Maui is probably considered the second most popular island among tourists, just behind Oahu. It’s also the second largest of the Hawaiian Islands, created by two separate volcanoes with overlapping lava flows.
The Island Name
The name of Maui actually comes from the legends of Hawai’iloa who is considered to be the original discoverer of Hawaii. According to ancient Hawaiian mythology, Hawai’iloa named his son after the culture hero Maui who is found many times throughout the Hawaiian religion and genealogy.
Maui is also considered to be the “Valley Isle” for the different valleys covering the island. And there is one great valley that sits between the two main volcanoes of the island.
Haleakala is one of those volcanoes. Located on the southeastern part of the island, Haleakala is known to be the youngest and largest volcano on the island. Its last eruption was in 1790. The volcano is now dormant, but geologists tell us that it is very possible it could have further eruptions.
Haleakala is the highest point on Maui rising just over 10,000 feet. It’s the perfect place to get spectacular views of a Hawaiian sunrise. In fact, the literal translation of “Haleakala” means “house of the sun.” Sunrise viewings here are so popular that you need to make reservations if you plan to drive to the top. It is recommended that you make reservations at least two months in advance. This is separate from the park entrance fee.
There are a number of other things to do inside Haleakala National Park. There’s plenty of hiking trails, guided tours, horseback riding, waterfalls to see, and camping if you’d like to stay overnight.
Road to Hana
Another popular tourist site on Maui is the Road to Hana. This is probably considered to be the ultimate road trip on the island. It’s not just about getting to Hana, but the many places you can stop at along the way.
There are a number of lookout points, waterfalls to see, ridge trails to explore, and gardens to view. The road hugs the mountains nearly the whole way and gives exceptional views of the coastline. There are even a few beaches you can stop by. And don’t forget the little towns in between. Pick up some snacks and locally made treats as you continue your journey.
You can definitely make the trip there and back in a day if you get an early start. Just be sure to start your journey back by 3 pm in order to allow a good three hours of daytime driving. But if you want to take a slower pace, spend a night in Hana and drive back the next day. There are also tours you can book if you’d like to leave the driving to the experts.
Lahaina is probably considered the most popular tourist town on Maui. It was once the capital city of Hawaii, just before Honolulu. So there’s a great deal of history here when thinking of the original Kingdom of Hawaii.
Check out the guided city tours, the many beaches to hang out at, luau’s to attend, hiking, snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, surfing. The possibilities are endless. Make a trip to Haleakala. And winter time promises great opportunities for whale watching.
For the budget travelers going to Maui, there are a couple of hostels we recommend.
Aloha Surf is on the North Shore of Maui located in the little historic town of Paia. There’s shops, cafes, and grocery stores located within walking distance. It’s also close to the best surfing spots on the island. The hostel offers free daily tours to other parts of the island, including Road to Hana and Lahaina.
Banana Bungalow is located in Wailuku, which is also on the north side of the island but not as close to any beaches. This hostel offers free daily tours as well, including Lahaina, Hana, Haleakala, and Whale Watching.
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Image By: Hawaii Guide