen Lili’uokalani ruled Maui until 1893. One year later the Republic of Hawaii was founded. By 1898 the United States annexed the Hawaiian Islands and named it the Territory of Hawaii.

In 1941 the Island was militarized to fight in the Pacific Theater during World War II. After the war former GI’s returned to settle on Maui. Many more came back as tourist fueling the present day tourist trade which is the foundation of Hawaii’s economy today.

We found Maui to be the most tourist focused of all the islands. The lawns are manicured and the hotels are big and expensive. There are plenty of golf courses. Old Lahaina Town is much less manicured and more old school Hawaiian with plenty of historic sites and lots of shopping.

Maui is divided into 4 districts. East Maui, Central Maui, South Maui, and West Maui:

East Maui

Highway 31, Hana Highway, Nuu - Koa Heiau (religious temple), Pakowai Pt, Huakini Bay

Kipahulu - Wailua Falls, Haleakala National Park, Oheo Gulch

Hana - Hana Airport, Hana Bay State Park, birthplace of Kaahumanu 1768, Wananallua Church, Hale o Lono Heiau, Black Sand Beach

Keanae - Taro Patches (poi is a staple food made out of this plant)

Central Maui

Highway 37, 311, 340, Kahului - Airport/Heliport, Kanaha Beach Park, Kahului Bay, Waiehu Pt., golf course

Waihee - Waihee Beach Park

Wailuku - Iao Valley State Park

Waikapu - Maui Tropical Plantation, Raceway Park, golf course

Imaalaea - Maalaea Bay, Kapoli Beach Park, Papawau Lookout

South Maui

Highway 31, 37, Makena - Makee Sugar Hill 1878, Oneloa Beach, Molokini Island

Wailea - Wailea Beach Park, Kihei Boat Ramp

Kihei - Maipoeina Oe Iau Beach Park, Maalaea Bay, golf course

West Maui

Highway 30, 340, Olowalu - Petroglyphs, Sugar Mill Ruins, Punahoa Beach, Launupoko Pt,

Lahaina - Civic Center, Lahaina Harbor, Puunoa Pt, golf course

Kaanapali - West Maui Airport, Whale Center of The Pacific, Kahana Pt.

Kapalua - Honolua Bay, DT Fleming Beach, Ka'ia Pt., golf course

Don't miss

Road to Hana - We were told this can get backed up fast so we skipped this one. If you are taking a cruise make sure you have plenty of time or sign up for the tour organized by the ship and make sure they will wait for you if need be. Find a banana bread stand along the way. It's supposed to be excellent.

Molokini Island, Turtle Town - A partially sunken volcano. Great for scuba diving or snorkeling. So arrange to do it here. Rent your equipment for the week as you will want to use it again.

Molokai and Lanai are smaller islands close by. Organize your ferry trip over here if you want to go.

Sugar Cane Train -

Learn to surf -

Kimo's - Great place to eat and watch the sunset.

DT Flemming Beach - Spectacular!

Airfares from Southern California:

SAN - San Diego - Not all flights are non-stop. Hawaiian Airlines was the only non-stop to Honolulu from San Diego when we booked our flight. Other carriers offered connecting flights with stop-over service. Other non-stop flights are going too start so shop around.

LAX - Los Angeles - non-stop to Maui, Kauai, or the Big Island.

OC - Orange County - Continental is suppose to start non-stop flights from Orange County’s John Wayne Airport March/2010

Car Rentals:

Shop around before you go. Rent before you get there. Pick up a Maui Drive Guide/Road Map when you rent your car. There are discount coupons inside so shop around for things you want to do. The best we found:


Hawaii is 3 hours behind us in time zone. When it’s 12:00pm here on the Pacific Coast it's 9:00am in Hawaii.

Best time to go to beat the crowds: May, periods between spring break & summer and Labor Day until mid November.

Find a hotel with washer & dryer facilities. There are hefty weight and extra baggage fees so pack light, wash and dry your clothes before your return trip to avoid extra weight fees. *The red clay dirt will not wash out of your clothes.

The flight over is 5 hours non-stop, longer if you pick a flight with stop-overs. Take your head phones. You can watch movies for free if you have your own head phones or rent them on the plane for a fee. Pack small snacks as they are expensive on the plane.

Mail home your souvenirs. If you visit Oahu the Alamoana Swap Meet is the best! The post office is right by the airport.

Make reservations for things you really want to do as soon as possible.

Take binoculars and a flash light if you are going on a long cruise.

Visit The Big Island, Oahu and Kauai if you have time.

Are we there yet? What to take on a road trip:

An ice chest with food, snacks and drinks for everyone. Forget sharing.

Don't forget your chargers, headphones, earplugs, meds, and a bag for garbage

Take along your Kindle and cell phone to keep yourself and the kids occupied on long road trips. Down load any e-books and apps that will help you.

Remember to take along a great camera. We found the Sony Nex-5 to be light weight and user friendly.

Freeways, streets, and traffic jams are frustrating. Take a good GPS system with you and visit off season.


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