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Maui Information

Maui is the second largest island in Hawaiian archipelago with a population of just over 130,000 residents. Shaped like a figure eight, Maui is comprised of two volcanic peaks: Mauna Kahalawai (5,788 feet) in the west and the world's largest dormant volcano, Mt. Haleakala (10,023 feet) in the southeast. An isthmus straddles these peaks and gives Maui its nickname, the "Valley Isle." Twice voted Best Island in the World by Conde Nast Traveler reader's poll, Maui offers 120 miles of shoreline with over 80 sandy beaches. Diverse geography includes ranchlands, dense sugar cane and pineapple fields, hidden waterfalls, barren stretches of lava fields, lush valleys and tropical rainforests with rare and endangered plants and animals found nowhere else on the planet. Maui offers four main vacation destinations: The North Shore, Upcountry, South Maui and West Maui.

The North Shore (Spreckelsville, Paia and Kuau)

Maui's laid back North Shore attracts an eclectic mix of surfers, windsurfers, artists, yuppies, Europeans and free-spirits. You'll find the North Shore's only traffic stop in the small, historic plantation town of Paia. This informal and inviting coastal town of colorfully painted storefronts offers an unexpected mix of friendly bistros, gift shops, cafes, elegant boutiques, antique and art galleries, surf shops and internet coffee houses, as well as an organic grocery store, a bank and a post office. Paia is known for its world class restaurants with an international and Pacific Rim flare. The North Shore also boasts some of the island's top beaches, including family-friendly Baby Beach and white sand Baldwin Beach, as well as the world famous windsurfing, surfing and bodyboarding beaches of Ho'okipa, Spreckelsville and Paia Bay. You won't find any inns, resorts, condos or resorts on the North Shore. None of the buildings are taller than a coconut tree.

North Shore activities include shopping, dining, live music, golf, rollerblading, hiking, swimming, snorkeling, bodyboarding, windsurfing and surfing. Annual Special Events include The Taste of the North Shore, Red Bull King of the Air kiteboarding contest, and Aloha Classic World Wavesailing Championships

Accommodations range from private homes within walking distance to Paia to luxury beachfront estates.

Upcountry- (Haiku, Makawao and Kula)

Up on the sweeping slopes of a dormant volcano is a secluded region called Upcountry. It's "up˜ from the north shore and it's mostly made up of tranquil "country"side. Residents include some of the world's top surfers, windsurfers, rodeo stars and polo players, as well as artists, woodworkers and Hollywood celebrities. Up and to the east is a tropical rainforest area called Haiku. Besides record rainfall, Haiku is known for its winding rural roads, private ranches, retreats, and dense forests brimming with exotic tropical flowers -- ideal for getting-away-from-it-all. Traveling west, Haiku's lush greenery turns into the endless, emerald pastures of Makawao. At the center of Makawao is a small, rural town settled by paniolo (Hawaiian cowboys). Here old-time country stores meld perfectly with classy boutiques, art and glassblowing galleries, hair salons, international fine dining restaurants, delis, coffee stores, and new age health stores. The whole town takes up just a few blocks, but can easily take hours to explore. A polo field and rodeo arena are located just minutes away. Farthest up and west is a region called Kula where temperatures are considerably cooler than the coast. Home to the sweet Maui onion, Kula is known for its panoramic views, stunning sunsets, fertile soil, agriculture, botanical gardens, protea farms, lavender fields and ranchlands. Located on the leeward side of the volcano, Kula is typically the driest part of Upcountry.Upcountry activities include shopping, dining, live music, golf, hiking, polo, rodeo, as well as guided horse-back riding, atv, jeep, zoo, crater and wine tours. Annual Special Events include The Makawao Rodeo and 4th of July Parade, The Hana Relay, Haleakala Run to the Sun, Haiku Hoolaulea & Flower Festival, Ulupalakua Thing and the Keiki Zoo Maui Birthday Bash. You won't find any condos or resorts in all of Upcountry. Accommodations feature private cottages and luxury estates on tropical landscapes in rainforest and ranch settings.

South Maui (Kihei and Wailea)

Nestled on the leeward side of Mt. Haleakala is a district known as South Maui. Clear skies, refreshing afternoon tradewinds and gorgeous beaches make South Maui a popular tourist destination. A series of expansive beaches begins in the north with Sugar Beach, runs all the way down the coast and ends at a nature wildlife preserve surrounded by stark lava fields. Each beach has a different character and draws its own crowd from shell-seekers and swimmers to volleyball players and snorkelers. Kihei is located on the north end of South Maui and begins with a series of condominiums and suburban homes. You won't find towering hotels like on Oahu, but Kihei by Maui standards is bustling. Running parallel to the coast, Kihei is a hodgepodge of strip malls, grocery stores, fitness centers, tourist traps, diners, pizza joints, quality restaurants, gift shops, boutiques, ice cream parlors and coffee shops.

Traveling south, Kihei's urban sprawl fades into the gated communities, exclusive condominiums and world-class resorts of Wailea. Resorts feature restaurants with world renown chefs, spas, manicured gardens, stunning beaches, kids' camps, exotic swimming pools, waterfalls and koi ponds, as well as boutiques, gift shops and priceless art collections. A coastal footpath connects the resorts and is ideal for strolling, jogging and whale watching. The newly renovated, open-air Shops at Wailea offers restaurants, coffee and gift shops as well as exclusive boutiques, including Louis Vuitton, Dolce & Gabbana, and Prada.

South Maui activities include shopping, dining, tennis, golf, night life, liev music, rollerblading, hiking, swimming, snorkeling, diving, bodyboarding, windsurfing, surfing, fishing, sailing, kayaking, sunning, sunset and whale watching. Annual Special Events include the Nissan Xterra World Championship, ConAgra Foods Senior Skins Tournament, Maui Film Festival, Maui Writers Conference and the Food & Wine Masters.

Accommodations feature oceanside low-rise condominiums, exclusive private homes and luxury resorts.

West Maui (Lahaina, Ka'anapali, and Napili)

Sheltered by the West Maui Mountains, the area known as West Maui begins with the sun-drenched town of Lahaina. During the 1800's, Lahaina served as capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom and the major whaling port of the Pacific. Today, Lahaina offers the only "downtown˜ on this side of the island with cinemas, tourist traps, theme and fine dining restaurants, bars, bistros, coffee shops, magic shows, art galleries, boutiques, and a boat harbor that offers snorkel and dinner cruises as well as surf lessons.

The West Maui coast is renown for its sandy beaches and spectacular surf sites, including Honolua Bay and family-friendly Launiupoko.

Accommodations are found further up the coast beginning with the deluxe, high-rise condominiums and resorts in Ka'anapali. Famous for its spectacular wide, sandy beaches and golf courses, Ka'anapali is connected by a paved footpath that is ideal for watching whales and sunsets. Shopping includes Whaler's Village, an outdoor, beachfront center of restaurants, gift shops and boutiques, featuring Tiffany & Co., Chanel, Coach and Gianni Versace. Napili is located a short drive north of Ka'anapali and is known for its pristine bay, golf courses and serenity. Rather than a main town, you will find a handful of stores and restaurants scattered among private homes and resrts.West Maui activities include shopping, dining, tennis, golf, night life, art night, live music, historic walking tours, hiking, swimming, snorkeling, diving, bodyboarding, surfing, fishing, sailing, kayaking, sunning, sunset and whale watching and seasonal parasailing and jet skiing. Annual Special Events include The Mercedes Golf Championship, Verizon Hawai'i Hall of Fame Pro-Am & Championship, Maui Marathon, Billabong Pro Maui surf contest, Celebration of the Arts, The Taste of Lahaina, and Kapalua Wine & Food Festival.

Accommodations feature deluxe high-rise resorts, condominiums, and time shares, as well as private estate homes.

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