Is Maui the best? I think not!

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Jul 11th, 2007, 02:53 PM
  #1
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Is Maui the best? I think not!

I know this post will create some debate, but so many people say that Maui is the best island and I had to find out for myself and share my opinion. After living on Oahu temporarily for three months, my husband and I spent 5 nights on Maui and attempted to see as much as possible. I should also say that we've been to Kauai for a week (and loved it!).

My impression of Maui was that much of the island is developed into exclusive resort communities (Ka'anapali and Wailea) that do not welcome locals or tourists not staying there, and Lahaina was a cheesey tourist trap in my opinion. I felt like the island is over-run with tourists and I couldn't imagine how annoying all of the tourism must be for local people. Oahu has a very different feel because there is such a large Hawaiian/local population and most tourists stay in Waikiki which is nicely integrated into the city of Honolulu and many local people enjoy this area as well.

I guess it depends on what you prefer. I don't like feeling like I'm in some sort of Disneyfied resort that is completely exclusive, and to me, much of Maui felt this way. Certainly there are places on Oahu like this--Ko Olina and Turtle Bay--but most of the places you go on Oahu you will find a mixture of tourists and locals.

Also, I get so annoyed when people say they didn't like Oahu because it's too developed/commercialized! Oahu is a gorgeous island with so much to discover outside of Waikiki (though I love Waikiki as well). Though Oahu does not have the Road to Hana or Haleakala National Park, I would argue the island is more scenic and beautiful because of the dramatic beauty of the mountains and lush, tropical palis (cliffs) found on much of the island. I also prefer the variety of beaches and hiking on Oahu. Obviously I lived on Oahu for much longer than I visited Maui, but we did more in our 5 day stay on Maui than most do in two weeks...here is my short trip report:

Day 1: we arrived around 5pm and tried going to Lahaina for dinner, but a fire closed the road down so we drove through Kihei and visited Big and Little Beach and watched the sunset from the end of the lava covered road. We checked into the ResortQuest at Maui Banyan and were disgusted with our "hotel" room that was actually the second bedroom to a condo unit ƒ¼

Day 2: We left Kihei around 7:30am for the Road to Hana. This was the best part of the trip. I can't imagine going to Maui and missing the Road to Hana. It was amazing! We rented a convertable and it was well worth it for this drive. I wish we wouldn't have stopped so much earlier in the drive so we could have hiked at Wainapapa State Park and Ohea Gulch. But we did see just about everything! We stopped to see all of the beaches in Hana, including the beautiful Red Sand beach. I really wish we could have stayed in Hana for a night or two to have more time to explore. Hana is a gem! So peaceful and like a breath of fresh air compared to the resorts in the rest of Maui. We didn't start heading back until late because we wanted to see everything, but driving in the dark really was easier because there were few people on the road and you could see their headlights coming around the turns.

Day 3: We switched hotels because we couldn't stand the Maui Banyan any longer. We moved over to the Royal Lahaina Resort and it was wonderful! Their recently renovated rooms are gorgeous! We drove around the entire West side of Maui and checked out the views and visited the Iao Valley state park. We then headed back to our resort and walked over to the Sheraton to snorkel at Black Rock, which was great considering how close you are to the beach.

Day 4: We drove up to Haleakala National Park and stopped in the cute little town of Makawao for a great lunch at Cassanova's. Though the clouds covered many of the viewpoints, we went up to the summit and most of the crater was visible. We hiked part of the Sliding Sands Trail (highly recommended to go to the first cinder cone¡Kwe didn¡¦t quite make it because it was getting late). We couldn¡¦t believe how close the summits of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa were above the clouds. We waited for the sunset and then for the full moon rise. This was absolutely breathtaking. We were the last people at the summit that night and it was quite a spooky and fun adventure! Be sure to listen for the Ne-ne birds at night. It literally feels like you are on the moon!

**I have to note that we are not into fancy restaurants and that kind of thing. In fact we often didn¡¦t get dinner because we got back from Hana and Haleakala so late NOTHING was open! It was well worth it though because you can go to restaurants at home¡Khow often can you watch the moon rise on the top of a volcano?

Day 5: We wanted to relax after a late night and before our long trip home to Chicago. We tried snorkeling at Black Rock again in the morning, but visibility was much better when we went the first time at 5pm. We then had lunch at Maui tacos in Napili (great for lunch) and visited some of the beaches around the West side. We snorkeled again at Slaughterhouse Beach. The clarity was unbelievable here. We didn¡¦t see as many fish and marine life as at Black Rock, but the floating 50 feet high and being able to see everything on the bottom of the ocean was incredible. We then spent our last evening in Lahaina¡Xand this is the only thing we did on the trip that I regretted. It¡¦s a complete tourist trap with many cheesy restaurants and shops. There are a few cool shops, but I would suggest having a quick lunch and look around here rather than devoting an entire evening to it.

Overall, Maui is a beautiful island, but I think it gets too much hype and Oahu not enough! I would rank Oahu and Kauai easily before Maui. Just my opinion though! I can¡¦t wait to see the Big Island someday¡K..
madisonmichelle is offline  
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Jul 11th, 2007, 03:35 PM
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Well I've been to all of the islands and I can say there is no one island that is the best. I also don't think negatively about any of them as there are lovely things to find everywhere. I think the people of HI have been generous in sharing their lovely islands with those who visit. I cannot begin to imagine what it would be like to have so many visitors in your midst all the time.

I find that you say some of the things about Maui that you don't like to hear people say about Oahu so that did give me a laugh!

First you say:

My impression of Maui was that much of the island is developed into exclusive resort communities (Ka'anapali and Wailea) that do not welcome locals or tourists not staying there, and Lahaina was a cheesey tourist trap in my opinion. I felt like the island is over-run with tourists and I couldn't imagine how annoying all of the tourism must be for local people.

Then you say:
Also, I get so annoyed when people say they didn't like Oahu because it's too developed/commercialized! Oahu is a gorgeous island with so much to discover outside of Waikiki.

LOL
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Jul 11th, 2007, 04:16 PM
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Ahhh..the age old debate rages on.

I enjoyed reading your report. After reading the first two paragraphs, I was bracing myself for a downer of a trip, however it sounds to me like you actually enjoyed yourself and had a good time...which is great.

Generally, I really like Maui. We were there this past February and stayed in a rental house in Makena and the Hotel Hana Maui. I would do that combo again in a heartbeat.

We were welcomed with open arms at the restaurants and shops that we visited in both Kaanapali and Wailea and no one checked to see if we were staying there, so I don't understand your remark about not being welcomed at places in Kaanaplai and Wailea. That has not been my experience at all.

I agree with you about Hana. Fabulous place to relax and let it go. Talk about a locale that polarizes people!
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Jul 11th, 2007, 05:00 PM
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I think it all depends on what your interests are.

Maui consistently gets the highest rating in Conde Nast because it has a ton of luxury resorts and a great variety of activities to keep one busy. Plus it has incredible beauty and scenery. But it also has traffic and it can be windy in certain locations. If you go and stay in Hana, you are probably in the most beautiful place in Hawaii but this town is too quiet for many.

The north shore of Kaui is a close second for beauty of locale. And there are many small interesting beaches there. A great place for a house rental but the Princeville region leaves me cold.

So does Waikiki. Other locations on Oahu are very nice but not in my opinion as interesting as the best spots on Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island.

The Big Island is almost its own continent. There is so much to see and so many beautiful resorts. But, lately I've been attracted to the Puna Coast. Even though the area lacks swimmable beaches (for the most part), it's such a laid back and relaxing area that we find ourselves returning every couple of years.

I have not forgotten Molokai and Lanai. They are beautiful islands too but I'm not as happy with the lodging choices on those islands.

All of the islands of Hawaii are beautiful. I find it best to dwell on their postives rather than the negatives. The beauty of returning each year is you learn to avoid the latter and concentrate on the former.
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Jul 11th, 2007, 05:22 PM
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"All of the islands of Hawaii are beautiful. I find it best to dwell on their postives rather than the negatives. The beauty of returning each year is you learn to avoid the latter and concentrate on the former."

Beautifully said! =D>
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Jul 11th, 2007, 08:03 PM
  #6
kealalani
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Aloha madisonmichelle!

You crack me up. You state in your title that Maui is not so much.....then go on and share it's wonders. Hana is heaven, and now after many trips to the island you have inspired me to return to the crater for moonrise! Sound much more magical than sunrise and competing the drive down with hundreds of bikers!!!!

Mahalo for your report!
 
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Jul 16th, 2007, 09:36 PM
  #7
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In my opinion, Hawaii is a paradise and tourists visiting any of the islands are lucky and prividleged! I didn't mean to give the impression that I had a bad time on Maui. To the contrary, I had a wonderful time and loved every second that I explored the island.

In my post I just wanted to respond to a trend that I've noticed: tourists overlooking Oahu and presuming Maui (and more recently Kauai) to be the best Hawaiian vacation destination--because they think it is too developed/commercialized/populated/etc.

I guess I just wanted to "speak up" for Oahu and encourage tourists to spend more than 1-2 days on the island just to see Pearl Harbor before they run off for their "real" vacation on Maui or Kauai...and then come back to this board and complain that Waikiki/Honolulu is "just another city" and "Oahu is too developed" when they never really gave the island a chance and missed much of its beauty and adventure, which I personally preferred to Maui.

Happy Travels!

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Jul 17th, 2007, 06:04 AM
  #8
 
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Thanks for the report. I could have written it myself! My husband and I lived on Oahu for a year, and I love that visitors to Oahu get a glimpse of real Hawaiian culture as opposed to being sequestered to fancy resorts, which was also my impression of Maui. The unique culture of Hawaii is its best feature, in my opinion, and it's a shame a lot of visitors miss that because they're stuck on resorts or in excursion groups with other tourists.
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