Known as the “Valley Isle,” Maui is a beautiful island on the Hawaiian Archipelago. The island of Maui is full of lush green trees, volcanic mountains, and scenic beaches. Entering this island paradise, visitors find pristine, clear azure water kissing the white and golden pearls of sand. Hidden paths and secret trails lead to enchanting groves of Banyan, coconut, and Sandalwood trees. Beyond these, impressive volcanic mountains stand erect, their stoned faces overlooking the island and ocean. How to plan the perfect trip can be challenging, finding ideal accommodations, and figuring out what to do in Maui, Hawaii, with so many options.
Despite its ongoing popularity, Maui remains as breath-taking as ever. However, planning a great itinerary to Maui requires a bit of forthright and planning. For example, should you stay in hotels or explore Maui vacation rentals, do you purchase activities a la carte, or book all-inclusive Maui vacation packages? The options are endless, but which itinerary is suitable for you? Read along to find out all you need to know to plan a perfect trip to Maui, Hawaii: when to go, how to get there, what to do, and where to stay.
Where Is Maui Hawaii Located?
This Hawaiian island is ideally positioned in the middle of the northern portion of the Central Pacific Ocean. Maui is the second-largest island in the state.
When to Go?
Although Hawaii has a very temperate climate, Maui gets relatively hot during peak summer months. Suppose you’re not built for the blazing sun or would like to visit when there’s minimum humidity but constant pleasant weather. In that case, we recommend travel during April, May, September, October, and November. However, prices surge crowds intensify as families enjoy school holidays from December through March.
Getting There: Visa, Travel Requirements and Transportation
➔ U.S citizens, general requirements for U.S entry are followed.
➔ For the U.K, Schengen countries, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Scotland, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan, entry without a visa is allowed as long as the stay is within 90 days. Longer than that, a visa will be required.
➔ All other travelers need a visa.
➔ All travelers traveling without a visa must get an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization).
➔ Visitors both with and without a visa must either be fully vaccinated (in this case, they can bypass the necessary quarantine and pre-travel test) or, if they’re unvaccinated, must present a negative Covid-19 test taken at least 72 hours before arrival from an authentic partner.
➔ If entering with a positive Covid-19 test or without a test, a traveler must undergo quarantine.
Maui has three airports. The main airport is Kahului Airport. Additionally, airports Kapalua Airport and Hana Airport are in West and East Maui. These airports serve smaller aircraft and inter-island flights.
Furthermore, if you’re traveling from the mainland or internationally, we recommend taking a flight to the Kahului Airport or the Honolulu International Airport on Oahu. If you go for the latter, then another short flight from Oahu to Maui is required. Alternatively, if you’re feeling a bit unsure about flying twice, you could catch a ferry from the nearby islands.
What to Do in Maui Hawaii?
Indeed, this impressive island has loads of unique activities to entertain travelers of all ages. When planning what to do in Maui, Hawaii, the options are endless on land and water. From hiking to diving, snorkeling, golf, and wellness. To keep costs contained, consider purchasing all-inclusive Maui vacation packages.
Here are a few of our favorite activities you must experience in Maui:
Best Hikes in Maui
Maui has several places you can hike, but the most popular ones include Nakalele Blowhole Point and ‘Iao Valley State Park Hike.
➔ Nakalele Blowhole Point
The Nakalele Blowhole point is where a hot water blowhole is present in the lower grounds of Wailuku, Maui. This goth trail is perfect for anyone who loves a challenge. The hike stretches 1.9 km and leads to rocky ledges and incredible views. Additionally, the area’s steamy atmosphere creates a dramatic setting for photos.
➔ ‘Iao Valley State Park
The ‘Iao Valley State Monument/Park is a popular recreational spot created by impressive cliffs and panoramic views. The most popular point of the hike is the ‘Iao Needle Monument, which houses a botanical garden and rock outcrops. The panoramic view at the end of the hike is well worth the effort.
Drive to Hana
You might be surprised to find out that the Maui to Hana drive via the Hana Highway is a popular vacation activity on any trip to Maui, Hawaii. Incredibly picturesque with waterfalls, hidden coves, and stunning landscapes at every turn, the road to Hana is one of the most magnificent experiences on Maui. You can rent a vehicle (and steer through traditional maps) or arrange a guided drive to Hana through your hotel or travel advisor.
Fishing in Maui
Maui is a fantastic destination for shore-fishing, deep-sea fishing, and spearfishing. Here are a few of the best fishing spots:
➔ Baldwin Beach Park
One of Maui’s gorgeous beaches, the Baldwin Beach Park is a multi-purpose spot where one can swim, surf and fish.
➔ Black Rock, Kaanapali Beach
On the Kaanapali beach, an iconic cliff reaches the shore, where you can catch some delicious fish.
➔ Kalama Park, Kihei
A family-friendly beach, Kalama Park has staggering opportunities to fish.
This central fishing spot and harbor is one of the best places to catch some fins.
*In Maui, you can catch Striped Marlin, Bonefish, Ladyfish, Snapper, Trevally, Goatfish, Mahi Mahi, Amberjack, Wahoo, Skipjack, and Yellowfin Tuna, Hawaiian Salmon and more.
Surfing in Maui
Popular surfing spots in Maui include:
Family-oriented and perfect for beginners, Launiupoko is near Lahaina and one of the best surfing spots in Maui.
➔ The Cove
The most popular surfing spot, The Cove in Kihei, has consistent waves and is excellent for beginner and intermediate surfers.
Near Launiupoko, Guardrails is another great surf spot. The breaking waves provide an ideal location for friendly competitions and family trips.
Another great surf spot for beginners, Olowalu, has steady waves and some of the best surf instructors on the island.
Scuba Diving in Maui
Scuba Diving in Maui is one of the most unique experiences for adventurous travelers. With diverse marine life, you literally cannot predict what you might come across. Dolphins, impressive humpbacks, pilot whales, manta rays, turtles, and fish are just some of the friends you’ll encounter, but the adventure doesn’t end there. A diverse array of scuba diving awaits you on Maui:
➔ Molokini’s Back Wall Dive
One of the most popular scuba diving sites, the Molokini Back Wall is a stretch of overwater land, home to frogfish, sharks, blue dragon nudibranchs, and various sea animals. The topography of the back wall makes it such that even the noise of marine animals afar can be heard clearly. Undoubtedly, a truly a remarkable experience.
➔ Molokai Hammerhead Dive
Dive in a particular diving spot that witnesses hammerhead sharks, humpbacks, and often gray sharks and barracudas, frolicking amongst coral reefs. The Molokai Hammerhead Dive is a popular dive destination, so be sure to plan ahead.
Snorkeling in Maui
A snorkeling adventure during a trip to Maui, Hawaii, is an excellent alternative for families traveling with younger children or those of you who are not ready to immerse yourself entirely underwater. The island is an underwater wonderland, and you can enjoy snorkeling in Maui in many destinations.
➔ Honolua Bay
A calm spot to snorkel, Honolua Bay is one of the most popular snorkeling sites in Maui. Sandless stones make up the nearest beach, where diverse marine life is on full display. Observe manta rays, octopus, barracudas, butterflyfish, and peacock groupers thriving in their natural environment.
➔ Ulua & Mokapu Beach
Two small beaches, the Ulua & Mokapu, are a sure spot to snorkel with turtles. The beach is kid-friendly and comfortable and often hosts Moorish idols, butterfly fish, turtles, goatfish, and pencil urchins.
➔ Baby Beach
Are you traveling with children? Then Baby Beach is the perfect spot for you. Nevertheless, this beach is a calm and shallow place, the right fit for beginners and snorkelers who want to stay close to shore. Also, visit the nearby Lahaina Jodo Mission Buddhist temple for a unique cultural experience.
Best Beaches in Maui
Apart from these lovely activities, if you’re looking to get a tan and simply relax, try visiting a few of the best beaches in Maui mentioned above. You can lay in the sand or sunbeds with the sun shining over you or choose to sleep under the umbrellas. Spend your day making sandcastles and sand-angels, searching for seashells, or playing with the calm waters.
Best Luau in Maui
One of the most popular and quintessentially hawaiian activities is the Luau. With so many different options on the island, many travelers struggle to find out what is the very best luau in Maui. While there are many different expert opinions a few of our favorite luaus include:
- ʻAhaʻaina Luau at the Grand Wailea (formerly Honua’ula): This Luaua offers one of the most authentic luaus on the island. The Grand Wailea genuinely focuses on local history, Hawaiian legends and culture. It tells the story of Hawaii’s Tahitian voyager founders, Laʻamaikahiki and Moikeha, who sailed to Maui aboard a canoe.If you are looking for an authentic taste of Maui, Hawaii you will not be dissapointed.
- Andaz Luau in South Maui. From gorgeous views, to lovely grounds, to a delectable feast, the Andaz Maui is truly magnificent. Serving delicious local fish, authentic dishes, desserts and top-tier entertainment!
Myths of Maui Luau at the Royal Lahaina Resort There is a good reason that this is the longest running luau in Maui. Gorgeous sunsets, beating drums, and the call of the conch shell signal the start of Maui’s most authentic luau. But it is the live Hawaiian music, exciting dances from Hawaii, Tahiti, Samoa, and New Zealand and the incredible full cast fire finale that make it unforgettable.
Where to Stay In Maui Hawaii
Last but not least, where do you stay during a trip to Maui, Hawaii? While there are many hotel, resort, and Maui vacation rental options, we recommend choosing your home base carefully. Please, consider proximity to the beach, shopping, and dining options.
Here are a few of the best hotels in Maui, Hawaii:
Andaz Maui is a 5-star beachfront hotel enriched with Polynesian and Hawaiian culture. With various amenities like a pet-friendly place and a total of 301 rooms with 35 suites and 11 villas, Andaz Maui is heaven on earth and one of the best hotels in Maui.
Location: 3550 Wailea Alanui Dr, Wailea, HI 96753, United States
Price: Ranges from $1050-$3000 per night.
A spacious, luxury hotel, the Fairmont Kea Lani Beach resort is the ultimate experience of leisure and pleasure. With suites, villas, and separate family and couple-oriented rooms, the Fairmont Kea Lani is worth every moment. It offers exceptional amenities and extends its services to cater to your every need.
Location: 4100 Wailea Alanui Dr, Wailea-Makena, HI 96753, United States
Price: Ranges from $1360-4000 per night.
Grand Wailea is a lush resort with exotic experiences, private and public pools, beach access and rooms, suites, and villas so sophisticated, you’ll feel like royalty. This resort consistently ranks as one of the best hotels in Maui, Hawaii.
Location: 3850 Wailea Alanui Dr, Wailea, HI 96753, United States
Price: Ranges from $870-$2000 per night.
Indulge in an oceanfront experience at Montage Kapalua Bay resort, where luxury meets comfort and pampering becomes a habit.
Location: 1 Bay Dr, Lahaina, HI 96761, United States
Price: Ranges from $2000-11000 per night.
One of the most artistic and scenic resorts in Maui, the Hana-Maui resort brings you sophistication, splendor, comfort, and style with the promise of elevating your dream vacation.
Location: 5031 Hana Hwy, Hana, HI 96713, United States
Price: Ranges from $700-1200 per night.
For more information on luxury hotels in Hawaii, check out our previous blog.
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BTA is a full-service luxury travel agency based in Scottsdale, AZ. To learn about securing exclusive amenities at our hotel partners or for assistance planning your next trip to Maui or another desirable destination, please get in touch with Boutique Travel Advisors.