What is Kahului, Maui like?
Kahului is Maui's largest city and home to many locals that work on the other side of Maui in the tourist areas. Kahului (and nearby Wailuku) are considered the business and commercial center of Maui. Both the Maui harbor and airport are located right in Kahului.

What is the weather like?
While Kahului is on the windward side of the island, its location on the flat isthmus between the West Maui Mountains and Mt. Haleakala allow most of the rain clouds to pass by it without dropping too much rain. While dryer than most windward island towns, Kahului gets about 20 inches of rain per year but does get considerable cloud cover and mild winds.

Where does the ship dock?
The main port on Maui is Kahului Harbor right in Kahului. The port is only 5 minutes from Maui's International Airport and only about 5 to 10 minutes from the town of Kahului.

Where is the shopping?
Most visitors that arrive in Kahului will make their way across the island to the tourist centers of Lahaina and Kaanapali Beach (see the Lahaina Port Review), but there is some shopping at the Maui Mall in Kahului (about 5 to 10 minutes from the ship) Maui Mall offers over 40 stores and shops and many specialty stores of interest to visitors. There are also some tourist store surrounding the Maui Airport that are somewhat interesting if you are looking for tee shirts etc.


What is there to buy?
Everything you would find in a normal mall environment, but many Hawaiian goods as well. Maui is especially noted for its unique food products. Don't miss the opportunity to buy a bag of "Maui Chips" These locally grown and processed potato chips are outstanding! While you will find the potato chip rack full of bags claiming they are Maui Chips, there is only one real mcCoy. Look for the red and yellow printed bag that says "Kitchen Cooked" as the brand name. You will be hooked forever. Also, flowers, Maui Onions, leis and other Hawaiian items are available as well.

What is there to do?
Again, most folks will make their way across the island to the more popular spots with tourists, but there is lots to see and do in and around Kahului. First, driving through Kahului and Wailuku is fun because many of its streets are populated with quaint older homes. If you drive inland from Wailuku you will find yourself at the entrance to Iao Valley State Park. Iao Valley is a verdant valley encrusted year around in a deep green vegetation. Iao Creek runs through the valley floor and the experience is capped when you get your first vista of magnificent Iao Needle. This mountain rises abruptly to over 2,000 feet. There are trails throughout Iao Valley and it makes for a nice hiking experience.

Another wonderful spot is the small town of Paia located south of Kahului. Paia was a non-descript old sugar farming town where workers lived in small shacks and purchased their necessities from company run stres. When windsurfing became popular the main beach at Paia, Hookipa Beach became world famous as it enjoys both large surf and high winds.  To this day, Hookipa is windsurfing's "World's Best" and this has driven Paia from a sleepy little village into one of the most popular spots on Maui. You will find interesting boutiques here that offer interesting items.

Kahului is also the gateway to upcountry and the Haleakala National Park.  Haleakala Crater resides at an altitude of about 7,000 feet above sea level and the road from Kahului will take you through just about every climate Hawaii has to offer. It is 75 miles round trip from Kahului to the summit but the drive will take about 2 1/2 to 3 hours. It is certainly well worth it. If you are spending the night in Kahului, one of the best experiences that Maui offers is sunrise at Mt. Haleakala Crater. You would leave well before dawn and spend the dawning hours on top of the crater and then ride a bike all the way down the grade.

Is there anything of “Don’t Miss” quality?
Yes, even if you are a health nut like I am, don't miss trying Maui Chips.

Are there any great restaurants or bars?
Mamas Fish House Restaurant on the beach just past Paia is wonderful (but a tad commercialized), yet the setting, menu and bar would qualify for this category.

If you get over to Kihei be sure to drop into Bada Bing in the Kihei Kalama Village. This outstanding restaurant/bar offers excellent Italian cuisine at affordable prices, but best of all the atmosphere is a wonderful blend of locals and tourists alike.  The Rat Pack Lounge is sure to be a hit with those that remember.  Enjoy!

What is Lahaina, Maui like?
Lahaina is GREAT! If you are a beach person, you will absolutely love Lahaina and Kaanapali Beach. Lahaina is an old whaling village turned into a tourist Mecca yet it still retains the flavor of a south seas town. Lahaina is the main town on the west side of Maui and serves the residents and visitors alike for miles in either direction.

What is the weather like?
The weather is GREAT! Lahaina enjoys dry days with lots of sunshine. Being right in the lee of the West Maui Mountains, Lahaina enjoys perfect weather with constant trade winds and a temperature in the high 70s and low 80s..

Where does the ship dock?


The Norwegian Wind Anchored off Lahaina, Maui
(Taken from the Lahaina Yacht Club)

Lahaina is a tender port and the ship anchors up off downtown Lahaina. It is a good distance from the ship to the tender wharf and it can be bumpy. The entrance to the harbor is cut through a reef so that you can watch the surfers just on your left as you make the passage. Once at the pier, there are only two tender spots and traffic can become hectic if there is more than one ship in port requiring the tender to wait to enter the pier. .

Where is the shopping?


Lahaina's Waterfront from the Ship

The tender wharf is located directly in front of Lahaina's historic Pioneer Inn. It is here where the shopping starts. The Pioneer Inn offers dozens of shops selling everything under the sun. Behind the Pioneer Inn lies Front Street that continues for blocks along the ocean. Directly across the street is a three story mall with more shops and if you turn north (to your left) on Front Street you will see store after store on the right hand of the street with the ocean on your left side. About three blocks up the street there are stores on both sides of the street and the inland areas become populated with more shops and a large shopping center. In Lahaina alone there are hundreds of boutiques, shops, specialty stores, restaurants, fast food outlets, bars and so on. You could spend a week in Lahaina and not see everything. Just north of downtown Lahaina is the Lahaina Cannery Mall. A fully air conditioned enclosed shopping mall, Lahaina Cannery Mall features dozens off local specialty stores as well as more orthodox retailers as well.

A few minutes north of Lahaina in the heart of Kaanapali Beach is Whaler's Village. This complex offers more fine boutiques, shops and stores offering excellent merchandise. There are also some excellent restaurants located here as well 

What is there to buy?
Everything under the sun! Of special note is the resort wear that can be found in stores throughout the area. Tommy Bahamas has a huge store in Whaler's Village (as does Reyn Spooner) Local art from Maui is wonderful and there are dozens of art galleries in all the shopping venues. Hawaiian products, foodstuffs and crafts are abundant as are Hawaiian tee shirts, aloha wear, sandals, surf products and so on.

What is there to do?

Wonderful Kaanapali Beach on Maui
First and foremost, are the beaches. Kaanapali Beach is miles of crystal blue water and pure white sand. The temperature of the water is absolutely perfect as is the air temperature. Without a doubt, Kaanapali Beach is one of the World's best. If you want to snorkel, simply go to the Sheraton Maui Hotel and right in front of the hotel is some of the best snorkeling in Hawaii, right off the beach. It is a sandy beach entry and you can snorkel against the lava that juts out into the water.  This is also a reasonable dive spot as well. There are local tour operators in Lahaina offering an incredible array of tours and cruises. Taking the catamaran to the Island of Lanai is an awesome experience. Flight seeing over to Molokai's cliffs and the Kalaupapa Peninsula is another wonderful option as is flight seeing Mt. Haleakala's crater by helicopter. Sailing, fishing, diving, surfing and water skiing are all options within reach with just a limited time in Lahaina. A great snorkeling tour is to run out to the small island of Molokini (a volcano that barely reached the surface of the ocean) and snorkeling in its submerged crater.  Even though you are in the middle of the ocean, Molokini snorkelers enjoy shallow water and a huge variety of sea life to view.

Lanaina Town, Maui
If it is your first visit to Lahaina, I would suggest that you walk and shop Lahaina and then take a taxi to Whaler's Village (about $5 one way). Stop for lunch somewhere (I especially like Leilani's on the Beach in front of Whaler's Village) Spend some time on Kaanapali Beach and then walk all the way south to the Hyatt Regency Hotel along the beach walk. You can walk around the hotel (there are more shops in the hotel selling high quality specialty Hawaiian items) and then take a taxi from the hotel back to Lahaina for a cocktail. Many folks like "Cheeseburgers in Paradise" on Front Street once owned by Jimmy Buffet.

If you have a rental car you can go north all the way until the road ends just beyond Honolua Bay (one of Hawaii's best winter surfing spots) or you can go south all the way around to La Perouse Bay stopping where you want. There are many wonderful  beaches in both directions.

Is there anything of “Don’t Miss” quality?
Yes, I would suggest everyone see Kaanapali Beach. While very touristy, it is a beautiful setting and a wonderful beach.

Are there any great restaurants or bars?
Yes, there are several excellent restaurants and bars both in Lahaina and also in the hotels at Kaanapali Beach and beyond, but one doesn't stand out as really exceptional

 

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