Chapter 9 – Kihei

    Kihei is one of the larger towns located in Maui County, Hawaii. Situated in the southwest portion of the island, Kihei boasts six miles of beautiful sandy beaches, lots of restaurants, and unlimited charm. At almost nine and a half square miles in area with a population of approximately 22,000 people, it is one of Maui’s larger towns, and has lots to do. Only twenty five miles away from the Kahului Airport, this town is in an excellent location.

    Kihei is a well known tourist destination for whale watching. Many people take boats from Ma’alaea Bay each year to go Humpback whale watching. These boats also take visitors on charter fishing expeditions, as well as snorkeling trips.

    With an average of ten inches maximum of rain each year, Kihei beaches are some of the driest and most beautiful in Hawaii. These beaches are great for swimming, surfing, snorkeling and kayaking in addition to spotting wildlife. Another fantastic feature of the Kihei beaches is the clear view of Kahoolawe, Molokini, Lanai, and West Maui. Molokini is a partially submerged volcanic crater, and is another popular tourist destination for snorkeling and scuba diving.

    Housing in Kihei is varied, with the option of condominiums, houses and quaint cottages. For residents and visitors alike there is a lot to do in Kihei. With over one hundred restaurants, cuisine in Kihei ranges from traditional Hawaiian, to Indian, Thai, and traditional American. Of course there are also locally owned shops, markets, grocery stores and shopping malls in Kihei for residents and visitors. There is also a bustling nightlife in Kihei, complete with karaoke bars and dance clubs.

    There are many research facilities that have been established in Kihei. The main offices for the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary are located in Kihei, as DEKALB Genetics Corporation, as is Monsanto Company, and the Pacific Disaster Center (which works with/is supervised by the Air Force Maui Optical and Supercomputing Observatory).

    With all these research facilities in Kihei many residents are employed in research. There are also jobs available with the local schools, and of course in the restaurant and retail industries. The average income for males (as of the 2000 census) was approximately $34,000, and the average income for females was approximately $27,000.

    The average house or condo in Kihei is valued at approximately $490,000 The average rent cost in Kihei is approximately $1,400. Most of the residents in Kihei drive a car for transportation, but some residents ride a bicycle or walk.

    For residents with children in Kihei there are three schools. Kihei Elementary school serves the town’s smallest children, Lokelani Intermediate School serves the middle grades and Kihei Public Charter High School educates the upper grades.

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