Maui is the second largest of all the islands that make up the state of

    Hawaii, and with a population of nearly 118,000 in 2000, it’s also the

    third most populous. Maui got its name from the legendary demigod

    Maui, who is said to have pulled the islands from the sea. The island is

    also frequently called Valley Isle for the isthmus between its northwest

    and southeast volcanoes, which merged into one island when lava flows

    cooled. Its eastern sides are marked by deep valleys and steep ravines that

    run down to rocky shorelines. The island is part of a much larger set of

    islands, including Lana’i, Kaho’olawe and Moloka’i. When sea levels are

    reduced, they are all joined together into a single island because of the

    hallowness of the channels connecting them — but don’t expect to see

    this anytime soon: the last time sea levels were low enough to show the

    land-bridges was 20,000 years ago.

    Originally discovered and settled by Polynesians from Tahiti and the

    Marquesas, Maui was also “discovered” by Captain James Cook in 1778.

    Cook never actually landed because the rocky shoreline prevented him

    from finding a suitable spot to go ashore. Soon after, in 1786, the French

    admiral Jean Francois de la Perouse made landfall. (He would actually

    visit Maui again in 1788.) It wasn’t much later that Europeans realized

    the value of the islands’ vast rainforests as well as the potential whaling

    industry — and the potential to “civilize” the natives. Missionaries came in

    droves, nearly destroying the native culture by forcing the natives to wear

    clothes, outlawing the hula, and other changes. However, they also

    created the 12-letter Hawaiian alphabet and began making written

    records of the history of the culture.

    In 1790, King Kamehameha attacked Maui from his base on the Big

    Island — though he wasn’t successful in this attempt to take over Maui, he

    returned a few years later and managed to bring the island into his

    growing Hawaiian empire.

    As the whaling and logging industries faded in Maui, today’s major

    industries took over: agriculture and tourism. Maui’s major exports are

    coffee, macadamia nuts, fruits such as papaya and pineapple, sugar and

    tropical flowers. Maui has also become an important center for astronom

    ical research, thanks to its clear views of the night sky, elevation and

    climate, which allows year-round observation.

    Maui is also well known as the leading whale watching spot in Ha

    waii. Each year, humpbacks migrate south from Alaskan waters and

    winter in and near the Au’au Channel between the islands. Between

    October and April is prime whale sighting season, as they mate and give

    birth in the warm waters during those months.

    Today Maui draws visitors from all over the world. Some come for

    the incredible natural sights, some come for the food, some for the

    culture — and some come just to drink it all in. There’s a little something

    for everyone in Maui that makes it well worth the trip from Oahu.


    Maui is perhaps better known for its nature and historical offerings

    than for its art scene, but there is at least one place you can always find

    excellent performances and exhibits: the Maui Arts and Cultural Center, Established in 1994, the center hosts more than 1,800

    events each year, ranging from traditional Hawaiian arts to major nation-


    al and international performers. Hula performances abound, as do

    symphony recitals, dance performances and children’s art exhibitions.

    The center hosts ongoing traditional cultural programs for both children

    and adults. On the calendar this year are acts such as John Legend, a

    ukulele festival and the Mark Morris Dance Group.


    Maui is rife with music. On any weekend you can find local musi

    cians at the bars, clubs and restaurants. There are concerts and exhibi

    tions throughout the year all over Maui — check for

    the latest information.


    Maui boasts an ever-growing number of renowned restaurants. The

    following are just a few highlights to look out for on your visit to the


    . Kaso Sushi Bar — Many of the locals consider this the best sushi

    on the island — and in an island full of sushi, that says a lot. Kaso

    may be located in a small strip mall, but don t let that deter you.

    They serve very traditional Japanese cuisine — and if you aren’t

    sure what to order, ask for the chef’s choice and allow him to

    create a very special, completely one-of-a-kind meal for you.

    Capische — An Diner’s Choice winner in 2009

    and the recipient of Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellent,

    Capische serves an innovative French/Italian menu in a

    spectacular setting. Choose the dining room with a view of the

    south shore, or relax to the sounds of soft piano in the martini


    La.haina Grill — Located in the historic Lahaina Inn, the Grill has

    been voted the Best Maui Restaurant a whopping 11 years in a

    row in a Honolulu Magazinec reader poll. It has also been Fodor’s


    Choice twice and has received 5 Opentable.corn awards. With a

    signature meal called the Cakewalk (a sampler of kona lobster

    crab cakes, seared ahi tuna cake, and a sweet Louisiana rock

    shrimp cake) as well as 350 wines to choose from — this is one

    eatery that should go on your “must visit” list.

    www. lahainagrill. corn

    David Paul’s Island Grill — The menu at this eatery has been

    called both “new island cuisine” and “high-end comfort food” —

    either way, you are sure to get a fantastic meal at David Paul’s.

    Listed as one of Gourmet’s Americas Top Tables, Bon Appetit’s

    Restaurant of the Month and given three stars by C’onde Nast

    Traveler (not to mention countless other awards and

    commendations for both the chef and the restaurant), David Paul

    buys only the freshest island ingredients and lets the food speak

    fõr itself. Be sure to take a walk through the wine cellar — and

    pick the label you’d like to accompany your meal.

    www. davidpaulsislandgrill. corn


    For those interested in soaking up some of the history of the area, a

    visit to the following is definitely in order.


    . LahainaKaanapali Railroad –  Known locally as the “Sugarcane

    Train” this historic steam engine relives the way Islanders traveled

    at the height of the sugarcane industry. Travel over a 325-foot

    curved wooden trestle — and be on the lookout for humpback

    whales in the waters below, especially between the months of

    December and

    Alexander & Baldwin Sugar Museum — Located right next to

    Hawaii’s largest working sugar factory, this museum is dedicated

    to preserving the history of the sugar industry in Maui. The

    museum addresses not oniy the establishment and growth of the


    industry itself, but also sugar’s influence on the development of

    water resources and the ethnic makeup of the island. Exhibits

    include a display on the inner workings of a sugar mill and

    plantation as well as pioneers in the sugar industry.

    www. sugarmuseum. corn

    Whalers’ Village Whaling Museum — From 1825 to 1860 Maui

    was a major center for the whaling industry, due to the winter

    migration of whales to the area. The Whaling Museum features a

    recreated forecastle of a whaling ship as well as exhibits of

    ornaments made from whale ivory. It also contains one of the

    largest scale models of a whaling ship, allowing you to get up

    close to what life was really like on one of these vessels. It also

    houses a prize collection of 19”-century scrimshaw. The museum

    is located in Whaler’s Village, one of the premier oceanfront

    shopping districts — in case not everyone in your party is

    interested in baleen and spears.


    Maui is lucky to be full of natural features — and centers that feature

    nature. While you are there, be sure to take a drive down Hana highway

    — a 68-mile stretch of road that connects Kahului with Hana. This very

    winding, narrow stretch of pavement takes you through iush, tropical

    rainforests with waterfalls galore. And at the end you’ll find the Seven

    Sacred Pools. See below for our list of off-road highlights.

    . Haleakala National Park — Legend has it the great demigod

    Maui imprisoned the sun in Haleakala in order to lengthen the

    day. The park is known for its volcanic features and unusually

    clear night views. While there, be sure to catch the sunrise from

    the summit of Haleakala volcano, and spend the day exploring

    the crater. Pay special attention to the famous cinder cones

    scattered over the two-mile-wide crater.


    Waimoku Falls — The falls are found inside Haleakala National

    Park, at the end of the Pipiwai Trail, and are the largest in Maui.

    Water tumbles its way down a 400-foot wall made of sheer lava

    into a rocky pool below. The hike to the falls is about four miles

    round trip, and come prepared to get muddy.

    lao Valley State Park — In central Maui, this gorgeous park is

    home to the lao Needle — a 1,200-foot rock peak overlooking lao

    Stream. The park also has historical significance: it was here that

    King Kamehameha fought the Battle of Kepaniwai in 1790. This

    was another attempt of his to unify the islands under his rule —

    and this time, he won. While you are in the park, take advantage

    of the rainforest walks and the interactive exhibits at the nature


    Maui Ocean Center — Visit a living reef with moray eels, octopi,

    sea horses and nocturnal fish. Or take in the sea turtle lagoon,

    with land and underwater views of the turtles. Check out

    hammerhead harbor to get up close and personal with

    hammerhead sharks, and take the little ones to the tide pooi, to

    touch, pick up and interact with water life native to Maui. The

    Ocean center is dedicated to perpetuating coastal life and native

    species, all while showcasing Hawaii’s language, mythology and



    As you can see, Maui is full of exciting places to go and interesting

    things to see. There are also many festivals held on the island each year

    that may be of interest. Here are a few more places and activities you

    might want to consider during your trip to Maui.

    . International Festival of Canoes — Canoes came to Maui with

    the original settlers, and this festival celebrates and preserves that

    heritage. Watch canoe-carving demonstrations, long board


    surfing, thatched-roof making and participate in cultural arts

    lessons. At the end of the festival, watch the parade of canoes and

    the sunset launch of canoes completed over the course of the


    Maui Onion Festival — Georgia has the Vidalia, and Maui has

    the Kula — onion. The kula onion is believed by many to be the

    sweetest in the world. This annual festival in Whaler’s Village

    includes recipe contests, cooking demos and a special onion

    pairing dinner.

    East Maui Taro Festival — Most people associate poi with

    Hawaii, and for good reason. This festival celebrates the

    importance of the taro (from which poi is made) in Maui’s

    history and culture throughout the years. Look forward to poi

    poundings, a farmer’s market and especially the taro pancake breakfast.

    Source Interactive Arts Festival — Perhaps Hawaii’s version of

    Burning Man, this huge interactive arts festival is one in which

    the attendees ARE the art. Source suggests attending the festival

    with a heavy dose of grace and good attitude — and an open mind

    to boot.

    Maui’s wide variety of cultural opportunities makes it the perfect

    weekend trip for those living on Oahu. For more information on what to

    do and where to go check out





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