For those in the know, the mere mention of the word Maui causes a rush of adrenaline, the image of surf-battered beaches and an insuppressible desire to wallow amongst the sand and hike to the hilly peaks of the lush inland rainforests.
At the heart of the island – Hawaii’s second largest – is Haleakala, a long dormant volcano. Climbing to the peak will give an overview of the islands, while watching the sunrise come over the horizon (you’ll have to be there very early) and drench the tropical paradise in its first rays of sunlight is a truly magical experience. You can climb the volcano via an exhilarating switchback trail, or take the laid back option and hop on a horse for the same trip. At the top you’ll find a sizable crater, home to its own unique ecosystem and well worth further exploration.
In the first half of the year, the essential Maui experience is Whale Watching; with the huge mammals so common you can often see them from the island’s shores. Join a boat tour for a real close up, though, before retreating to the beaches and marveling that your clothes are wet because a whale splashed you. Another tropical dream can be found at the pools of Oheo, a picture-perfect set of cascading waterfalls that wind through terraces and down into swimmable pools, while the nearby town of Hana is a taste of Maui before its Americanization, with an incredible drive in store to get their, too.
In fact, you’ll do well to fit in everything you want to see before leaving Maui. We haven’t even mentioned the incredible beaches yet (think palm-tree lined, rocky white sand havens), or the fantastic snorkeling available around volcanic rims and spectacular reefs. The Lao Valley’s spectacular volcanic angles and the windsurfer’s haven of Hookipa are essential, too.
Maui has become the tourist island. Not many locals live here, so the island really welcoming to visitors. With its world famous restaurants, where you can get the real experience of eating beach front, and beaches, visiting Maui can never let you down and it has a wonderful blend of quiet, relaxing outdoor things to do as well as some "city" life.
You might have planned a relaxing holiday on the beach, but get a sense of how much there is to discover in Maui and you’ll quickly see some intense exploration as a more attractive option. Bring snorkels, good boots and a boundless energy and you’ll have the time of your life.
What a beautiful place to visit.
Maui is a fantastic island getaway.
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