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by Berna Bass
The west side of Maui is formed by valleys created by an extinct volcano, but most of these are inaccessible except by foot or paved road. One exception is the way into beautiful ‘Iao Valley. The eastern two-third of Maui is Haleakala, a 10,023 feet volcano with a crater that is 7.5 miles long and 2.5 miles wide. East and West are connected by the central valley, which is Maui’s population core.
Maui has numerous places worth visiting, and one would need at least four days to get a taste of all of them.

One thing every visitor should do is drive to Hana. The famous road to Hana, a town frequently called “Hawai‘i’s most Hawaiian town,” unites Maui’s central valley to its rainforested eastern shores. The partly one-lane road has waterfalls dropping roadside cliffs, and often travelers are accompanied by a splashing roadside stream and beautiful ocean views, which make the 50-mile drive, with approximately 600 curves, enjoyable.

Indeed, be sure to enjoy the drive and stop at the scenic views because it should not be all about the destination.

Hana is a tiny town which seems extraordinarily behind today’s rushing times. It has a little cultural center, a couple of cute restaurants, and a nice convenience store. Wananalua Church, right beside Hana highway, was built from blocks of coral in 1838, on top of a temple to demonstrate Christianity’s dominance over paganism.

About five miles past the town of Hana is ‘Ohe‘o Gulch, site of the Seven Sacred Pools, a series of connected waterfalls that drop down the slope of Haleakala volcano to the ocean. Besides observing the pools, visitors may do the 1.8-mile trail that leads to Waimoku waterfall. The trail is well preserved and the smaller waterfalls and bamboo forest along the way make the hike worthwhile.
Another must-do in Maui is watching the sunrise from the top of Haleakala. The drive to the summit starts at the entrance to Haleakala National Park. It takes about two hours, and visitors should bring heavy coats and blankets to protect themselves from the fast drop on the temperature. Some companies offer a bike ride down the volcano for more adventurous visitors.

For snorkeling and diving fans, Molokini Islet is the right place to go. It is located approximately three miles off Maui’s southwest shore, and a dozen companies offer a 30-40 minute boat ride out and back for about $80. This includes a meal, drinks, and the snorkeling equipment, and companies offer morning and afternoons rides. The whole excursion is about 3-4 hours long. Molokini is a state marine protected area, with one of the most diverse populations of marine life in Hawai‘i.
The white sandy beach of Makena, located on the south coast, is also a place worth visiting. Although technically illegal, its bordering Little Beach is “clothing optional.” To see green sea turtles, go to Maluaka Beach, which borders the other side of Makena Beach.

Finally, Lahaina is one of the most popular visitor attractions on Maui. The town is both historic and fun, and offers a variety of restaurants, bars, and numerous art galleries.

Once the Hawaiian capital, Lahaina was, in the early 19th century, the seat of power for the Kamehameha dynasty. It has several sites designated as National Historical Landmarks, including the Baldwin Mission House, the Masters and Mates Reading Room, Carthaginian II Museum, and the courthouse. Lahaina also has the largest Buddha statue outside of Asia.

Therefore, do not miss the opportunity to get away from H-1 traffic, if time permits. Principally international and mainland students, who stay in Hawai‘i for at least couple of years, should experience a trip to Maui.

Paula Koikopoulos, a HPU student from Sao Paulo, Brazil, who spent part of the 2005 spring break in Maui, said, “Many international and mainland students who come to Hawai‘i get so stuck into their routine ‘school-work-home’ that they end up postponing the opportunity of visiting other Hawaiian Islands. When time to go home comes, they realize they have never gone away from O‘ahu. They took it for granted.”

Makena Beach, Maui

Sunrise over Haleakala
Along the road to Hana.
Seven sacred pools .
Photos By Flavia Brakling


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