Most people think of Maui as warm sultry beaches and swaying coconut palms. Pictures of that hammock outside the beach shack are what come to mind when people tell you they are moving to Maui. You would be surprised at the number of diverse climates and lifestyle (other than the beach) choices Maui offers. Maui may look small on a map but it is very diverse and larger than it seems. Prior to hanging that hammock outside your beach home, decide what elements you want to live with. Check out an area map to get a better idea for the differing areas.
It is true: The beach areas of Maui are beautiful. There is no short supply of sandy beaches either on the South Side or West Side of Maui. Both are Resort areas with some fine shopping and dining too.
Kihei feels like a suburb in a lot of respects with lots of housing alongside the beach resort and luxurious condos. Lots of Shopping to choose from including the Piilani Shopping Center which features the Safeway, Blockbuster, Starbucks and Jamba Juice. The best dining can be found at Roys Kihei, and there is also an Outback Steakhouse. Wailea is the jewel of the south side and features luxury hotels with luxury homes, condos and golf courses further up the hill. The restaurants are awesome in Wailea including Nicks Fishmarket at the Fairmont Kea Lani, MALA Wailea at the Wailea Beach Marriott Resort & Spa and a fun and funky favorite of ours is Mulligans on the Blue. Best Irish hangout in Maui! Seawatch and Makena Golf Club Clubhouse have casual yet elegant brunch/lunches and you can’t beat the views.
Lahaina has some local housing, beach communities, and newer estate homes up on the hillside but the big attraction is the old town full of shops and dining including Cheeseburger in Paradise , Lahaina Grill , Kimos and many more. Gerards Maui at the Plantation Inn is a favorite West Side restaurant for us. Kaanapali is pure Resort Living and Napili and Kapalua offer fine Resort amenities with some luxury condos & homes too. Shopping at Whaler Village and enjoying the relaxed atmosphere of the Hula Grill is a great way to spend the afternoon into the evening. Appetizers at the poolside bar of the Hyatt can’t be outdone. One of the best beaches on Maui lines the front of the resorts, and the sunsets are breathtaking.
Paia offers many eclectic restaurants including Paia Flatbread Co , and the best fish sandwich on Maui can be found at the Paia Fishmarket . Hana Hou in Haiku is always a treat, and our island famous Vasis is located there at the old cannery shops. Haiku and Paia offer areas further up on the mountain where the temperatures are slightly cooler than at sea level. North Shore living is laid back for the most part with smaller local style homes. You will find folks living “off the grid” and “off the land.” However some of the priciest beachfront residences are here, mainly in Sprecklesville just before Paia. The new trend is to have that gentleman’s estate on an agricultural lot in the country. Maui real estate offers the finest homes on acreage too.
North Shore Maui offers great wind surfing and big coastal views as well as more tropical lush vegetation. Remember it is green for a reason. That side gets more rain. Irrigation is generally not necessary on the North Shore. The damp weather does bring mold. Most people who live on the North Shore side of Maui from Haiku out to Hana will tell you that you have to take precautions for mold that likes to grow in the closets and closed spaces. Paia tends to be drier and needs irrigation.
Keep in mind issues such as salt air rusting metal objects on your home, and the high winds and sand that comes with beach living. The temperatures on the west and south coastal areas are pretty even. Lows winter time in the 70’s and high summer time in the 90’s. Typically yards that seem lush and tropical on the west and south sides are this way because they have to be irrigated. Areas north of Lahaina on the west side do have more rain.
Central Maui has to very distinct areas with different climates. Kahului is in the windy flat plain of Maui and is relatively dry. Wailuku extends from Kahului up the Mountain side and sees more rainfall and cool mountain mists. Wailuku and Kahului used to offer mainly older homes. The advent of Kehalani community changed all that in a big way. From the base of the mountain on up to the older community of Wailuku Heights they have built starter homes, condos, apartments, townhouses and luxury homes. Maui real estate is growing fast and offers much if you are wanting newly built housing. In old Wailuku town be sure to stop at the Maui Bakeshop for breakfast, Cafe Marc Aureil for lunch or dinner and Cafe Saigon is my personal favorite for dinner and “cheeky” service. Kahului is also the center of Maui’s business community. Wal Mart, Kmart, Costco, the Airport, Car Dealers and more make Kahului the place to go for shopping, etc. Wailuku is the County Government Seat and features the Courthouse, Government buildings and a large medical community including Maui Memorial Medical Center and Kaiser.
East Maui is a very jungle like and remote area. It takes several hours to drive from Kahului (Central) out to the small town of Hana . The jungles and sea cliffs with fabulous bays abound starting from Huelo out to Hana. Past Hana and Oheo Gulch the land starts to open up and much of the open grassy land is devoted to the Hana Ranch. Cattle can be seen grazing the hills. Hana has a ranch store and a couple of restaurants. Many bed and breakfast places are available for tourists as well as the 5 star Hotel Hana Maui Resort and Spa. Don’t forget to catch the Taro Festival every spring in Hana. It is a must do!
Upcountry is my (Gina) personal favorite and it is where I chose to live. Upcountry offers 3 climates. Makawao is the upper extended part of the Haiku North Shore Climate where rain and wind is plentiful. Cowboy country with horse farms and rolling hills can be found. Makawao has that charming country small town feel complete with wonderful shops and dining. Casanovas is a favorite dining spot our mine.
Pukalani is drier than Makawao and the Haleakala highway separates the two. Pukalani offers the 2 larger grocery stores that serve the entire Upcountry area. It even has a Starbucks and a community swimming pool, and the Pukalani Golf Course. Temperatures tend to be 8-10 degrees cooler than those at sea level. Further up the mountainside is Kula. Kula is Cool is the motto and for good reason. On winter nights you will need a fireplace to keep you warm. Daytime temperatures are generally another few degrees cooler than Pukalani or Makawao and you may need that quilt at night. Most of Kula is hillside living. Very few parts are flat. Kula is noted for its Jacaranda trees that bloom bursting with purple every spring. Farms dot the landscape and Kula is famous for its Strawberries and Onions. For the best breakfast hit up La Provence for their pastries, frothy lattes or heavenly crepes. Kula is also noted for the afternoon cool mists that decend off Haleakala. Just past Kula out toward Ulupalakua Ranch area is Keokea. This is a quaint town with the Kula Hospital, Grandmas Coffee house and St Johns Episcopal Church among other interesting stops. Horses are all around and the views are famous.
Whether that hammock at the beach is still calling you, Upcountry Cool weather, or your dream is Country Living on the North Shore come to Maui. Maui offers a little something for everyone in terms of climate and lifestyle. Some fun weather facts are listed below:
Highest Recorded Temperature: Kahului Airport — 96 degrees, Kihei — 98 degrees.
Lowest Recorded Temperature: Kahului — 48 degrees, Haleakala — 14 degrees.
Average Temperature: Winter months – 71 degrees; Summer months – 79 degrees.
Rainfall: The island of Maui has rain forest and desert conditions. Kihei/Wailea receives 12 inches (most during the winter); Hana receives about 90 inches per year while mountain areas may get over 300 inches.
Trade Winds: The constant breezes keep Maui’s temperature very comfortable. The winds are from the northeast at about 5-15 miles per hour, they naturally cool the air. Trade winds are nearly always calm in the morning hours.
Kona Winds: They come in the opposite direction of the trade winds and usually indicate bad weather is soon to arrive.
If you are considering for Hawaii real estate, particularly Maui real estate in areas like Wailea and Makena , Kihei , UpCountry in Kula, Central Maui, Lahaina or West Maui , Napili & Kahana , Kapalua , or Ka’anapali , then start now and enjoy everything wonderful Maui Hawaii has to offer!