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Maui Real Estate Guide


Lahaina, Makena, Kihei, Kapalua, Makawao, Haiku, Wailuku, Wailea, Kula, Paia

Adrienne Lally & Attilio Leonardi


Wexford House Books

Published by:

Wexford House Books

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by an information storage and retrieval system – except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review to be printed in a magazine or newspaper – without permission in writing from the publisher.

Copyright © 2014 by Adrienne Lally and Attilio Leonardi

Printed in the United States of America





About the Authors

Adrienne Lally is a Hawaii real estate agent specializing in residential sales and property management. She is consistently rated one of the top 20 real estate agents in the state.

After extensive training, Adrienne has earned the Real Estate Broker (RB) designation, and Adrienne and her team have helped more than 400 Hawaii families avoid foreclosure.

A former soldier herself and currently a military wife, Adrienne met her husband, Chad, when she was stationed in Hawaii. The two were married on their surfboards, and now have three children.

Adrienne’s philosophy as an agent centers on teamwork among her staff, extensive research on the local real estate market, and personal attention to clients’ needs. She shares her extensive knowledge of the local market during her weekly radio call-in show every Thursday from noon to 1pm on KAOI AM 1110, repeating on Saturdays from 11am to noon on KHVH AM 830.

Attilio Leonardi joins Adrienne in their radio show and in business. An Oahu native with real estate in his blood, his younger days with his parents and three younger sisters were filled with school, beach, fishing, surfing, and skateboarding.

After graduating from Kamehameha Schools, Attilio managed a rock band and dabbled in door-to-door sales before finding his true calling in real estate. When he was just 19, Attilio purchased his first house, a 4-bedrom near his university.

Attilio is a Realtor, Certified Distressed Property Expert and Broker, and he combines his love of his home state with his expertise to bring his clients the islands’ absolute best home buying and selling advice. He credits his beautiful wife Regina and three amazing children with giving him the energy to spend his weeks travelling between Hawaii’s top destinations to sell and buy the area’s best homes.



Thank you to Team Lally members Howard Nett, Cherie Fikani, Calen Kim-Walker, Abi Johnson, Lydia Bishop, Kimoli Thomas, Duke KimHan, Brandon Force, Benjamin Wilson, Nikki Roberts, Chris Tuncap, Renee Ube, and Rosal Juarez for their great work on behalf of our clients. I will forever be thankful to Justin Willingham, who we lost much too soon, and who will forever be a part of Team Lally

A big thank you to Matt Wagner from Radio and Television Experts ( for pushing us to take our business to the next level. After two years of his urging, we finally came around and started our radio show, which has been a game changer for us.

Another thanks to Vyral Marketing’s ( Frank Klesitz and our coach Scott Salari, who have helped us keep our video marketing fresh and innovative.

And we are forever grateful for Bob Corcoran and Diva Marie from Corcoran Coaching. Their advice and methods have helped us take our team to the next level.

Adrienne would like to say a personal thank you to my Mom and Dad, my three great kids, Aidan, Nadia and Chad Jr, my fabulous husband Chad, and God, for all of His blessings.

And Attilio would like to thank Adrienne Lally for accepting me on the team and allowing us to work together and take our team to new heights. It’s been a great ride!

To my beautiful wife Regina Leonardi, whose support and endless positive attitude has made it easy for me to treat my work as a Realtor not as a job but as a calling. I can’t forget my thanks to my three awesome children, Attilio Jr, Isabella and Angelo, who have helped directly in their individual ways and inspire me to create a legacy for them through Real Estate.



Chapter 1……………………………………………………………………………… 11

Why Move to Maui?………………………………………………………………. 11

PART I…………………………………………………………………………………… 21

Buying & Selling Real Estate  in Maui………………………………………… 21

Chapter 2……………………………………………………………………………… 22

Top Tips for Maui Buyers……………………………………………………….. 22

Chapter 3……………………………………………………………………………… 31

Top Tips for Maui Sellers……………………………………………………….. 31

Chapter 4……………………………………………………………………………… 44

Buying a Vacation Property…………………………………………………….. 44

Chapter 5……………………………………………………………………………… 52

Retiring to Maui…………………………………………………………………….. 52

Chapter 6……………………………………………………………………………… 60

Foreclosure  and Short Sales:  Buy and Sell Distressed Properties… 60

PART II………………………………………………………………………………….. 73

Maui  Neighborhoods……………………………………………………………….. 73

Chapter 7……………………………………………………………………………… 75

Lahaina………………………………………………………………………………… 75

Chapter 8……………………………………………………………………………… 78

Makena………………………………………………………………………………… 78

Chapter 9……………………………………………………………………………… 81

kihei 81

Chapter 10……………………………………………………………………………. 84

kapalua………………………………………………………………………………… 84

Chapter 11……………………………………………………………………………. 87

haiku……………………………………………………………………………………. 87

Chapter 12……………………………………………………………………………. 92

Wailuku……………………………………………………………………………….. 92

Chapter 13……………………………………………………………………………. 96

Wailea………………………………………………………………………………….. 96

Chapter 14……………………………………………………………………………. 98

KULA………………………………………………………………………………….. 98

Chapter 15………………………………………………………………………….. 101

Paia  101

PART III………………………………………………………………………………. 104

Nearby Destinations: Kauai &  Big Island…………………………………. 104

Chapter 16………………………………………………………………………….. 106

Kauai…………………………………………………………………………………. 106

Chapter 17………………………………………………………………………….. 113

Big Island……………………………………………………………………………. 113

PART IV………………………………………………………………………………. 119

Interviews……………………………………………………………………………… 119

Chapter 18………………………………………………………………………….. 120

Jack Gist…………………………………………………………………………….. 120

Chapter 19………………………………………………………………………….. 124

Johnny Absolm……………………………………………………………………. 124

Chapter 21………………………………………………………………………….. 133

Joe Kaniaupio……………………………………………………………………… 133

Chapter 22………………………………………………………………………….. 137

Alaka’i Paleka……………………………………………………………………… 137

Chapter 23………………………………………………………………………….. 141

Brady Spangler……………………………………………………………………. 141

Chapter 24………………………………………………………………………….. 145

Mercy Palmer………………………………………………………………………. 145

Chapter 25………………………………………………………………………….. 149

Lynn Woods……………………………………………………………………….. 149

Chapter 26………………………………………………………………………….. 154

Jan Smythe…………………………………………………………………………. 154

PART V………………………………………………………………………………… 159

The Newcomer’s  Guide to maui………………………………………………. 159

Chapter 27………………………………………………………………………….. 160

Getting Settled……………………………………………………………………… 160

Chapter 28………………………………………………………………………….. 173

The Job Market……………………………………………………………………. 173

Chapter 29………………………………………………………………………….. 186

Childcare and Education……………………………………………………….. 186

Chapter 30………………………………………………………………………….. 201

Health Care…………………………………………………………………………. 201

Chapter 31………………………………………………………………………….. 207

Shopping Guide…………………………………………………………………… 207

Chapter 32………………………………………………………………………….. 223

Cultural Life……………………………………………………………………….. 223

Chapter 33………………………………………………………………………….. 232

Climate and Environment……………………………………………………… 232

Chapter 34………………………………………………………………………….. 242

Sports & Recreation……………………………………………………………… 242



Chapter 1

Why Move to Maui?

Maui is one of the few places in the world that can justifiably describe itself as paradise on earth. Consider: a temperate climate, palm trees and the azure of the Pacific Ocean on all sides. Topography that ranges from snow-capped mountains of volcanic rock that poke through the clouds to countless waterfalls, and from lush rainforests and verdant plains  to pristine beaches regularly called the world’s best, Maui truly has it all.

Want proof? As of 2013, Readers of Condé Nast Traveler have rated Maui the world’s best island for 20 years straight. It also regained top spot in the Top 10 American Islands list for 2013. Little wonder, then, that it has become a magnet for those seeking to retire or vacation in one of the most beautiful places known to man. It’s a playground for celebrities seeking seclusion and travelers eager to embrace a new culture. It’s equally a haven for thrill-seeking adventurers and lovers of life looking to downshift gears for a more relaxed pace. A common roadside sign on Maui has this advice: “Slow down, this ain’t the mainland.”

Known as the Valley Isle, Maui is the second-largest of the Hawaiian islands, and is renowned for its welcoming, family-centric culture. Nothing on Maui is too far from anything else, the relatively bustling city of Kahului and the remote tranquility of Hana only a short drive apart.

Its natural wonder and cross-cultural harmony saw Coastal Living magazine name Maui a “Coastal Dream Town.” The magazine also singled out Pa’ia Town, on the island’s north shore, as one of America’s Happiest Seaside Towns for 2013 Maui’s population center of Kahului ranked as a “Contender” in CNNMoney’s list of Best Places to Live list of America’s top small towns in 2011.

Maui is home to some of the foremost hotels in the world, which saw Forbes name the Four Seasons at Wailea one of its Top 10 Beach Resorts Around The World.

A growing and diverse population has been drawn by overwhelming natural beauty and a healthy climate, and compelled to stay by the pervading spirit of tolerance and neighborliness. Known worldwide for decades as a top tourist destination, more and more people are calling this island retreat home for good.


  • #1, World’s 25 Best Islands, Condé Nast Traveler
  • #1, America’s 10 Best Islands, Condé Nast Traveler
  • “Coastal Dream Town,” Coastal Living
  • “Contender” Best Places to Live list of America’s top small towns in 2011, CNNMoney
  • Top 10,  Happiest Seaside Towns for 2013, Coastal Living
  • Top 10 Beach Resorts Around The World, Forbes


Let’s face it, this is why you want to move to Maui. Same reason media queen Oprah Winfrey has a 300-plus acre upcountry farm and countless other celebrities have homes here. Take your pick: Walk above the clouds at Haleakala National Park. Get romantic in historic Hana, ranked as one of the world’s top honeymoon spots by Outside Magazine. Relax on Kapalua Beach in northwestern Maui, ranked as one of Coastal Magazine’s 21 Best Beaches in America. Gaze at its legendary rainbows or breathtaking sunsets. Tramp through bamboo forests or across lavender pastures.

There’s also a vibrant arts scene. Even the tiny town of Paia on Maui’s Northern Shore was described in the  New York Times in 2010 as “turning into an unlikely destination for contemporary art.”

But close your eyes and think of Maui and you’re probably picturing palm trees, a deep blue sky, pale blue ocean and fine sand gently giving way beneath your feet. That’s understandable, Hawaii’s beaches regularly take home top honors in the annual Best Beaches in America list issued by Dr. Beach, acknowledged as the world’s foremost authority with a famous 50-criteria ranking system. Maui beaches always rank highly.  Kapalua Bay Beach was ranked #1 in 1991, Wailea Beach won in 1999, Ka’anapali Beach took the top award in 2003 and Fleming Beach Park won in 2006. In 2013, Maui’s Hamoa Beach placed fourth.

Should you want to do more than swim, Maui is a Mecca for canoeing and kayaking. Outside Magazine called the island one of its Top 10 Beginner Stand Up Paddle spots.

If your place is atop the waves, Maui also has you covered. Its surf is up as high as its beach rankings. National Geographic ranked Paia in the Top 20 of the World’s  Best Surf Towns and Surfer Magazine ranked it #4 on its similar list. Maui also offers majestic hikes and mountain biking trails.

If you want to work on your backswing, Maui also happens to be golf heaven. It’s one of the most gorgeous locales to play the game, and has courses that consistently remain top destinations for professionals and amateurs alike. Kapalua Golf is home to the PGA Tour’s Mercedes Championship each year, and Kaanapali Golf Course hosts the Senior PGA Kaanapali Classic. The Dunes at Maui Lani was ranked among the 35 best new courses in America by GOLF Magazine, and Golf Digest called it One of the Five Best Kept Secret Golf Courses in America. Golf Digest also ranked Kapalua #17 on its list of America’s Greatest Public Golf Courses.


  • #1, Best Beaches in America 1991,  Dr. Beach
  • #1, Best Beaches in America 1999,  Dr. Beach
  • #1, Best Beaches in America 2003,  Dr. Beach
  • #1, Best Beaches in America 2006,  Dr. Beach
  • Top 10 Beginner Stand Up Paddle spots, Outside Magazine
  • Top 20, World’s Best Surf Towns, National Geographic
  • #17, America’s Greatest Public Golf Courses, Kapalua, Golf Digest
  • 35 Best New Courses in America, The Dunes at Maui Lani , GOLF Magazine
  • Five Best Kept Secret Golf Courses in America, The Dunes at Maui Lani, Golf Digest
  • #4,  Best Surf Towns, Paia (on Maui’s North Shore) Surfer Magazine    #11, 20 Best Places to Live, Triathlete



Maui was formed by the overlapping lava flows of neighboring volcanoes, which gave rise to its unusual topography that squashes mountains and valleys together in the middle of an ocean. That landscape means rainfall varies wildly across the island. Lowland showers are common, especially in the morning and at night, and can be heavy, but most pass through quickly. And Maui’s climate is as welcoming as its beauty. The year-round average temperature is 79 degrees, but with the exception of high altitudes, there are no extremes here. The 76-degree average for January is only 6 degrees lower than August’s average of 82 degrees. In Maui, the temperature is one thing you can count on.

The island was first settled by Polynesian peoples. A French admiral was the first European to land there, in 1786. Missionaries from New England arrived some 40 years later and had a marked influence on the culture.  Whaling gave way to sugarcane as the island’s principal industry around the time the U.S. annexed Hawaii in 1898. Hawaii became a U.S. territory in 1900 and the 50th U.S. state in 1959. By that time Maui had hosted more than 100,000 U.S. soldiers during World War II.


Maui’s economy is constantly evolving. Once dominated by agriculture, and sugar cane in particular, tourism currently rules the roost. But over the past two decades, the island’s business base has become has become increasingly diversified. That’s partly why, in the midst of recession paranoia in late 2008, Forbes ranked Kahului-Wailuku fifth in a list of America’s Least Vulnerable Towns.

Growth and Expansion

Maui’s 727 square miles are home to less people than you might expect, given its bounty of natural wonder. But the word is out. The island’s population grew by almost 23 percent  from 200 to 2010, when it was 144,644. Still, there’s plenty of room, with only 133 people per square mile. Compare that to an urban area Manhattan, say, which has 523 times that many people crammed in the same space.

Real Estate

Whether you’re looking for a permanent home or a vacation getaway, home values on Maui have beaten expectations and national averages throughout the recession. Values have rebounded strongly since 2011, driven by low supply and a steady decline in unemployment.

In 2011, Maui was in the top two of the New York-based financial magazine Barron’s Top Second Home Communities list, ahead of the Hamptons, Palm Beach and Aspen.

The Kahului-Wailuku market ranked third in the nation among 100 mid-size markets for year-over-year home price increases, with a 22.55 percent hike from 2012 to 2013. According to Trulia, the median price of homes sold in the market in 2013 was $510,000, almost back to the 2008m peak of $565,000.

There’s no way around it, Maui is an exclusive place to own property. The average price of newly sold homes increased by 17.5% through August 2013, to $669,701 per unit. Maui is a small market, so a few sales here and there can skew the trends. Properties range from fixer-uppers for about $200,000 to multimillion oceanfront homes. For all properties though, it’s clear prices have been on the rise.

Employment and Business

Maui’s universal appeal kept it a destination throughout the recession, and the future is bright.

Unemployment remained below the national average throughout the last five years. The 4.5 percent rate recorded in August 2013 was the lowest since July 2008. The state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations predicts Maui County will have the second-fastest job growth in the state between 2010 and 2020, with a 15.1 percent increase forecast. It’s a stable place to invest, too. In 2010, Forbes ranked Bank of Hawaii the best bank in the nation, based in part on a conservative underwriting strategy.

The island is home to globally-recognized brands including the Boeing Company, Northrop Grumman Corporation and Lockheed Martin Orincon. Structural Concrete Bonding & Restoration in Kahului was included in’s 2010 5000 List after growing its revenue by 145 percent in three years.

The Made in Maui Trade Council produces an easy-to-spot seal to let consumers know when at least 51 percent of a product’s value was created on Maui, as a way of building support for locally-sourced products.


Air travel is all-important for the islands, and the airlines know it. Forbes ranked Maui’s Kahului airport, the island’s commercial gateway, and the most punctual of America’s 50 busiest airports in 2007. It ranked second in 2008, the last year the rankings were produced, with an 84.2 percent on-time departure rate. Top spot in the 2008 list was taken by Honolulu. Given that the Kahului-Honolulu route has ranked as one of the busiest in the U.S., with well over 1.5 million passengers a year, that’s good news for island residents.

Hawaiian Airlines opened a second hub in Kahului airport in 2012. Several U.S. airlines offer direct service to Maui from airports not just on the west coast but as far inland as the Midwest, including Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, Oakland, Phoenix, Portland, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, San Jose and Seattle.

Kahului is the only airport on Maui that flies to the US. mainland, but there are two smaller airports. Kapaulua offers some flights to Honolulu, while Hana is accessible only by single propeller planes flying from elsewhere on the island.

When it comes to getting around Maui itself, there are six main a roads that cross and encircle the island. Maui has a brief average commute time of 20.9 minutes, according to the Maui Economic Development Board. Gasoline is more expensive than on the mainland, but cars tend to drive far fewer miles here. The County of Maui operates a public transit system with multiple bus routes that run seven days a week and cost $2 per ride.


The University of Hawaii Maui College is one of ten branches of the state university system. Enrolment is about 4,400 at Maui College, which was a technical school welcomed into the state’s then-new community college system in 1966. Nestled on 78 acres in Kahului Bay, it operates an oral health center and a culinary arts facility and was renamed in 2010 to acknowledge its membership of the state university system. That designation was awarded based on its four year degree offerings, in Applied Science, Engineering Technology and Sustainable Science Management.

Maui’s 31 public schools are part of a centralized, single-district state system that was founded by King Kamehameha III in 1840, making it the oldest public school system west of the Mississippi. In 2011, Hawaii was the only state to make significant progress in all three subject areas — science, math and reading — outlined in the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

The largest of the island’s schools, the century-old Maui High School, is noted for its award winning marching band, which has performed at Disneyland and is set to march in the 2015 Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif.

The Hawaii Association of Independent Schools is an affiliation of private not-for-profit schools with enrolment ranging up to 3,800. Maui is home to some of the most prestigious private schools in the country, including Seabury Hall, a top college prep school, named a Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education. The 33,349 children enrolled in private schools on Maui in 2013 accounted for about 15 percent of all school-aged kids.


What could be better for your health than the Pacific air on an island far removed from urban smog? Little wonder that Maui, along with the rest of Hawaii, ranked in the top 25 percent for the lowest instances of the seven most common chronic diseases: cancer, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, stroke, mental disorders and pulmonary conditions. That’s according to the Milken Institute, an independent economic think tank.

According to data from, among Hawaii counties, Maui County ranks #2 in overall health, #3 in health behaviors such as smoking, obesity and STDs and #4 in clinical care in its 2013 Health Outcomes snapshot.

It’s also worth noting that the 1974 Hawaii Prepaid Healthcare Act, requires employers to provide health coverage for all employees who work more than 20 hours per week for four weeks.


  • #2, Maui County, HI overall health,
  • #5, Maui County, HI clinical care,
  • #7, Maui County, HI health behaviors,


A stable and pleasant climate, a healthy environment and a laid-back pace of living make Maui a plum spot to enjoy the well-earned fruits of your labor, a fact more and more retirees are starting to notice People aged 65 and older accounted for 11 percent of Maui’s population in 2000; by 2012 that had grown to 14 percent.

Maui’s beaches, golf courses, delicious foods and abundant natural appeal is a draw to people of any age who love life. But there are also financial benefits for retirees who move here. Hawaii doesn’t tax Social Security or pension income and property taxes tend to be lower because schools are funded by the state and not local governments. Wealth Manager magazine called it the most wealth-friendly place in the country for retirees.

Fortune Magazine also labeled the island one of its Five Places to Retire in Style in 2006, and AARP The Magazine ranked Maui in its Top 5 Luxury Family Travel Destinations in the U.S.


Love to stare at the night sky? At 10,000 feet, Maui’s Mount Haleakala is high enough and far enough from any city lights to make it one of the world’s most sought-after locations in the world for stargazing.

Always wanted to see a humpback whale? Thousands of humpback whales migrate to the warm pacific waters around Hawaii each year and the nonprofit Pacific Whale Foundation offers cruises to see them.

Whales a little too big for you? A small black sand beach in the Ahihi Kinau Natural Area Reserve known as Turtle Town is one of Maui’s top snorkeling spots. There is truly a new discovery waiting around every hairpin turn of Maui’s twisting highways.


Buying & Selling
Real Estate
in Maui

Whether buying, selling, moving up to a higher-priced home or trying to avoid foreclosure, anyone with a real estate transaction in their future could use some advice. In this section you’ll find a wealth of information about buying and selling real estate in Maui, as well as specifics on foreclosures, short sales and military relocation.










Chapter 2

Top Tips for Maui Buyers

Get Your Financing Figured Out

Before you know what homes to consider, you need to know how much you can afford, and that comes down to the monthly payment amount. Between loan products and new lending rules, variable interest rates and credit score surprises, most buyers are looking in the wrong price range (too high or too low). Ask your realtor for a referral to a local mortgage lending specialist with at least five years’ experience. Based on your preferred monthly payment, income, and credit scores, he will review all your loan and down-payment options and write you a “pre-qualification letter” stating what purchase price you can afford. The seller’s realtor will need this letter in order to consider your offer. A “pre-approval letter” (as opposed to a pre-qualification letter) requires more labor on your part to provide additional paperwork and verification, but it is important to obtain one. Particularly in an economic slump, it will show the seller that you are a serious buyer who is financially prepared to make a purchase.

You will get the best advice and rates from a mortgage broker who specializes in residential loans, and has access to a large variety of loan products. Loan officers who work for one of the big lenders tend to focus exclusively on their own products. Retail banks are busy with a wide variety of services such as checking, savings, business and auto loans, and normally offer limited lending options, so they are rarely competitive. One exception is a credit union. If you are a member of one, or are eligible to be through your employer, you should talk to them about your purchase.

Shop for the best rate for your family, but think twice about switching away from a lender who invested his time to give you advice and help, just to save an eighth of a point. Anyone can quote you a lower rate, but that lender may drop the ball later and cost you money or delay your closing. Do not use Internet lenders, out-of-state lenders, or any lender who was not referred to you, unless you like surprise rate hikes the day before your closing, when it is too late to react.

A great mortgage broker can sometimes even lower your rate after you lock it in, by moving you to a different lender if the rates go down before closing. The best brokers will call and offer it without you having to ask. Find that broker.

Finally, when your mortgage broker asks for additional paperwork, get it to him immediately. He cannot control what the underwriter will ask for or when, and if you are late, your closing might be also. Be sure you always choose a local Hawaii lender; ask your Realtor for a referral of someone who works in the state.

Use a Real Estate Agent

All commissions are paid by the seller in the Hawaii, so for a buyer, the help of a real estate realtor is free. A good realtor will help you find the right home in the right area, guide you away from big mistakes, and negotiate a better deal for you. Some buyers think they will save money by not having an agent. Think again. The seller has agreed to pay a certain commission rate to the listing agent, regardless of whether the buyer is represented or not. If you don’t have a realtor, the listing agent will keep the entire amount, and you will miss out on the benefit of professional advice.

Beware of realtors who offer you part of their commission as a “buyer rebate.” This may be a sign they are struggling to survive as a realtor, and as a result may not be competent to represent you.

Start Early

Most buyers purchase a home that does not match their original criteria 100 percent. If you start looking too late, you might buy the wrong home. It makes sense to start looking and exploring long before you are ready to buy to give yourself time to learn and think about what you see. Your criteria for your next home will evolve and change as you look at homes. Meet with a good real estate agent and tell him your criteria. Then spread out a map and ask him what areas are appreciating, and what areas to avoid.

Your realtor will start sending you properties by email. Sort through them and pick the ones you like the most. When you have time, drive by these homes and see what you think about the neighborhood, the shopping, and the commute to work. You will find neighborhoods you never knew existed. At this stage you are trying to figure out in which geographic area you want to live. If, while driving around, you see a “for sale” sign in front of a property you like, ask your realtor for more information.

Continue to look for homes on,,, and the search page on your realtor’s Web site. You will find homes you like that do not meet your original criteria. No problem. Tell your realtor about these, change your criteria if you want to, and he will send you more homes to consider.

If you see a home you absolutely love, call your realtor and tell him you want to see it ASAP. No harm in looking, and if it is the perfect home, maybe it makes sense to move a little earlier than you planned.

Move Up in the Down Market

This is the most profitable time in the history of Maui to sell your current home and purchase a more expensive home. Here is a simplified example: Let’s assume the average price of a home in Maui has dropped 10 percent over the past 18 months. So if you own a home that would have been worth $200,000 in a normal market, you may only get $180,000 for it now, or $20,000 less than you hoped. However, you should be able to purchase your next home at a 10 percent discount also, so you get a $400,000 home for $360,000, which is a $40,000 savings. In total, you took a $20,000 loss and earned a $40,000 gain, and ended up with a $20,000 profit. It gets better, though. In reality, the lower-priced homes depreciated less than the higher-priced homes. So if your $200,000 home only depreciated 5 percent, but the $400,000 home depreciated 15 percent, then you would lose $10,000 on your current home and gain $60,000 on your next home, for a $50,000 profit! Compare this to moving up in a strong market, when any appreciation on your lower-priced home is wiped out by the price increase of your next home. You are actually taking a loss on the transaction. Keep in mind that getting a bargain on the higher-priced home does not necessarily mean negotiating a big reduction off the list (or “asking”) price, because the list price may have already been adjusted downward to the right price.

Know Your Criteria

Here is a list of criteria for you to think about:



  • Price range
  • Detached/Townhome/Condo
  • Number of bedrooms
  • Living area square footage
  • Master down (Y/N)
  • Number of bathrooms
  • Geographic area
  • School district(s)
  • Acreage
  • Age of home
  • One story (Y/N)
  • Lot type (corner/cul-de-sac)
  • Flat lot (Y/N)
  • Number of garage bays
  • Commute time to work
  • Fireplace (wood/gas)
  • Fenced yard (Y/N)
  • Exterior (brick/vinyl/etc.)
  • Community pool (Y/N)
  • Golf course community (Y/N)
  • Direction house faces
  • Short-sale/foreclosure (Y/N)
  • “Fixer-upper” (Y/N)
  • Deck (Y/N)
  • Pool (Y/N)
  • Storage shed (Y/N)
  • Private lot (Y/N)
  • Storage space
  • Water supply
  • Waste services
  • Extra parking (Y/N)
  • County/City
  • HOA Dues



Tell your real estate agent everything you want in your next home. If your search results in too many homes to choose from, you can add to your criteria. If not enough homes match your criteria, you can make your criteria less specific.

Understand DOM and Fee Simple vs. Leasehold

DOM is “Days On Market.” This number is important because the longer the home has been on the market, the more likely the seller is to accept a lower offer. Reports printed by your realtor from the Maui Multiple Listing Service (MLS) will show each property’s complete MLS history, including price reductions. This report is only available to realtors, not the public, so be sure to ask for this report on any property in which you have a serious interest.

When you find a home you like, how do you know it is priced correctly? Look up the homes that have sold recently in the same subdivision and find those that are of comparable quality to the home you like, considering overall condition, upgrades, lot size, and other factors.

Another number to consider is $/SF, or “Sales Price per Square Foot” for each of these. Usually, the home you like should sell for a similar $/SF to others nearby. However, you should also keep in mind that in Hawaii, home prices are tied much more closely to the amount of land and the location and size of a home than to the features of a house. For example, a modest home on a larger, useable lot may go for a higher price than a larger house with high-end features that sits on a small lot. Therefore, $/SF is less useful to buyers in Maui than it would be in most mainland markets. (See more on Maui home values below.)

Ask your realtor to print out and help you analyze a “Quick CMA” report for the properties in which you are interested. This report will automatically calculate DOM and $/SF for you.

Another area in which Hawaii real estate transactions differ from those on the mainland is the prevalence of leasehold, in which buyers agree to ownership of a property for a specified period of time, after which it reverts back to a previous owner. The type of real estate transaction most people are familiar with is considered “fee simple.” In these transactions, the person who buys the property becomes its owner forever, or at least until he sells it to another person. In a “leasehold” sale, the owner agrees to transfer ownership rights of the home to the buyer for a set period of time, usually between 50 and 100 years, with a set renegotiation time before then. During that time, the buyer owns the house, but not the land underneath it. At the renegotiation date, the terms of the agreement can be changed. If the full time period expires, the buyer may be allowed to renew or buy the property outright.

While it may sound less than ideal, the leasehold system has helped make property more affordable for many Maui buyers. Leasehold purchases can also have tax benefits, so you should check with a tax expert to see if that would be the case for you. Your realtor will also guide you through the differences between fee simple and leasehold properties so that you can decide which is best for you.

Understand How to Determine
the True Value of a Property

A home is worth whatever a buyer is willing to pay and a seller is willing to accept. The best source to estimate the true market value of a property is an experienced, busy real estate agent, because they are working with buyers and sellers in the current real estate market, and they have access to the best data (from the MLS). They will also correctly adjust for quality and feature differences in homes, as well as the size and location of the property.

The second best valuation source is an experienced, busy appraiser. They have access to the same data, but they work for banks, not buyers and sellers. In addition, they are constrained by inflexible appraisal rules which do not allow them to consider some relevant information and comparable properties.

Inexperienced realtors and appraisers can be wildly inaccurate. Web sites like calculate market values without the input from human experience or judgment and they use incomplete data from county tax records. The “value” found in the county tax records is not useful, because it is calculated for the purposes of property tax assessment. Further, in Maui, this number is updated only once every year, while the market value of a property may change more quickly.

An experienced local realtor will understand the Maui real estate market better than any of these measures. This is particularly important in Maui, where home values differ significantly from in other areas on the mainland. One major difference is that the value of a Maui home relies more heavily on its size and location than price per square foot. It’s not unusual, for instance, for the land a house sits on to be appraised at a higher value than the house itself. The emphasis on land is due to its scarcity on the island of Maui. In addition, building permits for new homes can be difficult to obtain, so some buyers are looking for a house that they can rebuild or improve using existing permits. In general, properties closer to town will fetch a higher price. Some beachside areas will be quite pricey, while others can be quite reasonable.

Know Where to Find the Best Deals in Maui

If you like appreciation (and projects), the best deal is to find a home that has all the “right things” wrong with it (out-of-date or worn out carpet, countertops, wallpaper, fixtures, and so on) and fix them yourself. You will want to look for properties listed at a lower price than other properties in the same area, which theoretically means the property in question could sell for that higher price if you bring it up to snuff. Most of these are “as-is” properties, which means you still get a chance to inspect it thoroughly after putting it under contract, and can terminate if you do not like what you see. Enlist your realtor (and his inspector and contractor friends) to help make sure you do not get stuck with a lemon.

For all the properties mentioned in this section, be prepared to stay in the home for several years until the market turns around. It always does.

Ask Two Key Questions in a Competitive Situation

Even in a challenging market, you could find yourself competing against another buyer for a low-priced property. The listing agent is prohibited from disclosing details of any offers received, so she will ask both buyers to return with their “best and highest offer.” She will then choose one buyer with whom to negotiate a final agreement acceptable to the seller. When considering your offer price, ask yourself, “If WE lose this property at this price, will I regret not offering more?” If so, you might want to increase your offer. Conversely, ask yourself “If WE get this property at this price, will WE regret paying that much?” If so, consider decreasing your offer. Rarely will the other buyer offer more than list price, so if you feel the property is a bargain, consider offering just a little over list price. Even $100 over can create goodwill with the seller and get the property for you. Finally, offering to close in less than 30 days may be very attractive to some sellers, especially if it is a bank-owned property.

Walk the Neighborhood before Making an Offer

Before committing to purchase a home, take a few slow walks through the neighborhood at different times of day. Listen for barking dogs. Look for children playing if that is important to you (the law prohibits your realtor from discussing “familial status”). Introduce yourself to a few neighbors, tell them which home you are thinking about, and ask them what they know. Neighbors love to talk and you might be glad you listened.



Chapter 3

Top Tips for Maui Sellers

Make Buyers Fall in Love with Your Home

Buyers keep looking until they fall in love. They are not looking for “a” home; they are looking for “the” home, their “dream” home. They are tired of seeing homes (9 out of 10) that are not ready for sale. They want a clean, fresh, move-in-ready home. Most do not want to do even minor projects.

As a seller, you must understand the mind of the buyer. Buyers do not buy homes; they buy the feeling they get when they are looking at a home. They are not using their brains to decide, they are using their hearts. And in good markets or tough markets, when a buyer finds the right home, they will fall in love, and that home will sell for the highest possible price.

We have witnessed a buyer considering two identical homes on the same street, in the same neighborhood, with identical lots, and pay $15,000 more for the one that spent $750 preparing the home for sale. WE have seen homes sit on the market for a year, then sell in 30 days (at a higher list price) after a few small adjustments to improve the buyer perception of the home.

If you want to sell your home for the highest price in the shortest amount of time, emphasize or add elements with which buyers will fall in love, and fix or remove issues that will cause them to hesitate.

There are a few investor types out there who truly decide with their brain, and whose first priority is a good deal. But we do not want anyone getting a good deal on your home, right? So we can ignore them. What we want is a buyer to come to your home, fall in love, and impulsively write an offer at (or near) your asking price. So we will concentrate on those buyers instead.

Make a Profit When You Sell with Smart Investments

By making the right investments in your home, you will not only cause buyers to fall in love, but you will also make a profit. Depending on your neighborhood, your price point, and the size of your home, the following improvements will generally produce at least $2 or more in increased sales price for every $1 you invest. And anything that increases your price will also reduce your “days-on-market.”

  • Granite countertops in the kitchen. They are almost a necessity in Maui if you expect your home to sell for top dollar. You should be able to get them for $45 per square foot, installed. Go with a standard, lower-priced choice. For higher-end homes, consider granite in the master bath as well.
  • Stainless steel appliances. You should be able to get a refrigerator, oven, microwave, and dishwasher for under $2500. If your current appliances are white or cream color, this is especially important. Black appliances may be okay if they are fairly new.
  • Replace old carpets. If they are over five years old, they will not look new when cleaned, unless they are very good quality. New carpet also helps a home smell new.
  • Remove wallpaper. Buyers today strongly dislike wallpaper, except for a very subtle pattern in the powder room.
  • Refinish dull and scratched hardwood floors. Shining floors make a stunning impact on buyers.
  • Paint. Go with a medium beige in the inside, darker than what was, in the past, considered “builder beige”. It makes the home look more expensive and makes white trim “pop”. Paint your front door and shutters black.


This advice is subject to modification based on the specifics of your home, and over time as buyer tastes evolve. In a few years buyers will probably love wallpaper again. We recommend getting the advice of a staging consultant who works with realtors. Most interior decorators do not specialize in preparing homes for buyers.

Fixing problems is always better than offering an allowance, because to make up for the problem you will have to reduce your price more than it would have cost you to fix it.

Do These Easy Things

Here is a list of low-cost, easy improvements which will pay for themselves many times over:

  • Clean every inch of your home. Get help if you need it.
  • Spread new mulch. Use dark brown “triple-shredded stained bark.” The stain keeps it looking better much longer. Pine straw is cheaper but it also looks cheaper.
  • Plant many, many flowers. More than you think you need. Flowers may be the single best investment you can make to sell your home.
  • Remove clutter. Remove personal pictures. Remove everything from horizontal surfaces except a few decorations.
  • Remove window treatments. Leave blinds.
  • Remove basketball goals, play sets, and tree houses. These will turn some people off, and no one will ever say “I would have bought that home if only it had a basketball goal.” If you have a flat driveway they can install one after the sale. Especially remove trampolines. They make many mothers nervous.

Use Temporary Storage Containers

Our sellers have had very good experiences using temporary storage containers (such as PODS ) to store clutter while preparing their home for sale. Some sellers end up using them for the entire move, often in combination with hired labor. The other alternative is hauling material to and from a storage location, which is less expensive, but more work for you.

Get Your Improvements Permitted and Inspected

If you have made any structural changes to your property that were not permitted and inspected, you will have to tell the buyer on the required Residential Property Disclosure Statement. That will make most buyers nervous, and even if they are not concerned, they will use it as a negotiating lever. As a result, it is almost always better to get the space inspected and make any necessary repairs. If you did it right in the first place, it is usually not a big deal. The inspections are inexpensive and fairly quick. If you have questions, call the city or town (or the county if you are not in an incorporated area) and ask them anonymously.

Price Your Home Realistically

The price you want, or need, to get for your home does not matter to buyers. Yes, making smart investments and otherwise preparing your home for sale will definitely increase the value, but if your asking price is too much above that value, it will not sell. In fact, because the market is much more price-sensitive than most sellers realize, you may not even get any showings.

Do not make the mistake of thinking, “I’ll price it high, because the buyer will make a low offer, and We’ll meet in the middle.” That is not how it works. Buyers very rarely make low offers, at least in the first 30 to60 days a home is on the market. Buyers do not like conflict, they do not want to make sellers upset. Neither do their realtors, because they hope to work with the listing agent many times again in the future. The buyers have the data, they know what the comparable properties sold for, and if your home is overpriced they assume you will only accept offers close to your list price. Rather than argue about it, they will just ignore your home.

I am not suggesting that you underprice your home to motivate buyers to come see it. Your well-prepared home is motivation enough, and you deserve every penny you can get from the sale, right? An accurately-priced home will sell just as quickly as an underpriced home (in fact, underpriced homes look suspicious to buyers). But price cannot be an obstacle either. If your home is prepared correctly, the fair-market value for your property will be near the top of the range of the comparable homes that have sold recently. List your home at about two percent above fair-market value, and that is enough “negotiating room” for most buyers to feel like they “won.”

Understand How Buyers Find the Home They Purchase

You have prepared your home for the market and priced it realistically. Now you need to market it effectively. In order to do that, you need to know how buyers in Maui find the home they purchase. Almost every buyer searches for homes on the internet, but except for a small percentage, that is not how they find the home they actually purchase.

  • The vast majority of Maui buyers become aware of the home they actually purchase through a real estate agent. That is because most buyers purchase a home different from the criteria they originally defined, and good realtors find homes buyers miss when searching on their own. So as a seller you should be marketing more to realtors than to buyers. Easier said than done, because realtors get so bombarded with emails and flyers that they just end up deleting or throwing them away. The key here is to realize that 10 percent of the realtors sell 80 percent of the property. You need to find out who these realtors are and somehow get them to pay attention to your home. The only way We know to do that is to have your realtor bring buyers to see their listings, and ask the other realtor to return the favor.
  • A much smaller, but significant, number of Maui buyers become aware of the home they purchase through a friend who lives in the same neighborhood as the home being sold. The best way to make this fact work for you is to call your neighbors and invite them to come to see your home, then ask them if they know any friends or relatives that might want to live in the neighborhood. They will be especially curious to see your home if you have made significant improvements to prepare it for sale.
  • Other Maui buyers find the home they buy because they saw the “for sale” sign while they were exploring the neighborhood. To maximize this traffic, have a high-quality sign, preferably one hanging from a post. A better sign is more noticeable, and it adds to the perception of quality of your home. Also, skip the brochures in front of your home. Most of them get picked by neighbors anyway, and real buyers use them more to eliminate your home than to schedule a showing. Most buyers will call the number on the sign if they are interested, and you or your realtor can sell your home more effectively than a brochure.
  • Another significant segment of buyers do actually find the home they purchase through the Internet. There may not be a lot of people who find their homes this way, but do not ignore it. Ask your realtor to list it on and, and see if he can arrange to get it listed on the websites of the other real estate firms in town. Re-list your home on Craigslist every three days so it does not get too far down on the page. Definitely list it on and (two of the most popular real estate Web sites), and if you search you will find at least 30 other real-estate related sites on which to place it.


These suggestions come from our experience with hundreds of buyers and sellers in Maui. You might find different statistics on home sales available from the National Association of Realtors are different, but they are national statistics. Every local market is different, and you have to market to the buyers in your market, not a market in a different part of the country.

Sell Your Home Quickly

Realtors set up searches in the Multiple Listing Service for their clients, so that when a home comes on the market that meets their buyer’s criteria, it gets sent to the buyer automatically. So when your home is activated in the MLS, it will be emailed to hundreds of potential buyers all at the same time. Some of these buyers just started looking, so even if they see and love your home, they are not ready to make a decision. They need to see more homes first, and might not have their financing figured out. Most buyers, though, have been looking for a while and are ready to buy immediately, when they find the right home. These buyers are the key to success, and you have one chance at them. They will see the listing and look at the pictures and the price, and decide whether or not to schedule a showing to see your home. If they decide “no,” they will never see your home again. If they decide to come see your home, they will decide to either buy it, or not. If they decide “no,” they will never see your home again. If you do not sell your home to one of these ready-to-buy buyers, you may be in for a long wait, because every buyer who sees your home from then on will be a “new buyer” who is not ready to buy yet.

If your home is prepared right, priced right, and marketed right, you should be able to sell it quickly, in any market, to one of these “ready-to-buy” buyers. In less than 30 days. And the faster you sell your home the better price you will get. Here is why: if a buyer walks into your home and falls in love, and the home has been on the market only a few days, they will think, “If we love it, someone else will love it too. We can’t let someone else get it first. So let’s make an offer today, and let’s make it close to asking price. We are not going to let a few thousand dollars get between us and our new home.”

After your home has been on the market 30 days, this sense of urgency among buyers is gone. Buyers start saying “Hmm, if this home is so great, why hasn’t anyone else bought it yet? We wonder what’s wrong with it.” Or, “WE like it, but it’s been here this long already. It’ll be here for a while longer. Let’s keep looking in case We find something better.” Not good for you.

If you over-price your home you will get less in the end, because buyers will ignore it until you fix the price, and by then you will have missed all the “ready-to-buy” buyers. Do not have the attitude of “I’ll wait for my price”. The longer your home sits, the lower it will go. After 90 days buyers will think you are desperate, and they will start to “low-ball” you.

Selling a home is a pain. But, you have the choice of: (1) experiencing that pain, at the beginning, for the short amount of time required to get your home ready the right way, or (2) trying to avoid pain at the beginning, and experiencing pain for six months (or more) of price reductions and showings. Constantly having your home ready for showings is stressful. Especially if you have kids or pets.

You have one chance to get the best price in the shortest amount of time. Do the work, be realistic, and get it over with.

Hide the Pets

I know you love your pets. I love mine too. But buyers do not like pets. In our experience, 70 percent of buyers will not consider buying your home if they see you have a cat. Too many people are allergic, or have friends or relatives who are. Thirty percent of buyers will not consider your home if they see you have a dog. To a lesser extent, it is the same for hamsters, ferrets, rabbits, turtles, and so on. So, as much as possible, take the pets out of the home during showings, and hide the evidence left behind (pet food, bowls, litter boxes, and beds). For the average home, this effort will increase your sales price by over $5,000, and reduce the days-on-market by 50 percent. It’s worth the trouble.

Make Price Adjustments Quickly
Based on Showing Traffic

An insufficient number of showings means your home is overpriced. In our market, if you get three or fewer showings in the first two weeks, the market is telling you your home is overpriced by at least 5 percent. If you get between 4 and 12 showings, you home is 4 percent overpriced. If you get 12 or more showings in the first 30 days, but no offer, your home is about 3 percent overpriced. For higher-priced or very unique properties, you should expect slightly fewer showings, but the conclusions remain the same. Adjust your price immediately. The longer your home is on the market, the lower the eventual price will be.

Be Smart About What Offer You Accept

It is very difficult for a seller to back out of a Hawaii real estate contract, so think carefully before signing on the dotted line.

We advise not considering a contract that is contingent upon the sale of a home that does not already have a contract on it. Your buyer may not have properly prepared their home for sale, and/or may be unrealistic about asking price. Sometimes a seller will accept such an offer, while retaining the right to continue marketing their property, while giving the buyer a 48-hour notice when another offer is received to either terminate their offer or drop the contingency. In the case where the buyer’s home is already under contract, it depends upon how good the contract is. Have your realtor contact the listing agent for the buyer’s home. If everything looks solid, you should feel good about moving forward.

Make sure the buyer’s financing is in good shape. Certainly ask for a pre-approval letter, but we also recommend having your realtor ask permission to contact the buyer’s lender to see how much research the lender has really done.

For homes below $450,000 it is very common for buyers to ask for “seller paid closing costs.” Think of these as “buyer-financed closing costs,” and when considering an offer, mentally subtract this amount (found in page 12, in the Q Section of the Hawaii Offer to Purchase Real Estate) from purchase price on the first page of the offer, because that is the price the buyer is really offering you, and negotiate accordingly. The buyer often needs this money to purchase your home because they do not have enough cash to cover both the down payment and closing costs such as inspection, appraisal, loan origination, etc. The risk to the seller is that the home must appraise for the total amount, including the closing costs. If it does not, the buyer will ask you to reduce your price to the appraised value (still including closing costs), and if you refuse they might be unable to close.

If Buying Also, Go For a Simultaneous Close

If you are both selling and buying a home, the timing is important. If you sell your home before you find the next one, you will end up moving twice, once into a temporary location, then later into your new home. If you buy your new home before you sell your current home, you will end up paying two mortgages for a while (which also requires the approval of your lender). However, with a smart strategy, you might be able to sell and buy on the same day.

The key is to work on finding your next home while preparing your current home for sale. With the right advice from a good real estate agent, and a realistic price, you should be able to get a contract on your home within 30 days. If you have done your homework on the buying side, you will already have a few top choices for your next home. If so, go ahead and get your top choice under contract, contingent on the closing of the existing contract on your home. If not, negotiate a longer closing date on your current home to give you more time, and get to work finding the right home. In either case, you should be able to arrange the same closing date for both homes.

In Hawaii, escrow companies do most of the work involved in real estate closings. These companies will hire attorneys to complete some of the paperwork, but on closing day, you will sit down with an agent from an escrow company, not an attorney, as is the case in most states. Hawaii also requires that you have all of the funds necessary for buying your home available two days before you close.

If you do not need the cash from your current home in order to purchase the next home, and your lender approves you for a loan on your next home while you still own your first home, it can be very convenient to close on your new home a week or so early to make the move easy.

If you do not have enough money to close on your new home until you sell your old one, you should arrange to use the same escrow company for both transactions so that you can close on the same day. When both transactions are handled by the same escrow company, that company is holding the funds you’ll need to buy before your home is actually sold. Because Hawaii requires adequate funds in escrow before closing, you would need to have adequate funds independent of the home you are selling if you want to complete both transactions at once using two different escrow companies.

No matter how much you prepare, keep this important fact in mind: although 95 percent of real estate closings happen on time, they can be delayed for a dozen different reasons, many of which (such as the buyer’s lender) are out of your control. The standard contract allows a buyer ten days delay without penalty, but in most cases delayed closings will take place by the end of the next business day. Try to stay calm, and prepare in advance. When choosing a moving company ask them how much it will cost you if they have to hold onto your belonging for an extra day or more (see the “Storage Container” section above for a different strategy).

Get an Experienced,
Full-Service Realtor and Listen to their advice

Not all realtors perform equally. In Maui the top 50 agents do 90% of the business. Ten percent of realtors are responsible for over 80 percent of all sales in any given market. A tough real estate market is a “professional’s market.” You need a full-service realtor to help you do everything right so your home will be the one buyers choose. “Limited service” realtors do not have time to help you get everything right, and trying to sell your home by yourself will leave you helpless. In Maui, 80 percent of buyers find their home through a realtor, and realtors do not like “For Sale by Owner” properties because they are difficult to deal with.

A busy, experienced realtor is by far the best qualified person to calculate an accurate fair-market-value for your home. He works with buyers and sellers all the time, and has his finger on the pulse of the market. Good realtors have ongoing, productive relationships with other good realtors, and can get them to bring buyers to your home.

Find a good realtor and listen to him. He might upset you in the beginning when he tells you the truth about your home and the market, but he knows that is better than upsetting you every day for six months while your home sits unsold.

A good realtor knows how to negotiate the best price for you. He will prove it to you by sticking to his commission rate when you meet him. If he does not believe in himself enough to charge his full commission, then you should not believe in him either. Just tell him to get to work and earn it. Real estate is like any other business. You get what you pay for, and paying less will cost you more in the end.

Seek an Expert if You Are Facing Foreclosure

The recent economic downturn had a negative impact on property values for many homeowners, leading some people to foreclosure, or at least to the brink of foreclosure.

Others have even abandoned homes whose values had dropped precipitously at the same time their monthly payments were increasing.

If you owe more on your home than it is currently worth, commonly known as “upside down” on your mortgage, seek out a realtor who is experienced in short sales. Two designations to look for are realtors who are Certified Distressed Property Experts (CDPE) and have earned Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource Certification (SFR). Realtors with training and experience in these areas may well be able to save your home from foreclosure.

Make sure to ask your agent how many short sales they have successfully completed. Anybody can get a designation, but you need an agent with a proven track record. You don’t want someone practicing their short sale skills on you.


Chapter 4

Buying a Vacation Property

In Hawaii, investing in a rental property catering to vacationers can double your income compared to renting to local residents.

Vacationers are in it for the short term. They may be willing to pay a rate for a weekend or one or two weeks that would break someone living there year-round. If your tenants are flying out to Maui, they have money and they’re willing to spend it to enjoy a great vacation. If you can deliver the experience they’re looking for, you can do very well with a vacation rental. Success requires picking a property you can rent out profitably and investing enough to make it an attractive place to stay.

Finding the Right Place

You can scour the entire island for promising, profitable rentals, but it’ll be easier if you can narrow things down. If you plan to use the property yourself, even if it’s just a couple of weeks out of the year, ask what’s important to you in a Hawaiian vacation. Would you prefer somewhere in downtown Lahaina or an isolated villa with no one around? Is it most important to you to have a rental close to a national park, great restaurants, mountains or the beach?

Once you have a rough idea of what you want, the best next step is to fly out to the island yourself. If you’ve no real idea of what sort of rental you want to invest in, visiting and touring around may help you decide. In-person visits are also essential for making a good buy.

It’s possible to learn a lot of information about locations and rental properties online, but a dishonest seller can cover up a lot of problems that way. There are also subtle details you can only pick up if you’re there in person. Is the neighborhood surrounding a particular property attractive or run-down, for instance? If you’re thinking of buying into a condo hotel, how is the resort’s room service? Does the time-share resort bustle with vacationers or is it largely empty? Is it peaceful and quiet or party central?

You can also use your trip to find the support team you’re going to need. A licensed Hawaii real-estate agent with experience in Maui is a must if you’re not familiar with the real-estate market. If you know anyone who’s invested in real estate in the same area, ask them for recommendations. Check that any agent you do business with has a valid license and look for any negative information about them online.

Price and Financing

If you’re going to take out a mortgage, talk to an island lender or mortgage broker about what you can qualify for. Many lenders require a down payment of 20% to 25% on a rental property, so you’ll need to have the money ready before you go shopping.

Don’t just look at the down payment and the overall cost of the property. Look at your monthly PITI—Principal, Interest, Tax and Insurance — and decide if it’ll strain your budget. You don’t want to pay so much that you have trouble handling other debts or long-term financial plans.

If things work out well, your rental income will cover your monthly maintenance or PITI payments and then some. That’s not a guarantee, so be careful. Forbes says that when lenders factor your rental income into their calculations, they assume a 25% vacancy rate. This may give you a more realistic idea of what to expect. While you can deduct expenses — maintenance fees, repairs, mortgage interest — from your rental income, but the purchase price and losses from having your rental stand empty aren’t deductible.

Forbes also recommends that you set the rental rate so a month’s income, if fully booked, is 10% to 20% above your monthly payments. If that makes your rent too high to be competitive, you may need to look for another property.

The VRBO — Vacation Rental by Owner — website can help you appraise properties. If you find a rental you like, look at VRBO’s website for other rentals in the same town or area. Find properties with a comparable number of bedrooms and similar amenities and see what they rent for. This gives you a feel for what you can charge to stay competitive. If the property is already a rental, the owner or the resort can also provide you with figures on rental prices and occupancy rates.

If you’re looking at several properties with different prices and rental rates, the gross rental yield and the capitalization rate make it easier to compare them. The gross rental yield is the estimated annual rent income divided by the property cost; the cost includes purchase price, closing costs and any improvements you pay for. With a 27% rental yield, it’ll take you roughly four years to recoup the property cost, no matter how much the purchase price is. The capitalization rate works the same except you subtract annual expenses from the annual rental income before doing the calculations.

When you figure your monthly expenses, don’t forget landlord insurance. This will cost you more than a regular homeowner policy, but it’s essential to protect you against losses from storms or destructive tenants. It also pays for lost income if you have to close the rental for repairs. You also want a policy with plenty of liability coverage so that whether your guests suffer injuries or cause them, you’re protected. A million dollars in coverage isn’t out of line for landlords.

Types of Ownership

Buying a house or a condo and renting it out is one way to become as a landlord, but there are alternatives. Other options may make it easier, and sometimes cheaper, when you’re dipping your toe into the rental market in Kula or Haiku.

Condo hotels are run like hotels, but you can buy individual suites as if it were a condominium. Suites typically range in size from a studio apartment to two bedrooms. Any time you’re not using the unit yourself, you can put it into the hotel program and rent it out, splitting the revenue with the hotel. Many condo hotels are established chains, however, be aware that a hotel that’s under one name brand this year can switch to another in a couple of years.

As hotels, the resorts offer amenities for your guests—restaurant meals, room service, a tennis court, depending on the hotel—so you don’t have to worry about that. Maintenance fees are relatively high compared to buying into a time-share resort. If you plan to use your unit yourself, be aware that some hotels restrict how much time you can spend in a unit yourself.

Time-shares let you divide up ownership with multiple other investors. One time-share may have, for instance, 52 owners, each with a week of time they can use themselves or rent out. In some time-share plans, you actually co-own the unit, in others the resort is the owner and you only buy the time. Beyond that, there are a bewildering variety of plans available. Some allow you to use different weeks in different years, for instance, while others keep the week constant but move you around different units at the resort. If you own the deed, you pay a share of the mortgage and property taxes. If you only buy time, you pay maintenance fees. Units range from studio apartments to four-bedroom villas.

Fractional ownership sounds a lot like time-sharing, and the two terms are often used interchangeably. Like a time-share, you co-own the rental with several other people. Typically, a fractional property has only six owners or less, each with a right to at least two months’ worth of time there. The properties are usually bigger than time-shares, often large homes. You pay a share of the mortgage and a share of the maintenance costs, based on how much time you control the property for.

These alternatives have advantages. With fractional ownership and time-shares, you only need to fill a couple of weeks or months to make money, instead of trying to draw tenants year round. Time-share resorts and condo hotels already have a management company in place to run the property.

On the downside, co-ownership of a rental that stays busy most of the year means less income for you. You also have less control over the property and amenities than if you own 100% of the rental.

Laws and Rules

Short-term renters aren’t welcome everywhere. They’re in town to have fun, then go home, so they have no idea of local rules—noise ordinances, for instance—and no need to care. Some communities and neighborhoods solve the problems by banning short-term rentals.

You may think that’s unfair, but thinking so won’t help you avoid fines if you rent out a house where the zoning or the homeowners association covenants forbid vacation rentals. Do your research before you buy; your real-estate agent should be able to help.

Even if the neighborhood allows renting, renters still have to comply with the rules. Loud parties that violate local noise ordinances, or garbage sitting on the street three days before pickup will alienate your neighbors and could end up getting you fined. Make sure renters know the rules, either by telling them when they contact you or leaving a flier in the rental.

Vacation Rental by Owner

The Internet makes it relatively easy to advertise a rental to vacationers anywhere in the world. You don’t even have to set up your own website. Advertising through the VRBO website, for instance, lets you promote your rental to more than 12 million monthly visitors. The site lets vacationers search geographically, so they can check any part of Maui for places to stay. You can pay a higher advertising rate to have your property turn up more prominently in search results.

VRBO’s rate system allows you to set regular rates, higher rates for a particular season — winter is the peak tourist season in the islands — or for particular events such as Christmas week or the Fourth of July. You set the rental rates, handle the bookings and communicate with customers.

VRBO makes it easier for vacationers to find you, but it can’t close the deal for you. Use the site to promote your rental with lots of first-rate photos and a video tour. Walk through your rental once it’s ready for market and note down all the features you want to highlight. These may be the new flat-screen TV you installed, the view of the surf from your kitchen window or the native Hawaiian art on the walls. You may want to show yourself or your family enjoying the property, to add a little personal presence. If videography isn’t in your skill set, hire a professional.

Preparing to Rent

If you want to charge your guests the highest possible rate, you have to offer them a prime experience. Amenities and furnishings should be the best you can afford.

If you invest in a time-share or a condo hotel, you may not have a lot of wriggle room in what you can offer the guests. Resorts of this type often standardize individual suites to keep the quality consistent. Before you make an offer, check out the property yourself and see if it’s the level of quality you want to associate with. If a condo hotel has mediocre meals and sub-part room service, you’re probably better off looking elsewhere.

If you’re buying a house or a non-hotel condo, either alone or through fractional ownership, check out the competition. If you’re competing with a half-dozen rentals in the same area that offer flat-screens, cable television and central air-conditioning and you don’t offer any of that, that’s going to hurt. You want to look at least as appealing as the other rentals, and preferably better. The beach may be the main draw, but comfortable beds, attractive furniture, fresh linens and kitchens with modern appliances all count with guests. If the house needs major remodeling or upgrades to stay competitive, factor that in when you’re figuring the gross rental yield.

You can also stand out from the crowd with little things. If you know the area well enough to tip guests off to the best restaurants or fun activities for children, share the information. When you work through VRBO you can find out what the guests want to know, and tailor the rental by providing helpful extras such as a stock of diapers for families that need them.

Property Management

Being a landlord can take a lot of work. If renters have complaints, they expect to have them resolved, ASAP. If they cause problems for the neighbors, the neighbors want things resolved just as fast. Any damage to the house—a party that gets out of hand, a child writing in lipstick on the wall—has to be fixed up fast so you’re ready for the next renters. A rental that’s closed for cleaning generates zero income for you. Repairs that aren’t made, such as a leaky roof, can lead to more damage and more expensive repairs down the road.

Managing the property can require answering tenant complaints late at night, regular visits to the rental, negotiating with contractors or rushing out at short notice to replace stolen towels. If you live near the rental, you can handle the job yourself—assuming you want to—but it’s next to impossible to pull that off from the mainland. To keep your rental marketable, you need a property management company. The manager serves as your stand-in, dealing with contractors, renters and any unexpected problems.

This takes a lot of the burden of owning a rental off your shoulders, but it won’t come cheap. It wouldn’t be unusual to spend 30 percent of your rental income on manager fees, which cuts into your bottom line. You can’t afford to pick a company that’s not worth the money—your success may depend on it.

Ask your real estate agent or other owners you know for recommendations, then vet any strong candidates thoroughly. Interview the manager in person. Find out what you get for your money. Ask for references and actually call them. Check on the DCCA website and look up the company online to see if there are lawsuits against them, or Better Business Bureau complaints on file.



Chapter 5

Retiring to Maui

The question you should be asking is why not retire to Maui? Financial perks for older adults, a healthy environment buoyed by temperate weather and leisure options in every direction are making the island a magnet for retirees. This fact is dawning on more and more people, with the proportion of seniors in the population increasing from 11 percent to 14 percent between 200 and 2012.

The blend of cultures in Hawaii offers special respect to kupuna, which translates to elder, or grandparent. The Valley Isle’s year-round average temperature of 79 degrees varies little from month to month. Forget the bitter winters or sweltering summers that keep you indoors and send heating and air bills through the roof.

Maui is small and easy to get around — no gridlock or long journeys to eat into your time for relaxing. It has world class golf courses in some of the world’s most spectacular scenery. There is fine dining, restaurants and art galleries galore.



  • #1 Wealth-Friendly Place in the Country for Retirees, Wealth Manager magazine
  • Five Places to Retire in Style for 2006, Fortune Magazine
  • Top 5 Luxury Family Travel Destinations, AARP The Magazine
  • Contender, Best Places to Live list of America’s top small towns in 2011, CNNMoney


Your first decision is going to be where and how to live. As a popular destination for retirees, Maui offers most types of housing on the radar of seniors. When it comes to single family homes, many houses have what is called an Ohana, an in-law suite. Ohana means family in the local language.  It’s normal for extended family to live together here and the state began encouraging the development of this type of housing in Hawaii in 1981 as a way to make home ownership more affordable. For the incoming retiree, it also offers the room for family to visit or the space to accommodate live-in care.

Depending on the community, condos and townhomes can offer a slightly less expensive option, whether to buy or rent. Anyone who doesn’t need the extra space has a better shot at getting spectacular views for a bit less money by going this route.

For seniors who want a little extra care and security, Maui also has some top class retirement communities.

Kalama Heights is an independent senior living community in Kihei, situated on the island’s Maalaea Bay. Kalama Heights offers what it calls an Independent Retirement Living model, which includes weekly housekeeping, three meals a day, transportation and a social calendar. But the key benefit is the complex’s Community Managers, residents who are available 24 hours a day to help their neighbors out. They keep the community safe and running and participate in daily life there, eating and socializing with the other residents. Units are available in studio-style, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments. Leases are month-to-month and the rent also includes utilities and cable TV, shuttle service, fitness classes, social, educational and recreation activities, and a travel program that offers up to seven nights’ stay in a guest suite at any other community owned by Holiday Retirement — and they have locations all over the U.S. It’s also pet friendly.

Kalama Heights is close to the Haleakala National Park, with its stunning volcanic landscape, and the Maui Ocean Center, voted Hawaii’s top-rated family attraction by U.S. Family Travel Guide. Kihei also has a multiplex movie theater and the Rainbow Mall, a quirky conglomeration of restaurants, dining and whimsical gift stores.

Kihei will also be home to the Regency Maui Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, it was announced in August 2013. The 175-bed skilled nursing and memory care facility will open on five acres in Kihei’s Maui Research and Technology Park.

Roselani Place is in Kahului and offers independent living and assisted living services. It can also provide memory care for residents with Alzheimer’s or dementia, but does not offer intermediate or skilled nursing care. Accommodation is in studio and one-bedroom apartments, both standard and deluxe, on a month-to-month lease. The rent includes utilities, three meals a day, transportation, housekeeping and laundry service each week and various social and recreational opportunities, including health and fitness programs. Most crucially, Roselani Place provides 24-hour access to staff, with an emergency call system. Besides social and private dining rooms, the complex also has lounges, a library, a barber shop and a beauty salon.

Kula Hospital in the up-country is part of the Maui Memorial Medical Center system. Kula Hospital’s main function is as a long-term care facility with 99 Skilled Nursing Facility beds and nine Intermediate Care Facility beds. It also has a 24-hour emergency room, outpatient clinic with lab and x-ray services and an adjacent medical clinic.

Hale Makua was founded in 1946 for Maui elders who needed residential care but lacked the relatives to provide it or the means to pay. Almost 70 years later, it offers skilled nursing, intermediate and residential care in more than 250 beds in two locations, one each in Kahului and Wailuku. Hale Makua is an Eden Alternative Registered Home, with a philosophy of care focused on providing a home that feels like home, rather than an institution.  Hale Makua also offers in-home services.


As its population skews older, the state has paid more attention to seniors and their needs.  Many of the government’s outreach programs are useful to retirees who move here. Wealth Manager magazine called it the most wealth-friendly place in the country for retirees.

Hawaii doesn’t tax Social Security or government pension income, even from out of state. Retired military pay, military pensions and even some private pensions are also exempt from state income tax.. Seniors over 65 are also eligible for an additional personal exemption on their state income tax returns.

Prescription medications and prosthetic devices are exempt from the 4 percent general excise tax that Hawaii uses in place of a state sales tax.

Personal property, including cars and boats, are exempt from property taxes. And in Maui, $300,000 of a home’s value is exempt from property taxes. Rates here also tend to be lower than on the mainland, with schools funded by the state, rather than local governments.


What keeps retirees up at night worrying? How about cancer, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, stroke, mental disorders and pulmonary conditions? Maui is in the 25 percent of states with the lowest instances of all seven according to independent economic think tank the Milken Institute. The island is served by more than 60 medical specialists, 50-plus surgical specialists and about 30 general practitioners.


Should the need arise, there are three hospitals in the County of Maui, two of them on the island itself. The state-owned Maui Memorial Medical Center in Wailuku is the largest acute care facility in the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation, with more than 1,400 employees. The fully-accredited 213-bed teaching hospital’s specialized units include critical care; cardiac care; inpatient dialysis; a heart, brain and vascular center; wound care; respiratory therapy; plus recreational and physical therapy.

Moloka’i General Hospital is on neighboring  Moloka’i island but also part of the County of Maui. It has a 24-hour emergency department and 215 inpatient beds. The U.S. News & World Report found 80 percent of patients said they would recommend it to family and friends.

Also, while Medicare benefits vary from state to state, all Medicare enrollees in Hawaii receive free preventive services, such as colorectal cancer screenings, mammograms, and annual checkups. Medicare patients are also eligible for a 50 percent discount on brand-name prescriptions.


  • #2, Maui County, HI overall health,
  • #5, Maui County, HI clinical care,
  • #7, Maui County, HI health behaviors,
  • Get With The Guidelines – Heart Failure Gold Performance Achievement Award from the American Heart Association,  2010, Maui Memorial Medical Center
  • Get With The Guidelines – Stroke Care Silver Performance Achievement Award from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, 2010, Maui Memorial Medical Center


Getting back to the mainland is a cinch, with Forbes ranking Maui’s Kahului airport the most punctual of America’s 50 busiest airports in 2007, and second in 2008. Several U.S. airlines offer direct service to Maui from airports as far inland as the Midwest.

Within the island, the short drives between points help mitigate the higher cost of gasoline and the County of Maui operates a public transit system with multiple bus routes that run seven days a week for $2 per ride. Monthly bus passes are available at a reduced rate for riders 55 and older. An ADA paratransit program offers transport for seniors unable to use the regular bus service because of a disability. Rides are booked in advance. The Maui Economic Opportunity, Inc. (MEO) system offers transportation to the Kaunoa Senior Center and rural shopping locales. MEO also runs a senior Red Card discount program that offers money off at local stores and businesses for those over 60.


Maybe you don’t feel like getting would likely be at least your second degree, but the University of Hawaii Maui College in Kahului Bay was a technical school and then a community college before becoming part of the state university system. It operates a culinary arts center and offers courses in music, horticulture, languages and more. The college operates an EdVenture Online Instruction Center that offers many classes entirely over the internet.

If you don’t mind a little more rain, Paia, on Maui’s northeastern side, is a place to avoid the crowds of tourists. Only eight miles from Kahului, There are fewer stores and restaurants, here, but it tends to be more affordable than the urbanized areas and still has the gorgeous beaches and natural beauty that makes Maui what it is. The town, while small, has delightful bakeries, antique stores and other curiosities in its wooden plantation-style structures that hearken back to the island’s days as a center for sugar cane.


Plenty of retirees feel the pull of teeing off amid some of the most spectacular scenery on the planet. Little wonder, then, that Maui is one of the world’s top golfing destinations. Kaanapali Golf Course hosts the Senior PGA Kaanapali Classic. annually and Kapalua Golf is home to the PGA Tour’s Mercedes Championship.  GOLF Magazine called The Dunes at Maui Lani one of the 35 best new courses in America and Golf Digest tabbed it One of the Five Best Kept Secret Golf Courses in America.


  • #17, America’s Greatest Public Golf Courses, Kapalua, Golf Digest
  • 35 Best New Courses in America, The Dunes at Maui Lani , GOLF Magazine
  • Five Best Kept Secret Golf Courses in America, The Dunes at Maui Lani, Golf Digest


If you’d rather lounge than swing, Maui’s beaches are consistently rated among the world’s finest.  Kapalua Beach in northwestern Maui ranked as one of Coastal Magazine‘s 21 Best Beaches in America. An appreciation for the arts will draw you to the Maui Arts and Cultural Center in Kihei. It’s home to the Maui Symphony Orchestra, which presents classical, Broadway, opera, and choral music year round. The center is also home to a range of seasonal shows, touring acts and an annual film festival each December. There is also a Maui Youth Philharmonic Orchestra, based in Kahului.


Maui also has a treasure trove of museums designed to enrich understanding of the island, its people and history, with more to discover upon each return visit. The Baldwin Home in Lahaina offers insight into the period of Hawaiian monarchy when western missionaries first arrived, while Kaanapali’s Whalers Village Museum houses the state’s largest collection of artefacts from the island’s 19th century whaling peak.

Lahainaluna High School  in Lahaina was built in 1837 and contains a detailed history of the written word on the island. Also in Lahaina, Hale Kahiko is an outdoor ancient Hawaiian village exhibit with a thatched house and underground oven. There are also museums incorporating Maui’s first prison and courtroom.

The near century-old Hui No’eau Visual Arts Center in Makawao features rotating art exhibits. In Wailuku, the Bailey House Museum is an 1833 mission house built on a royal Hawaiian site and is now home to the Maui Historical Society. The Alexander and Baldwin Museum in Pu’unene is a former plantation manager’s residence and provides a taste of life during the island’s time as a premier sugar producer.

Maui’s museums also capture something of its natural beauty. The 3-acre Maui Ocean Center in Maalaea Harbor is the largest tropical reef aquarium in the Western Hemisphere, with a tide pool, living coral reef, open ocean tank and a turtle lagoon. The Hawai’i Nature Center in Wailuku is an interactive nature museum with 30 hands-on exhibits and guided rainforest walks.

Chapter 6

and Short Sales:
Buy and Sell Distressed Properties

Homeownership is the cornerstone of the American dream. Yet, the United States is experiencing one of the most troubling housing markets in its history. With 65 percent of Americans owning a home, the mortgage crisis has had not only a severe financial impact but a psychological blow for many Americans whose homes are now worth less than they were when they bought them. In 2009, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association, there were 6.7 million distressed properties, which is a property that has to be sold to pay off a mortgage because of defaulted payments. Included in that percentage for 2009 were the 10 percent of prime mortgages were in default, the 41 percent of subprime mortgages are in default, the slightly more than 17 percent of Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgages that were in trouble, and the nearly 10 percent of Veterans Administration (VA) mortgages that were in default.

While most indicators show these numbers improved by 2103, Hawaii has not escaped the pain of the down market. In 2009, Hawaii had the 10th highest foreclosure rate in the nation. In November 2010, it had the 12th highest foreclosure rate, with one in every 404 housing units in foreclosure. In 2011, the troubling housing market continued to be devastating for the Hawaiian market, though the rate of foreclosures improved after several years of rising. According to RealtyTrac, in January 2011, one in every 512 homes received a foreclosure filing.

The number of Hawaii foreclosures has decreased after hitting record highs. From April of 2012 through April 2013, only 466 new homes filed for foreclosure in the entire state of Hawaii, an enormous decrease from previous years. The 2011 foreclosures were found mostly on Oahu, with a significant number on Hawaii Island and Maui and a handful on Kauai.

In addition, investment markets and second homes, with their traditionally strong sales, have been hurt by the housing slump. So, what options are there for homeowners who are in danger of losing their home? And are there opportunities for others lurking behind the foreboding numbers?

Let’s examine two options that homeowners might consider in an effort to save their homes: short sales and foreclosures. Both of these options present opportunities for sellers to get out of homes they can no longer afford – and for buyers to find good deals on their next home. However, each process is complicated and fraught with pitfalls. To navigate this difficult process, the advice a reputable realtor with extensive experience in distressed properties is invaluable, whether you’re buying or selling.

Short sales –- Seller’s Perspective

When the owner owes the lender more than the house is worth and the homeowner needs to sell the property, a short sale can be the solution for the distressed homeowner. A short sale occurs when the home is sold for less than the value of the loan. Short sales can be a solution for sellers who are upside down on their property – that is, they owe more on their property than it is worth — and can no longer make their mortgage payments. In 2009, short sales accounted for 10 percent of all properties for sale in the Maui MLS. This wasn’t the case a year earlier, when short sales were creating anxiety among home buyers, sellers and real estate agents who sometimes harbored unrealistic expectations of the short sale process. The number of sales improved as people became accustomed to the length of time involved in a short sale, the difficulties involved in completing a successful short sale, the qualifications needed to get a short sale approved, the required documents, and so on. In order for a short sale to work, the lender must approve and accept less than the full payoff of the loan. It’s important to note that not all lenders will accept this lower payment, especially if it makes more sense to foreclose on the property.

With the rules in Hawaii tightening for the lenders, we have seen banks encourage delinquent homeowners to participate in the short sales through seller moving incentives. We have seen them range from $2500 – $35,000 depending on the investor behind the loan.

In light of today’s housing crises, short sales have become very popular. But who qualifies for a short sale? If you’re interested in seeking a short sale as a solution to your property woes, you must be able to answer yes to all of the following questions:

  • Has your home’s market value dropped?
  • Is your mortgage in or near default?
  • Are you experiencing financial hardship?
  • Do you have no assets?

Let’s explore each section a little more closely. First, you must be able to prove that your home is worth less now than the unpaid balance that you owe to the lender. A comparative market analysis (CMA) can determine the value of your property and the price point of comparable homes. The CMA will contain information such as sold listings, pending listings, active listings and comparable home information, such as square footage, amenities, location and construction.

If your mortgage is in or near default, you might qualify for a short sale. Even if you are not currently in default, you may be eligible. Once upon a time, a lender wouldn’t consider a short sale if the homeowner was current on his mortgage. That’s no longer the case. So even if you’re current on your mortgage payment but you know that in the future you won’t be able to pay for the mortgage, you may still qualify for a short sale. This situation is known as “imminent default.”

You must meet the financial requirements to qualify for a hardship in order to be considered for a short sale. A financial hardship can mean any of the following: divorce, unemployment, death, medical emergency and bankruptcy. To get started, you will need to prepare a hardship financial package to the bank. While each bank has its own short sale guidelines, most banks will require the following documentation:

  • Completed      financial statement
  • Two      years of tax returns
  • Two      years of W2s
  • Recent      payroll stubs
  • Last      two months of bank statements
  • Seller’s      hardship letter
  • Letter      of authorization
  • HUD-1      or preliminary net sheet
  • Comparable      market analysis

Lastly, you must show that you have no assets. If your financial documentation shows that you have any assets, the lender might not agree to a short sale, believing that you are capable of paying the difference in price. However, having assets might not completely preclude you from being approved for a short sale. Some lenders might grant the short fall and require the seller to pay back the difference. Or, in some cases, the lender might reduce the amount the seller has to pay back.

Consequences of Short Sales

While short sales might meet the needs of some homeowners, they are not without consequences. Short sales affect credit ratings. Appearing as a ‘foreclosure in redemption status’ or a ‘pre-foreclosure that’s been redeemed,’ a homeowner can expect, according to some, a drop of 200 to 300 points on one’s credit rating, depending on one’s credit score prior to the short sale. If you do not actually become delinquent on your mortgage, the drop will not be as severe, and will vary depending on your circumstances.

Homeowners should also consider the tax implications of a short sale. Even if you sell your home as a short sale, you still might be on the hook for the taxes. The homeowner who sells his home, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, may still owe Uncle Sam, who will send the homeowner a 1099 with the outstanding balance. A realtor experienced in short sales should be able to guide you through the tax implications of the move – or point you to another professional who can.

Short sales –- buyer’s Perspective

Before buying a home that’s being sold as a short sale, you need to do your homework. Homes that are sold as a short sale can seem like a bargain, and sometimes they are. However, on occasion these home prices can be too good to be true. For example, just because the seller has lowered the price doesn’t mean that the lender will accept it. It’s also important to understand that a short sale doesn’t always mean that the home has lost any value. There can also be the case when the homeowner overpaid for the home and a short sale would bring the home in alignment with neighboring homes. Additionally, short sales can take a notoriously long time to be approved. So, if you’re anxious to get into a new home relatively quickly, a short sale may not be your solution.

Before bidding on a short sale home, the following areas should be researched:

  • Amount of mortgage owed. You’ll want to find out how much      is owed on the home. Since the primary lender will get the bulk of the      proceeds from any sale, the secondary lender, who’ll need to agree to the      sale, might get a very small amount from the sale proceeds and therefore      may reject the offer. So, find out how many loans make up the mortgage and      how much is owed on each loan.
  • Qualifications of the short seller. Since all short sales require a      package to be submitted to the bank, you’ll want to find out if the seller      has submitted a short sale package to the listing agent, who will submit      the short sale documentation to the lender. At a minimum, the short sale      package should contain the following documents:
    • Tax returns
    • W-2s
    • Financial statement
    • Bank statements
    • Seller’s hardship letter
    • Payroll stubs

These documents are required, so be sure that the seller has submitted them to the listing agent.

  • Short sales offers. Because short sale homes will      receive many offers, you’ll want to find out about your competition, i.e.      how many offers have been submitted. Your goal is to make an offer below,      but near, the market value that will still beat your competitors.
  • Comparable sales. Because of the length of time it      can take for your bid to be accepted, what is initially a pending sale can      eventually become comparable to other sales. In other words, because these      bids can take so long to be accepted they can turn out to be comparable to      bids of other homes in the neighborhood, possibly eclipsing your lower      bid. Since short sales can be priced at a very low, almost      ‘too-good-to-be-true’ price, you’ll need to understand that banks won’t      accept offers that are too low since they’re in the business of making      money, not losing it, and they want to recoup as much money from the sale      of the home as possible. As a result, your bid should be priced near      market value.
  • Realtor experience. How many successful short sales      has the listing agent completed? This is huge, if it’s their first one      there are sure to be lots of surprises.

If you’re thinking about buying a home through a short sale, it’s important to understand that just because a house is listed as a short sale doesn’t mean that it will necessarily sell that way. It simply means that the home seller and listing agent are hopeful that it will be a short sale. The bank has the ultimate decision if the planned short sale will come to fruition. It’s also important to remember that if the home has two mortgages, both lenders have to accept the offer.

While there’s no magic formula that will help you know what decision a bank will make on a short sale, here are some reasons why banks will reject a short sale offer:

  • Short sale documentation is incomplete. Because some documents might get lost or misplaced, you would be advised to have a list of and multiple copies of your documents in the event that the package is incomplete.
  • Seller doesn’t qualify for a short sale. The seller must be able to demonstrate financial hardship. If the seller has any assets, the bank may reject the offer.
  • Short sale is priced too low. If the bank believes that it can make more money by selling the home at market value, then the short sale will be rejected. Banks want to see proof as to why the home is a short sale and will require a comparative market analysis (CMA) to justify the short sale price.
  • The bank doesn’t own the mortgage. Beware! As you know, just because a bank services a mortgage doesn’t mean that it owns it. If the bank realizes that it doesn’t own the mortgage, it will be unable to accept a short sale offer as it no longer owns the property. This can sometimes take a while for the involved parties to realize, resulting in frustration for the potential buyer.
  • The buyer doesn’t qualify for a short sale. In this case, the buyer who wants a short sale home has to qualify for it just as any other mortgage. Credit history, employment and debt ratios will be factors to determine if the buyer qualifies for the short sale.

Since the banks have the ultimate decision in determining the approval or disapproval of a short sale, negotiation is the key. Your strategy should be to understand the value of the property and make offers at or below that value regardless of the current list price. Then, you need to get lucky by making the offer at the right time, when the bank has just reduced the list price or is about to. Since you do not know when that will be, just keep making offers with the guidance of your realtor.

Growth in Foreclosures

While the number of foreclosures in Hawaii fell in 2013, there are still many distressed homeowners in the state. In fact, experts say the recent decline in foreclosures has more to do with foreclosure prevention programs and other processing procedures that tend to slow down the foreclosure process than with an actual decline in the number of distressed homeowners.

There were 466 foreclosure filings in Hawaii in 2013, according to RealtyTrac. Maui’s foreclosure problem spots were Kihei, the state’s second most distressed neighborhood, along with Lahaina, Kahului and Wailuku.

Foreclosure –- Seller’s Perspective

A foreclosure occurs when the property owner can no longer make principle or interest payments on the loan, leading to the property being seized and sold by the institution that holds the loan, usually a bank. There are many reasons why a property goes into foreclosure, including but not limited to:

  • unemployment
  • medical/health      problems
  • divorce
  • death
  • excessive      debt

Just because a homeowner is in default doesn’t mean that the situation will lead to foreclosure. Some lenders are willing to work with homeowners if they deem the homeowner’s financial problems are temporary. Also, courts of equity may intervene if the lender tries to repossess the property when the borrower defaults. This action will grant the borrower an equitable right of redemption if the debt is repaid. However, it’s important to note that in Hawaii there is no statutory right of redemption. This means that the borrower may not be able to reclaim the property post-foreclosure even if they pay the defaulted amounts three days before the foreclosure sale. In Hawaii, there’s also judicial foreclosure proceedings whereby the lender can go to court but the court will determine the final judgment of foreclosure. As part of a publicly noticed sale, the property is then sold by a sheriff. The complaint, known as the lis pendens, is filed in court and provides public notice about the foreclosure.

If you are facing foreclosure, your first step should be to consult a realtor with experience in distressed properties, particularly one with Certified Distressed Property Expert (CPDE) certification. An experienced realtor can guide you through your options – perhaps helping you to save your home from foreclosure.

There are several different types of foreclosures in the United States:

  • Foreclosure by Sale occurs when a judge decides the      day that the property will be sold. At this point, the homeowner still has      a chance to save the home if the entire mortgage payment can be made. If      not, the homeowner will lose the property with the proceeds going to the      auction, the lender and the homeowner (respectively).
  • Foreclosure by Power of Sale, available in some states,      including Hawaii, occurs if a      power of sale clause is included in the mortgage. This process doesn’t      require court supervision and tends to be quicker than the Foreclosure by      Sale proceedings. This is the leading method of foreclosure in Hawaii.
  • Strict Foreclosure (Deed in Lieu      of foreclosure), takes      place when there is very little equity in the property. In this case, the      judge will issue law days, thereby allowing the homeowner time to get      caught up with the delinquent payments. The length of the law days vary      from each state and each homeowner’s situation.

Borrowers need to know about the possible consequences of a Deed in Lieu of foreclosure. In this case, the borrower may give the deed to the lender thinking that this forgives him of the mortgage. Not so! Giving the deed to the lender will stop the foreclosure, but doesn’t mean that the lender will forgive you of your debt. Borrowers need to understand that the lender can still sell your house for whatever price they can hope to get and come after you for the remaining balance. Returning the deed also doesn’t prevent any of this from showing up on your credit report. So before you consider turning in your deed, turn to a reputable realtor with experience in foreclosures. His representation could save you from owing money on a home you don’t own.

It’s also important to note that a borrower has a right to contest a foreclosure. By asking the court of equity for an injunction, or a temporary restraining order if the repossession is immediate, the borrower may effectively stop the foreclosure. Borrowers can also challenge the validity of the debt. In this case, the lender must prove that the debt is valid. This action can stop the foreclosure and allow the borrower to sue for damages.

You might think that once a foreclosure occurs that the homeowner won’t owe any more monies on the property. However, some homeowners will receive a tax bill from the lender for the amount that wasn’t recouped. This can occur because in the eyes of the IRS, you are not paying back money that you borrowed, thus it’s viewed as income. Exceptions are a cash-out refinance, as well as if the borrower’s debts exceed his assets and he files a Form 982 with the tax return. This action can clear this financial obligation.

Foreclosure –- Buyer’s Perspective

During this troubling housing market, many people are interested in purchasing foreclosed properties. While this can be a good opportunity to buy a home at an excellent price, the potential homebuyer should carefully research the process of buying foreclosed homes in consultation with a realtor with experience in distressed properties. In Hawaii, it’s important to note that most foreclosures can take from 60 to 90 days. This might be delayed even further if the borrower goes to court to contest the foreclosure, files for bankruptcy or seeks to delay the foreclosure proceedings.

There are three ways that a buyer can purchase a foreclosed property – buy from the seller before the property is foreclosed, buy the property at an auction, or purchase the home after the foreclosure, directly from the lender. In Hawaii, there is also the possibility of deficiency judgment, whereby a property may be obtained when it sells for less than the full amount of the debt. Buyers can look up foreclosed properties in the classified newspaper ads under Foreclosure Notices, Auction Sales or Sheriff Sales. Buyers can also research properties held by Federal Housing Administration (FHA), Veterans Administration (VA) or Housing of Urban Development (HUD).

Even though many foreclosed properties are not available for inspection before purchase, buyers should make every effort to inspect the property. Buyers should also research the property’s market value. Before receiving the title, the buyer should research the title to determine if there are any liens or other potential problems.

If you purchase the property from the bank, you should realize that some homeowners may be angry due to the loss of the home and damage the property. If there’s damage with these ‘as-is’ properties, the former homeowners will likely not pay for any damages. You, the new homeowner, will have to pay for any damages. It’s not uncommon, for instance, for angry homeowners to smash out windows, flood the home and remove copper and wiring. Also, in Hawaii, some borrowers are choosing not to pay their mortgage due to anger over the government financial bailouts and the lost value of their properties.

In addition, the new homeowner may need to evict the homeowners once the title is received. This can be a tricky proposition since the homeowners may be long gone and the property is taken over by people other than the previous homeowners, such as relatives, friends and even squatters. You’ll need to get legal assistance to help with eviction if you’re not familiar with the process.

Buyers of foreclosed properties should consider the following:

  • Foreclosure      proceedings vary from state to state. For example, in states with      non-judicial foreclosures, including Hawaii, lenders don’t have to go to      court to before starting the foreclosure process. In these states, the      foreclosure process can proceed much more quickly. In states with judicial      foreclosures, the lender has to go to court to start foreclosure      proceedings. This slows down the foreclosure process.
  • Buyers      are typically allowed a period of redemption to catch up on the late      mortgage payments, including interest and principal payments.
  • Missing      required documentation, such as information about equity and offers      placed, can result in the sale being revoked.
  • The      new homeowner must be willing to evict people from the property.

Distressed properties can be a bargain for some buyers. However, research should be done to understand the pros and cons, as well as the consequences for buying short sale and foreclosed properties. Buyers and sellers should stick to the adage – if it seems too good to be true, it just might be.





From quiet high-mountain farms, to oceanfront condominiums, to everything in between, there’s something for everyone in Maui. In the following pages, you’ll find descriptions of some of the most desirable neighborhoods in Maui, including their histories, current amenities and relevant real estate statistics.



Chapter 7


An historic whaling town, Lahaina was once the whale capital of the world as well as the royal capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom. With its famous Front Street—ranked one of the “Top Ten Greatest Streets” by the American Planning Association—that runs through its downtown, Lahaina still exudes an old-world vibe. More than 55 acres of Lahaina have been designated as historic districts.

Among the must-see historic stops are the U.S. Seamen’s Hospital, Hale Paaho (Lahaina Prison), Lahaina Lighthouse (oldest lighthouse  in the Pacific) and the Pioneer Inn—Hawaii’s oldest hotel, built in 1901.

Although now completely remodeled and operated by Best Western, the Pioneer Inn’s turn-of-the-century architecture still conveys the essence of old whaling days and the plantation era of the mid-1800s. During this time, it is said up to 1,500 sailors on 400 ships took leave in Lahaina. It was also this time and place that inspired Herman Melville to write his classic Moby Dick.

Just across from the Pioneer Inn is a recreation of the “Carthaginian II,” a 19th-century whaler ship that was converted into a museum of whaling. From 1980 to 2005, the steel hull ship floated dockside and displayed many artifacts related to the whaling industry that thrived around Lahaina during the “golden era of whaling.” In 2005, the ship was sunk 100 feet below water, where it’s now a submarine tourist and diver attraction.

Located on the West Maui coast along Hawaii Route 30, Lahaina is still one of the best places in the world for whale watching. Because the waters off West and South Maui are shielded by the West Maui Mountains and Haleakala (Maui’s highest peak), the waters are calm and clear, providing excellent visibility. Humpback Whales, in particular, are abundant, as they are drawn to the area’s shallow waters, less than 600 feet deep. The winter whale watching season from December to May is the perfect time to set sail from Lahaina Harbor on a whale watching tour.

Besides whale watching, Lahaina has a prominent art market with dozens of art galleries. Every Friday in Lahaina is Art Night. From 7 to 10 p.m. along and around Front Street, all of the galleries open their doors to the public. Visitors can peruse the art pieces, chat with the artists and listen to music. Many types of unique art abound in Lahaina, including ceramics, handcrafted woodwork and jewelry. Not surprisingly, Lahaina is also one of the world’s largest markets for scrimshaw, the whalers’ art of carving on ivory.

A few galleries to check out are the Old Jail Gallery run by the non-profit Lahaina Arts Society, home to 185 member artists; Village Galleries, Maui’s oldest gallery; and Martin Lawrence Galleries, which showcases kinetic sculptures and pop art. There’s also Lahaina Printsellers, where you can find collections of maps, prints and engravings from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.

For the ultimate cultural experience, don’t miss Ulalena at the Maui Theatre. This world-renowned production tells the story of Hawaii’s people by combining ancient Hawaiian history with state-of-the-art theater technology, along with stunning music, chant, dance and acrobatics.



Chapter 8


Travelers-in-the-know flock to this southwest area of Maui for its tranquil beaches and the Makena Beach & Golf Resort, a destination in itself. Makena, which means “land of abundance and plenty” in Hawaiian, is home to one of Maui’s largest, and arguably best, beaches. Called Makena Beach State Park, it is more often referred to as Big Beach.

Just south of Wailea and a 50-minute drive from Lahaina, this crescent-shaped beach extends nearly two-thirds of a mile long and 100 yards wide. Though large, Big Beach has a secluded feel with golden sand as far as the eye can see, crystal-clear waters and location between two black-lava outcroppings that provide protection from the trade winds, as well as spectacular views of the islands Molokini and Kahoolawe.

It wasn’t until the 1980s, when construction began on The Makena Beach & Golf Resort, that the area saw a steady stream of visitors. Situated on 1,800 acres between Big Beach and Maui’s largest dormant volcano (Haleakala), this resort has it all—“a true Aloha experience,” as the resort promises. There are 310 rooms, all with ocean views and private lanais; an Asian meditation garden with stone paths, waterfalls, streams and koi ponds; world-class cuisine; spa; fitness center; pools with cabanas; and, of course, golf.

Although it’s only been in the past several decades that Makena has been a draw for travelers, the area has an interesting history that dates back to ancient times when native Hawaiians lived in small fishing villages along the coastline. It was slightly south of Makena that the first European—French explorer Jean-Francois de Galaup de La Pérouse—set foot on Maui. Visitors may note La Pérouse Bay, the site where he landed.

The area also served as an international shipping port used by Maui farmers to ship their crops. Up until 1948, paniolo (Hawaiian cowboys) from the upcountry would steer their herds down Haleakala’s slopes into the surf at Makena Landing in order to load the cattle onto barges setting sail for West Coast markets.

During World War II, Makena became a training and military exercise site. The U.S. Army built barracks, bunkers and the shoreline road. The historic pier at Makena Landing was also torn down, ceasing active trading in the area.

Besides its human history, Makena has an extraordinary geological history, which modern science, through carbon testing of lava, has been piecing together. About three miles south of Makena Beach & Golf Resort, visitors can take in Haleakala’s last lava flow which occurred between 400 and 500 years ago. A smooth, narrow road winds through a natural area reserve and then suddenly changes landscape into a mile-wide river of jagged rock formations or coastal lava field—ruin and beauty in one. Looking up to the volcano’s summit, there’s smoother lava flow at the top, then a mixture of smooth and rocky lava, and finally even more jagged lava that seems to tumble down Haleakala’s south side.




Chapter 9


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.




Chapter 10


Kapalua is situated on the northwest coast of Maui, and is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in America. Kapalua Bay, the area’s namesake, was voted best beach in America by the Travel Channel. Kapalua has a fantastic view of the islands of Molokaʻi and Lānaʻi, as well as the West Maui Mountains. The weather in Kapalua is ideal, with very little rainfall and few cloudy days. The air quality in Kapalua is significantly better than other areas of the country. With a population of less than 400 people as of the 2010 census, this area of Maui definitely has a small town feel.

One of the amenities Kapalua has to offer is the Kapalua Resort. The resort has two golf courses, and hosts the Hyundai Tournament of Champions every January, the kickoff of the PGA tour. Golf lessons are also available at the Kapalua Golf Academy.

The resort offers accommodations for visitors with everything from a vacation rental home program to a Ritz-Carlton Hotel. There are also tennis courts on the resort. The resort offers many activities to residents and visitors, including hiking trails, zip lining, and a full service spa. The resort also offers private event venue rentals for weddings, parties and corporate events and meetings. There are many restaurants in and around the resort, and the Ritz-Carlton also offers many different restaurant choices.

For those who want to make their home at the Kapalua Resort, the Kapalua Resort Association ensures the maintenance of Kapalua. The Association also provides a shuttle as well as maintains common areas and roads. Residents have a myriad of choices when it comes to what type of home to purchase.

From residential suites at The Ritz-Carlton, to condominiums and villas there is an ideal home for everyone. The estimated house or condo value average in Kapalua in 2011 was $888,000, and most rentals averaged $2,000 a month. The average income of residents in Kapalua is $118,000 annually. The unemployment rate in 2012 was less than 5%. As there are very few residents with children living in Kapalua (the average age is 56 years) there are no schools in the community.




Chapter 11


On the northern shore of Maui lies the unincorporated community of Haiku. This quaint area covers a significant part of the northern shore from the ocean to the mountains further inland. While Haiku is centrally located on Maui from a geographic standpoint, it is east of many of the urban areas. It is the perfect setting for those who enjoy a more rural feel but who want the convenience of “civilization” in Paia located just about 10 minutes away.  As an unincorporated community, Haiku has a census designation as Haiku-Pawelea which is an area of just under 16 miles and a population of 8,100 as of the 2010 Census.

Haiku tends to get a bit more rain than other parts of the island and this has had a significant impact on the history and economy of the area. During the 19th century, Haiku, as much of Maui eventually would, became a major hub for sugar production. Sugar plantations were quickly growing business on Maui in the mid-1800s. It was at this time that two sons of missionaries, Samuel Alexander and Henry Baldwin, started cultivating a small 12 acres of sugar in Haiku. By the following year they had added more than 5,000 acres of sugar growing throughout Haiku and into central Maui. They soon owned Hawaii’s largest sugar company but would discover that the large amounts of rain in Haiku were not present in the central plains of the island. This predicament devastated their crops until they fashioned an elaborate irrigation system that brought rain water from Haiku into Wailuku and the central plains of Maui. Their ingenuity assured the success of their crop and, in doing so, assured Maui’s continued relevance to the Hawaiian economy even after the capital, and the commerce associated with it, moved from Lahaina to Honolulu earlier in the century.

Around the same time, a sugar pioneer named Claus Spreckels built the Haiku Ditch system which spanned some 30 miles and brought 50 million gallons of water each day from Haiku into the dry desert areas of Maui. The importance of sugar production to Maui and to Haiku in particular can still be seen today in the historic plantation homes found throughout the area.

However, the Haiku community truly began to flourish around the start of the 20th century due to another key agricultural product in Hawaii—pineapple. In 1903 the Haiku Fruit and Packing Company was established and a local cannery opened in 1904 firmly establishing pineapple industry on Maui and in Haiku. Very soon this quiet community was home to a diverse population of people who came to work in pineapples fields and production.

These days the modern day visitor to Haiku will immediately be struck by the lush green foliage, tropical flowers and stunning scenery throughout this region thanks to the ample rain. Now the overall vibe of “downtown” of Haiku is peaceful and laid-back with just a few stores and a post office. Yet there is some evidence of light industry there as well thanks to Haiku’s agricultural history and role of economic importance to Maui.

In modern times tourism is the major industry on Maui, but Haiku is far removed from the “hustle and bustle” of the tourist centers concentrated farther west– and its residents like it that way! It is the perfect spot to for those whose particular brand of Hawaiian paradise involves relaxation and peace and quiet. The historic Road to Hana (aka Hana Highway) runs directly through the Haiku area and is generally considered to be one of the most scenic drives in the world. Haiku serves as the last point of civilization for travelers before reaching Hana just about 40 miles east.

The only downside to residing in Haiku is that one needs to travel to a neighboring city to have a significant number of shopping and dining options. Fortunately, the closest options aren’t far at all. Paia is only about seven miles away while Kahului, the largest city on Maui, is only 13 miles from the Haiku community. This is also reflected in the average travel time for commuter living in Haiku which is about 25 minutes.

Although a bit of travel is required for shopping and commuting, there is no shortage of great beaches and recreational opportunities without leaving Haiku. Ho’okipa Beach is one of the most popular surfing destinations on Maui and has also been called the windsurfing capital of the world hosting multiple world-class competitions each year. During the winter the water at Ho’okipa Beach is at its roughest attracting professional surfers as well as wind and kite surfers, while summer months bring calm waters perfect for sunbathing and swimming. There is no shortage of opportunities to get outdoors for non-surfers with ample hiking trails, golf courses and many other area parks including the famed Haleakala National Park just a short drive away in Maui’s upcountry.

With all that Haiku has to offer it is not surprising that the area has been a huge draw for people looking for the true Aloha spirit with a small town feel. This area is often considered a bit of a “melting pot” when it comes to the residents who have found their way here. In Haiku you can find everyone from native Hawaiian islanders to people of Asian descent whose ancestors came to work in sugar or pineapple production. More recently, water sport enthusiasts from the mainland and beyond have been drawn by the local beaches and surfing opportunities to make Haiku home. Perhaps it is for this reason that the average age of Haiku’s residents is 40 years old– about 15 younger than the state average in Hawaii.

The real estate market in Haiku is a testament to this diversity offering everything from multi-million dollar oceanfront homes to quaint cabins nestled inland at the foot of the mountains. Since Haiku is a rural area the lots tend to be larger than elsewhere on the island. While it is no secret that real estate on Maui is more expensive than on the mainland, Haiku has a lower cost of living than much of Hawaii making buying a home a bit more affordable there.





Chapter 12


Wailuku, commonly known as the birthplace of the sugar industry, is a town nestled in Maui County, Hawaii. Wailuku has a total area of 5.7 square miles and a population of less than thirteen thousand. However, don’t let this small town feel fool you, Wailuku is a local government hub, as it is the county seat of Maui. Only a ten minute drive from the Kahului Airport, this tiny Hawaiian town is a bustling tourist destination with significant charm. Located to the east of the West Maui Mountains and the Iao State Park, Wailuku offers easy access to many beautiful natural attractions.

As a busy tourist destination, there are always things to do in Wailuku.  A notable event is the monthly Wailuku First Friday Street Fair. Complete with a beer garden, this street fair boasts multiple entertainment stages, activities for children, and local vendors selling jewelry, clothes and local art. The festival takes place on the main road, Market Street, and occurs from 5:30-8pm. During this time Market Street is closed to traffic to ensure the safety of participants.

Market Street is also known as “Maui’s Antique Row”. In the quaint antique shops dotting Market Street, visitors and locals find collectibles from all over the world. Wailuku also offers a wide variety of shops selling anything and everything. Whether you are looking for authentic Hawaiian dress and jewelry, or books and music, you can certainly find it in the shops of Wailuku. With over 60 restaurants/cafes, Wailuku also offers a wide array of cuisine options. Whether in the mood for typical American cuisine or authentic Hawaiian cuisine, there is something for every taste bud in Wailuku.

Just three miles to the west of Wailuku is Iao Valley State Park. Boasting the famous Iao Needle, this lush rainforest in the West Maui Mountains is a popular destination for residents and visitors of Wailuku. Iao Valley is home to an extinct volcano and the lush Iao Stream, fed by the significant rainfall in the valley. Visitors to the Iao Valley can hike one of the many trails snaking through the lush landscape, or see the exhibits at the Hawaii Nature Center. The park is open from 7am to 7pm daily.

The average income for a resident of Wailuku is $46,000 per year. While the economy is mostly driven by tourism and the service industry, there are many other career alternatives available, including government and nonprofit jobs, as well as opportunities within the school system and at the local hospital. Wailuku also boasts a very low unemployment rate of 3 percent, as of 2007. Small local business in Wailuku is thriving as a result of the establishment of the Business Action Center, or BAC, making it easier to establish small businesses.

Housing costs in Wailuku vary from year to year. Forty one percent of the people in Wailuku rent their home, with the median cost of rent being $973 per month. The median value of a home/condo in 2012 was approximately $325,000. The majority of homes in Wailuku that are owned have three bedrooms or more, while the majority of homes that are rented have two bedrooms. Most residents of Wailuku use a personal vehicle for transportation; however there is a public bus that travels through Wailuku as well. Many people also travel on foot or by bicycle throughout the town.

Healthcare is readily available in Wailuku, as Maui Memorial Medical Center is located in town. This is the premier hospital of Maui County, MMMC has a new cardiac services department, and has just completed a helipad project for helicopter services to the hospital. Maui Memorial Medical Center can certainly accommodate all of your healthcare needs, from preventative care to acute care, this hospital serves the Wailuku community every day.

Wailuku offers many options for the education of local children. There are four local elementary schools that parents can choose from. Wailuku Elementary School and Waihee Elementary School are two highly rated public elementary schools, while St. Anthony School and Isaiah Academy for excellence offer a private education.

St. Anthony School and Isaiah Academy for Excellence also offer middle and upper (senior high) grades education. There is one public middle grades education school, IAO Intermediate School, and one public upper grades school, Henry Perrine Baldwin High School in Wailuku. For parents looking for a public alternative, Hawaii Technology Academy is also available as an online charter school for grades K – 12.




Chapter 13


Wailea is your ticket to luxury in Maui. Situated on South Maui’s leeward coast, this 1,500-acre resort destination is about a 35-minute drive from Kahului Airport. Considered one of the world’s best destinations for golf, Wailea’s pride and joy is its three renowned golf courses: Wailea Blue, Wailea Gold and Wailea Emerald. And if golf doesn’t happen to be your thing, there’s also an award-winning tennis club, fine dining, five crescent-shaped beaches, premier shopping, spas galore and a plethora of cultural programs, including the annual Maui Film Festival.

Lodging options include six world-class hotels such as the Grand Wailea Resort Hotel & Spa and the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea. The Grand Wailea overlooks Wailea Beach, which was named “America’s Best Beach” in 1999 and features a paved beach walk that winds through the area’s hotels, restaurants and shops.

Other nearby beaches include Keawakapu Beach, only a half-mile from the Wailea Resort, and Polo Beach, popular among the locals. Just south of Wailea is South Maui’s largest beach—Makena Beach, also known as Big Beach. Though large, Big Beach has a secluded feel with its golden sands, pristine waters and juxtaposition between two black-lava outcroppings that provide protection from the trade winds, not to mention the spectacular views of the islands Molokini and Kahoolawe.

Wailea’s resort vibe carries through to its residential community, with its up-scale condominiums and villas, exceptional private homes and gated entries. Wailea has been named one of the country’s 99 Best Recreational & Residential Private Communities in America. The master-planned community (population 5,938) adheres to strict guidelines to ensure low density and to preserve Maui’s island environment. All utilities are buried underground and every roadway is well manicured.




Chapter 14


If you’ve been fortunate to enjoy a meal at one or more of Maui’s renowned restaurants, chances are the food on your plate was grown in Kula. With its fertile fields and rich volcanic soil, the district of Kula provides much of the state’s produce and cut flowers. Almost all of the carnations used in Hawaii’s famous leis come from Kula. And the famous Maui onion, thought by many to be the sweetest in the world, as well as other fresh farm-to-table ingredients—lettuce, potatoes, jicama, tomatoes, carrots, cauliflower and cabbage—all hail from Kula.

Part of the Upcountry region of Maui, Kula is centrally located and rests on the western slopes of Haleakala, the dormant volcano that dominates Maui’s landscape. With its stunning views of Maui and the Pacific Ocean, Kula arguably has the best views in Upcountry Maui.

Kula’s residential areas range from about 1,800 ft. to 3,700 ft. above sea level. Traditionally, the district has been home to full-time residents (population 6,452) who prefer its cooler temperatures over the warmer and denser touristy towns, such as Kihei and Lahaina, closer to sea level. “It’s cooler in Kula” is a popular phrase, and, increasingly, just as many Upcountry residents like to vacation at the seashore, many coastal residents enjoy visiting Kula for its lower temperatures that may even necessitate a fireplace in winter.

The higher-elevated area of Kula (2,800 ft. to 3,700 ft.) is aptly called Upper Kula. Kekaulike Avenue, also known as State Highway 377, runs through the region and is surrounded by lush, green pastures and silver eucalyptus tree groves. There are not many commercial ventures along Kekaulike, but there are a few must-see destinations including Kula Botanical Garden and Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm.

What began as a display garden for a family’s landscape architecture business, Kula Botanical Garden is now a major tourist destination, drawing thousands of visitors each year. Patrons can meander over eight acres of vibrant and unique plants, including carnations, birds of paradise and orchids; unique and impressive rock formations; waterfalls; koi pond; covered bridge; aviary and carved tiki exhibit.

Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm, created by agricultural artist and horticultural master Ali’i Chang, is home to approximately 55,000 lavender plants and 45 different varieties of lavender. Interestingly, lavender is not native to Maui. In fact, it wasn’t until 2001, when a friend gifted some lavender to Ali’i and he planted it, that the herb existed here at all. Yet, it quickly took a liking to the Mediterranean climate, with many varieties blooming year round. Visitors can take walking tours and learn about and purchase more than 50 lavender products, including culinary, aromatherapy, bath and body.

Lower Kula (1,200 ft. to 2,800 ft.) comprises the areas around Lower Kula Road, the old county road that traversed the region before Kula Highway was finished in 1964. Communities include Pulehu, Waiakoa, Omaopio and Keokea, each with its own ethnic background. Portuguese and Chinese immigrants first arrived in the late 19th century to work on the sugarcane plantations. Shortly thereafter, Japanese farmers moved to the area because of its ideal climate for growing vegetables.

With the resurgence of a farm-to-table lifestyle in the past decade, much of the agricultural land is being carved into “gentlemen estates,” essentially family farms with large homes taking advantage of the mild climate to produce vegetables for Maui’s demanding market.

An overview of Kula would not be complete without mentioning Kula’s best-known landmark—the Holy Ghost Catholic Church, located along the Lower Kula Road. Built in 1894 by Portuguese immigrants, the church is octagonal in shape and boasts a hand-carved altar. With the slopes of Haleakala as its backdrop, the church’s white turret is visible from much of Central Maui.




Chapter 15


Paia, known as the windsurfing capital of the world, is nestled on the northern shore of Maui, Hawaii. With less than 3,000 year-round inhabitants, this tourist destination definitely has a small town feel. However, you shouldn’t confuse small town feel with small town choices. Fourteen restaurants dot the streets of Paia for plenty of culinary options. Restaurants aren’t the only thing this small town boasts, you can also find beauty services, health and wellness shops, quaint inns and art galleries. Paia also hosts events and festivals throughout the year, there is always something to do.

Paia is a small town more than one hundred years old. Formerly the home of the Paia Sugar Mill, plantation camps were established here in the late 19th century for immigrants coming to work on the plantation. Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean Puerto Ricans, Portuguese, and Native Hawaiian peoples all came to Paia to work on the sugar plantation. As a result, there is great diversity in the town of Paia today.

In 1978 a group of young windsurfers discovered that Ho’okipa Beach Park in Paia had weather conditions perfect for windsurfing. Since that discovery, Paia has been developing and promoting the small town as the world capitol of windsurfing.

Paia has three beautiful beaches, Baldwin Beach Park, Ho’okipa Beach Park and Paia Bay. Baldwin Beach Park is excellent for swimming and shore fishing, and life guards are on duty daily. Paia Bay (referred to as “Baby Bay” by the locals) is a sandy beach good for swimming, but do so at your own risk as there are no lifeguards on duty here.

Ho’okipa Beach Park is Paia’s most famous beach due to its ideal windsurfing conditions. At this beach you can watch windsurfers and surfers year round – there are even many competitions held here throughout the year. Ho’okipa beach is not ideal for swimming. The shore is rocky and the currents are strong throughout the year. Swimmers are encouraged to use extreme caution and heed warnings. Lifeguards are on duty daily.

In 2009 the median price for a home or condo in Paia was $600,000. Most people in the town of Paia drive a personal vehicle for transportation, but there are also many walkers and bicyclists as well. Paia has a very low unemployment rate of 4.3% as of July 2013.

The weather in Paia is fantastic with an average temperature of about seventy five degrees Fahrenheit year round. There are two schools in Paia, one is public and the other private. There are also many churches in Paia. With all these amenities, daily life in Paia is quaint, but busy.




Nearby Destinations: Kauai &
Big Island

Kauai & Big Island are nearby islands that provide a wealth of opportunities for Maui residents to enjoy terrific restaurants, cultural activities, or just the good old outdoors. Read on to find out more about what these exciting destinations have to offer residents of Maui.



State of Hawaii Office of Planning



Chapter 16


Kauai, another island neighbor to Maui, is the oldest of the main Hawaiian islands. It’s only 552 square miles, making it the fourth largest of the islands. As the 21st largest island in the U.S., it had a population of just over 58,000 in 2000. On Kauai, you’ll find everything from cities and towns to tiny rural hamlets. Encircled with beaches that make up nearly half the total shoreline, this gorgeous island is also known as the Garden Isle, because of its lush tropical greenery.

The first settlers arrived in the 5th century AD and brought with them taro, the plant that would soon become a staple of the Hawaiian diet, and remains one even today. Centuries later, James Cook would visit the island as part of his tour of the Pacific.

There is no known meaning of the name of the island – officially, that is. Some legends say that the island was named by a famous Polynesian navigator, who chose to name it after his favorite son. Kauai was once known for a very distinct dialect based on old Polynesian languages, which has since died out. The island is also known for the Legend of the Menehune – little pixie-like people who are supposedly talented in construction and engineering and who are capable of building things like aqueducts and fishponds overnight. The Menehune are believed to live in the woods and today are blamed when things go wrong, such as losing keys or getting a flat tire.

Kauai was the last island to be brought under the rule of King Kamehameha, the ruler who brought together the islands that make up the modern state of Hawaii. It didn’t join peacefully, however. Kamehameha was turned back twice before he finally managed to gain control of the island, peacefully this time. For years the people of Kauai lived as vassals of Kamehameha until their ruler, Kaumuali’I, ceded the island completely upon his death.

Kauai is a volcanic island with peaks reaching as high as 5,243 feet. At its height, Mount Wai’ale’ale is 5,148 feet. The eastern side of this mountain is one of the wettest places on earth with an average yearly rainfall of 460 inches. Because of the immense amounts of water traveling down the mountain and carving the rock, there are numerous valleys and canyons with tremendous waterfalls. The western side of the island is Waimea, which hosts the Grand Canyon of the Pacific – Waimea Canyon. The canyon is more than 3,000 feet deep and is part of Waimea State Park.

Like Maui, Kauai has a history in the sugar industry, and today its economy is supported almost exclusively by tourism. Many of the old sugar plantations are now used for ranching as well. Only the 118-year-old Gay & Robinson Plantation remains devoted to the sugar industry, although Kauai also farms tropical fruits and coffee. The island is also a wonderful place for whale watching during the winter and early spring.

For the Art Connoisseur

Kauai is not exactly a booming arts center, but there are privately owned galleries all over the island, and many of the historical museums also have art displays. One of the best galleries is the Nani Kauai, It specializes in local art, and features photography, paintings, jewelry and even vintage signs and reproductions.

For the Foodie[J1]

Despite having so many rural areas, Kauai is known for some really fantastic food destinations, making it well worth the trip.

  • Plantation Gardens – Sit outside in the outdoor lanai seating surrounded by tiki torches for the full feel of old Polynesian Hawaii. All the vegetables on the menu are organic and from local farms, while the fish is caught fresh daily by local fishermen. Specializing in Pacific Rim cuisine with a regional influence, this is one spot you’ll want to hit.
  • Bar Acuda – Food & Wine magazine called it “the one great restaurant on Kauai” – and they just might be correct. This tapas and wine bar has a menu that starts with honeycomb from the North Shore with Konana Farms goat cheese, Mizuna greens and apple. Yum.
  • Merriman’s — Chef Peter Merriman is known as a pioneer in the Farm-to-Table movement – and true to form, 90 percent of his ingredients are locally caught or grown. His innovative menu includes kalua pig, fern shoot salad and striped marlin sashimi. Take your pick of a mountain or ocean view – the dining room offers both – and pick a wine from the 1,000-bottle cellar.
  • Hanalei Dolphin – Hanalei is actually two restaurants plus a fish market – and not surprisingly is known for the freshness of its fish. Located on the banks of the Hanalei River, the restaurant offers a vast menu of fish caught in local waters and served in a no-nonsense fashion – just broiled. The chefs prefer to let the fish speak for itself.

For the Nature Lover

Kauai is a nature lover’s paradise. With endless trails, parks and preserves – not to mention botanical gardens – anyone who appreciates a little time in nature will be in heaven. Many companies on the island offer guided hikes and horseback rides, as well as helicopter and airplane tours. Visit for a comprehensive list of these vendors.

  • Waimea Canyon State Park – This park is a huge canyon – more than 10 miles long and 3,000 feet deep in some places – located on the west side of Kauai. The canyon was formed by water from the Waimea River, fueled by extreme rainfalls on the central peak of Mount Wai’ale’ale. The 1,866 acres contain many hiking trails, but not all are easily accessible, so it’s best to do your homework before setting out into the park. More details can be found by following the links at
  • Napali Coast State Park – Extending from Ke’e Beach to Polihale State Park, the 6,175 acres of Napali feature cliffs rising over 4,000 feet and five major valleys. Much of the park is inaccessible by car, but hikers, kayakers and helicopters are common sights. The park also provides the only access to the Kalalau Trail and Kee Beach State Park, where there are tremendous lagoons and coral reefs perfect for snorkeling and swimming – not to mention a tropical beach surrounded by coconut trees, ironwood trees and ti, an evergreen plant native to Hawaii. Follow the links at for complete information on park access and trails.
  • Spouting Horn Park – On Kauai’s south shore is what may be one of the coolest natural features of the island – a “geyser.” Water has been known to shoot more than 60 feet into the air when the waves force it up into a lava tube and out into the open, often making a rather eerie hissing noise. Ancient Hawaiians believed that a lizard goddess names Kai Kapu was trapped in the tube by a fisherman, and the hissing sound was her angry roar of frustration. has links to more information on this natural wonder.
  • Na’Aina Kai Botanical Gardens – More than 200 acres of forest and farmland make up these gardens, with more than 13 themed gardens, including a hardwood plantation and a maze created out of more than 3,400 mock orange plants and topiaries. Don’t miss the Bog House, which contains an amazing collection of carnivorous plants, including bogwort and pitcher plants. Kids will love the Under the Rainbow children’s garden, which includes a tree house, slides, pond, bridges, tunnels and even a train. Throughout the gardens you’ll notice the owner’s large bronze statuary collection.
  • Allerton Gardens – These gardens, found on the south shore of the island, occupy 80 acres next to Lawa’i Bay and were once home to the revered Queen Emma. The gardens concentrate on native plantings and feature special garden rooms, pools, mini-waterfalls, fountains and statues. You may recognize the gardens upon your visit: they have been the backdrop to such films as South Pacific and Jurassic Park.

For the History Buff

For those of you who prefer to while away your afternoon soaking up the history of a location, there are several places on Kauai that you won’t want to miss.

  • Kauai Museum – Featuring two floors of permanent exhibits and three rotating exhibit galleries, this museum focuses on the history of the island from its earliest settlers through the territorial period. The museum frequently hosts movie nights, book signings and other events, like the May Day Lei Festival.
  • Kilauea Light Station – First dedicated in 1913, the 52-foot lighthouse was hugely significant to ships making the Orient Run – it helped them navigate around the islands and stay on course. Today it’s one of the most intact lighthouses in the country and sees more than 500,000 visitors a year. The keeper’s dwelling is located apart from the lighthouse itself and is constructed entirely of volcanic rock found on the site.
  • Wai’oli Mission House – The mission house was built in 1837 in the beautiful Hanalei Valley. Today it remains much the same, capturing a brilliant image of rural missionary life in the 19th century. Take a guided tour and see the historical furnishings as well as traditional plants and trees that would have been on the grounds at the time it was in use. Find out more by following the links at

Can’t-Miss Events

Kauai is full of adventure – from waterfalls to rainforest to pieces of living history. The island also hosts several festivals each year that you might be interested in checking out.

  • Emalani Festival – Held each year on the second Saturday in October, the Emalani Festival offers one of the most authentic Hawaiian experiences, with hula masters and their dancers creating the event. The festival commemorates the journey Queen Emma took to the upland forests in 1871. Each year focuses on a different aspect of her legacy, so you’ll want to come back time and again to experience the live music, historical displays, dance and an appearance by “Queen Emma” herself.
  • Koloa Plantation Days – This annual festival commemorates the history of the sugar industry on Kauai, including how the need for labor let to the tremendously multi-cultural population that lives there today. Past events have included golf tournaments, a triathlon, ethnic cooking demos and tastings and luaus.
  • Coconut Festival – This annual festival has been featured on the Food Network’s “All-American Festivals” and is devoted to promoting and preserving the Coconut Coast region. There is a children’s stage and a market with local artisans and Polynesian products – and of course everything you can possibly imagine to eat out of a coconut.
  • May Day Lei Festival – Showcasing the talents of today’s lei makers, this festival works to preserve the art form. As a visitor, you’ll be able to watch the lei-making contest, sample food and, of course, learn to make your own lei.


Although Kauai is largely known as a rural island, it had much to offer visitors. Make a weekend trip to take in a festival or hike the trails, and you won’t regret it. Check out for more information on where to stay and what to do.






Chapter 17

Big Island

When most people think of Hawaii, they are thinking of the Big Island. Its proper name is Hawaii, but it is locally known as the Big Island to help differentiate the individual island from the group of islands that make up the whole state.

The island is 4,028 square miles, making it the largest island in the United States and larger than all the other Hawaiian islands combined. There are competing theories as to the origin of the name: Some say it was named after Hawai’iloa, the Polynesian navigator who first discovered it. Others say the name is derived from Hawaiki, the place from which Polynesians are believed to have originated. The Big Island was home to King Kamehameha, who waged years of warfare designed to unite all the islands into one state.

The Big Island was formed from five separate volcanoes that erupted in a very specific order, each creating lava flows that overlapped the other. Today, the island still has active volcanoes and is considered to be growing. In fact, between 1983 and 2002, the island produced enough land (created from lava flows) to increase its size by 543 acres. The island is not terribly populous, with just over 175,000 residents in 2000.

Like the other islands, the Big Island originally built its economy on the back of the sugarcane trade. However, in 1996, the last big plantation closed and the island now makes its money on the tourism trade – although it is also known for its orchid agriculture. Thanks to the orchid industry, the island is unofficially known as the Orchid Isle. The Big Island is also known for being a prime spot for astronomy and you will find many telescopes located at the top of Mauna Kea.

For the Art Connoisseur

The Big Island is teeming with small galleries with small art exhibits of both local and national artists. There are a few places you’ll want to keep an eye on for bigger theatre and musical performances, too.

  • Kahilu Theatre Foundation – The Foundation offers a 24-concert performance season, presented in the cozy 490-seat Kahilu Theatre. Past seasons have included the Kamuela Philharmonic and American Bluegrass Masters. There are also free community events, such as a pianola artisans showcase and film showings.
  • Volcano Art Center – The center is a wonderful community resource, offering classes, workshops, performances and special events throughout the year. A spring art camp, lampworking demos and a native species art hike along Kamehameha Beach are just a few of their offerings. Check their Web site to see what performances are scheduled for the time of your visit, as things change often.

For the Foodie

The Big Island is a haven for foodies, even those who shy away from resort-style dining. There are wonderful eateries to be found in every nook and cranny.

  • Kilauea Lodge – Just a mile from Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, the Lodge is a local favorite, being particularly popular for its fantastic breakfasts. In fact, Honolulu Magazine and the Tribune Herald both voted it best bed and breakfast on the island (so think about booking a room here, too). Go for the Sunday brunch, which includes smoked salmon Benedict and the famous volcano loco moco. While you are there, be on the lookout for Meatloaf and Lambchop, the resident cats.
  • Daniel Thiebeaut – Located in the restored century-old Chock In Store, this restaurant features an eclectic décor that includes lots of vintage Hawaiiana – but its best feature is the menu. Entrees include grilled bacon-wrapped beef tenderloin in a Thai red wine sauce with herb spaetzle – and the always fresh daily specials, many of which are vegetarian.
  • Monettes – Kobe beef tastings. Winemaking. Whale watching. Benefit events. Monettes has it all, including a new menu each day centered on local ingredients and paired with international items. And let’s not forget the award-winning wine list of over 1,000 labels.
  • Bamboo Restaurant – Despite its common name and being slightly off-the-beaten path, this restaurant is a favorite among the locals – and gets rave reviews from tourists regularly as well. The menu features fresh, locally caught fish prepared in a variety of ways, and there is local music on Friday and Saturday nights. While you’re there, be sure to order one of their trademark passion fruit margaritas.

For the Nature Lover

Like the other islands, the Big Island is full of natural beauty – and with myriad ways to experience it you’ll never be bored.

  • Hawaii Volcanoes National Park – This park houses two of the world’s most active volcanoes, the most famous of which is Kilauea. You can tour the volcanoes, but also make time for the 10.6-mile Crater Rim Drive that traces Kilauea’s caldera. Make sure your time in the park also includes a stop at the Thomas A. Jagger Museum, the Thurston Lava Tube and the Puu O’o vent.
  • Pu-uhonua O Honaunau National Historic Park – Right on Honaunau Bay in south Kona, this park is a true immersion experience. The park was once a refuge for ancient Hawaiian outlaws. If the lawbreakers could make it to this area, they could undergo a sacred ceremony that would allow them to return to society. Take advantage of the walking tours that include a hike down the black lava shoreline, past ancient carved wooden images of the gods and a sacred temple called Hale Okeawe Helau.
  • Sadie Seymour Botanical Garden – A relatively small botanical garden, the Sadie Seymour is located on just 1.5 acres on the grounds of the Kona Outdoor Circle Educational Center. The gardens were founded to help beautify the Kona community and feature the plants of Hawaii arranged in 11 tiers according to their geographic origin. The gardens also contain an archeological site called Heiau, once used for the construction and blessing of canoes. Find out more on the Kona Circle Web site,
  • Imiloa Astronomy Center – The Hawaiian islands are well known for being near-perfect places to observe the night sky, with their high peaks and clear, warm weather that allows for year-round observations. The astronomy center explores the origins of the cosmos and Earth’s role in that development, as well as space explorations throughout history. There are daily live presentations on a variety of topics. While you are there, be sure to visit the full-dome planetarium – the surround sound will leave you feeling as though you are floating amongst the stars themselves.

For the History Buff

If you prefer to spend a bit of time taking in the history of the Island, there are many museums and historical areas that you might want to explore.

  • Lyman Mission House & Museum – The mission house was originally built in 1839 by missionaries from New England, David and Sarah Lyman. In 1931, the property was established as a museum and the home was completely restored. Today it houses exhibits including a collection of fine art artifacts and pieces revolving around the natural history of the area. There are also special exhibits throughout the year that demonstrate life as it was for missionaries 150 years ago.
  • Hulihe’e Palace – For the latter half of the 19th century, this two-story palace was used by royalty as a vacation home. In 1925, the government purchased the property and today it is maintained and operated by the Daughters of Hawaii as a museum. The home showcases period furniture and historical items and the grounds contain several gardens and fish ponds. Each month, the museum sponsors a public concert dedicated to one of Hawaii’s monarchs.
  • Kona Historical Society – The Kona Historical Society brings history to life on a 19th century coffee plantation. You’ll also visit the H.N. Greenwell store, experiencing a general store as it existed in 1890. Look into the jeep and boat tours of the area and stop in at the stone oven to watch a bread baking demonstration. The society also offers a walking tour of historic Kailua village. www.konahistoricalorg


As you can see, every island in Hawaii has unique experiences to offer. Plan a day trip, a weekend or even a week – no matter which you choose, you’ll experience something fantastic.




In this section you will hear from Maui people about their experiences in their various neighborhoods. You will learn how they chose the area in which they live, if they would make that same choice again, and why. They will tell you who they think would like their part of Maui, and who would not. And finally, they will tell you what they do for fun!


Chapter 18

Jack Gist

To South Kihei from Las Angeles

How long have you lived in Kihei?

I’ve lived in Kihei for 15 years. We had a condo there then bought a home. I love the beach, and now I live a mile from the ocean.

Where is Kihei, and what’s it like as a community?

Kihei is a fairly new community. They started building it up probably 20 years ago. It was once just a dessert. You would have to have a good set of tires to make it to Makenna Beach, just because the road was so bad. Now it’s paved. It’s amazing how well built up it is. It’s now a community of over 50,000 people where there once was nothing. It’s grown enormously and it’s just amazing.

Did you have your heart set on Kihei or did you consider buying in other neighborhoods in and around Maui?

I needed to buy something, so we bought the new condo in Kihei. At that point, I wasn’t too sure if I’d be fortunate enough to stay in the state. As things got better, I grew to appreciate the area. So when we were ready and the market leaned more towards us purchasing a home, I went for it. I have really grown to love it. There are desert-like conditions, dry heat, but you also have the ocean.

If you could live anywhere else on the island where would that be?

When I was living elsewhere on the island I wouldn’t dream of living in Kihei. Each area has its own climate. Up country is nice and cool; it doesn’t get as hot. Lahaina side, I’m not too crazy about because it gets so hot. I really don’t know. Maybe I’d live on the north shore or maybe I’d stay on the south side, maybe towards Maui Meadows or Wailea.

Do you worry about crime in Kihei?

No. We’ve had situations in the neighborhood where myself and some of the other neighbors gathered together as a self-appointed crime watch. Even if there is a situation it’s not that threatening. It’s safe.

Was it hard to meet people when you moved to Kihei?

Not really. You have an opportunity to invent yourself here. I feel really comfortable here. I’ve gained a lot of friends here the last 20-plus years. There’s a rule of thumb here: if Mother Maui likes you she’ll keep you if not she’ll spit you out. And I’ve seen a lot of people spit out. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out.

How’s the traffic in Kihei?

The traffic is bad, but compared to Los Angeles, we don’t have traffic. In my area there are two main roads that go through and if one or the other is closed it turns all of Kihei into a parking lot. And it’s horrendous.

I do three talk shows on our radio station, and they’re all involved in local and state government. One council member I have on my show is from my area, and we talk about infrastructure all the time. It’s frustrating that they build all these homes but haven’t finished the streets to accommodate all the cars. After building all these homes for 50,000 people they are finally building infrastructure.

How has the real estate market changed between the time you bought your first house and your most recent purchase?

We bought our house two years before they started building it to be sure that we get it. In that time the marketing went haywire. We paid $258,000 for the property before we moved in. Then the market exploded and the value on our house tripled. There were people who were millionaires overnight. Since then it’s now leveled out to probably $650,000. So that’s how it fluctuates. We have been looking at downgrading to get a condo closer to the beach and now the market on condos has gone up.

Do you like the quality of life in Kihei?

I like it. You could consider it crowded, but still the quality of life is good. I’ve got a good neighborhood and I like my neighbors. Everybody’s hard working people in our neighborhood. That makes a difference when they appreciate their house and their properties.

What would you say is the one “can’t miss” event or place that a family living in Kihei and Hawaii should be sure to experience?

Go on a whale watch cruise, because there’s nothing more incredible than seeing a whale on one of these cruises. I’ve even swam close to whales because they get near shore. I also would tell people to go to the beach. I go every Sunday morning if the weather’s on my side, which it is 90% of the time. I go out and paddle. It’s the best way in the world to spend a Sunday morning. One morning I was surrounded by a pod of dolphins while I paddled. It’s beyond description.

Do you travel between the islands much?

I used to until it got so expensive. It costs more to go to Oahu and back than to go to California. Interisland flights are very expensive. I haven’t even thought about it in a long time.

Do you have a favorite restaurant in Kihei or in other parts of Maui?

For different things I like different restaurants. Spago’s Restaurant is one of the better restaurants within the hotels. It’s really good. For good steak, Outback Restaurant has never disappointed me. And they’ve withstood any competition.

Is there anything that you don’t like about living in Kihei or living in Hawaii?

Not really. It can be a bit crowded a bit in Kihei but I wouldn’t live anywhere else. Every time I even think about visiting California I get a knot in my stomach like I’m being punished. I feel very fortunate to live here

What advice would you give people who are house hunting in Maui and especially in Kihei?

You can get a good deal. Be aware that median price is $600,000-$650,000, so come financially prepared. Be aware of the market. If you see the term “fixer upper,” run. You wouldn’t believe what a fixer upper is here. I’ve seen some of these homes destroyed by previous owners with dogs or decorated with awful wallpaper.


Chapter 19

Johnny Absolm

To Kahului from oHIO

Please tell me a little bit about yourself.

I grew up in Maryland and spent four years in the military. I’ve lived in Virginia, Tennessee, Toledo, and I moved to Maui in January of 1995. I’ve been working in the radio industry for 20 years, mainly on the sales end. I’m currently engaged to be married in March.

What brought you to Maui?

I moved here for a radio job. I was working in Toledo and it was 10 degrees out one day, and I got to the office and my boss asked if I’d like to work in radio in Maui. The answer was yes. I brought the few things I had with me and never looked back

Can you tell me about your neighborhood?

I’ve lived in Kahului since June. It’s a quiet residential neighborhood. The houses are 2,500 to 3,000 square feet. It’s a nice neighborhood, a gated community with decent looking houses.

How big is your yard and what does it look like?

The backyard has a pool and a hot tub. We have a nice grill out back, and we have friends over frequently to enjoy the outdoor fun.

Do you worry about crime in Maui?

No. I do not. The crime here is usually crime against tourists. There are break-ins of cars. There is a cottage industry of crime against rental cars that is downplayed by county government. It happens constantly. There’s no violent crime. You never hear about kids getting snatched. There are very few murders. If there is a murder it’s a crime of passion.

Was it hard to meet people when you moved to Maui?

Initially it is. The locals shut themselves off to people from the mainland, especially people who are new. If you give it time, people are so nice and open and generous here. Through playing softball and through jobs I started to develop a circle of friends.

Did the commute influence your neighborhood choice?

No it did not. The other place we had been looking at would have been a half hour commute, and that would have been OK too. The traffic isn’t bad here. You don’t spend 45 minutes getting someplace because you are in heavy traffic.

What surprised you most about moving to and living in Maui?

I had never been to Hawaii before and I thought it was all jungle. It’s not. There are trade winds that blow from the northeast, there are jungles, but on the leeward side it is desert conditions.

Do you have to be rich to live in Maui?

No, not at all. The cost of living is higher here– you pay more for milk or gas. But when you live here you don’t notice it.

What would you say is the one “can’t miss” event or place that a family living in Maui and Hawaii should be sure to experience?

You’ve got to go to Hana. It’s in the rainforest and it’s a very, very beautiful place. I recommend people go and camp out or get a room. They call it the most beautiful place on earth. There’s no development going on. It’s a quaint little Hawaiian town in the rainforest. It’s very tranquil. The hotels and B&Bs have no TV and it’s a very quiet, tranquil place to be.

What places should you avoid if you don’t want to see a lot of tourists?

You should avoid the south side and the west side. That’s where all the resorts and the tourists are. The leeward side that gets the least amount of rain and has the most sun has really nice beaches. That’s where you’ll see a bunch of tourists, and they can be irritating.

Did you live in Hawaii before you moved to Maui and, if so, how would you compare where you lived before with your current neighborhood?

I lived on the south side before and I was very close to the water. I was renting part of a house. It was nice. I had a paddle board and I would walk it out to the water and go. It was nice being close to the water. Kihei town is more transient, louder, and more crowded. When you live in Kihei the tradewinds carry the dust and dirt from the sugarcane fields. You can wipe your table down in the morning and by evening you have a layer of dust on it. Where I am now is quieter and there are no tourists. It’s also cooler by a couple of degrees. I like it much more here.

Do you have a favorite restaurant in Maui or in other parts of Hawaii?

Yeah I have a few. My favorite is Beach Bums Bar and Grill. It’s a BBQ place where they give you large portions.

Is there anything that you don’t like about living in Maui or living in Hawaii?

I don’t like being so far away from family. But my niece lives with me now, and I’m getting married soon so my family is growing.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

It’s the best decision I ever made. I’ve never really thought seriously about leaving. Having 12 months of summer is just a real pleasure. During the weather when my mainland friends are dealing with cold, I haven’t gone through a winter since 1994.


Chapter 20

Joe hawkins

Kihei/wailea from American Samoa

How long have you lived in Kihei?

I’ve lived in Kihei for 12 years. Previously I’ve lived in Paia, in the Kula area, and Haiku.

Where is Kihei, and what’s it like as a community?

Kihei is on the south shore. And as a community it’s a blue collar working class community. And we have some of the large resorts areas, too. It caters to local and tourists alike.

What brought you to Kihei?

I was hired as the operations manager of HHawaii Media. I chose Kihei for the proximity to work. As the operations director I’m on call 24/7. An emergency can happen any time day or night so I choose to be close by.

How’s the job market?

I know that most of the jobs here are service related— hotel, restaurant, tourist. I’ve never had to look for a job on Maui. Each time that I’ve come I’ve had a job. Most people don’t move to Maui for work. They move to live on Maui and then they find any type of work they can do to sustain themselves. Everybody sees the postcards and they think it’s a great place to live, and it is, but it’s not as easy as all that. It’s an expensive place to live. Many people here work 2 or 3 jobs to sustain themselves.

Do you worry about crime in Kihei?

I don’t worry about crime. The area I live in, I haven’t witnessed any crime. I live in a large condo complex that takes care of security well.

Was it hard to meet people when you moved to Kihei?

It’s not hard. I’m an outgoing person and I’m also a high profile person. I do the morning show on the local radio station. I find that most people here in my age group– 60s– have retired from something. Their focus is on their family, grandkids. Their activities are centered around that. It is a transient population. People come and go with tourism.

What’s your commute like?

I’ve driven on all the islands, and we have less traffic than all the islands. I’m fortunate that I’m not out in the traffic in the morning because I’m the radio. We do have normal situations with accidents and traffic. The biggest problem here is there are no alternate routes. There’s one set of roads, and if there is an accident you are stuck until it’s cleared.

Do you have to be rich to live in Maui

I’m certainly not rich. You have to want to live on Maui. You have to have the heart for living in Maui. It’s a different lifestyle. The people who have been born and raised here have seen so many people come and go over the years, and the outcome hasn’t been great for them. It’s important to have a good heart and understand and respect the culture.

How has the real estate market changed between the time you bought your first house and your most recent purchase?

When I moved here in 1975 you could buy a house on the beach for $30,000. That’s not going to happen anymore. We had a huge downturn in the market in 2007, like everywhere, and that made it affordable for me to get into the market. That was unfortunate for some people who couldn’t stay in their homes, but it was good for me as I was able to buy a house I love.

Do you like the quality of life in Kihei?

I think the quality is excellent, There’s plenty of exercise. You have the beaches, the weather is perfect year-round. There is hiking, surfing, water sports. There are some things we don’t have in abundance, but all in all, this area holds a lot of promise for people

What surprised you most about moving to and living in Kihei?

The only surprise was the growth. I lived here in the 1970s and moved back 12 years ago, and to see the growth was surprising. Also it surprises me that so many of the houses don’t represent the Hawaiian architecture or lifestyle. It surprises me there is not more effort put into cohesive architecture standards. I’d like the place to look less like Ohio and more like Hawaii.

What would you say is the best way to spend a weekend on Maui?

Any weekend away from work is a good weekend. I enjoy driving up the mountain, going to the summit and hiking, or going to the backside to Hana and hiking. If I can go to my favorite beach with a good book and a good cigar, I’m a real happy guy.

What places should you avoid if you don’t want to see a lot of tourists?

Stay in your house; they are everywhere! We are a tourist-based economy. It would be like moving to Iowa and saying how do you avoid the farmer. That’s our business, tourism. It’s the machine that operates this place. Tourism and construction are the biggest factors in our economy. Without one you don’t have the other. I love talking to tourists and hearing if they are having a nice time.

Do you travel between the islands much?

Not as often as I would like, but I’ve travelled plenty. Each one holds something special and I’ve lived on them all nearly. In the 1970s I was a young guy out of the military, and I lived on Waikiki on the north shore, and it was wonderful. I really enjoyed living on the Kona side of the big island in the 1980s. Kauai is the island I go to most often. It’s the farthest north, the oldest island. To me it is what most people think Hawaii should look like. It gets the most rain and has the tropical environment.

Do you have a favorite restaurant in Kihei or in other parts of Maui?

I have several. I often go to Fabiana’s—they have two locations. I’m probably there most often. And I like the salad bar at Ruby Tuesdays.

Is there anything that you don’t like about living in Kihei or living in Hawaii?

I’m a pretty content person. The cost of living is relative. You learn where to shop and how to shop. Your expenses are different here. I don’t find it any more expensive than certain places. There are certain things you pay more for. I shop at local produce stands for produce. You do pay more for some things, but you don’t pay for other things. You don’t pay for a seasonal wardrobe. Gas is expensive but you don’t have far to drive. You learn how to live Maui and then it’s not so difficult.

What advice would you give people who are house hunting in Maui and especially in Kihei?

My first bit of advice– if they’ve come on vacation and say we’re going home, selling everything, and moving back– perhaps what you want to do is rent first and make sure this place is for you. People visit here and fall in love with it and everything is wonderful. Then they come here and they’ve left all their family on the mainland. Unless they are willing to make a huge change I’d say give it six months to test the waters first.


Chapter 21

Joe Kaniaupio

To Kihei from Haiku

How long have you lived in Kihei?

I’ve lived here for seven years in my single family home.

Where is Kihei, and what’s it like as a community?

I live in upper Kihei, on the mountain side. The area is called Maui Meadows and it’s a high-end area of Kihei, which means there are more custom homes up this way.

Did you have your heart set on Kihei or did you consider buying in other neighborhoods in and around Maui?

As far as Kihei goes, this would be the best part of Kihei. The area I’d like to be is in Kula, which is up higher and has a better view. There you can have a lot more acreage where you can farm and stuff like that.

Is Kihei more of an urban or suburban environment?

The homes around here are on about an acre a lot. Each house has a bit of space. You do have some home that are next to each other, but in general the area out here is mostly spread out.

Do you worry about crime in Kihei?

There have been a few up here. It’d be a small percentage in Maui Meadows. It’s mostly mailbox stealing or small thefts. This year I haven’t heard anything about any crimes.

Was it hard to meet people when you moved to Kihei?

My next door neighbor is a block away, so we don’t see each other much. My neighbors are nice, but we don’t see each other around because we are so spread out.

What’s your commute like?

I do construction– concrete work. I’ve worked on every corner of the whole island. It takes about 45 minutes to get from my area to the west side. The commute is pretty smooth.

Would you have any advice for the newcomer regarding transportation or traffic in Kihei and Maui?

Driving is like any other place. You as the driver need to be respectful to the next driver. You have double lanes on main highways and single lanes on interior roads, and traffic just flows. The worst traffic would be like 20 cars in a row. It’s never going to be bad. When everybody goes to work in the morning, the worst traffic will be like a line of 30 cars.

How has the real estate market changed in the time since you’ve been on the island?

When I first got to this island, it was slow. Since then construction has been booming off and on for years. From then to now the real estate has really gone up. We had the recession but things seem to be back now.

Do you like the quality of life in Kihei?

Oh yeah. Compared to Oahu, Maui is a slower pace. Business-wise the area where I’m at is laid back. There’s no pressure unless you put pressure upon your own self.

What surprised you most about moving to and living in Kihei?

I’m a fisherman by hobby, and I like fishing and Maui has lots of good spots to go fishing. That was one of the best surprises for me. I do mostly shoreline fishing, but I do sometimes go out on charters.

What would you say is the one “can’t miss” event or place that a family living in Kihei and Maui should be sure to experience?

Maui has several things that you have to do. You have to go to Hana, that’s for sure. It’s more like a laid back area. You have to go to ponds, waterfalls, hikes, rainforests. The beaches are great. The scenery is nice. The other place would be Haleakala (House of the Rising Sun). The sunrise is beautiful there.

What places should you avoid if you don’t want to see a lot of tourists?

This island has built itself up for tourism business, so I’m not sure where you can go. There’s so many businesses here—tour guides, tour vans; they overrule everything around here. They take people to private spots and if you don’t want to see tourists you just go to your backyard.

Is there anything that you don’t like about living in Kihei or living in Hawaii?

It is expensive. I wish the wages would go up with the cost of what you buy. It is expensive to buy groceries here.

What advice would you give people who are house hunting in Maui and especially in Kihei?

I would say check out your neighbors. Try driving around midday when everyone is out working so you can travel more quickly. Everyone wants a good view, so go higher for better views. In Maui everyone wants it to be private.

How’s the weather?

Maui is supposed to be the friendly island, but to me it’s more like the windy island. There is a lot of wind. We have some beautiful weather, even when it’s windy. You prepare yourself for where you are going. Lahaina is always hotter, but then some areas are wetter. Mostly it’s always sunny, of course.

Chapter 22

Alaka’i Paleka


Can you tell me a little about yourself?

I’m the program director of the only Hawaiian radio music station on Maui. I’ve been here for 29 years. I work at the Royal Lahaina Luau as the MC. And I MC all of the Hawaiian functions on Maui. I’m a half-breed. My mother is German and my father is Hawaiian. I was born on Oahu where my dad was a marine. I grew up in Pasadena and moved to Maui when I was 4 years old.

Can you tell me what brought you to Maui?

I bought the family house and moved back to Maui when I was 27. I’ve always wanted to live on Maui because I loved Maui as a child.

Can you tell me about Kahului?

It’s the capitol town of Maui. It has four shopping centers in a one-mile radius. This is where our radio station is located, and I live three blocks down the street. It’s an urban area in terms of Hawaii, but no one from the mainland would call it urban.

If you were choose a section of Maui to live in, where would you choose?

Paia, because it’s the closest to my stomping ground, but it has nice beaches and nice homes. This is assuming someone would just give me a house, not that I would buy it. I would want to live in Paia Kuau, in that area.

Who lives in your part of the island?

It’s mostly populated by county, state, and business workers. The majority—maybe 60% of the population is established. There’s not a lot of new population here. This is the old-school, working class area.

What do you like about living in Kahului that was a surprise to you?

I was surprised that I still know the people. You never know who you are going to be related to. I know my classmates’ grandchildren. The net is cast wide when it comes to people in Hawaii. Any two people can probably find some common family member.

What sort of people would like living in your neighborhood?

My neighborhood is great for worker people that have jobs, that look forward to retiring in their same home and passing it on to their children or grandchildren. That that is their house, their special place. I’d say most of the homes in my neighborhood are on less than a quarter of an acre. Where I live was called Dream City, where they put affordable housing back a long time ago. Everyone has a Plumeria Tree, not a white picket fence.

What sort of cultural activities are available to you?

You can dance hula, you can sing hula, you can do martial arts. You can do Maui Academy of Performing Arts for American stage artists. There’s something for every culture.

How is the weather?

Gorgeous. It’s war, and lately the whole world’s been hot. Our winter hasn’t been very wintry. So we are stuck at 65-70 degrees. There is good visibility. We don’t have seasons, so it’s just beautifully warm and sunny all the time.

If you could, what would you change about Maui?

I’d build more homes, more affordable homes, on bigger lots. We have a lot of people coming to Maui with a lot of money because they can afford to buy paradise. So that ups the supply and demand. We need more affordable homes on bigger lots so we can all grow victory gardens.

What advice would you give someone considering a move to the Maui area?

Do your homework. Because on Maui we still burn sugar cane, if you have asthma don’t come here. Find out about the culture about where you live, and know your neighbor. You shouldn’t buy a palace in the middle of a cultural reserve, even if you can afford it. Check out what’s going on with the land you want to purchase.

Do you visit the other islands often?

They are not as great as Maui. The people make Maui special

What do you do to stay out of the way of the tourists?

I work at a luau so I appreciate tourists. They pay my salary! I enjoy tourists.

How are the business opportunities? Would you recommend moving here without finding work first?

It would depend on your skill level. Like any job, if you show up and work well, it’s hard to get fired. Show up on time, have a great attitude. You would have to go entry level to get hired on Maui. You’d have to prove yourself.

How is the cost of living, compared with other areas you have lived?

It’s high. I deal with it by working two jobs. That’s the price of paradise, but I’ll work my two jobs to live on Maui.


Chapter 23

Brady Spangler

To Maui from Chicago

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?

I’m married. I have a 6 month old and three dogs. We’ve been here for a little over two years and it’s absolutely paradise. I’m a branch manager for a home loan business here in Wailea. You can surf, golf, swim, every day of the year. Don’t know how you’d find that anywhere else.

How did you decide to move to Maui?

My wife and I got married in Costa Rica. We got back to Chicago and said, this is not good. We didn’t have kids. So we basically called my buddy who’d been begging us to move. We quit our jobs, sold the condo, took a road trip, shipped our car from Long Beach, and the rest is history. Everyone says, you are so crazy for doing that. A lot of people don’t have guts to do that. A lot of people will be living in their home town and will never see a new place.

How did you choose where on Maui to live?

Our buddy lived in Kihei. It was a nightmare finding a place that would take dogs. We ended up finding a place in Maui Meadows, which is just above Wailea and just south of Kihei. As it turned out, it’s a mile from my office. It couldn’t have worked any better. It’s golden.

What’s Maui Meadows like as a community?

It’s a little elevated so it’s a lot cooler than Kihei. You get more breeze. You have older houses mixed with nice houses. It’s a magical place. I love it. You are a little bit above everyone. You’ve got some views. Kihei is very hot. We get a little breeze. We don’t have air conditioning and we haven’t needed it.

If you were pick to pick a place to live on Maui, where would you pick and why?

I’d be exactly where I’m at. I wouldn’t change that. I don’t like the west side because it’s touristy and there are so many hotels The south side is laid back. There is not a lot going on. I don’t need things to do. I moved out of Chicago for a reason.

Is Maui Meadows family friendly?

My wife doesn’t work and she says it can be challenging to meet people. She’s met some great friends, we have an amazing nanny. We go to the beach quite a bit. We take a walk every night on the beach for sunset with the dogs with the baby. You can’t beat that.

Was it hard to meet people when you moved to Maui?

In my business I’m meeting people every day. It was a bit more challenging for my wife. I moved out here to simplify my life. My wife and I are super low key. We just chill and cruise. She gets a bit bummed out because she’s far from family. But she goes home 3-4 times a year to get that family time.

What’s your favorite time of year in Maui?

365 days. What’s great about Maui is where we live I never have to look at the weather and I wear the same clothes year round. Maybe I need a sweatshirt and jeans at night. The temperature is anywhere from 80-88 on a real hot day. But when you have trade winds it cools things off pretty well.

What surprised you most about moving to and living in Maui?

How happy and how beautiful it is every single day of the year. I anticipated it but not to this magnitude. We take it for grated because we live here. You see whales breaching just when you are driving down the street, and our friends from mainland are like, are you serious?

What would you say is the one “can’t miss” event or place that a family living in Maui and Hawaii should be sure to experience?

There’s a lot. In Hana, the Sacred Pools is a great one. We love doing the crater hike, which takes 3 days. Hana is one of the most beautiful places in the world. It’s magical. If you camp overnight and wake up at 6 in the morning you have waterfall after waterfall to see, and it goes on and on.

How do you feel about cost of living?

Coming from Chicago, there wasn’t a huge change. I just buy what I need. I know my friends who moved here from a smaller town and they only made it a year. It was a huge shock for them, but for us it was so similar. There’s a local discount called Kama’aina. Some restaurants do 50% off for locals with the Kama’aina.

Do you have a favorite restaurant in Maui or in other parts of Hawaii?

Monkey Pod. They’ve got everything I love. I’m a vegan so I go there because they have options for me.

Is there anything that you don’t like about living in Maui or living in Hawaii?

Nothing. There’s not one thing that I don’t like. My wife would say the same. There’s nothing I would change. I’m living the dream one day at a time. I don’t lie when I say that.



Chapter 24

Mercy Palmer

Haiku Native

How long have you lived in Haiku?

I grew up in Haiku, and my husband is also from there, so I kind of never got out. I think it’s the most beautiful part of the island

Where is Haiku, and what’s it like as a community?

It’s the north shore of Maui on the east side. East Maui is where some of the rain is. But we’re also close to the beach. Haiku has grown from back in the day when I was little. Back in the day people thought of Haiku as the jungle with all the hippies. Now there’s a little gym, a kombucha bar, and it’s really a community that’s growing. It’s close to the water without being on the water. We live about five minutes away Ho’okipa State Park.

If you moved anywhere else on Maui where would you choose?

Probably Kula, which is about 20 minutes away. It’s more towards the mountain. The weather is cooler, but the views of the sunset are awesome. It’s a nice view of looking into town and west Maui all the way from the top.

Is Haiku more of an urban or suburban environment?

A lot of the properties are agriculture. There are a lot of two-acre properties. There are small subdivisions, but there is still farming here. It’s more agricultural than it is rural. It’s not like a city. We’re close to some things, but we are half an hour away from an airport and hospital. We have a small grocery store here, but if I’m in town I’ll go to the bigger grocery store on the way home.

Is Haiku family friendly?

I believe so. When I grew up here we would walk to the store and walk in the pineapple fields. I still see people do that. The school I went to has probably tripled in size since when I was there. There’s a park nearby, if you drive 15 minutes there is a skate park. There are a lot of outdoor activities. The kids just play outside. There are restaurants, but there’s not a mall for teens to hang out in. If anything they play in yards and at the park.

Is there a divide between natives and newcomers?

I think for Hawaii in general, we have such a mixed bag of nationalities that as long as they treat each other nicely everyone gets along. Every once in a while you get neighbors that don’t get it, but overall people get along. Either they don’t bother each other or they get along. I don’t see people moving here more recently as a barrier to friendship.

What’s your commute like?

I have different days to be in different areas. One day I’ll be in the south side, one day on the west side. The hardest part to get to is Lahaina, which takes an hour to an hour and half depending on traffic. Maui is so small, with the roads there’s only one way to get anywhere. There’s times when there’s an accident or a fire and people are stuck in traffic for an hour.

How’s the cost of living?

For me, since I’ve been here so long I am used to it. When I go to the mainland and compare prices I see it is expensive. Like anything else, you make do. You sacrifice but you don’t feel it. You live on an island. People come here to vacation and we live here in a vacation area and we should be super stoked about it. It is what it is. Gas is $5 a gallon. Milk is $8 gallon.

How has the real estate market changed between the time you bought your first house and your most recent purchase?

When I was little and people thought Haiku wasn’t as desirable. Now the prices are pretty expensive. To buy a home, not even in the nicest part of Haiku, it’s $500,000 or more. And that’s a 3 bedroom on a smaller lot. Even for rent it can be pretty expensive. It can be $1800 to rent a 3 bedroom home. So Haiku has definitely grown, and it’s become way more desirable than when I was little.

Do you like the quality of life in Haiku?

I like it here. I’m always excited to come home at the end of the day, even if it’s beautiful in the other areas. It’s nice here where the temperature is not so hot and we get away from the hustle and bustle. I think that’s where people realize the value of Haiku.

What surprised you most about moving to and living in Haiku?

Despite the growing popularity of everyone wanting to live here, there is little growth in the town but not much. It’s a hidden little town and you have to know where to go to find this area. Despite how many people live here it feels like a little gem.

What would you say is the one “can’t miss” event or place that a family living in Haiku and Hawaii should be sure to experience?

Hana is definitely a must see. It’s almost like old Hawaii. We go there once a year to decompress. It helps you calm down and realize you need to take a break. There are waterfalls and it’s just so quiet and brings you back to how Hawaii used to be back in the day. There’s a lot of history there. There’s a long drive to get there. You go through winding roads, but you see waterfalls. It’s one of my favorite places we get to go to.

Do you have a favorite restaurant in Haiku or in other parts of Maui?

There are a couple we go to a lot and they always know us. There’s a sushi place near us—Nuka and that is always busy. And then there’s also Colleen’s, she has breakfast, lunch dinner, burger, pizza, salad.

Is there anything that you don’t like about living in Haiku or living in Hawaii?

I could never see myself living somewhere else. I would not move anywhere else. I love Maui. I don’t even think I’d live on another island.

What advice would you give people who are house hunting in Maui, and especially in Haiku?

There are parts of Haiku where the neighborhoods aren’t as nice. Just learn your neighborhood. You want to live in a neighborhood that fits your personality. There are some neighborhoods where people take good care of the property and others where cars are everywhere. Just research before you buy.



Chapter 25

Lynn Woods

To Kula from toronto

Can you tell me a little about yourself?

I am a co-owner of a Keller Williams realty franchise on Maui. My husband is the other owner. We have lived here 28 years. We started in real estate when we first moved here. I took an 11-year hiatus to run the Maui Chamber of Commerce.

Can you tell me what brought you to Kula?

Kula is at a 1,300-foot elevation on the mountain of Haleakala. It’s very rural. So we chose to live in upcountry because we were also raising parrots and we needed to be in a rural zone. It’s very private. We live on a private road. There are larger lot sizes the further up the mountain you go.

How did you go about choosing where to live?

We had visited here a number of times, and when we decided to come we already knew the area we wanted to live in. Maui is quite rural, and even the major centers of population on Maui are pretty small. Kula is famous for soil and farming. It has seasons where down at sea level you only change 4 degrees a year. Up the mountain you get colder temperatures in winter and so you get seasonal changes and seasonal flowers.

What other areas were you drawn to?

I always knew I wanted Kula, but I think as people move here the choices are two-fold. Lots of people are attracted to the ocean and want to live closer to beaches and water activities. And usually that’s their first choice. After a year or so they begin to move away from those areas and into the residential areas. After a while you tend to move away from visitors.

What do you like about living in Kula that was a surprise to you?

I think the consistency of the weather. It’s just pretty much always the same. It’s warm all the time. I never have to think about snow; I never have to buy snow tires. I don’t have to wear boots. It’s gentle on your soul. You don’t have to worry about extremes unless you have a tsunami.

What sort of people would like living in your neighborhood?

I think it’s best for people who don’t mind commuting a long way. It’s great for people really looking for privacy. I’m 30 minutes away from most things. As you go up into the rural area, it’s more private.

What is your favorite way to spend a weekend here?

I think, I would say when I first moved here my favorite activities were diving and hiking. We have incredible hiking on the island. We have a lot of Hawaiian cultural events, which are wonderful to partake in and are important to develop an ear and taste for local culture. I really enjoy and appreciate the Hawaiian culture.

What sort of cultural activities are available to you?

We have quite a mix of cultures here. We have a very strong and large Japanese and Chinese population. There is also quite a large Filipino pop. Because of that there are tons of Japanese festivals and Filipino celebrations.

How is the commute? Is there much traffic?

We just started getting 4 lane highways. We don’t have freeways. If we do have an accident, it can tie traffic up for a long time. Our roads don’t go straight from one place to another. It’s 45 minutes to my office even though I can see it from my home. The original roads that were built aren’t a straight line. It’s a slower way to travel here.

If you could, what would you change about Kula?

I don’t think I’d change anything. Maui has been really, really good to me. In Maui it is all about community. We live on an island in the middle of the Pacific; we have to look after each other, and I think we do a good job of that.

What advice would you give someone considering a move to the Maui area?

79% of people who move to Maui are gone within 16 months. It’s very expensive to live here, and that includes taxation. The state of Hawaii taxes everything it can get its fingers on. So we have a general excise tax on everything—medicine, food, commissions,; and there is a state personal income tax. To buy what you need to exist is expensive because it’s almost all brought in. We have a high cost and it shocks people when they move here. The other thing is if you are close to your family, it’s very isolated. Once you get here and if you are raising a family it’s too expensive to get to mainland. People who are close to families get homesick.

Do you visit the other islands often?

I do because I do business on the other islands. It’s always fun to go to another island. Each island is very different. It’s probably close to $100 one way to another island. When you go back and forth for business there are passes you can buy.

What do you do to stay out of the way of the tourists?

Just go home. I live in an area where the tourists have to be more adventurous and want to explore. The visitor industry is our economic engine. I want to see it be successful. We have the Aloha attitude. People are coming here and having a good time and we can all make a living because of that.

How are the business opportunities? Would you recommend moving here without finding work first?

It’d be difficult to find work first. People wouldn’t hire you from the mainland. Typically it’s a case of people moving here, and sometimes their career exists here and sometimes it doesn’t. Moving here requires that people have savings to live off of for a while. Many jobs in the service industry are not high paying. The best success in Maui is entrepreneurism.

What’s your favorite local event?

I love whale season. We are where the humpback whales breed and calf. They are remarkable, and there are many opportunities to go on whale watches. We are a whale sanctuary. I go out every year to see them. They are here during winter, which is our high season. They’ll be here until May. There are hundreds and you can just stand on side of the road and watch them breach.

Are there activities for children and families near you?

Where I live I find a lot of people with children try to get closer to activities down the hill. Up where I am is more populated by senior citizens or farmers.

How is the cost of living, compared with other areas you have lived?

I think the cost of living was similar from Toronto to here. We are probably about 25% higher than mainland. It costs a lot to live here. We are about as expensive as the Bay Area.

Anything else?

I think something I’d like to talk about is in terms of how you move here. There are three ways: You sell everything you own and you come; you store everything and come; or you bring everything and you come. Selling everything is the burn the bridge approach. You stay longer because you didn’t leave anything behind to influence you.

If you store everything you have the pull back. If you have that attitude, you don’t tend to be as committed to making it work. Because you still have everything packed away If you bring everything, it costs you so much money you’ll sell it all before you leave. A lot of people here furnish from huge garage sales that happen every weekend. We have such turnover there are always people selling stuff.






Chapter 26

Jan Smythe

Pukulani Native

Please tell me a little bit about yourself.

I am married and have four kids, and I work as a psychologist. My husband and I both work, and my husband is from California.

How long have you lived in Maui?

I’ve lived here a total of 30 years on and off. I was here through childhood and then moved back 15 years ago.

Is your home a house or condominium?

It’s a house. I live in a suburban neighborhood next to a golf course. The houses are modest—it’s a working class neighborhood. It’s a three-bedroom, three-bath with an office. I have an income property on my land that’s a one bedroom that we rent out to a lovely older lady.

What is Pukulani like as a community?

It’s working class. People mind their own business, but they are also there for each other if they need neighbors. Pukulani tends not to be the wealthiest part. It’s the middle of the road economically. Kids play on the street. It’s a great place for families.

Do you need to be rich to move to Maui?

It doesn’t hurt. Basically in Hawaii you can’t really live comfortably unless you make $80-$100K a year at least.

Do you worry about crime in Pukulani?

I don’t think people worry about crime in Pukulani. Like anywhere else there are occasional break-ins, but they are few and far between.

Was it hard to meet people when you moved in Pukulani?

You definitely have to be outgoing. People keep to themselves or keep to their family community in Hawaii in general. If you are from the mainland and don’t know anybody, it’s hard to make friends and connections. It can be pretty insular. But once you are in you’re in. Everybody thinks it’s a great idea to live here, but once they live here they realize it’s not perfectly easy to connect with the community. Locals tend to reserve getting close to people until they know they aren’t going to wash out.

Are goods and services hard to find or pay for in Maui?

It can be harder. Online things often don’t deliver to Hawaii in general. If you want to order you often have to find someone to ship it for you. It makes things more expensive for sure,

Would you have any advice for the newcomer regarding transportation or traffic in Maui?

There’s rush hour traffic. Maui is really country compared to Oahu. Maui has country roads, but the infrastructure has been expanding to allow tourism. Although you have a basic rush hour, it’s not terrible. Commuting to Lahaina side or Kihei can be a real pain in the butt when it comes to bottlenecking that happens with tourism. Especially in Lahaina– there’s only one road that goes there and that can be pretty brutal.

What surprised you most about moving back to Hawaii?

It genuinely surprised me how family-oriented Hawaii is. Personally I didn’t realize that when I was a kid and now it’s really clear that’s very family friendly.

What would you say is the one “can’t miss” event or place that a family living in Maui and Hawaii should be sure to experience?

Obviously the beaches. I would also say Maui Arts and Cultural Center. They have great films, a Maui film festival, and they have amazing shows and performers that are hard to get tickets for. It’s a tiny place and you get to see the best shows there. It’s a fancy outdoor gorgeous venue.

What places should you avoid if you don’t want to see a lot of tourists?

Lahaina on the west side. It’s so beautiful; it’s absolutely gorgeous for whale watching and snorkeling so that’s obviously where the tourists are. If you want to avoid tourists you have to stay up country. You’d still see them wherever you went, but you wouldn’t have a hotel type experience.

If you were to move to Maui today, what neighborhood/town would you choose and why?

We’d move to Haiku because that’s the most likeminded community for us and they have the best public school there.

Do you have a favorite restaurant in Maui?

Mama’s Fish House: it’s on the north shore and it’s right on this little cove. It’s so beautiful but super expensive.

Is there anything that you don’t like about living in Maui or living in Hawaii?

There are things that are annoying. I wish the amount that people got paid in work was commensurate with the cost of living. Moving here is a lot more expensive than the mainland. A decent 3 bedroom 3 bath place starts at $3,000/month and that’s just insane. It’s like New York City.



to maui

Getting settled in a new home can take time, but with information on your side, it doesn’t have to be painful. Our guide will help you master everything from hooking up the electricity to finding the best place to play golf.





Chapter 27

Getting Settled

Now that you have chosen to live in The Valley Isle, it’s time to take care of the basics. Getting the simple things out of the way, like hooking up your utilities, registering your car and officially changing your address, help you stress less and relax so you can start enjoying your new community.



Maui residents have a few choices to make when it comes to the basic utilities they use in their homes. While the options for natural gas and electricity are slim, there are a few more options for Internet, telephone and television service.

In Hawaii, the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission,, 808-984-8182 is tasked with ensuring that regulated companies safely and efficiently provide their customers with adequate and reliable services at reasonable rates. If you have a dispute with your utilities company, you should seek to resolve it with them first. If not, contact the commission.

One of your first steps in getting settled in your new home will be to get your electricity turned on. Hawaii Electric (also known as Maui Electric, Hawai’i Electric Light) provides approximately 95% of the Hawaii with its power. The cost of electricity in Hawaii is generally higher than the rest of the U.S. mainland because the electric system is completely independent. Visit or call (808) 871-9777 to get your service set up.

Natural gas

If your home requires natural gas for heating, cooling or to operate a gas range or other appliances, you will need to contact Hawaii Gas,, (808)535-5933 to set up service.


Maui’s area code, like the rest of Hawaii, is 808. This area code covers the state out to Midway Island and Wake Island.

Cell phone

Both AT&T and Verizon, listed below, offer cell phone service. Sprint also offers good coverage on the islands.

  • Sprint:
  • Verizon:
  • AT&T:


Cell phone service will start around $40 with a smartphone, which is the most common option that cell phone companies offer. The price will increase as you add data packages, phones and minutes. Family plans are increasingly popular, since many families have chosen to give up their home phone for cell phone service. Most companies offer a free or heavily discounted phone when you sign up for their service.

Another popular option for people who don’t use their cell phones regularly is the pay-as-you-go plan. Under these plans, you can pay around $20 for 200 minutes. Usually, you have to add minutes to the phone every month in order for the minutes to roll over, or every three months to keep your phone number. Conditions vary with each cell phone company.


Time Warner Cable,, the area’s prominent provider of cable television, has a solid hold on the market for high-speed Internet service as well. Time Warner offers combinations of bundled cable TV, high-speed Internet and telephone services. Each is more expensive separately. Hawaii Telecom also offers competitive rates for high-speed Internet, television and telephone service.

Water and Sewer

Maui’s Department of Water Supply, (808) 270-7816 provides the county with water service. As an added convenience, you can review and pay your water bill online through the Department of Water Supply. Review in case of additional inquiries. Water restrictions imposed by the county are common in times of drought, and usually limiting outdoor watering to evenings and mornings on certain days of the week. Violating these restrictions can lead to the removal of your water meter and a $50 fine, up to $500 for each violation.

Maui’s Wastewater Reclamation Division provides the county with sewer service. In areas where the water system is not operated and maintained by the county, the monthly fee per dwelling unit is $51.70 for a single family residence, and $42.10 for a multi-family dwelling. For billing questions, call (808) 270-7417. To report sewer spills, call (808) 243-7465.

Garbage and Recycling

The county of Maui picks up recyclables and garbage from homes throughout the island. Maui’s Solid Waste Division, (808) 270-7875, provides curbside garbage pickup and disposal in six major districts: Central Maui, Makawao, Lahaina, Molokai, Lanai and Hana. Residential collection service fees are $216 for a full year’s service.

In South Maui, beginning in August 2012, the Solid Waste Division began distributing three cans for residences as phase 1 of 3 Can Plan: one for green waste (yard clippings), recycling and garbage.

For additional questions about how to dispose of certain items or materials, pick up schedule and a list of recycling facilities, refer to Maui County’s Solid Waste Division’s website.


Getting a license and registering your car seems to require a new sheet over paper every few years, and almost always requires waiting in line. You may drive in Hawaii with a valid driver’s license issued by another state if you are 18 years of age or older. To drive legally, you will also need to purchase insurance in the state of Hawaii.


Getting ready to drive will mean spending some quality time at the Hawaii Department of Motor Vehicles, (808) 270-7363, You can find a DMV office or see a full list of the types of identification that are accepted to get a driver’s license or register a car at the DMV website. To save some time, you can download forms you need so you can fill them out before you get to the DMV.

If you don’t want a driver’s license, but still want an ID card, you can get one at any DMV location. Beginning on January 2, 2013, the state of Hawaii requires that you require documentary proof of legal name, date of birth, social security number, legal presence and proof of principal residence address in person. If the applicant is between the ages of 10 and 14, a parent or legal guardian must authorize his or her forms. Visit for more information about the Hawaii State ID Card.


Every car in Maui needs to complete the registration, whether it is new, from out of state or county, or needs to be re-registered. Each situation has a different process and different set of forms. You can find your necessary forms based on your needs through Maui’s Motor Vehicle & Licensing department: The fees will be determined by the customer service representative at the time
of registration. Registration must be updated annually, and fees are determined by the vehicle’s weight and usage.


In Hawaii, you must have the minimum of the following insurance amounts:

You must have a minimum of the following insurance amounts:

  • $20,000/40,000 Bodily Injury Liability
  • $10,000 Personal Injury Protection
  • $10,000 Property Damage Liability
  • $20,000/40,000 Underinsured Motorist (optional)
  • $20,000/40,000 Uninsured Motorist (optional)



Parking is at a premium in Maui, especially in Lahaina, where traffic makes finding free and paid parking difficult. There are plenty of paid parking lots and decks around the island, and most businesses, stores and restaurants validate parking.

Broadcast and print media


Maui has a handful of television stations available, and even more possibilities if you elect to purchase services through cable or satellite providers.

Cable and internet access

  • Oceanic (Time Warner Cable), (808) 643-2100,
  • Comcast Cable (888) 231-9398,

Satellite service

  • Direct TV, 1 (800) 515-7799,
  • Dish Network TV, (888) 900-7759,

Island of Maui Television Stations

  • Channel 27: K27DW (MyNetworkTV, Fox Affiliate)
  • Channel 51: KAUI-LP (Religious)
  • Channel 61: KAMN-LP (TBN)


Maui radio listeners can access a wide variety of local and national programming through stations based in Maui and beyond. Online streaming varies by station, and can be found on the station’s website.


AM Dial

  • KMVI 550: ESPN 550, Sports/Talk
  • KNUI 900: News/Talk
  • KAOI 1110: News/Talk/Sports. (Also 96.7 FM).
  • 1570 KUAU: Religious and Conservative Talk

FM Dial

  • 88.5 KAKU FM: Paniolo, Country and Hawaiian Music
  • 88.9 KOPO FM: “Radio Opio”
  • 89.7 KIPM FM: Hawaii Public Radio: News/Talk/World Music/Jazz National Public Radio + BBC (simulcast KIPO FM from Oahu)
  • 89.9 K210CM: Alternative Christian Music
  • 90.7 KKUA FM: Hawaii Public Radio/Classical Music, simulcasts KHPR 88.1 FM from Oahu.
  • 91.5 KEAO FM: ”Mana’o Radio” Eclectic / Free Form
  • 92.5 KLHI FM: “Native 92.5 – Maui’s Island Music Station”
  • 93.5 KPOA FM: Hawaiian Music, Maui Style
  • 94.3 KDLX FM: ”94X – Old Skool Urban Oldies”
  • 95.1 KAOI FM: ”All About the Music” – Adult Alternative Rock (also at 97.7 FM)
  • 97.3 KRKH FM: ”Maui’s Rock Station”
  • 98.3 KJMD FM: ”Da Jam 98.3 – Hawaii’s Hot Hits” (Rhythmic CHR)
  • 98.9 KIOM FM: Contemporary Christian Music – Molokai – King’s Cathedral (LP)
  • 99.9 KJKS FM: ”99.9 Kiss FM: Maui’s Best Mix of the 80s, 90s, & Today” Contemporary Hits
  • 102.3 KMKK FM: ”Radio Imua” – Hawaiian & Island Music
  • 103.7 KNUQ FM: ”Q 103.7, The Rhythm of the Islands” – also on 103.3 FM
  • 104.7 KONI FM: Greatest Hits of the 1960s and 70s
  • 105.5 KPMW FM: “Wild 105: All the Hits on One Station” – CHR / Rhythmic Top 40
  • 106.5 KRYL FM: “Maui’s Rooster Country Station”
  • 107.5 KHEI FM: “Island 107.5 – Hawaiian & Island Music”

Newspapers and Magazines

The Maui area has several periodicals and news sources to choose from. Many publish print editions, but most information can be found on the publications’ websites and social media outlets.

  • The Maui News: Published three days a week with local and state news, sports, classifieds and entertainment.
  • Lahaina News,
  • Maui No Ka Oi Magazine – A celebration of and for the people who love Maui
  • On Maui! Magazine – The comprehensive guide to Maui’s art and entertainment scene.
  • Maui Vision – A guide to natural living.
  • Maui Family Magazine – Caters to families with children. .

Local Magazines


A number of blogs are cropping up about local news and flavor in Maui. Blogs tend to come and go rather quickly, but here is a sampling of what people are talking about in Maui at the moment:

  • Maui Jungalow,
  • A Maui Blog,
  • The Maui Goodness,
  • Maui Windsurfing,
  • K’aanapali Dreamin’: Sharing the Magic of Maui,

Official documents

Voter registration

If you are moving to Maui from another county or state or have legally changed your name, you are required to re-register, even if you are already a registered voter. Be prepared to present a valid photo ID and proof of residence. You can find the application for voter registration, known as the Wikiwiki Voter Registration and Permanent Absentee form in/at: city/county clerk’s offices, Hawaii state libraries, the Office of Elections website (, satellite city halls, state agencies, U.S Post Offices and phone directories. You may also register when apply for your Hawaii driver’s license at the DMV.

In Hawaii, you do not have to be a registered member of a political party to participate in primary elections.

Contact the Hawaii Office of Elections at (808) 453-VOTE or visit for all the information you need about elections, including polling locations, upcoming elections, information on candidates and more.

Library card

The state of Hawaii operates six libraries in Maui. A full list of libraries and relevant contact information is available at All branches offer computer access, book clubs, WiFi and programs for children and adults. Some locations offer downloadable eBooks on loan and you can renew library items online.

You can apply for a library card at any Hawaii public library or download the application form on the Hawaii State Public System’s website. The initial card is free for Hawaii residents, and cards are free for military personnel and their dependents.


To be safe, always allow at least 6 weeks to get a passport, and at least three weeks and $60 (plus shipping) for expedited service.

The U.S. State Department, 877-4-USA-PASSPORT issues passports from its regional offices. You can also apply in person at some area post offices. Forms are available at these locations and at the U.S. Passport website:

  • Wailuku Post Office, 250 Imi Kala St., Wailuku HI, 96793, (808)244-1653
  • Kihei Post Office, 1254 S. Kihei Road, Kihei HI, 96753, (808) 879-1987
  • Lahaina Main Post Office, 1760 Honoapilani Highway, Lahaina, HI, 96761, (808) 661-0904
  • Makawao Post Office, 1075 Makawao Avenue, Makawao, HI, 96768, (808) 572-0019
  • Kula Post Office, 4450 Kula Highway, Kula HI, 96790, (808) 876-1056
  • Haiku Post Office, 770 Haiki Road, Haiku HI, 96708, (808) 575-2614

The Honolulu regional passport agency does not require any travel plans to apply, although you still need an appointment and are required to pay the expedite fee.

  • 300 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite I-330, Honolulu, HI 96850. 1-877-487-2778.

If you are applying for the first time, are under 16 (or were when your current passport was issued), lost your passport or have changed your name, you need to apply in person. Otherwise, you can send in the forms and documents by mail. Generally, you will need a birth certificate, approved photo ID and two passport photos.


Your pet will likely find Maui County as hospitable as you do, as long as your landlord and neighbors agree. You’ll want to know how to keep your pet legal, safe and entertained in its new home. For truly unusual and unique pets, you should contact local animal control to make sure that your pet is as welcome as you are. Maui County’s Humane Society is a great resource for pet owners.


Maui County Code 6.04.020 requires that all dogs over the age of 4 months have a current license. Licenses are valid for two years, and can be obtained at the Maui Humane Society or your local DMV. As with many counties, it is significantly cheaper to license a spayed/neutered dog. The licensing fee for an unaltered dog is $31, and it costs $7 to license a spayed/neutered dog. Cats are not required to have a license, but it is recommended that you outfit your cat with an ID tag, in case your cat wanders away from home. Visit for additional information.

Leash laws

Maui County Code 6.04.020 also requires that your dog must be under restraint at all times. Whether by way of a kennel, fenced yard, your residence or a leash, restraining a dog keeps it and the community safe. Dogs must also be leashed at all Maui County beaches and parks, and restrained (by a cross-tether or a kennel) if it is riding in the back of an open pickup truck.


SPCA Maui (and the Maui Humane Society provide low-cost spaying and neutering services for pets. Your veterinarian can also perform the procedure.

Acquiring a pet

If you’re ready to adopt a new member of the family, there are plenty of organizations that have animals awaiting new owners. A good place to start with any pet search is with local shelters, where knowledgeable staff can find the kind of pet you are looking for, or point you in the right direction. Websites like and craigslist can also be helpful.

  • The Maui County Humane Society. (808) 877-3680,
  • Hawaii Animal Rescue.


If you are bringing your pet to Maui from a place other than Hawaii, it will have to undergo Hawaii’s legally required quarantine program. Hawaii is the only state that has never had an indigenous case of rabies. According to the state of Hawaii’s Animal Quarantine webpage, the current law requires that dogs, cats and carnivores complete either the 120-day or 5-day-or-less rabies quarantine. The law also requires that entire cost of the rabies quarantine program be paid by the users of the quarantine facility, and not by tax dollars. Pets arriving from the British Isles, Australia, Guam and New Zealand are exempt from rabies quarantine. The state of Hawaii’s Animal Quarantine Information page is a thorough source of information about these quarantine laws. Contact the state of Hawaii’s Animal Quarantine Branch at or at (808) 483-7151 with additional questions.

Pet recreation

Maui’s new dog parks provide dogs a safe space to run off some steam and socialize with their fellow furry friends.

  • Upcountry Dog Park (under construction), 801 Makawao Avenue, Makawao HI, 96768
  • Keopuolani Dog Park: 700 Halia Nakoa St., Wailuku, Maui, HI 96793

Crime and safety

Should you need to contact law enforcement, Maui County is served by the county police department. In the event of an emergency, always call 911 for police, fire and ambulance. For all other cases, here is a list of non-emergency numbers for the Maui Police Department:

  •  Non-Emergency and Information: (808)244-6400
  •  Investigative Services: (808) 244-6410
  •  In lieu of a sheriff and sheriff’s department, Maui County has a Chief of Police, Gary A. Yabuta, (808) 244-6300.


Chapter 28

The Job Market

More often than not relocating to a new city is a life-changing decision, one that can affect your family, your day-to-day lifestyle, and especially your job. The quality of job opportunities tops the priority list for most people looking to relocate, and as such, a city or region’s job market weighs heavily on magazines’ and websites’ “Best Places to Live” or “Best Places to Relocate” lists and ratings.

Below is a collection of statistics and figures to help you become familiar with the opportunities that Maui and the Hawaiian islands may offer.


The two largest employers in Hawaii are the U.S. Military and, not surprisingly, the tourism and hospitality industry. The latter is particularly true of Maui which has consistently been voted among the best islands in the entire world. Despite the 2008 economic fallout which hit the tourism industry particularly hard, Hawaii is bouncing back with an unemployment rate below the national average.

In terms of what kind of work people on Maui are doing, about 20% of Maui’s population find work through government agencies and nonprofit organizations, while a larger group describe themselves as self-employed and the largest majority (about 40%) is employed in the private sector. It is worth noting that big business and company headquarters don’t tend to find their way to Maui as easily as they do to parts of the mainland where the cost of living is lower and travel to and fro isn’t as onerous as it is to getting on and off the Hawaiian islands. In addition, the low-key island lifestyle that is so appealing to many who relocate to Maui lends itself much more to the entrepreneurial spirit than 80 hour week corporate CEO.

Still, there are jobs out there if you know where to look! It’s best to begin job hunting before your move to Maui since it is a relatively small county and you will likely want your daily commute to involve a short car ride rather than a boat or plane ride as it would require if you find work off the island.

Maui County is made up of numerous small cities and towns which vary slightly in their most common industries and occupations. These tend to be the best areas to start your job hunt due to the higher number of positions available and concentrations of tourist hubs. Kahului is the largest city with a population of over 26,000 as of the 2010 census. Other areas of notable size include Wailuku (the county seat), Kihei (the most populated town in southern Maui), and Lahaina (the most populated area on the western shore). The data below reflect these most populated cities and towns on Maui.

However, as you review the data, don’t forget the occupations and industries included are only a small representation of Maui and Hawaii’s overall job market. If you prefer to evaluate job opportunities by employer, a section on the area’s largest employers follows.


Most Common Industries for Men, 2007-2011

  • Accommodation and food services
  • Retail trade
  • Construction
  • Educational services
  • Administrative and support and waste management services
  • Real estate and rental and leasing
  • Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting
  • Arts, entertainment and recreation
  • Professional, scientific, and technical services

Most Common Occupations for Men, 2007-2011

  • Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance occupations
  • Electrical equipment mechanics and other installation, maintenance, and repair occupations including supervisors
  • Driver/sales workers and truck drivers
  • Agricultural workers including supervisors
  • Other food preparation and serving workers including supervisors
  • Other sales and related workers including supervisors
  • Material recording, scheduling, dispatching, and distributing workers

Most Common Industries for Women, 2007-2011

  • Accommodation and food services
  • Retail trade
  • Health care and social assistance
  • Educational services
  • Other services, except public administration
  • Public administration
  • Real estate and rental and leasing
  • Arts, entertainment and recreation
  • Professional, scientific, and technical services

Most Common Occupations for Women, 2007-2011

  • Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance occupations
  • Information and record clerks except customer service representatives
  • Cashiers
  • Other office and administrative support workers including supervisors
  • Secretaries and administrative assistants
  • Other sales and related workers including supervisors
  • Retail sales except cashiers

While the cost of living and regulatory environment may discourage big corporate headquarters, numerous national sources including Forbes and Chief Executive Magazine acknowledge that the quality of life on Maui is hard to beat. And if you’re looking to relocate to an area with a diverse population, beautiful climate and opportunities for professionals in construction, education, health care, hospitality management and other associated industries, Maui may just be the place for you.


In addition to the government agencies that have made their home on Maui, a number of corporate powerhouses have also established roots on Maui. Below is a selection of the area’s largest employers. The list includes government agencies and organizations as well as private corporations. For a full listing of the 50 largest employers on Maui, visit

Healthcare and Education

  • Maui Memorial Medical Center is the only acute care facility on the island and operates several auxiliary sites that, all together, employ hundreds of medical and administrative workers as well as maintenance staff and patient support workers. Visit or call 808-244-9056.
  • Hawaii Department of Education employs more than 25,000 workers across the state. Search for positions, read about licensure requirements and the salary and benefits offered at or call Human Resources 808-586-3420.
  • County of Maui has a diverse workforce ranging from engineers to secretarial staff. Maui Police and Fire Departments rank among the largest employers on the island. Visit to search for positions and apply on-line.
  • State of Hawaii operates government offices on Maui in addition to those in the state capital of Honolulu. Search for positions near you at or call 808-587-1111.
  • University of Hawaii Maui College is a campus of the University of Hawaii located on Maui in Kahului. It employs academic as well as administrative support staff. Visit to search for a position that best fits your skills.
  • Nursefinders place qualified nurses in permanent, temporary, or per diem positions as needed. Largely specializing in home health care placements, Nursefinders also staffs allied health workers and physicians. Visit
  • Hale Makua Health Services is a Maui based company offering day services, long-term care, residential care and home health care for older adults. Visit for current opportunities.

Hospitality and Tourism

If you’re looking for a job in this industry, there are a host of options to choose from. Every major resort requires literally hundreds of employees to keep their doors open and guests happy. Here is but a selection of the top employers on Maui:


  • Grand Wailea Resort is the second largest employer on Maui operated by the Waldolf Astoria Resorts. Thousands are employed here doing everything from high-level administration to guest services. Visit
  • Ritz-Carlton- Kapalua operates one of its luxury hotels on Maui with employment opportunities for all levels of hospitality professionals. Visit to search for and apply for jobs on-line.
  • Hyatt Regency Resort is the third largest hospitality employer on Maui located in Lahaina with 806 guest rooms. Visit for employment information.
  • Four Seasons- Maui is located on the popular Wailea Beach and has the largest number of guest rooms on the island making it another major employer in Maui. Visit to search for jobs at the Maui resort.
  • Westin Maui is located on Ka’anapali beach, perhaps Maui’s best known beach. A variety of positions is available and listed at or call the 24-hour job hotline which is updated regularly at 808-661-2509.

Agriculture, Construction and Factory

  • Hawaiian Commercial Sugar Company is a leader in the sugarcane industry and is one of Maui’s largest private employers offering 800 jobs from field to factory. Visit or call 808-877-6951
  • Dorvin D Leis Co, Inc. is the largest mechanical contractor in Hawaii. Working on construction projects big and small, this company maintains a trained workforce throughout Hawaii making it one of the largest private employers on Maui. Visit for the most recent job opportunities.
  • Dole Food Company is the world’s largest producer of fresh fruit and vegetables. They employ 36,000 full-time workers worldwide in addition to 23,000 seasonal employees. Opportunities are available from farm to factory as well as in management. Find available positions by visiting


  • Costco,, has locations in eight countries and billions of dollars in annual sales. Their location in Maui is a popular destination for residents and visitors alike to buy low-cost staples. Visit for employment information.
  • WalMart,, employs over two million people worldwide in WalMart and Sam’s Club stores as well as drivers, corporate office workers, optometrists and pharmacists. To learn about job opportunities, visit
  • Macy’s offers positions ranging from part-time sales associates to full-time leadership and management positions.
  • Home Depot was recently listed among the top military friendly companies in the United States. Opportunities in sales, management, call center, supply chain/merchandising, and corporate office can all be found at


  • Maui Electric Company is an auxiliary of Hawaiian Electric Company which provides 95% of electric power to the Hawaiian islands. Positions run the gamut from engineers to skilled electricians. Visit for current job openings.



It would be hard to beat Maui’s tropical climate and Aloha spirit. However, a quick Google search will often indicate to those thinking of relocating to Maui that the overall cost of living is much higher than on the mainland. This can reasonably leave the potential Maui resident to wonder—can I afford it? While there are some additional expenses associated with living in Hawaii, you may find that the higher median income combined with the other benefits of island living more than make up for it!


In 2009, Maui had a median household income nearly $12,000 higher than the rest of the country.

Median household incomes are calculated by considering the income received during a calendar year by all of a household’s members (15 years old and over) and then finding the middle point, or median, of that distribution such that half of households have an income above the median and the other half below. This is then calculated across a particular region such as the County of Maui. This figure is considered to be a general indicator of economic well-being of households in that particular region. Here you can see how Maui measures up compared to the rest of the United States and the other Hawaiian islands.


Region                         Median Household Income from 2010 Census Data

United States                          $52,762

Hawaii                                     $67,611

Maui County                         $64,583

Hawaii County                        $53,591

Honolulu County                    $71,263

Kauai County                          $64,422

Kalawao County                     $56,875



The economic fallout in 2008 hit Maui hard just as it did much of the United States. The real estate market was particularly affected. However, Maui has weathered the storm and home prices are now rebounding as the unemployment rate continues to decline as it has for more than a year now. As of October 2013, Maui’s unemployment rate was 4.5%, well below the national unemployment rate of 7.3%


Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics,


Much has been made about the cost of living in Hawaii but the truth is that it is comparable to many major cities in the United States. Yes, it is expensive but perhaps not more so than one would expect living in one of the most idyllic and highly desirable locations in the country. The effects of the 2008 recession made the cost of buying a home in Hawaii considerably less expensive than it was prior although housing prices are expected to eventually climb back up. Other costs, such as groceries, tend to be relatively more expensive as well while other key expenses, such as the cost of health care, are comparable when compared to the cities listed below.

A number of organizations have produced cost-of-living figures. The ACCRA Cost of Living Index in perhaps the best known and most respected. It takes into account the variances in the cost of consumer goods and services for each region and is considered one of the dependable stats on cost of living in U.S. metropolitan areas. According to the ACCRA, the Hawaii’s composite cost-of-living index is 165.7 (National cost of living = 100). This means that the cost of living in Hawaii is about 66% more expensive than the national average.


City                                        Cost of Living Index

Honolulu, HI                         165.7

New York (Manhattan), NY 216.7

San Francisco, CA                 164.0

Washington, D.C.                  140.1

Los Angeles, CA                   136.4

Anchorage, AK                     128.4

Chicago, IL                            116.9

Portland, OR                         111.3

Orlando, FL                           97.8

Atlanta, GA                           95.6


Note: Cities participate in the ACCRA survey voluntarily and Honolulu is the only city with the most comparable data to Maui available.


Whether you rely on the hard numbers or anecdotal data the bottom line is the same: It is indeed expensive to live in Hawaii. However, when compared to other highly desired locations such as metropolitan areas throughout the United States, Maui and the Hawaiian islands are more competitive when it comes to the cost of living than one might initially think.


Now that you’ve read about what kind of jobs are out there and what companies are likely to offer those jobs, a more important question remains: How do you find those jobs? With the pervasiveness of the Internet, “hitting the pavement” has been replaced by “hitting the search engines.”

Nearly every major corporation these days posts job openings on their corporate websites. Others may choose to use online job-posting sites such as or to get the word out about open positions. As a result, a lot of job-hunting footwork can actually be done by your fingers.

In addition to the resources below, check out a few relocation guides available on-line which offer useful tips for your move to Maui including how to find a job. Here are some of the best resources for sniffing out job openings in and around your new home:

  • Corporate Websites are some of the best resources for job posting, especially if you have a particular company in mind for which you would like to work. Employment opportunities are usually posted under the human resources sections of companies’ websites. Some companies only advertise job openings on their website so it’s a good idea to regularly check company sites to see if anything has opened up. Almost all of the companies listed earlier in this section have career sections on their website and they encourage, if not require, job seekers to apply on-line.
  • CareerBuilder,, is one of the largest online job-posting sites available today. According to CareerBuilder, more than 300,000 employers post more than 1 million jobs on the Website. Job seekers can browse job openings for free and can even post their resumes for recruiters to review.
  • Monster,, is another popular online job-posting site. Since its launch in 1994, Monster has become well known as a go-to place for potential job opportunities. Like CareerBuilder, job seekers can search the site for free and post their resumes for potential employers to review.
  • lists jobs in the nonprofit sector across the country. Search by organization, job title or location and find jobs that help make a difference in your community. You can also sign up for email alerts when jobs are posted that fit your pre-selected interests and criteria. Both job seekers and employers can post and search for free.
  • CraigsList,, probably best known as the go-to place to post online ads to get rid of your unwanted junk, is a great source for job opportunities, both big and small. CraigsList has become a main source for job leads as many employers prefer to avoid the costs associated with posting jobs on sites like Monster and CareerBuilder. Job postings on CraigsList can be hit or miss, but if you have the motivation and time to sift through the postings, it’s likely you’ll find a great job lead.
  •,, is a great resource if you’re not too keen on searching through dozens of job postings on CareerBuilder, Monster, and CraigsList. is essentially a search engine that pulls information down from job-posting sites and puts them into one free, searchable database. doesn’t always catch every post, but it can be a great time saver if you’re in a time crunch.
  • The Maui News,, is Maui’s newspaper of record, has as an online job bank in partnership with,



Chapter 29

Childcare and Education

For families with children, one of the highest priorities when moving to a new city is finding quality childcare and quality schools. The task can be a daunting one.

Childcare and education options can significantly influence where you and your family purchase your home, especially if you’re choosing to enroll your children in a public school where location determines which school your child will attend. As such, it’s advisable to begin researching childcare and education options as early as possible. Below is a collection of resources that can be valuable in your research. They include a number of local and national agencies and other Websites that provide tips and suggestions, maintain comprehensive directories, and/or operate helpful hotlines in addition to other services.

Please note that the inclusion and/or mention of businesses, schools, agencies, and other service providers in this chapter are not an endorsement of any kind. To ensure your child receives the best care and/or education, never underestimate the value of thoroughly researching childcare centers, agencies, and schools. Another good resource for bringing your children to Hawaii for the first time can be found on the Department of Education’s website, the Hawaii Parent Information Resource Center. It can be found on the link below!


When it comes to childcare in Maui County and the surrounding areas, families are not without their options, and more often than not, it’s not finding quality childcare that’s the issue, but rather it’s narrowing down the options and then picking the “right” option that can be tricky and overwhelming.

Luckily, there are some great resources available to families new to the area that can help bring the daunting task down to a more manageable level. First off there is a childcare placement agency in Maui County that aids parents in childcare placement. Their contact information is below:



650 Iwilei Rd, Ste 205

Honolulu HI 96817

Call (808) 839-1988


Whether you’re considering a childcare center, or a church-organized daycare, there are numerous options in and around Maui County. For a comprehensive list of businesses offering childcare services, look under “Child Care Services” and “Day Care Centers & Nurseries” in the Yellow Pages. Another good resource is the Childcare Center US website. Listed below is the Maui County portion of the website, it shows all of the childcare options registered with that site in Maui County.


The Maui County area offers a number of different types of daycare options ranging from small-group environments to preschools to more traditional childcare centers. Maui County mostly has Childcare Centers, which is mostly a center in which three or more children are cared for in a building that is not the childcare provider’s home. In Maui County there are no registered childcare homes/centers. Maui County also has a number of religiously affiliated childcare centers. All of the centers that are registered can be found on the Childcare Center US website.

 Nannies and Babysitters

Families who choose nannies/baby sitters as their primary childcare providers often point to the one-on-one attention and flexibility that’s commonly associated with having a nanny/babysitter (as compared to daycare centers or other group settings) as some of the most important reasons behind their choice. But this one-on-one attention does come at a price. Furthermore, many of the Nanny/Babysitting services in the Maui County area are providing childcare for tourists on vacation, so they are a bit more expensive. Of course, one way to find childcare services of this type is to place ads in the local paper. The best resource, however, is asking other parents how they get their babysitter or childcare needs satisfied. The best reference is a happy parent/family! Personal references can be difficult for newcomers, so below are some ideas to get you started!

Nanny Placement Services

If you’re a first-time nanny seeker or prefer services that help you prescreen nanny candidates, placement agencies can help with the logistics of finding a nanny for your family. These agencies screen candidates and perform background checks. Even so, always verify the status of these checks with the agency before hiring any nanny. Agencies do require placement fees, deposits, and sometimes other fees for their services. Contact each agency directly for detailed information on their fees and requirements.

  • The Nanny Connection focuses more on short term babysitting, and can be expensive ($19/hour, 3 hour minimum). For more information, visit their website:
  • The Childcare/Nanny service can also be contacted to place babysitters and nannies. 140 Uwapo Rd Kihei, HI 96753‎ (808) 874-6167


If you prefer to find a nanny on your own, there are a number of resources at your disposal. In this area finding a nanny on your own may be the cheaper option.,; provides helpful how-to articles and a classified ads section

International Nanny Association, 888-878-1477,; provides helpful tools for your nanny search and hiring process,; a catch-all Website for frequently asked questions about nannies


The terms “au pair” and “nanny” are often used interchangeably, but there are notable differences between the two. As such, while a nanny may be a good fit for one family, an au pair may be a better fit for another.

Au pairs are typically between the ages of 18 and 26 and usually remain with a family for one year. Unlike nannies, au pairs aren’t necessarily seeking professional careers in childcare; their yearlong commitment provides work experience but also functions as a cultural exchange program. Families with au pairs act as “host families”; the au pair provides childcare, and in return, the host family provides room, board, use of a vehicle, and a small stipend. Host families are also encouraged to facilitate continued education of the au pair while he/she is working in the U.S. Compensation for au pairs can be considerably less than nannies, ranging from $176.85 to $250 per week (approximately $9,000 to $13,000 per year, respectively) plus expenses.

Agencies that can assist with au pair screening and placement include:

  • Au Pair in America, 800-928-7247,
  • AuPairCare Live-In Child Care, 800-428-7247,
  • Cultural Care Au Pair, 800-333-6056,
  • GreatAupair, 775-215-5770,
  • InterExchange AuPair USA, 1-800-AUPAIRS,


Hawaii Parent Magazine is an excellent resource for parents new to the Hawaiian Islands. You can find fun family activities, educational programs, and even qualified pediatricians. You can visit their website, or contact them using the information below!


Charles H. Harrington, Publisher

350 Ward Avenue, Suite 106-304

Honolulu, Hawaii 96814

Tel: (808) 848-8886


Another excellent publication is Honolulu Family. This publication gives parents tons of information about what is going on all over Hawaii (not just Honolulu), as well as informative articles and resources for everything from school to dentists for kids. You can visit their website, or contact them using the information below!



1000 Bishop St., Suite 405

Honolulu, Hawaii 96813

Phone: (808) 534-7544

Public schools

Below is a list of all public schools in Maui County, including charter schools. To find out more information about enrollment, diversity, and success/accreditation of the school you are interested in, go to the Hawaii Department of Education website, and click on reports. It is an excellent resource for choosing public school districts for your children.

Baldwin High School

1650 Kaahumanu Ave. Wailuku, Maui, HI 96793

(808) 984-5674


Haiku Elementary School

105 Pauwela Road Haiku, Maui, HI 96708

(808) 575-3000


Hana High School and Elementary

P.O. Box 128 Hana, Maui, HI 96713

(808) 248-4815


Iao Intermediate School

260 South Market St. Wailuku, Maui, HI 96793

(808) 984-5610


Kahului Elementary School

410 South Hina Avenue Kahului, Maui, HI 96732

(808) 873-3055


Kalama Intermediate School

120 Makani Road Makawao, Maui, HI 96768

(808) 573-8735


Kamalii Elementary School

180 Alanui Ke Alii Kihei, Maui, HI 96753

(808) 875-6840


Kamehameha III Elementary School

611 Front St. Lahaina, Maui, HI 96761

(808) 662-3955


Kaunakakai Elementary School

P.O. Box 1950 Kaunakakai, Molokai, HI 96748

(808) 553-1730


Keanae Elementary School

P.O. Box 128 Hana, Maui, HI 96713

(808) 248-4841


Kihei Elementary School

250 E. Lipoa Kihei, Maui, HI 96753

(808) 875-6818


Kihei Public Charter High School

300 Ohukai Road Suite 209 Kihei, Maui, HI 96753

(808) 875-0700


Kilohana Elementary School

HC 01 Box 334 Kaunakakai, Molokai, HI 96748

(808) 558-2200


King Kekaulike High School

121 Kula Highway Pukalani, Maui, HI 96768

(808) 573-8710


Kualapuu Elementary NCPCCS

260 Farrington Ave. Kaulapuu, Molokai, HI 96757

(808) 567-6900


Kula Elementary School

5000 Kula Highway Kula, Maui, HI 96790

(808) 876-7610


Lahaina Intermediate School

871 Lahainaluna Road Lahaina, Maui, HI 96761

(808) 662-3965


Lahainaluna High School

980 Lahainaluna Road Lahaina, Maui, HI 96761

(808) 662-4000


Lanai High School and Elementary

P.O. Box 630630 Lanai City, Lanai, HI 96763

(808) 565-7900


Lihikai Elementary School

335 S. Papa Ave. Kahului, Maui, HI 96732

(808) 873-3033


Lokelani Intermediate School

1401 Liloa Drive Kihei, Maui, HI 96761

(808) 875-6800


Makawao Elementary School

3542 Baldwin Ave. Makawao, Maui, HI 96768

(808) 573-8770


Maui High School

660 S. Lono Ave Kahului, Maui, HI 96732

(808) 873-3000


Maui Waena Intermediate School

795 Onehee St. Kahului, Maui, HI 96732

(808) 873-3070


Maunaloa Elementary School

P.O. Box 128 Maunaloa, Molokai, HI 96770

(808) 567-6900


Molokai High School

2140 Farrington Ave. Hoolehua, Molokai, HI 96729

(808) 567-6950


Molokai Intermediate School

2175 Lihi Pali Ave. Hoolehua, Molokai, HI 96729

(808) 567-6940


Paia Elementary School

955 Baldwin Ave. Paia, Maui, HI 96779

(808) 579-2100


Pomaikai Elementary School

4650 S. Kamehameha ave. Kahului, Maui, HI 96732

(808) 873-9410


Princess Nahienaena Elementary School

816 Niheu St. Lahaina, Maui, HI 96761

(808) 662-4020


Pukalani Elementary School

2945 Iolani St. Pukalani, Maui, HI 96768

(808) 573-8760


University of Hawaii Maui College

310 Kaahumanu Ave Kahului, Maui, HI 96732

(808) 984-3500


Waihee Elementary School

2125 Kahekili Highway Wailuku, Maui, HI 96793

(808) 984-5644


Wailuku Elementary School

355 S. High St. Wailuku, Maui, HI 96793

(808) 984-5622

Registering your children

The first step to registering your child or children for a school is determining what district your child is zoned for. The easiest way to tell what school your child is zoned for is to go to the Hawaii Department of Education website and use the school finder tool. Your assigned school is where you will register your children.

When registering your children, the following documents will be requested:

  • Student Health Record (including immunizations)
  • Birth Certificate
  • Proof of current address
  • Documents from a previous school (if applicable)
  • Legal documents (if applicable)

Evaluating schools

If you are planning to send your child to public school, where you buy your home could certainly be affected by the school district your home is located in. There are many ways to evaluate the schools that your potential home is districted for. In Hawaii, the best way to do this is to visit the department of education’s website, and find the school your child could potentially be attending. The report card can tell you a number of things about the school, including test scores, teacher to student ratios, and the amount of funding the school receives from the state. However, you should certainly not let this be your only tool for evaluating the school. Pay a visit to the school (making an appointment is best), ask other parents about their experiences, and even contact teachers within the school to see what they have to say. Visiting each school’s website can be helpful, and can give you information particular to that school as well, such as

School philosophy as outlined in the school’s statement of philosophy or mission statement

  • Instructional approaches
  • School facilities/personnel resources
  • School policies
  • School safety
  • Curriculum
  • Family and community involvement


To find the Hawaii State report card for the school you are interested in, go to the website and click on the reports link. There you can find information about the specific school you are interested in.

Charter schools

For parents looking for a public-education alternative to traditional public schools, charter schools are a good option to consider. Charter schools are public schools with limited enrollment, and they often incorporate characteristics associated with private-school education such as smaller class sizes or more rigorous curricula.

Funded with public money, charters are not required to meet all the rules and regulations of traditional public schools but are subject to accountability for producing certain academic results among its students. Because charter schools receive public money, they do not charge tuition. Each school does have an admissions process, however. The particulars of the process vary from charter school to charter school, but the basic process is the same: Students and their families submit an application to the school(s) of their choice. Students meeting the admission requirements for the school are then entered into a lottery, and numbers are picked at random to determine which students will be granted available openings. For admission requirements and for particulars on each school’s admission process, it’s best to check each school’s website for details.


Kihei Charter School


Kualapuu Public Conversion Charter School

Private and parochial schools

After much consideration, some parents decide a private or parochial school is the best option for their child. Maui County offers some private and parochial school offerings. They include both large and small school settings and both religiously affiliated schools and those without religious ties. Below is a list of a selection of private schools in the Maui County area, any religious affiliation is listed in parenthesis. First is the town the school is located in, the name, religious affiliation (if any, in parenthesis) and then the grades served.


  • Haiku – Horizons Academy (Special Education School) 2-12
  • Hoolehua – Molokai Christian Academy (Baptist) PK-12
  • Kahului – Christ The King School (Roman Catholic) PK-6
  • Kahului – Emmanuel Lutheran School (Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod) K-9
  • Kahului – Kaahumanu Hou Christian School (Assembly of God) K-12
  • Kahului – Maui Adventist School (Seventh-Day Adventist) K-9
  • Kaunakakai – Aka’ula School 6-9
  • Kaunakakai – Molokai Mission School (Seventh-Day Adventist) 5-8
  • Kihei – Montessori Hale O Keiki (Montessori School) K-9
  • Kula – Clearview Christian Girl School (All girl Christian) 7-9
  • Kula – Haleakala Waldorf School (Special Program Emphasis) NS-10
  • Lahaina – Maui Preparatory Academy PK-12
  • Lahaina – Sacred Hearts School & Early Learning Center (Roman Catholic) PK-8
  • Makawao – Carden Academy Of Maui K-9
  • Makawao – Kamehameha Schools Maui (Christian) K-12
  • Makawao – Montessori School Of Maui PK-8
  • Makawao – Seabury Hall School (Episcopal) 6-12
  • Makawao – St. Joseph School (Roman Catholic) K-6
  • Paia – Doris Todd Memorial Christian School (Christian) PK-8
  • Wailuku – St. Anthony Grade School (Roman Catholic) K-6
  • Wailuku – St. Anthony Jr/Sr High School (Roman Catholic)


For more information regarding private schools in Hawaii, contact the Hawaii Association of Independent Schools.


Hawaii Association of Independent Schools

1585 Kapiolani Boulevard, Suite 1212

Honolulu, HI 96814-4527



As per Hawaiian law, families are permitted to homeschool their children; any parent regardless of their educational background may homeschool their child. Any parent may file a letter of intent with the principal of the local school that the child would be enrolled in. The letter of intent states that the parent will be homeschooling the child. There are a few drawbacks to homeschooling children in Hawaii. The child will not be allowed to participate in school sponsored extracurricular activities. Also, homeschool credits do not contribute towards a high school diploma. Also, the parent will have to provide progress reports to the Hawaii Department of Education. These can be in the form of standardized test scores, an evaluation by a licensed educator, or a parent written report that includes examples of the student’s work. For more information about homeschooling your child in the state of Hawaii, visit the websites of or contact the organizations below.


The Hawaii Homeschool Association


The Department of Education for the state of Hawaii




Chapter 30

Health Care

There are plentiful health care options in Maui. Whether you’ve got serious health issues, or just want to know there’s a good doctor around when you need one, there are many ways to manage your personal care and wellbeing here. In this chapter you can learn more about the major health organizations in the region and the facilities that comprise them, as well as a few of the additional facilities located on nearby Hawaiian islands, just a short plane ride away.

Maui Memorial Medical Center

This historic medical center, the largest and most well known on the island, has come a long way since it was first opened in 1884. Today the full-service hospital and health center is bustling with over 1,400 employees, including over 200 attending physicians, providing patients a full range of routine and specialized medical needs. The Center is the largest acute care facility within the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation, which oversees hospitals throughout Hawaii. Just to name some of their offerings, services at Maui Memorial include 24-hour emergency care, surgery, maternity, radiology, pediatrics and cardiac care.

The hospital has expanded rapidly since its initial opening, especially in recent years, growing physically as well as expanding its range of specialty services. In 2006, the center completed its 75,000 square-foot Kahului Tower, with its Occupational Therapy Department and associated gym, and a new Ambulatory Care Center with two full-equipped endoscopy suites. In 2007, the hospital opened its Heart, Brain and Vascular Center and in 2011, they significantly expanded the cardiovascular services available to patients.

The Maui Memorial network also includes two smaller hospitals, outlined below.

Maui Memorial Medical Center

221 Mahalani Street

Wailuku, Hawaii 96793


Kula Hospital

Operated under the Maui Memorial healthcare umbrella, Kula Hospital and Clinic is an acute care facility with a 24-hour emergency services department, as well as outpatient laboratory and x-ray services. The associated Kula Clinic offers a range of outpatient services, including a notable array of alternative medicines options, including acupuncture and Chinese medicine.

100 Keokea Place

Kula, HI 96790


Lanai Community Hospital

     Maui Memorial also runs the Lanai Community Hospital the only hospital on the nearby island of Lanai. This smaller facility employs nearly 50 individuals and provides, like its Kula counterpart, a 24-hour emergency room, as well as x-ray and laboratory services.

628 7th Street

Lanai City, HI 96763


Maui Medical Group

A conglomeration of nearly 300 employees with a variety of specialties, Maui Medical Group is a major health center comprised of four individual clinics, including urgent care, at four locations on the island: Kihei, Wailuku, Lahaina and Pukalani. The group provides general practice medicine and pediatrics, as well as has departments in neurology, obstetrics and gynecology, ophthalmology, podiatry, orthopedic surgery, dermatology and additional specialties. The location of your appointment may depend on the reason for the visit, as certain physicians and specialty departments only run out of certain clinic locations, as detailed on the group’s website.

In addition, the group runs a Sleep Center at its Wailuku location, where they evaluate and treat sleep issues such sleep apnea, insomnia and snoring.

The clinics have flexible hours to accommodate patients’ work schedules, including evening and weekend hours at most locations.

Kihei Office

2349 South Kihei Road, Unit 2

Kihei, HI 96753



Wailuku Office

2180 Main Street

Wailuku, HI 96793



Lahaina Office

130 Prison Street

Lahaina, HI 96761



Pukalani Office

55 Pukalani Street

Pukalani 96768


West Maui Hospital and Medical Center

If all goes according to plan, the Maui area will soon have another state-of-the-art medical facility and hospital. Construction on the West Maui Hospital and Medical Center is currently slated to begin in 2015.

Located on nearly 15 acres in Kaanapali, the facility, which will be fun by the Newport Hospital Corporation, will include a critical access hospital with full range emergency services, 16 surgical beds, and an onsite laboratory and pharmacy. Plans for the medical center as a whole also include a 40-unit assisted living facility, a 25,000 square foot medical office building (attached to the hospital) and, eventually, developers hope to build a drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility on site. The center is meant to serve the growing population in West Maui, estimated as reaching more than 80,000 people in 2013.

Nearby facilities in Honolulu

   The Queen’s Medical Center, Honolulu


From Maui, Hawaii’s state capital and most populous city, Honolulu, is a mere 40-minute plane ride away. The city provides more extensive medical options, should the need arise, including The Queen’s Medical Center, the largest private hospital in Hawaii. The non-profit hospital is a 505-bed facility with over 3,000 employees, and offers an incredibly thorough range of services for all medical needs.

Straub Clinic & Hospital

Also located in Honolulu, the 159-bed Straub Clinic & Hospital, operated by the Hawaii Pacific Health healthcare system, offers a wide range of emergency and other care, as well as provides a network of neighborhood clinics and a visiting doctor program. Straub is home to the Pacific Region’s only multi-disciplinary burn treatment center.

Veteran’s Care

   The VA Pacific Islands Health Care system provides healthcare options for veterans throughout Hawaii. On Maui, they run an outpatient clinic in Kahului open weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Veterans wishing to enroll in the program are invited to call the office or visit during operating hours.

203 Ho’ohana Street, Suite 303

Kahului, HI 96732


Urgent Care

In addition to the options listed above, there are several other urgent care clinics in Maui. Listed below are a few of the facilities.

Urgent Care Maui

1325 S. Kihei Road

Suite 103

Kihei, HI, 96753




Lahaina Gateway Shopping Center

Suite 507

305 Keawe Street

Lahaina, HI 96761


Walk-In Medical Clinic

30 North Church Street,

Wailuki, HI 96793




Chapter 31

Shopping Guide

Maui is chock full of options for tourists and residents alike to shop to their heart’s content. The Lahaina and Kihei areas are home to charming boutiques, art galleries and souvenir shops while numerous shopping malls offer the luxury goods and familiar name brands stores found in malls across the country. Many mainland visitors may also be surprised by the number of national chains and discount brands available to shoppers on Maui, largely concentrated in the greater Kahului area.

Whatever you’re looking for – whether it’s furniture for your new home or a relaxing afternoon of shopping on your Hawaiian get-ways– there are numerous options available. From national chains to shops run by local artisans, Maui has you covered with shopping venues to fill your every need.


Many mainlanders imagine that the low-key island lifestyle means a lack of big name brands and shopping malls. The reality is that Maui has offerings as diverse as any small America city and all situated in a picturesque setting. While there are certainly household brand names to be found on Maui, many of the malls also feature locally run shops so your home and wardrobe can carry a bit of unique flair.

Queen Ka’ahumanu Center is perhaps Maui’s most archetypical American mall experience complete with Macy’s and Sears (the island’s only department stores) as well as some 100 specialty shops, a food court, and movie theater. The Shops at Wailea offer Maui’s highest end shopping mall with luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Tiffany’s among less pricey but still well-known brands and fine dining options in an open-air atmosphere. For more everyday needs in one location, try Maui Mall anchored by Whole Foods and Longs Drugstore. This shopping center also boasts hair and nail salons, a day spa, casual dining options and boutique shopping.

Maui’s shopping scene offers far more than a typical mall experience. For a blend of familiar surf shops like Quicksilver and Roxy combined with Maui based boutiques with a distinctly Hawaiian flair head to Lahaina on the western shore. There you’ll find Whaler’s Village located in the heart of Kannapali’s beachwalk. For a bit of Hawaiian history with your shopping experience, Lahaina Cannery Mall offers free hula shows in the island’s only enclosed, air conditioned mall situated in the historic Baldwin Packers pineapple cannery.


Lahaina Cannery Mall, 1221 Honoapiilani Hwy, 808-661–5304,

Maui Mall, 70 East Kaahumanu Avenue, 808-877-8952,

Queen Kaahumanu Center, 275 West Ka’ahumanu Avenue, 808-877-3369,

The Shops at Wailea, 3750 Wailea Alanui Dr, (808) 891-6770,

Whalers Village, 2435 Kaanapali Parkway, 808-661-4567,


The Outlets of Maui opened in November 2013 as the only outlet mall on the island of Maui. Just the second outlet mall in all of Hawaii, it is also the only oceanfront outlet mall in the world! The site offers some 35 stores and restaurants representing top designer labels and high-end brands. Bargains from Adidas, Banana Republic, Brooks Brothers, Coach, Guess, and Tommy Hilfiger among many others can be found here along with several dining options including Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse and Hard Rock Café. 900 Front St.,


There are two department stores on Maui both located in the island’s largest shopping mall, Queen Ka’ahumanu Center.


Macy’s, Queen Ka’ahumanu Center, 808-877-3369,; Macy’s first opened in 1858 in New York City. It is now a well-known national brand offering fashions for women, men and children as well as home goods.

Sears, Queen Ka’ahumanu Center, 808-877-3369,; Sears is one of the oldest names in the department store business and is likely most well-known for its offerings outside the realm of apparel and home goods. Sears offers a wide variety of home appliances, lawn and garden equipment, and home electronics.


Locals and visitors alike rely on these discount stores for low-cost Maui “staples” like sunscreen and snorkeling gear as well as affordable beachwear and other clothing.


Costco, 540 Haleakala Highway, 808-877-5248,

Kmart, 424 Dairy Road., 808-871-8553,

Lahaina Discount, 608 Front Street, (808) 662-4844; ; Hawaiian gifts, apparel and souvenirs at discounted prices.

Ross Dress for Less, 200 E Kamehameha Avenue, 808-877-5483,

T.J. Maxx, 70 East Kaahumanu Avenue,; Located in Maui Mall, construction on this site is expected to begin Summer 2014.

Wal-Mart, 101 Pakaula Street, (808) 871-7820; Offers a pharmacy, tire center and vision center.


With every new home comes the need—or perhaps more accurately, the desire—for new appliances, furniture, lamps, rugs, and/or a new coat of paint. Below is a list of stores that can help you get your home improvement projects started and help you make your new house a home.

The list includes just a handful of the options available; don’t forget that the discount retailers listed above can also be great places to save a couple bucks on household basics and the best prices can sometimes be found through on-line retailers and shipped to your home.

Art galleries

If you’re in the market for unique artwork to decorate your new home, you’ll want to start in the town of Lahaina where you’ll find dozens of galleries featuring original pieces by artists from around the world. There are literally dozens of galleries scattered across the island but for the best selection, you may want to start with these recommendations in Lahaina and beyond:

  • Hana Coast Gallery, Travaasa Hana, Hana Highway, Hana, 808-248–8636;; Situated in a gorgeous remote location, this 3,000 square foot gallery won awards from Travel and Leisure Magazine as the best art gallery on Maui. While not the largest gallery on the island, many consider it to be the best curated.
  • Lahaina Galleries with two locations in Lahaina (828 Front Street, 808-661-6284) and Wailea (3750 Wailea Alanui, Suite A23, 808-874-8583), www.lahainagalleries; Hundreds of works by national and international artists of note in a variety of mediums including paintings, sculpture, furniture, and photography.
  • Lahaina Printsellers, Ltd., 1013 Limahana Place, 808-667-7843,; If it’s a Hawaiian print you’re interested in rather than original paintings look no further that Lahaina Printsellers. The gallery features vintage Hawaiian art and maps to add a special touch of local history to your walls.
  • Maui Hands, 1169 Makawao Avenue, 808-573-2021,; The work of more than 300 fine artists is represented here in nearly every imaginable medium including painting, sculpture, ceramics, photography, wood working, and jewelry. Voted the best art gallery by Maui News readers and a Best of Lahaina Award Winner.


  • Hamai Appliance, 332 E. Wakea Avenue, 808-877-6305,; A Hawaii based store established in 1969 offering appliances, electronics and mattresses.
  • Home Depot, 100 Pakaula Street, (808)893-7800,
  • Lowe’s, 270 Dairy Road, 808) 873-0383,
  • Office Max,; Home office electronics at two locations in Kahului and Lahaina
  • Sears, Queen Ka’ahumanu Center, 808-877-3369,


  • Hamai Appliance, 332 E. Wakea Avenue, 808-877-6305,; A Hawaii based store established in 1969 offering appliances, electronics and mattresses.
  • Macy’s, Queen Ka’ahumanu Center, 808-877-3369,; Home goods including bedding and bath linens.
  • Maui Bed Store with two locations on Maui. Resort and hotel bedding supplier open to the general public by appointment. Call 808-280-9524 in Kihei or 808-463-7270 in Lahaina.
  • Maui Living Furniture, 285 Hukilike St. Kahului, 808-463-3715,; Specializing in eco-friendly, organic furnishings, mattresses, bedding and bath linens.


  • Abbey Carpet of Maui, 25 South Kahului Beach Road, 808-871-5825,; Flooring and window treatments with a lifetime guarantee and in-home consultation service available for those who want the store to come to them.
  • Indich Collection, 259 East Wakea Avenue, (808) 877-7200,; Fine Hawaiian rugs designed by local artists.
  • Lahaina Carpet and Interiors, 1036 Limahana Place Suite 3L, 808-661-4268,; A large range of flooring options, including tile and natural stone. Also providing window treatments and interior decorating consultation.
  • Lei Floor and Window Covering with two locations in Kahului and Lahaina, 808-871-8008,; Offering flooring and window treatment options, a strong customer service orientation and certified flooring installations teams.


One of the major questions home buyers often have when relocating to Maui concerns furniture. Is it better to ship one’s current furniture to Maui or to purchase new furniture upon arrival? While shipping certainly adds expense to the overall cost of a move, it still may be the most cost-effective option particularly for larger, more expensive pieces. Most furniture stores in the Maui area feature tropical or contemporary designs so antiques and items with a vintage feel may be best to ship to your new home as they will likely not be easily replaced.

Due to the complexity associated with shipping furniture to Maui, furniture dealers’ inventory tends to be more limited and expensive than on the mainland so this is another consideration when deciding whether to purchase new or ship.

Fortunately, if you decide to buy new furniture once you’ve relocated or if you’re furnishing a second home, Maui offers many options to help you get settled in your new home. Furniture retailers with showrooms on Maui include:

  • First Impression Interiors, 110 E. Kaahumanu Avenue, 808-873-7632,; Locally owned and operated offering a wide variety of furnishings as well as decorating accents, entertainment consoles and lighting.
  • Island Attitudes, 411 Huku Li’i Place, Suite 101, 808-879-4147,; Offers furnishings for residential and commercial buyers in addition to interior decorating services.
  • Kimo’s Furniture Maui, 151 East Wakea Avenue #101, 808-873-8655,; Contemporary and tropical décor and interior decorating consultations offered at no charge.
  • Latitudes, 210 Alamaha Street, 808-893-0650,; Featuring the popular Tommy Bahama line and indoor and outdoor furnishings.
  • Lifestyle Maui Furniture, 703 Lower Main Street, (808) 242-1863,; Factory direct pricing and immediate delivery available on a variety of indoor and outdoor furnishings and home accents.


Full service shipping companies


  • American Pacific Moving Company, 800-409-2615,
  • Guardian, 800-545-8654,

Lamps and lighting

Many of Maui’s furniture, home improvement and discount stores offer lighting options for your new home. These specialty shops may also be helpful in offering variety and competitive prices.


  • Discount Lighting and Fans, 349 – B Hanakai Street, 808-871-8776,; Specializes in the sale and installation of ceiling fans, you’ll also find a wide selection of indoor and outdoor lighting and home accents.
  • Valley Isle Lighting, 255 Alamaha Street Unit A, (808) 871-1119,; Offering interior lighting and repairs, ceiling fans and 20% off all inventory on Fridays.

Hardware/home improvement

  • Ace Hardware has five locations conveniently situated throughout the island to help you with your next home improvement project, 866-290-5334,
  • Hardware Lumber Maui, 823 Alua Street, (808) 244-0499; Building supplies including molding, veneers, plywood and hard ware.
  • Home Depot, 100 Pakaula Street, (808)893-7800,
  • Lowe’s, 270 Dairy Road, 808) 873-0383,


If you’re in the market to buy gently used items– whether it’s furniture or fashions– you can bring a bit of Hawaiiana into your home or a fun twist to your wardrobe by heading to Maui’s many antique shops and thrift stores. For a day of antiquing, you’ll want to put on comfortable shoes and head to North Market Street in Wailuku known as “antiques alley”. There you’ll find a unique collection of antique and thrift shops in a walkable area. However, if you’re willing to do a little traveling on Maui, there are also treasures to be found at an array of shops large and small throughout the island.

Bear in mind that finding a large variety of quality antique or vintage goods at bargain prices on Maui is a bit more challenging than on the mainland. After all, anything that makes its way here had to travel across the ocean if it didn’t originate on the island. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t great finds out there if you’re willing to do a little searching. Just like any antique or second-hand shop, great pieces tend to be snatched up quickly. If you find something you like and that fits your budget, don’t hesitate to buy it on the spot! You can take pride that you’re supporting local business and perhaps even bringing a one-of-a-kind piece into your home. Some of the many options for second-hand shopping and antiquing that you may want to peruse include:


  • Bird of Paradise Unique Antiques, 56 North Market Street in Wailuku, 808-242-7699; A great location to seek out 1930’s and 40’s era furniture and china as well as unique Hawaiian finds like vintage Hawaiian shirts and Hawaiian music on cassette.
  • Finders Keepers, 400 Hana Highway, 808-871-7000; Featuring Maui’s best selection of imported art and gently used furnishings in a 10,000 square foot showroom.
  • Indigo, 149 Hana Highway in Paia, 808-579-9199;; Supplying antiques from around the world as well as hand woven rugs, jewelry and other unique gifts and home goods.
  • Rainbow Attic, 1881 South Kihei Road, 808-874-0884,; The largest consignment shop on Maui open every day of the week.
  • Salvation Army Thrift Stores located in Lahaina, Kihei and Kahului.


An outdoor shopping experience is very common on Maui where open air shopping malls abound. It’s a perfect way to enjoy the beautiful climate while still getting your errands done! The Maui Swap Meet is in a class by itself when it comes to outdoor shopping and getting a great deal. Locals agree that the Maui Swap Meet is the flea market on Maui and the best spot to get a bargain on the weekend.

More than 200 vendors gather from 7:00am to 1:00pm every Saturday selling clothing, art work, produce, cooking supplies, handmade crafts and much more. Many of the wares sold at the swap meet are available in the boutiques and small shops of Kihei and Lahaina but for a lot more money which makes the Swap Meet a big draw for locals and tourists alike. Concessions are available throughout the event space if shopping brings on an appetite. Admission is only 50 cents and there is ample free parking available. Maui Swap Meet, 310 West Kaahumanu Avenue in Kahului,
(808) 244-3100,

If you’re specifically in the market for handmade crafts as a gift or to add some local flair to your home, the Lahaina Craft Fair is for you. Unlike the outdoor Swap Meet, this event is held in the air-conditioned Civic Center and is open from 9:00am to 4:00pm most Sundays. Every imaginable craft from woodworking to handmade rugs are available for purchase at much lower prices than in local shops. Lahaina Craft Fair, 1840 Hono’apiilani Highway, (808) 244-3100,


Maui is served by Safeway and Foodland grocery store chains each of which have four large locations on the island. Hawaii-based Times grocery stores also has two locations on Maui. No matter where you live on the island, there is likely a supermarket just a short drive away from your home.

For those looking to stretch their dollars a bit, Costco Wholesale warehouse club offers some of the lowest prices on the island for staples like milk, bread and meats. In addition to the more traditional grocery stores, Maui residents and visitors have access to a variety of specialty stores that can help them fill their kitchens and pantries with more than just the traditional fare. From a vast array of farmers’ markets open all year round to organic grocers to Asian markets, Maui’s grocery fare caters to the most discerning palates.


  • Foodland has four large grocery stores on Maui in Lahaina, Kahului, Kihei and Pukalani. The Kihei location is open 24 hours a day.
  • Safeway has four supermarkets on Maui open 24 hours a day located in Kihei, Lahaina and two in Kahului. Many stores offer special services such as home grocery delivery. 1-877-723-3929,
  • Times is a small grocery store chain specific to Hawaii. There are two locations on Maui in Kihei (808-442-4750) and Honokoawai (808-442-4700)

Natural food grocers and specialty markets

As the market for organic food and other “green” products grows, the number of national chains specializing in organic produce and health-food products continues to increase. In addition, specialty market stores provide not only premium produce but also a variety of gourmet foodstuffs and locally produced items. For shoppers with an eye for organic or the home cook in search of some not-so-common ingredients, peruse the list below for options beyond the typical supermarket. In a tropical location on the ocean such as Maui, it would be a shame to pass up locally sourced groceries!

  • Down to Earth, 305 Dairy Road in Kahului, (808) 877-2661,; Stocks a variety of local, organic produce, bulk foods, and vitamins and natural supplements. Features a popular deli with made-to-order sandwiches and juice bar.
  • Foodland Farms, 345 Keawe Street, Suite 304 in Lahaina, 808-662-7088,; This is an upscale market run by the Foodland grocery store chain specializing in fresh seafood and a smaller grocery store (rather than supermarket) feel for the hungry shopper.
  • Mana Foods, 49 Baldwin Avenue in Paia, 808-579-8078,; More than 400 local Hawaiian vendors are featured in this seemingly small shop which also includes a salad and hot bar. Mana Foods stocks a wide array of natural and organic foods at reasonable prices.
  • Maui Grocery Service, 808-283-3135 or 808 -280-7526; Not a grocery store but a grocery service! If you’re coming to Maui to get away from the responsibilities of everyday life or are simply too busy or tired to shop, Maui Grocery Service will do the work for you. Select the items you need from their on-line stock of more than 5,000 products, choose your delivery date and your work is done.
  • Maui Moons Natural Foods, 2411 South Kihei Road, 808-875-4356,; Offering locally grown and organic groceries, fresh produce and deli.
  • Maui Prime Fine Foods, 142 Kupuohi Street, Suite F7 in Lahaina (808) 661-4912,; Gourmet market known for their fine cheeses and meats and fresh seafood.
  • Napili Market, 5095 Napilihau Street, Suite 105 Lahaina, 808-669-1600; A small, locally owned market featuring friendly staff and an excellent selection of “poke”, a Hawaiian specialty made up of diced sashimi-grade raw fish salad with variations that include ingredients like avocado, tomato, and wasabi.
  • Whole Foods, 70 East Kaahumanu Avenue (located in Maui Mall), 808.872.3310,; This branch of the national chain carries 200 Hawaiian made products, more than 60 directly from the island of Maui. Also offers full service shopping and delivery along with fresh, organic foods.

Warehouse shopping

Buying in bulk can be one of the most effective ways to trim a grocery budget, especially if you’re feeding a crowd. Costco Wholesale serves the Maui area and is located right by the airport convenient to those traveling in for a get-away or returning home to the island. But don’t forget: warehouse clubs like Costco don’t just open their doors to just anyone. Costco requires customers to have memberships in order to shop in their warehouse and they are also limited in the forms of payment they accept—cash, check or American Express cards only.


  • Costco, 540      Haleakala Highway, 808-877-5248,

Seafood markets

It should go without saying that Maui has superb seafood. Certainly some of the fruits of the ocean are available from area supermarkets and local specialty grocers; yet there are few rituals more enmeshed with island living than shopping at fish markets. If you arrive early enough you can often watch fish being hauled in to shore from the fishing boats and sometimes buy the catch of the day directly from the fishermen before they sell their day’s haul to local restaurants and seafood markets.

Don’t worry if you’re not an early bird—local seafood markets like the ones listed here buy their fresh fish daily. As an added bonus, if you’re feeling squeamish about cooking seafood—or are just too busy —many of the markets serve up cooked fish on-site.

  • Eskimo Candy Seafood Market and Café, 2665 Wai Wai Place in Kihei, 808-879-5686,; Eat-in, take-out or cook at home! This market and restaurant features a full menu of fresh seafood dishes and burgers or will sell you their fresh catch of the day for you to prepare at home.
  • The Fish Market Maui, 3600 Lower Honoapiilani Rd, Honokowai, (808) 665-9895.; Considered the premiere purveyor of seafood in West Maui, this market offers every seasonal fish imaginable along with delicious fish preparations such as wine caper butter and soy ginger marinade. Plus, there’s a full menu of fish and burgers very popular with the locals! They will grill up their freshest catch for you on the spot or package it for you to prepare at home.
  • Miyaki Fish Market, 222 Papalua Street in Lahaina, 808-667-5915; Offering fresh fish in addition to poke, seafood salads and dried fish.

Farmers’ markets

The number of farmer’s markets on Maui is truly astonishing given the relatively small geographic area and the expense associated with farming in Maui. Fortunately for the health-conscious chef, local residents and farmers alike are very proud of their fresh produce and the beautiful climate lends itself to year round farmer’s markets. If your goal is farm-to-table eating, this is a great option for bringing local nutrition to your table. Along with fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers and locally made jams and crafts you can also generally expect samples to abound as well as freshly squeezed juices and other refreshments to be available for purchase.

The sampling below represents only some highlights of the best known farmer’s markets in the area. There is a farmer’s market open on Maui every day of the week but check on-line and call ahead if before you hop in the car to be sure you’re up-to-date on any schedule changes. And, as with any farmer’s market, make sure to go early for the best selection and bring cash, preferably small bills.

  • Farmer’s Market of Maui in Honokowai, 3636 Lower Honoapiilani Road in Lahaina, 808-669-7004. Open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 7:00 am to 11:00am.
  • Farmers Market of Maui in Kihei, South Kihei Road, 808-875-0949. Open Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm
  • The Maui Farmer’s Market, Queen Ka’ahumanu Center, 275 West Ka’ahumanu Avenue, Kahului, (808) 877-3369. Open Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 7:00am to 4:00pm
  • Maui Swap Meet, 310 West Kaahumanu Avenue in Kahului, (808) 244-3100,
  • Ono Organic Farmer’s Market operates a roadside market in Hana from 10:00am to 6:00pm every day. The farm also offers tours and tastings by reservation. Call for more information (808) 248-7779 or visit

Asian grocers

It is perhaps unsurprising that Maui offers an array of Asian specialty markets given its history of workers immigrating from Asian nations and its relative proximity to Asia in the Pacific Ocean. Small, locally owned shops catering specifically to Korean and Filipino cooking can be found on Maui but the strong Asian-Pacific influence can be seen by the wide selection of Asian foodstuffs in major grocery stores as well. If you’re in the market for ethnic groceries, these Asian markets should be your first stop.

  • Ah Fooks, 65 W. Kaahumanu Avenue, Suite 3A in Kahului, 808- 877-3308; One of the oldest grocery stores on Maui featuring Hawaiian products as well as hard-to-find Asian ingredients at reasonable prices.
  • Maui Oriental Market, 944 Lower Main Street Suite B in Wailuku, 808- 242-0809; The only Korean market on the island of substantial size. Run by a friendly couple who carry a large selection of Korean ingredients for low prices.
  • Takamiya Market, 359 N Market Street in Wailuku, 808-244-3404,; A hidden treasure for those seeking a great deal on fresh meats and fish and, of course, poke! Opens early at 5:15am offering fresh coffee and pastries to sleepy locals and tourists.


Chapter 32

Cultural Life

Maui has a rich and unique blend of cultural influences, from the traditional Hawaiian language and culture to nearby Asian countries to American culture. Nowhere is this more evident than in Maui’s offering of culture. There is something for everyone, from art galleries and exhibits to traditional Hawaiian music to history museums. The Maui Visitors and Convention Bureau, 1727 Wili Pa Loop, Wailuku, 96793, (808) 244-3530, is a great resource for tips and tools to explore the local cultural scene. also offers a complete overview of the island and what it has to offer.


Tickets for most major concerts, theater productions and other cultural events are available at the venues’ box offices or through their website. Purchasing straight from the vendor is the best way to avoid service charges and other fees.

Most major events for larger venues are available through Ticketmaster. You can purchase tickets over the phone at (800) 745-3000 or visiting If you find yourself looking for tickets to a sold-out show or event, StubHub may be a good resource. People looking to buy or sell tickets can use StubHub to set their own prices and determine how much they are willing to pay. To search for available tickets for events around Maui and Hawaii, check out If you are looking for smaller, quirkier local events, check out EventBrite, as well.

Keep in mind that purchasing tickets through Ticketmaster and StubHub often have service charges and processing fees. These fees can vary from state to state and event to event; make sure to check what (and how much) these fees will be to avoid paying more than you would for a show.

Concert Halls, Stadiums, and Arenas

While Maui is the second largest Hawaiian island, it doesn’t have a wide variety of large, traditional performing arts centers. Instead, live, local music can be found in bars, restaurants and local festivals.

  • Maui Arts and Cultural Center, 1 Cameron Way, Kahului, 96732, 808-242-7469,, is a world-class performing arts complex that features a 1,200-seat theater, 330 seat black box, 5,000-seat amphitheater, gallery, concert stage, courtyard and outdoor performance platform dedicated to hula. It is the center of cultural performances in Maui, with a wide variety of mediums, classes and opportunities. Offerings include contemporary concerts, films, comedy shows, poetry readings and more.

Performing Arts

Music – Symphonic, Choral, Opera, Chamber

Maui brings a great blend of professional and community performance organizations. From symphony orchestras to hula dancing, Maui has a lot to offer residents and visitors alike.

  • The Maui Pops Orchestra is dedicated to presenting classical, light classical, Broadway, opera and more. 808-242-7469,
  • The Maui Community Band performs concerts for the community at various venues, and is dedicated to providing an opportunity for wind and percussion players to continue their music reading skills and further pursue their instruments,
  • The Maui Chamber Ensemble provides Maui audience with “sensitive performances” of chamber music, accompanied by wonderful food and wine.
  • The Maui Choral Arts Association is a community group that strives to bring a high level of artistic performances to Maui. Membership dues of $50 apply,


Maui’s Academy of Performing Arts is a non-profit organization committed to bringing educational performing arts programs to people of all ages in Maui. For classes and calendar of events, check out

The Hawaii Hula Company was created to promote traditional Hawaiian performances: hula dancing, Tahitian dancing, Hawaiian musicians and Polynesian Fire/Knife dancers. Performers are available for hire, and Hawaii Hula Company also teaches lei making classes. (808) 646-1455,

Theatre – Professional and Community

  • Maui Theatre, (808) 856-7900, The Maui Theatre seats 680 people and employs the talents of Hawaii’s most distinguished musicians and performers. Offerings include live Hawaiian music, theatre and dance.
  • Maui Onstage is a community organization that strives to get the community involved in theatre and dance. Events take place at the historic Iao Theater. (808) 244-8680,


Maui has a long history of film. From Elvis Presley’s “Blue Hawaii” to ABC’s hit series “LOST”, and from Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End”, Maui’s beauty is the perfect setting for movies and television (

If you’d rather watch a finished project rather than chance stumbling upon a set, there are a number of movie theaters in the area. For theater locations, show times and ticket information, Fandango,, is a great, quick resource.

  • Regal Maui Mall Megaplex 12, 70 E. Kaahumanu Ave. Suite A Kahului, (800) 326-3264.
  • Regal Wharf Cinema Center 3, 658 Front St. Lahaina, 96761.
  • Kaahumanu 6, 275 W. Kaahumanu Ave, Kahului, 96732.

Film Festivals

An annual affair, the Maui Film Festival (808) 579-9244, takes place at Castle Theater. Tickets cost anywhere from $15 to a single screening to $500 for an elite membership experience.

Music (Contemporary) and Night Life

When most people think of “cultural life,” they associate the phrase with Broadway-style theatre or symphony orchestras. Yet for many, live contemporary music is just as much a part of their cultural life as museums or literature. Another good way to find your next favorite spot is to check for reviews and rankings. Below is a smattering of clubs and bars that offer music and a great place to hang loose, if you will:

  • Ambrosia, 1913 S Kihei Rd, Kihei, 96753 (808) 8911011, is a 21+ dance club.
  • Tsunami Nightclub, Grand Wailea Resort, 3850 Wailea Alanui Dr., Kihei, 96753
  • (808) 8751234,
  • Kahale’s Beach Club, 36 Keala Pl, Kihei, 96753, (808) 8757711
  • Mulligans on the Blue, 100 Kaukahi St Kihei, 96753 (808) 8741131,, an Irish bar with a gorgeous view.
  • South Shore Tiki Lounge, 1913 S Kihei Rd, Ste J, Kihei, 96753, (808) 8746444,

Art MUSEUMS AND Galleries

The Hui No’eau Visual Arts center is a nonprofit, nondegree granting organization that seeks to unlock creativity through visual arts education. Offerings include open studios, events, workshops and exhibits for people of all ages., (808) 5726560


Maui’s unique collection of cultures yields a wide variety of visual art. Here is a sampling of the art galleries you can find in Maui:

  • The Maui Crafts Guild has been presenting the Maui community with local art for over 30 years., (808) 5799697.
  • Art of Peter Max Gallery,, 3750 Wailea Alanui Dr Kihei, (808) 4950060
  • Schaefer International Gallery, as part of the Maui Arts and Cultural Center, (808) 2422787,
  • Elan Vital Galleries,, 3750 Wailea Alanui Dr Kihei, (808) 8794448,
  • The Village Galleries,, 120 Dickenson Street, Lahaina, (808) 6614402
  • Maui Hands Gallery,, 1169 Makawao Avenue Makawao, 96768, (808) 5732021
  • Viewpoints Gallery,, 3620 Baldwin Ave, Makawao, 96768 (808) 5725979.
  • Hot Island Glass,, 3620 Baldwin Ave #101A, Makawao, 96768
  • (808) 5724527
  • Makawao Fine Art Gallery,, 3660 Baldwin Ave #A, Makawao, 96768, (808) 5735972
  • Sherri Reeve Gallery & Gifts, 3669 Baldwin Ave, Makawao, 96768, (808) 5728931
  • Paia Contemporary Gallery, 83 Hana Highway, Paia, Maui, 96779, (808) 5798444
  • The Hana Cultural Museum was established by kupuna (wise elders) to honor the Hawaiian Cultural Renaissance., (808) 2488622.
  • The Lahaina Heritage Museum allows visitors to view the 20th century courtroom as it was during the early half of the era, and an ongoing whaling exhibit. Free admission., 648 Wharf St, Lahaina, 96761, (808) 6613262
  • Hale Kahiko is an outdoor exhibition of an ancient Hawaiian village. 900 Front Street, Lahaina Center, (808) 6679216
  • The Wo Hing Temple is a Chinese temple, built in 1912 for the Wo Hing Society in Lahaina. Today, visitors can find beautiful artifacts from China., 800 Front Street, Lahaina (808) 6615553
  • The Maui Ocean Center at the Hawaii Aquarium is a 3 acre park with over 60 self-paced exhibits., Hwy. 30 & Maalaea Harbor, (808) 2707000.
  • A great resource for adults and children alike, the Hawaii Nature Center has educated over 8,500 people since its opening. This interactive museum provides 30 hands-on exhibits about science and Hawaii’s natural history., 875 Iao Valley Road, Wailuku, (808) 2446500.
  • See a prime example of sugar plantation life on the islands at the Alexander and Baldwin Sugar Museum, a plantation manager’s residence and surrounding yard., 3957 Hansen Rd, Pu’unene, (808) 8718058.
  • View the state’s largest collection of whaling artifacts at the Whalers Village Museum.2435 Kaanapali Parkway, Kaanapali, (808) 6615992.

Historical Sites and Cultural Museums

Culture for Kids

The days when your children say “I’m bored!” are over– at least for a little while. While Maui’s Children’s Museum is currently under construction, many of Maui’s museums and many of the area’s annual festivals offer family friendly or children’s activities. And if all else fails, the beach is close by.

Literary Life

Whether you’re an aspiring writer seeking constructive criticism or a book lover, there are likely a number of groups to match your enthusiasm and interests. Libraries, independent book stores and many national book retailers host book clubs and literary groups. Another great resource to find local writers’ workshops or book clubs is The website provides a great directory of local social groups.

National Novel Writing Month takes place in November, and the organization typically coordinates meetup groups around the country. Visit to find a writing group near you.


  • The Maui College Library,
  • Hana Public and School Library, 4111 Hana Highway, Hana, 96713
  • Kahului Public Library, 90 School Street, Kahului, 96732, (808) 8733097.
  • Kihei Public Library, 35 Waimahaihai Street, Kihei, 96753, (808) 8756833.
  • Lahaina Public Library, 680 Wharf Street, Lahaina, 96761, (808) 6623950
  • Makawao Public Library, 1159 Makawao Avenue, Makawao, 96768, (808) 5738785
  • Wailkuku Public Library, 251 High Street, Wailuku, 96793, (808) 2435766
  • Barnes and Noble, 325 Keawe #101, Lahaina, 96761, (808) 6621300,
  • Maui Friends of the Library, 275 Kaahumanu Ave, Kahului, 96732, (808) 8772509,
  • Kihei Christian Bookstore, 300 E. Welakahao Road, Kihei, 96753, (808) 8791193,
  • University of Hawaii Maui College Bookstore, 310 West Ka’ahumanu Avenue
  • Kahului, 96732, (808) 9843248.



Artists and performers that come to the Maui Arts and Cultural Center often hold lectures. Visit the center’s website, for details.

The University of Hawaii’s Institute of Astronomy’s faculty hosts monthly lectures in Maui. Visit for a detailed schedule.

University of Hawaii, Maui College often offers academic lectures that are open to the public. Check the college’s events calendar at for more information.




Chapter 33

Climate and Environment

How hot will it get in Maui? Does it ever get cold there? The climate, flora and fauna of your new home will impact your life in a number of ways, so read on to learn more about them.

Weather on the island of Maui

One of the biggest draws in Maui – and in Hawaii in general – is its yearlong mild climate. There’s very good reason the region is a major tourist getaway. With temperatures at any time of year averaging around 80 degrees, you can’t go wrong, whether your destination is the beach or the office.

But despite the almost constant vacation-like conditions, there are some important factors to consider regarding weather on Maui, where a variety of microclimates mean differing conditions throughout the island. Locals know that due to the island’s diverse geography, climate can vary sharply depending on location, and being well-versed in the island’s regions and their associated weather patterns can mean the difference between a dry, warm day, and a grey and rainy one.

That’s because weather can vary, even on the same day, depending on where you are thanks to Maui’s varied topography. You’ll first want to familiarize yourself with two important terms: leeward and windward. The leeward side – comprising the west and south regions of the island – tends to be hotter and drier, while the windward side – east and north of the island – tends to cooler and wetter, thanks to trade winds that blow in moist ocean air, and mountainous volcanic regions that cause that air to condense, cool and fall to the ground as rain.

On Maui, most of the resorts are located on the leeward side of the island, for the frequent sunny days and less cloud cover. That means most vacationers will be staying in West and South Maui. The Central, Upcountry and East Maui regions, on the other hand, are marked by a lush, rainforest-like feel.

No matter the location, there are frequent rain showers on Maui, contributing to the vibrant, colorful foliage and a wide range of wildlife. They are often light and very quick, however, especially on the dry side of the island. Heavier showers tend to occur on the windward side, although it rarely rains for more than three days straight.

Despite the lack in temperature shifts, there are “seasons” on Maui. The dry season corresponds to summer in the rest of the country, from April to October, with temperatures a bit above the yearly average, and the rainy season to winter, from November to March, with temperatures a bit lower than the average. “Winter” on Maui is the biggest tourist season as visitors leave the ice and snow of their hometowns, escaping to Hawaii’s much milder version of the season. With temperatures in the 70s and 80s, winter on Maui is still considered paradise.

What’s more, while the rainy season may bring daily afternoon thunderstorms on any part of the island, they rarely last more than a few minutes and often result in stunning rainbows, once again proving that Hawaiian weather is truly one of the region’s greatest assets.

Actual rainfall amounts vary steeply according to region. While the tropical region of Hana, located on Maui’s windward side, generally experiences over eight inches of rain in January, Kaanapali, located on the island’s drier leeward side, receives only half that amount in the same month.

Maui’s mountainous regions do experience extremely low temperatures and even see some snowfall. On top of Haleakalā, the huge volcano on the east of the island peaking of 10,023 feet, temperatures fall quickly as you climb upwards, falling below freezing at the highest elevation, a far cry from the tropical climate that lies below.


Average monthly temperature and precipitation on Maui





Severe Weather

There’s a joke that Hawaii is the perfect spot for retired meteorologists. While the microclimates from one location to the next make the Maui a fascinating study in diverse weather patterns, those patterns are remarkably consistent.

Hurricane season is technically from June to November, although hurricanes are rare. The last hurricane to hit Hawaii was Hurricane Iniki, which struck the region in 1992. It was the strongest hurricane to hit Hawaii in recorded history, most notably damaging the island of Kauai, which it hit at peak intensity, destroying thousands of homes and leaving a majority of the island without power.

Rare as they may be, Hawaii has prepared for the future possibility of large storms. The State, along with FEMA, signed the Hawaii Catastrophic Hurricane Response Operations Plan in 2009, a plan that predicts outcomes should a Category 4 hurricane strike the region, including scheduled drills and an outlined plan for federal assistance in such an occurrence.

Pacific Coast Tsunamis are also a concern in Maui, but again, they are extremely rare. Japan’s 2011 earthquake and associated tsunami had very little effect on Hawaii as a whole, and incidences of similar earthquakes and tsunamis throughout history have been few and far between.


  • Detailed forecasts on each of Maui’s regions with an interactive map is available at Hawaii Weather Today,
  • Online weather reports are issued at Weather Underground, including wind and humidity reports and predicted sunrise and sunset
  • Local TV news station KHON provides reports for Maui, and Hawaii in general,, as well as news hub Hawaii News Now, representing affiliated news stations KHNL and KGMB




For many residents and visitors, surfing is one of Maui’s biggest draws, and the sport is hugely impacted by the weather on a day-to-day basis. The prevalence of surfing in Maui means there are a number of reliable sources citing weather conditions that specifically relate to surfing. Check the global surf report website Surfline for reports for each of Maui’s regions, with predicted winds, tides and surf height,

Website OMaui also provides a daily, detailed surf report, an extended swell forecast and daily surf photos,

Severe Weather Alerts

In addition to the news and weather outlets listed above, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration provides a constantly updated list of weather watches, warnings and advisories for Hawaii,

What should I know about volcanoes?

Hawaii’s volcanoes provide some of its wondrous natural beauty. The mountainous volcanic regions mark some of the state’s most visited parks, home to hiking trails, waterfalls and breathtaking vistas.

Of course, the possibility of hot lava and ash eruptions make volcanoes as intimidating as they are beautiful. While eruptions are a possibility among the active volcanoes in Hawaii, they aren’t likely to affect you, or to be something you have to worry about very often. And should an eruption that would affect the population become even a remote possibility, rest assured, the sites are well monitored, and warnings to locals and visitors very well publicized.

East Maui’s Haleakala, a volcano reaching a peak of over 10,000 feet, is one of the island’s most remarkable geographic structures, having formed more than 75 percent of the island over the years. It’s eruptive history, indicated by its hardened lava formations, points to at least ten eruptions in the last 1,000 years. Although its last eruption was roughly 500 years ago, a seeming eternity to us humans, geologists point out that volcanoes are considered active if they’ve erupted at all since around the last ice age, 10,000 to 15,000 years ago.

Therefore the volcano is constantly monitored. Geologists use a number of methods to do so, including global system technology, which measures any growth of the site, something that can indicate upcoming activity. Scientists also look out for air vents emitting sulfur at the volcano.

On the nearby island of Hawaii you’ll find volcanoes that have erupted in the much more recent past. Mauna Loa and Kilauea are located in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, one of the state’s most visited attractions. The former last erupted in 1984, producing a channelized flow of lava and ending three weeks later without putting nearby homes or other civilization in danger. The latter has been erupting continuously since 1983, with lava flows covering over 48 square miles to date, destroying 214 structures and burying nearly nine miles of highway.

Visit the United States Geological Survey for detailed descriptions and histories of all of Hawaii’s volcanoes, including Haleakala:

Plants and Animals

What kinds of plants and animals live in Maui?

Because of Maui’s lush and consistent natural climate, the island is home to a vibrant and thriving variety of plant and animal life. Just to name a few, plant species include Coconut Palm trees, the Koa trees prized for their durable wood and plentiful Ti Leaf plants with colorful red, purple, pink or even striped leaves. Fruit trees abound in Maui, as well, including banana plants, macadamia nut trees, mango trees and papaya trees.

The island is also home to a stunning number of diverse and colorful flowers thanks, again, to the diverse but largely warm climate. Some of these, such as the lilies and roses that abound on Maui, are more common varieties. But you’ll find plenty of exotic tropical flowers, as well, including the striking Bird of Paradise plants, the Protea flowering trees that originally hail from South Africa and the lovely hibiscus plants that many associate with Hawaii due to their prevalence there.

For the very same reasons plant life does so well in Maui, and in Hawaii in general, there is an incredibly varied list of both land and sea animals that make their home in this tropical paradise. Among the most interesting species you may discover are wild boar, the spotted Axis Deer and the hoary bat, which is reported to be the only native mammal in the region. The mongoose, originally introduced in the 1800s to quell the rat problem there, is also common in Maui, so abundant that many consider them a nuisance.

Sea life in Maui includes a number of beautiful species visible during snorkeling, diving or boat trips, and includes the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle, Manta Ray, Butterfly Fish and many varieties of sea cucumbers and sea stars.

Whale watching is one of the number one attractions in Maui, thanks in large part to the Humpback Whales that travel to the island from Alaskan feeding waters each winter, with peak months being February and March. Hawaiian Monk Seals, and Spinner Dolphins are also favorites among marine life in the region.

There are a number of excellent resources for learning more about the plant and animal life on Maui, some of which are listed below.


  • The Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge on Maui is an excellent spot for viewing some of the region’s native plants and animals, and the park’s website provides information about the species you might see,
  • The non-profit Hawaii Wildlife Center provides detailed information on some of the native species most in need of conservation efforts in Maui and other regions,
  • Visit the Hawaii Audubon Society site for an excellent resource on birding in Maui, with a downloadable Maui Birding Guide,!maui-birding/cwp0
  • The Butterfly Society of Hawaii provides in depth information about the 17 species of butterfly that live on the Hawaiian islands,


Gardening in Maui

The sunshine and frequent enough rainfall in Maui make it an excellent spot for home gardens, as well as for large-scale agriculture. In an effort to promote local farming efforts, the Maui County Farm Bureau has launched the “Grown on Maui” campaign to expand the market share of local farmers, keeping them in business while preserving the island’s agricultural heritage. Sugarcane and pineapple are two of the major crops grown on Maui, as well as bananas, coffee and a variety of other fruits and vegetables.

Home gardening in Maui can be as time consuming as you’d like, with a huge variety of hearty plants that easily thrive in the temperate region without much care, as well as the possibility to plant exotic plants that need a bit more nurturing. Home vegetable and fruit gardens are plentiful on the island, as well. Maui is home to a number of nurseries and public gardens that may serve as excellent resources when deciding what to plant, and when.

To learn more about gardening, try visiting these resources:

  • The University of Hawaii Cooperative Extension Office, which offers information about native species, soil conditions and pest control,
  • Also part of the Cooperative Extension, the Maui County Master Gardener Program, according to its website, serves to provide the public with information regarding sustainable management practices for home gardens, urban environments and more,
  • The Maui County Farm Bureau, which provides information on educational opportunities, local foods and restaurant guides and details about the Maui County Agricultural Festival, held yearly on the first Saturday in April,
  • The State of Hawaii Department of Agriculture, with a home page that includes a database of agricultural and food products grown locally, links and resources for gardening in Hawaii and a history of agriculture in the state,


To see firsthand what type of shrubs and plants grow well locally, visit one of the area’s public gardens:

  • The National Tropical Botanical Garden, with a focus on plants of the Pacific region, including native Hawaiian species, as well as plants from Polynesia, Micronesia and Melanesia,
  • The Kula Botanical Garden, providing tours of their eight acres of gardens, with hundreds of varieties of plants, including a large collection of native Hawaiian plants,
  • Maui Nui Botanical Gardens allows the public to explore its unique collection of plants, as it strives to protect the region’s native species and cultural traditions,
  • The Garden of Eden Arboretum is home to over 500 indigenous and exotic plants, trees and flowers on its expansive 26 acres, located along the famed Hana Highway,


Chapter 34

Sports & Recreation

It will come as no surprise to those who have recently moved to Maui that recreational activities typically revolve around getting outdoors. If it’s to stroll along the shore of one of Maui’s breathtaking beaches or to participate in the numerous water or adventure sports that the island has to offer, Maui has recreational activities for the thrill seeker and low-key vacationer alike.

Recreation and Water Activities

Parks on Maui

Whether you’re looking for a place to fish or a youth basketball league, a good place to start your search is your nearest parks and recreation department. Maui Parks and Recreation Department oversees 130 parks throughout the island. Many offer soccer and baseball fields, basketball courts, and swimming pools in addition to facilities for those who need meeting rooms or just a place to play. The Parks and Recreation website offers a listing of county parks along with a search function for park facilities so you can find exactly what you’re looking for be it playgrounds or canoe rentals. County of Maui Department of Parks and Recreation, 700 Halia Nakoa Street, War Memorial Complex Wailuku, 808-270-7230,

There are eight Hawaii State Parks on Maui boasting stunning scenery in some of the more remote locations on the island. Many parks have areas for picnicking, hiking trails and campgrounds for the outdoor adventurer. A great place to start is Iao Valley State Park which was rated #3 in U.S. News and World Reports list of “Best Things to Do in Maui”. There are botanical gardens, hiking trails with varying degrees of difficulty and, of course, the majestic Iao Needle—a green colored rock standing 1,200 in the remote Hawaiian wilderness. Located at the end of ‘Iao Valley Road (Highway 32), Iao Valley, visitors should contact the Hawaii State Parks Maui District Office for more information on all the state parks at 54 South High Street, Room 101, Wailuku, 808-984-8109,

When it comes to the parks of Maui it is truly case of an embarrassment of riches. Where to go first? It all depends on what you’re looking for but one “cannot miss” spot is Haleakala, the single National Park on Maui. More than 30,000 acres make up this park on the remote eastern shore of Maui that includes both mountain summits and gorgeous coastline. Visitors can hike to the summit of the Haleakala volcano where, if conditions are favorable, one can see five Hawaiian islands in the seascape below.

Haleakala National Park is home to endangered species and offers sweeping ocean vistas, waterfalls and miles of unspoiled wilderness for the nature-lover who wants to get away from it all. The park does not have a physical address but directions are available on-line. You may be able to find it with your GPS using these addresses: Haleakala National Park Summit area entrance: 30,000 Haleakala Highway, Kula (add 10 miles to this). Kipahulu area entrance: Mile Marker 42 Hana Highway, Hana. Call 808-572-440 or visit



Of course the first thing that most people associate with the state of Hawaii is the gorgeous beaches. There are numerous resources claiming to list the “best beaches on Maui” but when it comes to visiting the beaches of the island, it’s hard to go wrong. Maui has more than 120 miles of coastline and 30 miles of beaches many of which regularly make lists of the top 100 beaches in the world. As you decide where to begin, take a look at the suggestions below as well as this comprehensive listing of beaches on Maui for locations and directions: and here for information on water sports available at each site.

U.S. News and World Reports listed Kaihalulu, Wailea and Ho’okipa beaches among the top five “Best Things to Do in Maui” and it’s not hard to see why. The first is perhaps the most unique on Maui and even the world with red sand beaches thanks to volcanic cinders. Be aware that visiting Kaihalulu is likely not for those seeking a relaxing day of sunbathing as access requires a 10 minute hike down a steep slope. Still, if you’re up for the challenge, locals and visitors alike agree that it’s well worth the trip. For a change of pace, head to Wailea on the southwestern shore to experience what is Maui’s swankiest beach with white sands and great surfing. Ho’okipa is also a popular surfing location for true daredevils—the ocean is often too rough for swimming—but the scenery can’t be beat.

If you’re looking for more sedate water sports (think snorkeling and swimming), look no further than Kapalua and Kaanapali beaches. Kapalua features calm waters and gently swaying palm trees due to the lava rocks that reach into the ocean protecting the shoreline. Kaanapali hosts the Whaler’s Village Shopping Center as well as some of the best snorkeling on the island thanks to clear waters and a wide range of tropical fish who call the area home.


There are 14 golf courses located on Maui, several that are regularly ranked among the best in the world. No matter where you live on the island, there is likely a golf course near you. Check out the comprehensive list at as well as these suggestions of some of the most stunning courses Hawaii has to offer.

  • Kappalua Plantation Course is the site of the PGA Hyundai Tournament of Champions and was selected as the Best Golf Course in Hawaii by Golf Digest Magazine. 2000 Plantation Club Drive in Lahaina, 877-527-2582,
  • Wailea Golf Club features three challenging courses with stunning views rated among the best on Maui by Golf Digest Magazine. 100 Wailea Golf Club Drive in Wailea, 808-875-7450,
  • Waiehu Municipal Golf Course is one of Maui’s two excellent public golf courses. Enjoy the beauty of golf in Maui at an affordable rate. Lower Waiehu Beach Road, Waiehu, Wailuku, 808- 244-5934,

Boating and Sailing

Perhaps the best way to appreciate Maui’s beauty is from the water that surrounds it. Charter boats, boat rentals and boat tours abound on Maui. Anyone over the age of 15 is allowed to operate a boat in Hawaii, but a recent law requires that all boaters complete a boating safety course by November 2014 and carry their certification with them when on the water.

Owning a boat on Maui may be the ultimate dream realized but, unfortunately, the limited mooring space has resulted in a waitlist multiple years long for the purchase of permanent boat slips. If you own a boat, your best bet will be to arrange off-shore mooring or to rent a slip. However, there are no guarantees that one will be available when needed. In some instances boat owners have been able to make a private deal with a permanent slip owner to rent space from them. For more information about purchasing or renting a boat slip, contact the harbor and ramp facilities found here:

Given the logistical challenges of owning a boat on Maui you may find it preferable to avoid the worry and charter a boat when you’d like or enjoy one of Maui’s many boat tours. Some highlights are listed below and a comprehensive list can be found here:


  • Blue Water Rafting, 808-879-7238,; For a slightly more adventurous experience on the water, Blue Water Rafting’s highly rated snorkeling tours, whale watching excursions and opportunities to swim with marine life can’t be beat. Private charters are also available on request.
  • Lahaina Cruise Company, 658 Front Street in Lahaina, 808-667-6165,; A wide variety of boat tours including snorkeling expeditions, sunset cruises, whale watching, and private charters.
  • Pride of Maui, 101 Maalaea Boat Harbor Road, Slip #68 in Wailuku, 808-242-0955,; A large fleet and every imaginable kind of tour in both length and experience available. Enjoy a snorkeling adventure on Molokini, a relaxing sunset cocktail cruise or charter a boat to experience second-to-none customer service.


The fish caught in the waters surrounding Maui are among some of the largest and most prized in the world. It is worth noting that Hawaii is the only place in the world where marlin weighing more than 1,000 pounds have been caught during every month of the year. Thanks to the gorgeous climate, nearly all species of fish can be caught year round.

Sport fishing from deep sea charter boats is certainly widely available but off-shore and shore fishing are also options and particularly good ones for those nervous about boating or for small children. You can always strike off on your own to do some shore fishing from Maui’s beaches although make sure to be aware of your surroundings and follow the rules and regulations of the individual beach. For deep sea charters and other guided experiences, here are some of the most popular fishing experiences on Maui.

  • Extreme Sport Fishing is a family owned and operated business specializing in day-long deep sea fishing excursions. Four charter boats are available. 808 250-6563 or
  • Fish Maui offers everything from deep sea charters to shore fishing guides to spear fishing. Their website is full of great information on the best seasons to go fishing on Maui depending on what kind of fish you hope to catch. 808-344-3520 or
  • Luckey Strike is a small, family owned operation with two highly regarded fishing charter boats available. They offer four, six and eight hour fishing trips depending on what experience you’re looking for. 800-474-4606 or


No other sport is as iconic to Hawaii as surfing. Whether you’re an experienced surfer or just starting out, Maui’s shores have the beaches, and the waves, you’ll need. For beginners, there is no shortage of surfing instructors and classes to help you get started. Before you start out for the day, check out for the most comprehensive surfing reports and web cams available.

For the casual or beginning surfer, heading out in the calmer waters of beaches in Lahaina, Kaanapali, and Kihei on the western and southern shores is advisable. Visit for an overview of the beaches that offer surfing and other water sports to find the spot that will best meet your skill level.

For the professional surfer or those who want to watch the pros in action, head to Honoluha Bay during the winter months. The rocky bluffs make this area a poor choice for sunbathing but offer an exciting front row seat to watch experienced surfers ride the waves. The water is significantly calmer during the summer months making this a great place for snorkeling and swimming.

Surfing Instruction

  • Maui Beach Boys serving Kihei and Lahaina areas with highly-rated professional instruction, surf camps, and a fun atmosphere. 808–283-7114 or
  • Maui Surf Clinic is Hawaii’s oldest surfing institution offering group, semi-private and private surfing lessons and clinics as well as paddle board lessons in the Lahaina area. 808.244.7873 or
  • Maui Surfer Girls is recognized nationally for girls-only surf camps with the mission of building self-confidence and empowering women and girls through surfing. They also offer highly rated surfing instruction to women, men and children of all ages with small class sizes of 4:1 in the greater Lahaina and Kihei areas. 808-214-0606 or

Windsurfing and Kiteboarding

For the thrill seeker on Maui, there are no better activities than wind and kite surfing. Windsurfing is a combination of surfing and sailing while kite surfing is similar but with a controllable kite, rather than a sail, that propels the user across the water and into even into the air.

Ho’okipa, Spreckelsville, Kanaha and Kihei are among some of the more popular sites for wind and kite surfers but there are some restrictions around where kite surfers in particular may be in the water. Maui Kite Boarder Association ( has resources identifying the beaches where kiteboarding is allowed and other important regulations to be aware of.

For the beginning wind or kite surfer, connecting with the experts for instruction and equipment rental is advisable for safety and financial reasons. Purchasing your own equipment is very expensive!

  • Action Sports Maui provides highly rated lessons as well as beachside rentals on the northern and southern shores. Instruction offered in kiteboarding, windsurfing, surfing and paddle boarding. 22 Alahele Street in Kahului, (808) 871-5857 or
  • Aqua Sports Maui specializes in private kiteboarding lessons at every skill level—from beginner to semi-pro. Kite Beach Kahului, (808) 242-8015,
  • Kite Boarding School of Maui is designed to meet the every need of the kite boarder with equipment for sale and rent as well as lessons for every skill level. All instructors are registered with the International Kite Boarder organization. 400 Hana Highway Kahului, 808-873-0015,
  • Maui Wind Surf Company caters especially to the windsurfing enthusiast with private and semi-private lessons, windsurfing van rental and equipment rental at Maui’s only windsurfing equipment rental drive through!

Scuba and Snorkeling

Snorkeling is one of the most popular water activities for visitors to Maui although the conditions for snorkeling depend heavily on the weather and time of year. The shores on the southern end of the island have more favorable conditions in the winter months while the northern and western beaches offer gentler surf in the summer. There are numerous resources on-line to help you select the site that best matches your needs and skill level but one of the most comprehensive can be found at which also includes maps.

Some great spots to start for easy entry and fairly shallow waters include Kapalua Bay, Kahekili Beach Park, and Wahikuli State Park in western Maui. On the southern side of the island try Kamaole Beach Parks, Wailea Point, Maluaka Beach. Additionally, most boat cruises and charters in the area offer snorkeling expeditions as do the dive operators listed below.

Scuba diving is another popular way to enjoy the underwater beauty that surrounds Maui. Scuba operators launch dive boats from four locations on the island so which one you choose should depend on your skill and comfort level underwater. If you’re not scuba certified many dive schools offer course and certification in just a few hours’ time. The best time to go scuba diving on Maui is in the morning before trade winds move in during the afternoon making the water choppier. Since the western shore is more protected from the wind, some operators have excursions departing in the afternoon as well from that area.

  • B&B Scuba is a good choice for beginning divers since they offer intro to scuba and certifications classes. There is a retail location for the purchase of wetsuits, fins and more for the experienced diver purchasing his or her own equipment. 1280 South Kihei Road in Kihei, 1-808-875-2861,
  • Lahaina Divers is the largest diving school on the island offering instruction, certification, dives for all skills levels, and private charters. Originates on the western shore. 143 Dickenson Street Suite #100 in Lahaina, 808-667-7496,
  •  Maui Dive Shop is a great choice for the beginning diver looking for instruction and certification or for the experienced diver who is seeking equipment rentals. Maui Dive Shop offers all of this as well as snorkeling in the popular Molokini area. 1.808.879.1775 ext#3 or
  • Mike Severns Diving is best suited for a slightly more skilled diver but focuses on the overall experience for its divers rather than time limits on the dive. Their dives originate in Kihei and the locations of dives are determined on a day-by-day basis depending on where conditions are most favorable. (808) 879-6596 or

Recreational Sports and Fitness

Recreation on Maui isn’t limited to water sports and activities. There are many opportunities to get outdoors and participate in recreational sports for both adults and children. While it’s true that the climate is gorgeous year-round, for the days it’s a bit too warm for you or a rare rainstorm blows in, there are plenty of indoor facilities located on the island as well.

The Maui County Parks and Recreation Department lists many of the area sporting leagues both those associated with the Parks and Rec Department and those that aren’t. Search by sport and find out what leagues are in your area by visiting the Resource Directory at



  • Central Maui Youth Basketball League serving Kahului, Wailuku, Kihei and the Upcountry for children ages 6-15, 808-250-4370
  • Menehune Basketball offers teams for boys and girls grades 6-8, 808-270-7392
  • Parks and Recreation Department teams are available for men, women and children of all ages. Visit
  • to find the most appropriate league or call 808-270-7230


Cycling is a very popular activity in Maui thanks to the climate, many paved shoulders and bike lanes and, of course, beautiful scenery. Many bike shops and cycling groups cater to the avid cyclists on vacation or the causal biker who wants to see Maui at a more relaxed pace. However, many of these groups offer rentals and bike maps to the cyclist who wants to strike off on their own or with friends.

  • Boss Frog’s Cycles provides bike sales, rentals and service as well as resources and tips to riders from their Lahaina and Kihei locations.
  • Go Cycling Maui’s bike tours are intended for the more experienced cyclist visiting Maui. They also offer rentals, cycling camps, a full service cycling shop and bike maps on their website. 99 Hana Highway in Paia, 808-579-9009,
  • West Maui Cycles offers sales, service and rentals from their location in Lahaina. 1087 Limahana Place, #6, (808) 661-9005,


Gymnastics is as popular as ever, and many of these gyms are now also offering cheer classes. Not just for the sidelines anymore, cheerleading is a serious competitive youth sport. In addition to school teams, these facilities offer classes and some have their own independent teams.

  • Maui Elite Gymanastics and Cheerleading Academy, 200 Waiheu Beach Road in Wailuku, 808-877-5800
  • Maui Tumblers, 808-205-7922,
  • Valley Isle Gymnastics, 250 Alamaha Street Suite N-3 in Kahului, 808-871-6116,


  • Aloha Dance provides Latin and Ballroom Dance lessons and competitions to the community from their location in Kihei.
  • Konomi Dance Works is Maui’s hip-hop dance studio with classes for adults and children. They also offer classes in other styles of dance such as ballet, tap and jazz. 70 Kanoa Street Suite 103 in Wailuku,

Disc Golf

Disc golf or Frisbee golf, has a loyal following locally that enjoys a host of local places to play both competitively and just for fun. DG (Disc Golf) Course Review, www.dgcoursereview, provides a search engine for players to find the course that best meets their skill level including several on the island of Maui.


There are few better ways to explore Maui’s many beaches and rugged hiking trails than on horseback. Many tours cater to visitors wanting to explore the island in a unique way but many also offer challenging trail riding for the experienced rider. Make sure to call ahead as many stables are located on remote parts of the island and you’ll want to verify space before arriving.

  • Ironwood Ranch can be found in the west Maui mountains. Rides vary in participant skill level from beginner to advance. 808-669-4991,
  • Lahaina Stables offers historical, lunch and sunset trail rides, 808-667-2222,
  • Makena Stables is located in a remote, eastern area of the island to better offer the most rugged trails and physical strenuous rides for advanced riders. 808- 879-0244,
  • Piiholo Ranch offers a variety of different types of rides as well as lessons for those who want to develop their horsemanship skills, (808) 270-8750,


This sport is up and coming in Hawaii schools and now also has some independent teams, too. Try Hawaii Lacrosse, to get started with this fast-paced sport.

Martial Arts

Adult or child, amateur or pro, you can find a place to learn and practice judo, karate and other martial arts in Wilmington and surrounding areas. A listing of Martial Arts Academies and Do-Jos can be found here: The groups below hold classes on Maui or can help you find a school that best meets your needs:

  • Kiffman Tae Kwon Do and Fitness, 111 Hana Highway in Kahului, (808) 877-4311,
  • Maui Jiu Jitsu, 810 Haiku Road in Haiku, 808-575-9930,
  • Maui Martial Arts, 830 Kolu Street in Wailuku, 808-333-2980,
  • Ohana Martial Arts, 255 Alamaha Street in Kahului, 808-877-5435,
  • USA National Karate-Do Federation,
  • USA Taekwondo,


There are a number of canoe clubs on Maui with Maui Canoe Club,, being the largest. Outings are schedules daily on weekdays and meet at Sugar Beach on North Kihei Road. Kihei Canoe Club,, is among the oldest clubs on Maui and offers racing for adults and children with a focus on preserving Hawaiian culture. To find other rowing groups throughout the state of Hawaii, browse the “Rowing Clubs by State” list compiled by U.S. Rowing,


While driving through Maui on the weekends, you’re likely to see runners participating in one of the many local races or group runs for charity or for sport. These events are indicator of how big running is in Hawaii and across the country. Running in the USA,, provides a list of clubs by state or you can search for one by zip code at USA Track & Field, The largest local group on Maui is the Valley Isle Roadrunner’s Club,, which has races, trainings and youth programs.


  • Hawaii Soccer Association offers adult leagues on four different Hawaiian islands, including Maui. Email to join a team or visit for more information.
  • Hawaii Soccer Federation has the most competitive league play on the island for adults and young people. 1683 Nana Street #3 in Wailuku, www.hawaii
  • Maui United Soccer Club offers soccer teams for children and teens ages 4-18 at a variety of skills levels. (808) 463-4414 or


  • Maui Girls Softball Association, (808) 276-3315 or
  • Maui Parks and Recreation Department offers fast-pitch softball for girls in south Maui, 303 East Lipoa Street in Kihei, (808) 879-4533


For recreational swimming, head to one of Maui’s city pools, (808) 270-6137, which offer swim classes and open swimming. The County Parks and Recreation Department also manages a lifeguard program. Here are a few other places you can visit to find places to join a local swim team:

  • Maui Dolphins Swim Club provides competitive swim teams for children of all ages. 90 Pukalani St, Makawao, 808-280-4257,
  • Maui Masters Swim Club is for adults ages 18 and up who want to participate in fitness swimming or competitive swimming at four different locations across Maui. Membership is required.
  • Valley Isle Masters Swimmers hosts workouts and swim events at several locations across the island.


Public tennis courts abound throughout the island. Check your local parks and recreation department and the listings below. There are also high-end private tennis clubs with state of the art facilities and instruction available to members.


  • Aloha Volleyball Association offers indoor and beach volleyball play as well as summer camps, 808-298-9623,

Health Clubs and Gyms

A complete listing of health clubs grouped by geographic location can be found at Here are some of the larger facilities on Maui:

Maui Family YMCA

The Maui YMCA, 250 Konaloa Avenue is located centrally on Maui in Kahului. The facility offers sports, group fitness, child care, and much more. It has an aquatics program and other activities such as summer camps for children. For more information on programs, rates and membership, go to or call 808-242-9007.




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