When you look at the island of Maui from the air, you’ll see why we call this slice of paradise the Valley Isle. Many of the island’s towns and districts are sandwiched between Maui’s two major volcanic mountain ranges, Haleakalā and the West Maui Mountains, with central Maui comprising the massive valley in between.
There are so many things that make Maui special, including more miles of accessible beach than any other island in Hawaii. Even though we are a bit prejudiced that Maui is No Ka Oi (the best), the island is also a favorite of visitors. You may already know a bit before coming to the islands, but we’ve gathered up a few more unusual facts, and some links for more information on our favorite Maui activities.
1. Lahaina has a tree with a canopy covering nearly a whole city block. The famous Banyan Tree was just 8 feet tall when it was brought to Maui from India. It now stands more than 60 feet tall. On the shady park grounds where the tree takes center stage, you’ll also find the Lahaina Arts Society gallery, exclusively representing works of Maui artists.
2. Just how curvy is the road to Hana? Well, 600 hairpin turns take you through lush jungles and countless cascading waterfalls. The road to Hana is 45 miles long, but takes 2 – 4 hours one way, depending on how many stops you make. The journey is the adventure! The road features 59 bridges and stunning vistas- great for photography, not so great for those that get car sick.
3. Humpback whales travel 6,000 miles to Hawaii to mate and give birth–one of the longest journey’s of any mammal. Over 10,000 humpback whales migrate to Hawaii from Alaska each year. How do we know? Volunteers count them! Like a human fingerprint, the tail of each humpback whale is unique.
4. Lahaina was the original capital of Hawaii until 1850 when it changed to Honolulu, and we are just fine with that. We kind of like it a little slower paced here anyway.
5. West Maui has some of the sunniest, dry weather. However, Pu’u Kukui in the West Maui Mountains is one of the wettest places on earth, getting around 365 inches of rain per year. Maui has 10 of the world’s 14 climate zones, meaning you can go from a sunny beach to a snow capped volcano in one day, with a few more climate zones in between.
6. Haleakala is the world’s largest dormant volcano, standing at 10,023 feet from sea level. The city of Manhattan would fit snugly inside the summit’s 21 mile crater. The demigod Maui lassoed the sun from Haleakala to make the days last longer, but we’ll have him leave Manhattan where it is–the crater would look weird with sky scrapers.
7. Maui is the second largest Hawaiian island. Can you guess which island is the largest? Here’s a hint: It goes by the moniker “The Big Island.”
8. Maui has numerous golf courses, each unique. Some courses host professional tournaments, including The PGA’s Sentry Tournament of Champions coming up Jan. 7-19, 2021 at the Plantation Course at Kapalua. Challenging holes on some Maui courses have the biggest water hazard imaginable–the Pacific Ocean!
9. Honokohau Falls, deep in the West Maui Mountains, plunges a total of 1,100 feet, making it one of the highest waterfalls in the world. The area is generally only accessible by helicopter, or a really, really long hike.
10. The tiny crescent-shaped partially submerged cinder cone visible from Maui’s southern shore is Molokini- home to around 250 marine species, many found no where else in the world. Molokini is an excellent spot for snorkeling and scuba diving.