Maui's beautiful beaches are NO KA OI (the best!)
Even if you're used to the sun, bring or buy plenty of sunscreen...
Island Tips and Information for the Kihei Area and Elsewhere
GREAT INVESTMENT FOR NOT A LOT OF $ -- Pick up a copy of Maui Revealed at either Costco or Walmart. While their reviewers can be down right cranky if things don't go their way -- making some of their restaurant reviews way off base -- this book is a great overall guide, and will point you in the right direction for great hiking, driving roads, activities, and beaches.
WATER SPORTS are best in the early morning until about noon. The trade winds come up then and typically last the remainder of the day. Sometimes there is no wind all day, but that is rare. South Kihei beaches are nicer and less windy, and the water is more clear and better for all water activities. South Kihei is also the perfect spot to learn and enjoy Stand Up Paddleboarding, Kayaking, Snorkeling, and Surfing. Check out the hub of it all in South Kihei, "The Cove." Just South of Kalama Park. Sugar Beach in north Kihei is a great walking beach and you can walk for miles. Go early to avoid the wind.
BOAT TOURS - Book the morning trips. Unless you're a rough-water boater, you'll have more fun and see more, whether it's a whale watch or snorkel trip. The morning sea is usually calm, and less likely to bring on motion sickness.
SHOPPING - Stop at Costco near the airport before you drive to Kihei. There is also a Walmart a few blocks further from the airport, after you leave Costco. Safeway is the least expensive grocery store in Kihei. Ask for their discount card when you check out and use it every time you shop to receive discounts. There are a lot of "Farmers Markets," but the one in South Kihei across the street from Starbucks on South Kihei Road is where we buy almost all of our local-grown veggies and fruits.
DINING - Most of Maui's restaurants are casual -- you can wear just about anything. Wailea and Kaanapali's resort restaurants are slightly dressier. Here are some of our personal favorites in the Kihei/Wailea area:
$$ ($ for lunch) Café Ole: Our overall favorite. Consistently great food, casual atmosphere, reasonable prices. Fresh fish, sushi, pasta, lettuce wraps, sandwiches and other options. Lunch and dinner. Rainbow Plaza Kihei Road
$$ Nalu South Shore Grill: New casual dining with open-air seating, the best burger on Maui, great seared Ahi sandwich, and home made potato chips. Everything is great here, and they have a nice bar too. Azeka Center next to Ace Hardware.
$$$ Sansei: If you can get seated and order before 6pm, you can take advantage of the 1/2 off happy hour. Otherwise you will spend more, but it's worth it. Fresh sushi and other Japanese cuisine, extensive menu and Karaoke in the evenings. South Kihei by Foodland.
$$ Three's: Great food, casual atmosphere. Indoor, outdoor seating. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Bar. Live entertainment. "Triangle" in south Kihei.
$ Cafe @ La Plage: Mediterranean casual. Breakfast and lunch. Bagel sandwiches, panini, salads and great soups. They have some edgy greeting cards for sale which may be offensive for some, but the food is great. Good coffee too. Dolphin Plaza next to Pizza Hut.
$ Da Kitchen: Good local Hawaiian food. Large portions. Lunch and dinner. Rainbow Plaza Kihei Road
$$ Amigos Mexican: Great Mexican food. Casual and authentic. Lunch and dinner. Azeka Plaza north Kihei.
$ Del Sol: Authentic hole in the wall. The real thing! Lipoa Street
$$ Thailand Cuisine: Great Thai food. Casual. Lunch and dinner. Next to Starbucks south Kihei.
$ Kihei Café: Good outdoor breakfast. Casual. On Kihei Road across from Kalama Park.
$ Peggy Sue's: Good burgers and shakes. Nostalgic 50's diner atmosphere. Azeka Plaza north Kihei.
$$ Fred's Restaurant: Tex-Mex style Mexican food. Fun atmosphere, outdoor seating. South Kihei across from Kamaole Beach III.
$ 808 Deli: Great sandwiches and salads. Next to Fred's south Kihei.
$$ Coconuts: Best Fish and Chips in town. Azeka Plaza north Kihei.
$$$ Five Palms Restaurant: On Keawakapu Beach at the Mana Kai Resort. Great ocean views and a nice place for cocktails, pupu's and dinner.
$$ Fabiani's: Great Italian food with exceptional desserts. Casual. On Lipoa Street, off Kihei Road. Also, a new location in Wailea.
$$ Antonio's: Authentic Italian food with old world atmosphere. Casual. Azeka plaza next to Long's.
$$ Kamana Kitchen: Flavorful Indian Food...yes, you CAN get good Indian food on Maui! In Foodland shopping Center.
$$$ Serentos on the Beach: At the border of Kihei/Wailea right on Keawakapu Beach. Spectacular views, impeccable service, and incredible locally grown food. Excellent breakfast and dinner spot, feet from the sand and surf. An experience.
$$$ Monkeypod: Handcrafted food and drink. Farm to Table. Fun atmosphere with varied menu and extensive wine and beer selection. At Wailea Gateway Plaza.
Worth the drive:
$$$$ Mama's Fish House (on the ocean in Paia): Pacific Rim cuisine
$$$ Hailemaile General Store (Hailemaile off Haleakala Hwy): Fish and steaks
$$ Café De Amis : Great crepes and curry (Paia)
$$ Bubba Gumps: Fun, family fish restaurant on the water in Lahaina
$$ Cool Cat Café: Best burger on the west side and great fresh salad with local veggies and fresh fish. Front Street, Lahaina.
$$ Penne Pasta Cafe: Fresh pasta and salads. Dickenson Street, Lahaina
SNORKELING - A snorkel boat trip is a great experience, especially around Maui. But you don't have to stray more than a little way from that sandy beach to experience spectacular snorkeling. There are snorkel rental outlets on almost every corner. We recommend the basic gear, rather than the latest-greatest exotica gear and accompanying upcharge. It's all you'll need at these great spots!
Ahihi Cove in Makena
Keawakapu Beach in south Kihei (by the lava outcropping in front of the Five Palms Restaurant)
Ulua/Mokapu Beach in Wailea
All beaches in south Kihei, Wailea and Makena!
Worth the Drive:
Honolua Bay West Maui
Napili Bay West Maui
PLEASE TAKE CARE TO PROTECT OUR FRAGILE CORAL REEFS AND MARINE LIFE:
Wait to apply sunscreen until after snorkeling or apply it only to your back. Sunscreen chemicals suffocate the reef and microscopic animals that the larger fish feed on. PLEASE don't use sunscreen with "Oxybenzone" in the ingredients list...this chemical is known to destroy our reefs and harm fish. There are mineral based sunscreen products available online and in some stores. Look for these two brands that make mineral sunscreens: Alba and Bare Republic.
Please do not feed the fish. Feeding upsets the natural balance of the reef community. Stepping on the reef or touching the coral damages and may kill it. Beware of our black sea urchins. They have spiny tentacles that when touched are almost impossible to remove and sting! Please do not harass the turtles or other marine life. This is a state law and you could be fined. Enjoy them from a distance. Turtles need to come up for air, so be careful not to hover right above them. When kayaking or paddle boarding during whale season, please remember to stay at least 100 yards from any whale. This is a state law with heavy fines. Besides, if you stay put, they will often times venture in your direction if they feel confident you are not going to harass them.
HIKING? It doesn't cost much to have fun on Maui...get off the beaten path, and you'll see a different side of the island!
La Parouse: Drive all the way south , past Wailea and Makena about 7 miles, through the lava field, to the end of the road. Beautiful, unspoiled area and you can walk along the shore heading south to old Hawaiian ruins.
Iao Valley in Wailuku: Dirt foot trail up the stream. Ancient Hawaiian battlefield. Boulders, rushing stream, pathways along the water. Go only when not raining.
Oheo Gulch Trail (Seven Sacred Pools): Past Hana about 10 miles. Wonderful hike, 4 miles round trip, up to 2 waterfalls and through a bamboo forest. Probably the best hike on Maui.
Road to Hana: Try and drive all the way around if the road is open. The back road is spectacular. Go early (6am) and stop a lot along the way. The town of Hana itself is nice, but there is so much more to see along the way. Don't rush!
Haleakala: The sunrise is beautiful from the summit, but if you go, be prepared. It's cold up there! There are also hiking trails into the crater and along the road to the summit past the visitor's station.
Piiholo in Makawao. Great staff and fun!
MUST SEE SHOWS
Warren and Annebelles: Great magic and comedy show. One of the best comedy shows you will ever see, and we know good comedy, having been to the famous "Comedy Store" in Hollywood numerous times over the years. Lahaina
Boat Tour Companies:
Trilogy and Alii Nui are the cream of the crop. Pacific Whale Foundation is less expensive, but they allow a lot of people on their boats and narrate constantly. For the truly adventurous, book Maui Ocean Riders for an unforgetttable inflatable raft cruise around the island of Lana'i...plus lunch and several beautiful snorkel stops. During whale season, Ultimate Whale Watch is the very best.
Old Lahaina Luau or Feast at Lele. These are the best. Both in Lahaina and worth the drive.