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The Islands of Hawaii

Maui Visitors & Convention Bureau
Kelii Brown
Director of Public Relations and Promotions
(808) 244-3530

For Immediate Release

August 25, 2014

Maui County – Three Islands, Three Unique Experiences

The three islands of Maui County, Maui Nui, create a synergy that is unique in Hawai‘i. The geographical relationship of Maui, Moloka‘i and Lana‘i makes it possible to wake up on Maui, spend the day sailing and snorkeling off Lana‘i, and be back in time for a sunset lu‘au on the beach at Wailea. Or you can hop aboard a ferry from Lahaina Harbor and explore Moloka‘i’s east-end rainforest or tour the remote, historic Kalaupapa Peninsula.

These inter-island adventures offer unique views of the islands, their coastlines, and their looming mountains from the grand Pacific Ocean.

Lana‘i is Maui County’s newest resort star. Formerly called the “Pineapple Island” for its rolling plantation fields, it is now famous for its two luxury hotels, the Four Seasons Resort Lana‘i, Lodge at Ko‘ele and the Four Seasons Resort Lana‘i at Manele Bay, and their upland and seaside golf courses. From dining to accommodations, vacationers are drawn by Lana‘i’s curious mix of sophistication and rural charm.

There are no high rises on Lana‘i, and the tiny town of Lana‘i City has yet to see its first stoplight. It takes five minutes to walk across the center of town. The senior prom could be the biggest event of the year, and a rustic 11-room lodge is the oldest hotel on the island. 


Recreational activities range from fishing, snorkeling and beachcombing to hiking, golf, archery, clay shooting and mountain biking.  One tour operator will rent you a Jeep to explore the island’s rugged terrain on your own, including a map, or they’ll arrange for a guided tour of the island’s many natural attractions.

Like Lana‘i, Moloka‘i is a world of its own. Its rural lifestyle and predominantly Native Hawaiian population have given this island the moniker “the most Hawaiian island.” A mere 30-minute flight from Oahu, Moloka‘i appeals to those seeking an unhurried pace and raw natural beauty. The leeward slopes are scored with gulches. Along the north coast, sea cliffs drop to the ocean from more than 3,000 feet, and on the east end, ancient Hawaiian loko i‘a (fishponds) – some of the most sophisticated aquaculture complexes in the Pacific – come to life, stone by stone, in restoration projects. On the west side of the island, the 3-mile Papohaku Beach is one of the largest white-sand beaches in Hawai‘i.

The island’s activities are centered outdoors. You can sip coffee from a 500-acre coffee plantation, hike along rugged trails, or kayak on the open ocean. On the northern coast, Kalaupapa National Historical Park is its own county, named Kalawao, a peninsula isolated from the rest of the island by cliffs that rise approximately 2,000 feet.Among Moloka‘i’s cultural activities is the annual Ka Hula Piko Festival, attracting hula aficionados from around the State and beyond. Moloka‘i is known as the “birthplace of hula,” and this festival tells you why.

Why do people love Maui? It’s neither too big or too small. It’s manageable. It has remote wilderness and glamorous resorts, rural neighborhoods and staggering natural beauty.

At West Maui’s Kapalua Bay, the white-sand crescent is a favorite for picnics, snorkeling, swimming and diving. A few minutes south, Ka‘anapali Beach stretches for miles between fun-loving Lahaina and historic Pu‘u Keka‘a, a volcanic outcropping known for its Technicolor snorkeling. South Maui has its own allure, a string of white-sand beaches and welcoming coves along Kihei, Wailea and Makena.

In East Maui’s Hana, home to the largest heiau (pre-western stone temple) in Hawai‘i, the beaches range from red to black to white. Wai‘anapanapa’s black-pebbled shore and white-sanded Hamoa Beach are a study in contrasts, each brilliant in its own way. East Maui’s character is casual and rural. The laptop and wristwatch come off and stay off, and you may spend more time on a horse than in a car. In Central Maui’s Wailuku, hike and picnic in ‘Iao Valley and dine where the locals do, at mom-and-pop restaurants, noodle shops and cafes.

Enlightened farmers, fertile soil, and brilliant, world-renowned chefs give Maui a cachet that has circled the globe. From Makawao and Kula to Central, South and West Maui, from rubber-slipper casual to elegantly chic, restaurants of all types draw an international and local clientele.

Where to stay? Take your pick: luxury hotels with sunset views, intimate bed & breakfasts clinging to upland slopes, or spacious condominiums for the family with all the amenities of home. While luxury resorts line Maui’s south and west shores, moderately priced accommodations abound in neighboring resort areas, and in Upcountry and Central Maui.