Island of Maui
Also Know as "The Valley Isle"
Maui has two distinct sides: the west side, focused on the tourist seaport of Lahaina and two major resorts, Kaanapali and Kapalua, beneath the western mountains; and the east side, dominated by the world’s largest dormant volcano, Haleakala, surrounded by Haleakala National Park and an upcountry belt of private homes, pro tea and other farms, and picturesque towns and villages.
Created by two volcanoes whose lava flows came together in a plain between them, West Maui’s mountains and valleys are inaccessible and 10,025-ft Haleakala dominates East Maui. At the foot of these mountains, along the entire southwest coast, a series of wonderful, sandy beaches stretch from Makena and Wailea on the east to even more secluded Windmill Beach (Pohakupule Beach) on the west. It is possible to drive (on sometimes bad roads) around the West Maui Mountains, from Napili to Wailuku and around Haleakala, from Paia though Hana to Ulupalakua. These drives, frowned on by rental car companies, open up the geography of Maui off-the-beaten-track.
Beneath West Maui’s mountains are two of the island’s major coastal resorts, Kaanapali and Kapalua. The gateway to these resorts is the colorful historic harbor town of Lahaina, retaining some of its old charm while bursting with shopping centers and retail stores.
The third major coastal resort, Wailea, at the southern end of the east coast, is the rapidly expanding gateway to the secluded beaches and roads of Makena and La Perouse Bay.
Above sunny Kihei and Wailea coastal beaches is Maui’s upcountry. This covers the central plain with the commercial and port city of Kahului and Wailuku, Maui’s charming capital, and the lush northern coast which includes the town of Paia. This verdant belt encircles the middle slopes around, about half of Haleakala and includes a winery, ranches, protea farms, several delightful towns centered on Makawao, and the road up to Haleakala Crater. The awesome crater in Haleakala National Park is seven miles long, two miles wide, and 22 miles around.
From Paia to “heavenly” Hana along the northeast coast, the most scenic drive in Hawaii twists and winds 51 miles through more than 600 curves This road continues to Oh’eo Gulch and around to Uhupalakua Ranch.