beach in Maui

The Ultimate Guide to Maui

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Welcome to the ultimate guide to Maui!

Maui is the second-largest of the Hawaiian Islands, which is  also known as “The Valley Isle”.

Maui has so much to offer, from the stunning beach to windswept palms and luscious jungles. It’s no wonder that Conde Naste travelers have voted it the Best Island in the US for over 20 years…

Today I’m going to transport you to the beautiful island of Maui. I’ll be helping you get to Maui, find accommodations at the best locations on the island, and of course, have the trip of a lifetime.

When to go to Maui

Maui is blessed with a fairly amazing climate all year round, making it an ideal place to visit, no matter when you can get off and go. Maui’s dry season is from April to October, and then the rainy season is from November to March. However, it rarely rains more than two or three days in a row!

Maui’s temperature in the 70s and 80s most of the time (quite ideal if you ask me)!

But of course, the best time to go if you can is the shoulder season, because then you’ll have the least amount of other travelers on the island. 

beach in Maui
Beach in Maui

Getting There

Maui is fairly easy to get too from the west coast of the US and a bit farther from the rest of the mainlandf. Kahului Airport (OGG) is Maui’s main airport which most major airlines offer direct flights into.

Another option would be to fly into Honolulu International Airport (HNL) on Oahu before heading to Maui via a short, 30-minute flight.

If you want to visit another island during your time in Hawaii, there is a ferry service between Maui and Lanai, a small nearby island. 

Where to stay

Maui is divided into 5 regions. West, South, Central, Upcountry, and East Maui. It’s really a tough decision to make when choosing an area to stay in Maui. There are secluded bungalows, villas right on the beach, spas, and 4-star hotels. You can even find opportunities to couch surf and stay in Airbnb’s. It’s really going to depend on what your budget is and what kind of vacation you’re after. 

While Maui has several regions, they only have two resort shores. So if you’re after a resort stay, you’re going to want to stay on the South of the West Shore. West Maui is definitely the favorite place for people to stay during their trip. Maui’s famous Ka’anapali Beach is on the West Shore as well, so if you stay here you’ll be in the heart of the action. 

It’s also a great place to stay if you want to splurge on a resort or save with a condo or Airbnb. 

While on the South Shore of Maui, you’re going to find quieter beaches, even better weather and a more laid back atmosphere. There’s definitely less to do on the South side, and it’ll be more expensive, but it’s quieter, high class and if you have a car, you can explore other parts of the island during the day! 

How Long to Stay on Maui

How long should you stay on Maui? Well I mean forever… but since we know that’s not an option… I recommend 5 days to explore the island. 5-7 days will give you plenty of time to relax on the beach, snorkel and explore some of the lesser known spots on the island (if you have a car of course). 

If you’ve got a car you can even take a ferry over to the smaller island of Lanai, also known as Pineapple Island! You might even see some humpback whales on your ferry over (in the winter months). 

Snorkeling in Maui

Rent a car/Public Transit?

Because there is so much you’re going to want to explore on Maui, I would highly recommend renting a car. With a car you’ll have the freedom to find hidden beaches, drive the famous road to Hana and explore the Upcountry of beautiful Maui. 

Driving in Maui is much more relaxed than mainland America. Make sure to drive slow and enjoy your time. Don’t tailgate and let the locals pass you. It’s not a race, you are in Hawaii after all. 

If you’re not interested in driving a car, you’ll also find that you can rent scooters and bikes, take a bus (the Maui Public Bus is $2 a ride) or take a taxi where you need to go. Always check with your accomodation to see if they offer an airport transfer.

If you really want to explore Maui while you’re here though… you’ll need to rent a car. 

What to Eat (and where)

We’ll be getting what to do on your trip to Maui in another post, but while we’re planning your trip let’s talk about food. The food in Hawaii is fresh and full of flavor, and it’s no different in Maui. 

The amazing thing about Hawaiian food is how international it is. Hawaiian cuisine contains a bit of everything, from every different culture who came past the islands throughout history. This includes: Polynesian, American, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, and Portuguese. You could spend your entire trip just learning about the history of food in Hawaii. 

There’s plenty of options to eat cheap, local food on your trip to Maui. Make sure to try some of my favorites! 

  1. Joy’s Place
  2. Grandma’s Maui Coffee
  3. Tinroof
  4. Ono Kau Kau Mixed Plate

I promise you won’t be disappointed with the food in Maui! 

Costs of Your Trip

Now I want to tackle one of the most asked questions… How much does a trip to Maui cost?

Because let’s face it… we all know that Hawaii isn’t cheap. There are plenty of ways that you can save money while you’re on your trip though! You can stay in Airbnb’s and Condos, you can cook some of your meals and you can eat where the locals eat!

I’ll be honest with you though, even when you’re traveling on quite the budget, you should expect to spend $1,000 + for your Maui holiday!

Airfare alone from the west coast averages $400-$600 round trip and from the east coast $700-$1000 round trip. Every day will be well worth it because, in Maui, you’ll have the trip of a lifetime! 

Are you ready to plan your Maui holiday? Let me know if you have any questions or if I missed anything in the ultimate guide to Maui comment below!

Also, for more on Maui, check out my top 15 things to do in Maui!

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