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Haleakala Crater

Haleakala Crater

© wardtours

Maui is the second-largest Hawaiian island, but offers more miles of great beaches than any of the other islands. From those who lived on Maui and from those who have ever been there, you will hear Maui no ka ‘oi. Maui is the best. But don’t believe their words, come and see for yourself!

The island has lots to offer, from sunrise from the peak of Haleakala, sunbathing on the beaches in Kaanapali and Kihei, driving the Road to Hana through blossoming rainforest, and watching whales and dolphins at their natural inhabitant.

Besides wonderful and colorful nature, Maui is also a home to a rich culture and amazing ethnic diversity. In small towns like Paia and Hana you can see remnants of the past mingling with modern-day life. Aged coral and brick missionary homes now house broadcasting networks. The antique smokestacks of sugar mills tower above communities where the children merge English, Hawaiian, Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese, Filipino, into one multihued language. There is probably no other place so diverse and exciting as Hawaii. The more you look here, the more you will find.




Maui's diverse landscapes are the result of a unique combination of geology, topography, and climate. Each volcanic cone in the chain of the Hawaiian Islands is built of dark, iron-rich/quartz-poor rocks, which poured out of thousands of vents as highly fluid lava, over a period of millions of years. Several of the volcanoes were close enough to each other that lava flows on their flanks overlapped one another, merging into a single island. Maui is such a "volcanic doublet," formed from two shield volcanoes that overlapped one another to form an isthmus between them. The older, western volcano has been eroded considerably and is cut by numerous drainages, forming the peaks of the West Maui Mountains (in Hawaiian, Mauna Kahalawai). Puʻu Kukui is the highest of the peaks at 1,764 metres. The larger, younger volcano to the east, Haleakalā, rises to more than 3,000 metres above sea level, and measures 8,000 metres from seafloor to summit, making it one of the world's highest mountains. The eastern flanks of both volcanoes are cut by deeply incised valleys and steep-sided ravines that run downslope to the rocky, windswept shoreline. The valley-like Isthmus of Maui that separates the two volcanic masses was formed by sandy erosional deposits. Maui is part of a much larger unit, Maui Nui, that includes the islands of Lānaʻi, Kahoʻolawe, Molokaʻi, and the now submerged Penguin Bank. During periods of reduced sea level, including as recently as 20,000 years ago, they are joined together as a single island due to the shallowness of the channels between them.






Sights and Activities

  • Without a doubt, doing a snorkel trip from Maui is great! Only 3 boats travel around Lanai for snorkel excursions, so you have an opportunity to see places and snorkel in spots that few tourists ever see. The snorkeling is great and you can see endangered seals, spinner dolphins and lots of fish. And for sure you’ll never forget the visit to Blue Water Rafting. The snorkeling is great - the caves are spectacular - there are some huge fish around Molokini. Do not miss this trip!
  • You’ll be impressed after visiting the Hike Maui. This is a great hike! The views are spectacular and you feel like you’re entering another world as you hike down into the crater.
  • Haleakala National Park is a true wilderness area featuring the dormant Haleakalā (East Maui) Volcano. The park covers an area of 134.62 km2 of which 77.98 km2 is a wilderness area. It was originally created as part of the Hawaii National Park along with the volcanoes of Mauna Loa and Kilauea on the island of Hawaiʻi in 1916. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park was made into a separate national park in 1961. The park area was designated an International Biosphere Reserve in 1980. The name Haleakalā is Hawaiian for "house of the sun."
  • Maui is one of the world's most popular sites for destination weddings and for good reason. But because it is far from where the engaged couple and their families usually live, it's wise to engage a local expert to arrange things for you in advance. One of the best-established wedding planners is Marry Me Maui. They can do everything from arrange accommodations for diverse guests to delivering beautiful wedding books. They handle traditional weddings, renewals of vows and same-sex weddings with equal aplomb. One of the partners in it is the famous photographer Joe D'Alessandro, so you know the photos and videos will be breathtaking.
  • Pride of Maui Whale Watching Tours (01 Jan 2015 - 15 Apr 2015) - Humpback whale watch while on Maui between Jan 1st and April 15th each year. During this time whale sightings are guaranteed. Address: 101 Maalaea Harbor Dr., Phone: 808-242-0955, Price: 47.95



Events and Festivals


  • New Year’s Eve - The US celebrates the outgoing of the old year and incoming of the New Year quite dramatically. Every state boasts its own parties to ring in the New Year, but none is more extravagant than New York’s Time Square, which sees people overflowing into the neighboring restaurants, bars, parks, beaches, and neighborhoods.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day (officially Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. and sometimes referred to as MLK Day) is an American federal holiday marking the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. It is observed on the third Monday of January each year, which is around King's birthday, January 15. The holiday is similar to holidays set under the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. The earliest Monday for this holiday is January 15 and the latest is January 21. King was the chief spokesperson for nonviolent activism in the Civil Rights Movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law.
  • St Patrick’s Day - March 17 celebrates the US’s large Irish population. Many cities around the country boast boisterous parades and Irish-themed parties, especially New York and Chicago, where the river is dyed green. Be wary of the drunkenness that dominates as this is definitely a party-day.
  • Memorial Day - Memorial Day is an important holiday throughout the United States, but not for crazy festivities. Parades commemorating wartime heroes are often held and the day is also the ‘unofficial’ start of summer. Most visitors follow the crowds to parks and beaches, which are capped off with informal BBQs.
  • Independence Day - Also known as the Fourth of July, Independence Day celebrates the US’s break from the British during the 18th century. Barbecues, street parties, beach trips, and weekend getaways are commonplace to appreciate freedom.
  • Labor Day is a public holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, laws, and well-being of the country. It is the Monday of the long weekend known as Labor Day Weekend. It is recognized as a federal holiday. Beginning in the late 19th century, as the trade union and labor movements grew, trade unionists proposed that a day be set aside to celebrate labor.
  • Halloween - Halloween is a fun holiday on October 31 for all generations to dress up in costumes and relive their youth. Children walk around the neighborhood trick-or-treating for candy, while adults attend parties. Other seasonal events include haunted houses, pumpkin farms and carving, and corn mazes.
  • Thanksgiving - On the fourth Thursday in November, Thanksgiving is held in almost every home in the US. Tourists will have a hard time finding anything to do as the country essentially shuts down in observation. A typical Thanksgiving meal consists of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie commemorating the original Pilgrim’s feast at Plymouth Rock.
  • Christmas - On December 25, Christians celebrate Christmas as the pinnacle of their calendar by attending church and opening gifts from Santa Claus. Almost everything shuts down to promote family togetherness. The northern regions hope to experience a “white Christmas,” with trees and festive lights blanketed by snow.


  • Super Bowl Sunday - the world’s most watched sporting event and one of the highest grossing TV days of the year, Superbowl Sunday is a spectacular extravaganza. Held the first Sunday in February, the Superbowl is the final playoff game between the NFL’s top two teams. The venue rotates every year around America, yet the local parties seem to remain. Pubs, bars and restaurants are great places to enjoy the Superbowl or locals throw their own parties with different variations of betting.
  • The World Series is the annual championship series of Major League Baseball (MLB) in North America, contested since 1903 between the American League (AL) champion team and the National League (NL) champion team. The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a best-of-seven playoff, and the winning team is awarded the Commissioner's Trophy. As the series is played during the fall season in North America, it is sometimes referred to as the Fall Classic.




Maui is a popular destination among people looking for great weather. There are however differences throughout the year and even between parts of the island. The southwestern parts are generally much drier compared to the northeastern parts of the island. Most of the rain falls between November and March. It is quite unusual for tropical islands to have the wettest time of year coincide with the slightly cooler months. Oddly enough, the possibility of a tropical storm or even a hurricane is higher from May to November, opposite to the wetter months. Still, such storms are less frequent compared to for example the Caribbean or west Pacific. Temperatures are highest between July and October, around 28 °C during the day and around 24 °C at night. The other months are still nice and warm, between 24 °C and 27 °C during the day and around 20 °C at night.

This website gives a fantastic summary with climate charts and maps of the 4 main islands, which show the differences on each Island, ranging from pretty dry on the main popular coastal areas, to extremely wet on the other side of the islands and even more so on some of the mountain ranges.



Getting There

By Plane

Kahului Airport (airport code OGG) handles all flights to and from Maui. Destinations are mainly to other Hawaiian islands like Oahu, Hawaii Island (Big Island), Molokai and Lanai. Other ones include Vancouver in Canada and several mainland US cities like Los Angeles, Seattle, Anchorage, Portland, Dallas, Chicago, Phoenix, Denver and San Francisco.

By Boat

Hawaii Superferry provides services between Oahu and Maui. Expeditions has ferries between Maui and Lanai. Finally, Molokai Ferry travels once a day between Maui and Molokai.



Getting Around

By Car

Major highways include:

  • Honoapiilani Highway (Route 30) is the road to Lahaina, Kaanapali, and Kapalua; it runs between West Maui and Wailuku around majestic cliffs and along white sand beaches.
  • Hana Highway (Routes 36 and 360), the "road to Hana," traces Maui's north coast from Kahului to the village of Hana on the eastern shore. Winding along steep, forested mountainsides, in many places the road narrows to only a single lane. Although the road to Hana is only 90 kilometres long, it turns and winds so continuously that the whole journey can take up to three hours one-way, especially if there is traffic. However, if you leave early in the morning, the trip can take as little as 90 minutes.
  • Haleakala Highway (Routes 37, 377, and 378) is the road that leads to Pukalani and Makawao in upcountry Maui and takes you to the summit of Haleakala.

Be aware that most locals refer to the roads not by number but by name, and will likely not understand if you ask for a road by number. For example you would never hear someone refer to Piilani highway as "route 31" or "highway 31."

Many international rental companies have a wide selection of rental cars and these include Hertz, Avis, Dollar, Thrifty, Enterprise, Budget and Alamo/National. Most companies will require you are at least 25 years of age, although younger people might be able to rent cars at slightly higher rates and with some insurance differences as well. A national driver's license is usually enough, but an additional international one is recommended. Also note that it usually costs more to include lots of other extra things. For example extra drivers, GPS, the first full tank, SLI (Supplemental Liability Insurance), PAI (Personal Accident Insurance, usually covered already at home), road assistance/service plan, and drop-off costs for one-way rentals.
If you want to book a car, it is recommended that you book your car before arriving in the USA. This is almost always (much) cheaper compared to just showing up. Also, try and book with a so-called 'broker', which usually works together with a few or many car rental companies and can offer the best deal. Some examples include Holidayautos, Holidaycars and Sunny Cars. Some of the cheapest deals to book from Europe, includes Drive-USA, which also has a German version.

For more information and tips about renting cars and campers, additional costs, insurance, traffic rules, scenic routes and getting maps and fuel it is advised to check the USA Getting Around section.

By Bus

Check the Busroute map to get an idea of your possibilities.




Fresh produce is widely available at farmer's markets and road side stands. Banana bread, coconut candy, smoothies and seasonal fruit are all highlights of a drive around Maui.



Quick Facts


  • Latitude: 20.80308
  • Longitude: -156.338104

Accommodation in Maui

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Maui searchable right here on Travellerspoint.


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Maui Travel Helpers

  • Odinnthor

    Aloha nui........d:o)
    I lived in Lahaina on Maui for a number of years. I know pretty much everything you could think of about my Maui. At the moment I am writing a book about my times in Lahaina, which were during the magical decade of the 70s. Although I left Maui after some years, I have frequently been back, and have a lot of local contacts. How about a some nuggets about paniolo (cowboy) country? Paniolos are Hawaiian cowboys, mostly of Portuguese origins. Today you can visit a couple of full blown cattle ranches, and rent some horses for a day. Maui is no ka oi (is the best).
    Aloha nui loa..........d:o)

    Ask Odinnthor a question about Maui

This is version 42. Last edited at 10:03 on Jun 12, 19 by Utrecht. 16 articles link to this page.

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