Anyone who's dived Maui raves about how great the diving is there. The famous Molokini Marine Sanctuary on the southwest coast is a very interesting volcanic crater and the coastal diving from Kihei, Wailea and Makena makes for some great deep and wall diving. So there's something for every interest in Maui.
You'll find quite a few centres in Kihei and Lahaina but the hotels have an affiliation with the centres so you'll also find it easy to book a dive from where you are staying. There are around 50 dive sites surround the island so that'll keep you busy for a while, or if you are short on time then focus on the most interesting dives, there are a few great ones.
There is so much to see under the water in Maui whether you're diving or snorkelling. From all kinds of reef fish to eels, mantas and eagle rays, turtles in abundance, reef sharks and maybe even a dolphin if you're lucky. The island is separated into sections: the south, the west and the Molokini Crater.
The Molokini Crater is the most popular site in the area, sometimes receiving up to 2000 divers and snorkellers in a day at the inner crater! There are five sites around the crater, the inner sites are great for beginners and the outter sites for more experienced divers due to the depth and currents. The Back Wall site is the best in the area as Sharks, manta rays and eels all frequent the area along with lots of large fish maybe even a whale in the winter months.
On the west side of the island the site Marriott is one of the best places to see turtles or Black Rock near the Sheraton which is a great site for a night dive too. There is a small cave to explore along with lots of reef fish and coral. Honolua and Kapalua Bays are also very popular and easy sites to explore. Advanced wreck divers can enjoy the St Anthony Wreck.
A great site on the south side is 5 Caves 5 Graves site but the conditions can be dangerous due to high surf so be very cautious on your dive and on entering and exiting the site. There are some cool caves, reef sharks, lots of fish and many turtles. It's a very big site so you might want to do a few dives to really appreciate the area.
So get your gear ready and jump into the water off the the coast of Maui, it's full of surprises around every corner and you'll walk away with some incredible experiences.
(By Kelly Luckman)
Aloha! Welcome to Maui, the second largest island in Hawaii and known as one of the top romantic island getaways on the planet and for good reason. It's a miriad of wonderful things such as pristine beaches, Hawaiian Luau, fabulous food, hiking, volcanoes and water adventures such as whale watching, wind surfing, snorkeling and diving. You have a vast amount of exciting activities just waiting for you.
Kahului Airport is the hub of the island with direct flights from many US cities. The small regional airport of Kapalua has flights from Honolulu only. There are buses operation in Maui but if you really want to see the island then hiring a car is the best way as it's fairly inexpensive and with so many hidden gems to discover, you'll really want the freedom to go wherever you want to.
Accommodation is quite expensive on Maui. There are a couple of hostels on the island in Wailuku and Lahaina with dorms beds for around $28 a night or $70 for a private double room. There are some 2 star hotels in Kahului and Lahaina starting at $85 a night for a double room but more if you want a sea view or beachfront hotel. If luxury spa resorts are your thing then Maui is for you, with prices starting at around $150 a night up to $500 for a deluxe king room with sea view. Camping is a great budget option with sites in state parks or on the beach.
There are so many activities to enjoy on Maui; let's start with the water based ones. Snorkeling is a cheap and fun way to spend the day and the best spots are a the cove south of Black Rock at Kaanapali Beach, Turtle Town in Ahihi Kinau Reserve, south of Kamaole Beach Park III in Kihei and Ulua Beach. Try your hand at some fishing and maybe you'll catch your supper! There is sailing, rafting, parasailing, jet skiing, submarine tours, surf lessons, sunset cruises, whale watching tours, kayaking... oh the list goes on and on! Diving is a very popular activity on Maui.
Land based activities include biking or hiking to the Haleakala Crater and around the national park or one of the many parks and reserves around the island such as the Wainapanapa State Park. There are some fun ziplines with stunning views of the ocean and surrounding area or take a horseback ride for a relaxed nature adventure. Visit the Ocean Centre Aquarium to see some cool sea life or for an exciting trip, take an ATV or buggy deep into the heart of Maui to discover some amazing hidden location not able to be accessed by car. The road to Hana is one of the most beautiful drives in the world and you can stop at the beaches and waterfalls along the way.
Experiencing a Maui Luau is a must do and most shows provide a buffet dinner as well. Stop at one of the roadside stands to try the delicious things on offer like banana bread, coconut candy, smoothies and fresh delicious fruit are some of the favourites. Try some of the delicious local restaurants serving local food, fresh seafood or international cuisine. Relax with a cocktail at one of the many beach bars and watch the beautiful sunset.
This stunning island is just waiting for you to explore. Get into the heart of Hawaiian culture, nature and meet the friendly local people. Maui should definately be on your list of places to visit in the world.
(By Kelly Luckman)