Consistently voted as the ‘best island in the United States’, Maui is known across the world for its beautiful beaches, incredible sunsets and the stunning valleys that give the island its nickname, ‘The Valley Isle’. As the second largest of the Hawaiian Islands, Maui offers visitors the opportunity to experience outstanding natural beauty, freshly prepared local food and the choice of bustling towns or authentic villages.
And with a great range of Maui rentals available, you’ll never be stuck for somewhere to stay on the island. From luxurious hotels and spas where you can rent a beautifully decorated suite to huge villas in more rural surroundings where you, your family and friends can relax and spend time together in privacy, there are plenty of accommodation options available.
But one decision you’ll need to make that will require a little prior research is the decision regarding which area of the island you want to make your base. This decision will inevitably be based on the kind of vacation you’re planning on having, with different parts of the island offering different experiences to tourists and travellers. Below you’ll find a brief overview of the different areas of Maui, allowing you to make an informed decision when it comes to choosing where to stay.
For those who are drawn to Maui in the hope that they’ll find a natural paradise that is less developed than the Big Island, North Maui is one of the best places to be. This part of the island is void of any major resorts or chain hotels, and therefore is largely free from the influence of the tourist industry to retain its local charm and character.
The food in this part of the island is widely considered to be some of the best, with local restaurants serving local specialities with ingredients that have arrived fresh from the farm. There are plenty of independent shops and galleries to explore, and if you head out into the country a little then you’ll discover sprawling pastures and unspoilt tropical forests.
The north is also a haven for surfers: whilst you may have to drive for a while to find a beach where you can swim and snorkel in a relaxed environment, the large waves and relatively high winds in this part of the island make for perfect surfing conditions. For a great balance between unspoilt natural beauty and charming, relaxed, beach life, the north should be your top choice.
Most people who choose to visit the east do so due to the easy access it provides to Hana, which is the last part of the island which remains entirely untouched – and which is therefore a heavenly tropical paradise offering spectacular views of rugged shoreline and picturesque rainforests and waterfalls.
Thanks to the fact that Hana is quite significantly isolated from the rest of the island, the local community has very much retained a friendly, small-town atmosphere. Little has changed in 20 years; and, as a result, Hana isn’t only the best place on the island to see all the wonders of a tropical paradise, but it’s also the best place to experience the unique and authentic Hawaiian lifestyle and culture.
If you’re looking for a relaxed atmosphere and access to red, black and golden sand beaches where you can unwind with friends and family in an unspoilt environment, the east is probably your best option. In many ways, this is how the Hawaiian Islands are perceived by the rest of the world: beautiful, relaxed, and free from major development.
If you’re all about sunshine and sand, the south of Maui could be the best place for you. It’s the hottest and driest part of the island, and it’s home to some of the very best beaches. There are plenty of options when it comes to finding places to stay, eat and shop – and you’re never far from somewhere where you’ll find people and activity.
Whilst it’s not the busiest part of the island, it does attract its fair share of tourists and so isn’t ideal if you’re looking to avoid crowds. However, if you’re looking for somewhere to enjoy nice weather and beaches – and you’re keen to stay close to modern infrastructure and conveniences – the south is undoubtedly a great option.
The west is most definitely the most built-up and developed region of the island. Regardless of where you choose to stay, you’ll always have easy access to everything you need. The beaches are some of the most beautiful on the island, and there’s a vibrant nightlife scene to enjoy after the sun goes down and you’re finished relaxing by the sea!
Be aware that the area does get quite crowded at times, and as a result it isn’t ideal if you’re keen to experience the authentic, unspoilt Hawaiian island atmosphere. But if you’re looking for a vacation in which you find yourself in the middle of the action, with plenty to keep you and all your friends and family occupied, the west is ideal.
Thanks to the amount of rain it receives, the island’s centre is its most luscious and green region. Widely considered to be one of the most beautiful parts of the island, the centre provides easy access to Iao Valley – probably the island’s most iconic attraction and a truly stunning work of nature.
Its natural lack of beaches and high levels of industry mean it’s not exactly the typical Hawaiian paradise, but if you choose your location carefully then you will be rewarded with some of the most beautiful and charming spots on the island.