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General Information on Maui

Maui Within the Hawaiian Islands
Simple and Small
Shows Stuff on Other Islands

One of the first things you'll notice if you are like a lot of people, is that there is an island called Hawaii, as well as several others: Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, Kahoolawe and Maui. There are also some smaller ones. The main population center, and what is most often seen in movies and TV shows is Oahu. That's where the big city of Honolulu is. The active volcanoes are on the island of Hawaii - it is the newest island in the chain, which was built as the tectonic plate drifts over a hotspot in the earth's crust. We went to the island of Maui. The big volcanic peak there, Haleakala, hasn't erupted for a couple hundred years. The peak is shown as Puu Ulaula on the right-hand map above.


These maps show Maui itself
Small image (176K)
Large image (230K)
Another large image (162K)
Detail of the Kihei area (181K)
Detail of the Wailea and Makena areas (76K)
One more overall map with inset (315K)

We stayed in the Kihei-Wailea area, in a rented condo, so I only know for sure about that area in 2012, but I expect its pretty much true elsewhere as well, unless you deliberately go "off the beaten track". Maui is safe, clean, modern, beautiful and warm.

Your biggest risk on Maui is probably that you'll get sunburn. I was born in England, of English parents, and I live up here in central Alberta - my body is not used to sunbathing. So, after 3 weeks, I might just be finished with my skin peeling off from sunburn. No big deal - apparantly that happened a lot when I was a kid. Another risk is that you'll stub your toe on a rock hidden under the sand or underwater. Really, that's about it unless you do stupid things, in which case the usual results can happen. Folks are friendly - why not - they are living in paradise? About the only time we got a funny look was when we were driving around lost in a residential area.

Maui was much cleaner than my home city of Edmonton. I'm sure that is deliberate in the areas that visitors are likely to go, but it is quite noticeable. Their economy depends a lot on tourism, so they will put the money in. Tourist areas in Edmonton are clean too, like West Edmonton Mall.

I don't think you can find a grass hut to live in, but perhaps there are some obscure ones somewhere. You'll most likely be staying in a modern air conditioned hotel, resort or condo, with all the usual conveniences (I did have to get help with the single knob tap in my shower!) There is good cell phone coverage, lots of TV, lots of convenience stores, taxis, a bus service, rental cars, shopping malls, stores like Walmart, Cosco, Safeway, etc.

It's beautiful. What more can I say? Folks who live in warm places might not find it so unusual, but I never really got used to the greenery and flowers everywhere (in March, there are no outdoor flowers here in Edmonton, and only the evergreens are green). The air is fresh, the beaches are gorgeous, the ocean is clear and clean, and there are pretty birds everywhere.

It's warm in Maui. Of course it is - its tropical. The ocean is warm too. The only time I put my jacket on is when we went up Haleakala, which is 10,300 feet above sea level, and usually quite windy. I was a bit chilly on the ziplines, which are halfway up Haleakala and it was misty and early when we were there. Otherwise, you can just get out of bed in the morning and go have breakfast out on your lanai (deck/patio). It doesn't get overly hot either, but you will get lots of sunshine. You are close to the ocean - it won't be dry. There is lots of tropical rainforest in parts of the island.


You will likely arrive on Maui at the Kahului airport. It's fairly busy, and it can be a long walk from the arrival port to the main part of the airport. You can get coffee and stuff, but it doesn't have lots of stores like a lot of big airports. Notice the birds flying around inside - like most public places, it isn't closed in - there are no nasties to worry about keeping out. When I arrived, I was picked up by my two nieces in a Camaro convertible!

Roads in Maui tend to be in very good condition. There is no winter, so no frost heaves or snowplows to damage them. There aren't many big trucks either. We found very few places without good paved roads. Some speed limits seem quite low - e.g. highway 311 is a central 4-lane divided highway with wide shoulders, but has a speed limit of 45mph - such a road here in Alberta would be set at 70mph. Folks seem to drive 10 - 15mph above the posted limits. Except on the Hana road, were sometimes there is no way you want to drive as fast as 20mph!

The beaches in Kihei and Wailea are all public. That means they are fair game for anyone to use, even if they are right beside private homes or big resorts. Sometimes its a bit of a walk to get to them, however. There are several public access points, but parking is often limited (land is very expensive!). To be honest, our usual access method was to walk through the Marriot resort and head to the north to Ulua beach. There are nice public walks above the beach along Wailea - from one of those we watched sea turtles in rocky inlets. There are also public foot-washes (to get the sand off your feet) in several places. You want to put your sandals back on, not because the roads and sidewalks are dirty, full of glass or anything, but because they are too hot for most visitor feet!

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