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Overview of the Island of Maui

 
Maui has long been a favorite of visitors to the Hawaiian Islands.  It’s gorgeous scenery and warm climate make it the perfect spot to “get away from it all” on a relaxing beach vacation. Maui is made up of two, circular volcanic landmasses connected by a narrow valley that links the two land masses into one 723 square mile island. The smaller land mass to the west was formed by Pu`u Kukui, an extinct volcano and is generally known simply as “West Maui.” The interior of the West Maui area receives over 400 inches of rain per year giving it the distinction of being one of the wettest places on the planet. Since this part of the island is on the leeward side, the temperature is generally sunny and dry. These features make it the ideal place for high-end resort properties. The city of Lahaina and the resort areas of and Ka`anapali, Kahana, Napili and Kapalua can be found on this part of the island. The larger landmass that connects to West Maui was formed by the dormant, 10,023 foot volcano, Haleakala or “house of the sun.”  This part of the island is generally known as “East Maui” or simply, “upcountry.”  The communities of Ma’alaea, Kihei and Wailea lie along the leeward side of the island. The entire east side of Maui consists of a dense forest with a winding, narrow road leading to the quaint towns of Hana. Maui has over 100 miles of coastline but unless you have a 4 wheel drive vehicle, much of it is inaccessible.
   
 
Mid-December through Mid-April is the high season for tourism on the island so there will be fewer travel bargains during these months of the year. Due to the flows of trade winds on Maui, the north or northeast part of the island receives the highest percentage of rainfall per year.  The south and southwest parts of the island is generally dry and sunny making it a good place to visit if you want to relax on the beach or spend time in ocean related activities.  Like its neighbor, the Big Island, Maui has a varied topography and many climate zones depending on elevation. If you plan on spending time in the Haleakala area, you may need warm weather clothing as temperatures can vary widely in the higher elevations.
 
Maui offers an extensive variety of fun things to see and do for all ages. You can go hiking in lush tropical or mountain terrain, enjoy basking in the warm sands of the many beaches or play a few rounds of golf on world-class greens. There is something to see and do for every taste and every budget on Maui.
 
If hiking is your thing, consider exploring the island via 4-wheel drive. Since much of the island is difficult or almost impossible to access, consider one of the many escorted tours offered on the island. Knowledgeable guides equipped with the right vehicles, can help you see parts of the island that would otherwise not be accessible to you. Don’t wait until you get to the island to book your 4 wheel drive tours however, since they often book up far in advance - especially in the high travel season. 
 
If back road travel is not your thing, there are many less adventurous things to do on Maui. Maui is home to a number of world class golf courses so golfing is a very popular choice for visitors.  Do be aware, though, that tee times can be pricey and also crowded in high season. Check with your local hotel concierge for suggestions and to schedule tee times.
 
Observing ocean marine life is also a very popular activity on Maui. Water-based activities abound on Maui and there are many opportunities to cruise, fish, scuba or snorkel available from local merchants. From January through the end of April, you can catch one of the many Whale Watch cruises that leave from Lahaina to see the large pods of whales. These wondrous creatures  come to the warm, Hawaiian waters each winter to romp and birth their calves. There are many fine restaurants on the island so there is plenty of opportunity to simply relax over a Mai Tai if that is what you prefer. Theater is popular on Maui with many theater troupes offering first-class productions all throughout the year. No matter what you are looking for to see or do, you will find it on the beautiful island of Maui. 


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