Maui, Molokai, and Lani:Insider's Column

Even clients who love the high life occasionally feel the need to escape from the hustle and bustle of the popular resort areas and the crowds at famous attractions. If they happen to be on Maui when the mood strikes, they're in luck, because there's so much to see and do beyond the beaten paths. Here are some suggestions from William Kamaka, Club Concierge Supervisor for the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Kapalua, and a native of Maui.
  • Ahihi Beach, in the Kihei-Wailea area isn't as well-known as some of the other island beaches, but it's an excellent spot for snorkeling and swimming, and has a wonderful marine preserve where visitors can often see green sea turtles.
  • The Poli Poli area at the Haleakala crater is a great place for hiking, especially for hikers who venture off the main trail and explore beautiful nature and birdwatching areas.
  • Recommended Haleakala hiking routes include:

  • The 3.7-mile roundtrip Pipiwai Trail, which highlights the eastern part of the park and offers spectacular views of the 184-foot Falls at Makahiku. Paths here wind through beautiful bamboo and guava forests, before emerging at the base of the 400-foot Waimoku Falls.
  • The half-mile roundtrip Kuloa Point Loop Trail, starting at the Kipahulu Ranger Station, also at the eastern end of the park, featuring a Hawaiian cultural site with traditional thatched roof houses. Continuing to Kuloa Point, hikers can swim in the pools and waterfalls along the lower stream (but should be warned that the surf can sometimes be rough).
  • Instead of taking the usual coastal route to Hana, clients who detour slightly south and travel via the Kipahulu Valley will be rewarded with spectacular hilly scenery and an amazing variety of climate conditions, from bone dry to lush and tropical.
  • Families should be sure to visit the Heritage Gardens in Iao Valley Park to see the tropical rain forest. Children can enjoy the interactive games and demonstrations here. Visitors who want to experience the "real Maui" as locals do should head for the island's small towns, such as:
  • Wailuku, the county seat of Central Maui, offers a colorful array of establishments, such as antique shops, art galleries and Hawaiiana specialty shops, including several selling classic Hawaiian shirts.
  • Wailuku is also the home of the Bailey House Museum, a repository of island history, where visitors can admire ancient Hawaiian artifacts, authentic missionary furniture and rare plants in the garden.

    Local gourmets favor Wailuku for its surprisingly good variety of fine, reasonably-priced restaurants.

  • Another town worth visiting is Paia, an old sugar cane hamlet. Once part of the Alexander & Baldwin Sugar Plantation, it still houses an operating sugar mill, but is better known nowadays as the jumping off spot for some of Maui's top windsurfing areas, such as Hookipa Beach.
  • Because of its natural beauty, Paia is also popular with local artists. Visitors can admire their work at the Maui Crafts Guild here.

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