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6 Things To Do On Maui That Travel Guides Don’t Tell You

There are many more things to do in Maui, see, and experience other than driving to Hana, going snorkeling at Molokini, or visiting Hilo Hattie’s (not that these are not fun things to do). Here are my top 6…in no particular order:

1. Obon Festival

Obon, or just “Bon,” is a Japanese Buddhist custom to honor the spirits of one’s ancestors. The custom has evolved into a family reunion holiday in which families visit and clean their ancestral graves. It has been celebrated in Japan for over 500 years.

With the influx of Japanese immigrants in the early 1900’s, the Obon custom was quickly adapted to the Hawaiian lifestyle. Each of the Buddhist temples will hold their own festival consisting of a service and lots of food, and culminating with the Bod Odori (dancing). In this clip, women dressed in colorful yukatas (light cotton kimonos) and men in happi coats dance around a yagura (bandstand) to singers and drummers. Colorful lanterns light up the night and transport you to a neighborhood festival in Japan.

Obon season begins in June and ends in late August. If you are visiting on a weekend during those months, you may want to check out one of the festivals. You won’t be disappointed.

2. Outrigger Canoe Paddling

Have you ever wanted to paddle an outrigger canoe, but not known it was possible (or felt intimidated)? The Kihei Canoe Club takes visitors out all year on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. There is a $25 donation that goes to the kids’ scholarship fund. If you are a visiting for a few months, you may want to consider a part-time membership. Membership does have its benefits. As a member, I paddle regularly, and am allowed to take guests out for free. Be good to me, and we will see what I can work out!

outriggercanoes

The Kihei Canoe Club takes visitors out all year on Tuesday and Thursday mornings

3. Iao Valley

This one may be in the guides, but is not stressed nearly enough. Iao Valley is my version of Hana “lite.” It’s so easy to get to (in the Wailuku area in central Maui) and will give you a taste of what Hana is like. You will be done with this excursion in an hour or so.

iaovalley

I consider Iao Valley to be Hana “lite;” it is quicker and easier to get to with just as much beauty

There are several viewing areas and paved hiking paths. There is a lookout point on the way where you can see the profile of JFK (no kidding, it really looks like him). As a kid, we’d spend the whole day swimming in the stream and picnicking. If you are lucky, you may see some locals jumping off the bridge into the freezing cold stream water below. If you go in August or September, the smell of white ginger flowers and ripe guavas is something that you will never forget. You may get to pick a guava if you are lucky!

4. Ukulele Jam Session

My buddy and founder of 808UkeJams, Jarret Delos Santos, or as we call him, Kumu Kealoha, holds weekly jam sessions at Keolahou Church (177 N. Kihei Rd) on Thursday evenings from 7:00-8:30PM. The sessions are free. Bring your ukes and your voice or just yourself. You can come to listen or you can play and sing. Jarret has extra song books. If you want to be a member, it costs $20 for the music, then it’s free from then on. I have gone from knowing three chords to becoming more comfortable with a B flat!!!

ukuleleplayer

Bring your ukes and your voices for a jam session on Thursdays at the Keolahou Church in North Kihei

5. Upcountry Maui & The Lavender Farm

Upcountry Maui, or more specifically Makawao Town, was once the Paniolo (cowboy) town of Maui. The heart of the town is small, but is very comparable to Paia town with its vintage buildings and Maui-made crafts.

lavender

Visit Alii Kula Lavender Farm for quality products made on Maui

While you are up there, drive up a little further (not as far as Haleakala Crater), you will find an area known as Kula. It’s about 5-10 degrees cooler up there and it’s a part of Maui that you will never expect to see.

One sight to see is the Alii Kula Lavender Farm. Acres and acres of lavender and some of the most amazing views of the island. It’s like being in the cockpit of an airplane. If you like to cook, they sell culinary lavender (a little goes a long way) and their lavender shortbread cookies are awesome.

6. Touring Around Makena

I have written numerous blogs about Makena, but unless you set out on foot, it’s hard to experience its true beauty. Without saying much more, here is my tour of Makena for you. Enjoy.

Want to Know More?

I hope this inspires you to experience the island in some not-so-common ways. Even some of the locals may not have experienced a few of these. If you would like any additional information about the island and, oh yes, real estate, don’t hesitate to contact me.

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Alex Cortez

June 24, 2010

Great post, Ken. Specially digging the Makena Beach video.

Alex Cortez

June 24, 2010

Great post, Ken. Specially digging the Makena Beach video.

Gerri

June 24, 2010

Awesome pictures, videos, and commentaries. Great job.

Gerri

June 24, 2010

Awesome pictures, videos, and commentaries. Great job.

Justin - Head Web Head

June 25, 2010

I’ll have to try at least one of these when I’m on Maui next week. The Makena video is awesome.

Justin - Head Web Head

June 25, 2010

I’ll have to try at least one of these when I’m on Maui next week. The Makena video is awesome.

Sheralyn at Paradise Found in Maui

June 25, 2010

I loved your video… we want to check out Big Beach on our next trip to Maui… and hiking to the top of the cinder cone there is something I’d like to try too… the only question is, will my 2 boys (who will be 3 and 5 when we go) be able to handle it… hmmmm… I guess we’ll have to play it by ear…

Anyhow, your post is great… and “Hana-lite” is a great way to describe Iao Valley! 🙂

Sheralyn at Paradise Found in Maui

June 25, 2010

I loved your video… we want to check out Big Beach on our next trip to Maui… and hiking to the top of the cinder cone there is something I’d like to try too… the only question is, will my 2 boys (who will be 3 and 5 when we go) be able to handle it… hmmmm… I guess we’ll have to play it by ear…

Anyhow, your post is great… and “Hana-lite” is a great way to describe Iao Valley! 🙂

Makena Surf Condo for Sale is a Solid Buy Compared to Recent Sales « Hawaii Real Estate Market

July 8, 2010

[…] visit my “6 Things to do on Maui that the Guides Don’t Tell You About” blog to see a video tour of the Makena […]

Makena Surf Condo for Sale is a Solid Buy Compared to Recent Sales « Hawaii Real Estate Market

July 8, 2010

[…] visit my “6 Things to do on Maui that the Guides Don’t Tell You About” blog to see a video tour of the Makena […]

lyndsay

May 1, 2011

Very helpful. Thanks.

lyndsay

May 1, 2011

Very helpful. Thanks.

Walter and Yvonne Gallegos

July 29, 2012

Hi Ken,

We will be visiting Maui the last week of August. I am a Realtor here in Albuquerque, NM and am interested in looking at sites in Maui. Can you send us some info on places to visit? Thank you.
Yvonne,
Realtor and CRS
RE/MAX Alliance

Ken Molina

July 29, 2012

That sounds great. I will be in touch.

Walter and Yvonne Gallegos

July 29, 2012

Hi Ken,

We will be visiting Maui the last week of August. I am a Realtor here in Albuquerque, NM and am interested in looking at sites in Maui. Can you send us some info on places to visit? Thank you.
Yvonne,
Realtor and CRS
RE/MAX Alliance

Ken Molina

July 29, 2012

That sounds great. I will be in touch.

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