© By Robert W. Bone


Certainly Hawaii’s most popular island for vacationers is Oahu, which includes Honolulu and Waikiki. But a highly-favored second to Oahu is Maui, an island that exhibits a degree of sophistication while maintaining a generally slower pace of life throughout its villages and green tropical countryside.

Many consider Maui an ideal compromise between Honolulu’s relatively "big city" lifestyle and other islands, such as Kauai or the Big Island (Island of a Hawaii), which are considered much more countrified. Maui fans happily recite the ancient Hawaiian phrase, Maui no ka Oi, generally translated as "Maui is the Best."

West Maui is dominated by rugged peaks formed from an ancient volcano, now known as the West Maui Mountains. The principle settlement along the shoreline is the old whaling village of Lahaina, the scene of much missionary vs. merchant conflict in James Michener’s historic novel, "Hawaii." Lahaina was the nation of Hawaii capital during the early nineteenth century.

Near Lahaina is the Kaanapali resort area, lining an especially broad strip of beach. Here are some of the most well-established hotels such as the Marriott, the Westin, and the Hyatt Regency. More deluxe hotels are further north in the Kapalua area.

East Maui is monopolized by one giant dormant volcano that the Hawaiians called Haleakala. Hale-a-ka-la means, literally, the "House-of-the-Sun," and it is the traditional place to watch the sunrise for those who drive up to the cool 10,000-foot summit before dawn.

Along the southern shore of East Maui are the relatively secluded Wailea and Makena resort areas. Here are some all-luxury establishments including the Four Seasons, and Grand Wailea, and the Maui Prince.

On the extreme east end of the island, at the end of a scenic 50-mile winding road is the village of Hana and its rambling Hotel Hana Maui.

Few of the Hollywood celebrities and other hip frequent visitors to the island know that Maui was named after one of the most well-known deities throughout ancient Polynesia, even including far off New Zealand. He was often known as "Maui, the trickster."

Maui is said to have ascended Haleakala at dawn and snared the sun as he arose from the crater at the summit, not releasing it until extracting a promise that he would henceforth travel more slowly across the Hawaiian sky. Maui’s enforced daylight savings time continues to this day. Some say Hawaii now boasts enough sunshine so that there is never a need to "save" it by adjusting our clocks twice


Travel writer Robert W. Bone lived and worked in Hawaii for 38 years before recently moving to a new home near San Francisco. Now he revisits Hawaii as often as he can. Bone is the author of the Maverick Guide to Hawaii, which was revised annually for 25 years from 1976 to 2001. He also wrote three other travel books, and continues to write magazine and newspaper articles covering cruising and other world travel subjects. He maintains web sites at and

Note: Maui Captures the Sun is another in a new series of short pieces on Hawaii.

#1 Downtown Honolulu

#2 The Park of Fire

#4 Kauai, a Different Island

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