Kahului was the first town you saw when you arrived, as the airport is located here. Kahului is also the main business hub for the island. You can find big box stores like Home Depot, Walmart, Target and Costco.
(Speaking of Costco, this is where you should do the bulk of your shopping. It's in Kahului, near the airport. If you don't have a membership, buy one. You save that, and then some. Food, oven-ready meals, liquor (outstanding prices for 1.75 liter bottles of your favorites. So good, I wish we could get them at home!), beer, snacks, beach towels,
snorkel equipment, even Hawaiian shirts for $19.99!! Go shopping there as soon as possible after your arrival (within a day or two). If you go after you've already been on Maui for a week, you'll be afraid of not using up the larger items before you go home. You should also get gasoline there. 80 cents a gallon cheaper than anywhere on the island. Don't let the lines scare you away, they move quickly.)
There’s even a mall. We’ll usually stop at Walmart on the way to the airport when we’re leaving for any last minute gifts, or extra bags of Hawaiian coffee. (Feel free to bring me back a bag of Toasted Coconut Coffee) Blue Hawaiian Helicopters is located on the backside of the airport. They are the best at what they do in Hawaii. If you head east from Kahului, you’ll end up in Paia.
Heading west from Kahului through Wailuku, is the Iao Valley.
It’s a picturesque park with high cliff walls and much history. It’s also free.
We talked about Paia previously under Sunrise on Haleakala. But, I didn’t include this because I’d rather you save it for a special dinner and not just a drive by.
Mama’s Fish House is arguably the best restaurant on the island. It’s just what you dream of, when you think South Pacific. Bamboo, open air, ceiling fans, lush grounds, all on it’s own beach. It’s a good opportunity to put on your finest island attire and snap some pictures either before or after dinner. All of their seafood is caught fresh daily. They even list the boat captains who caught it on
the menu each day. For the quality of the food, the atmosphere, and the 2 to 2 ½ hours of glorious time you’ll spend here, it’s reasonably priced. Not cheap. But reasonable. That’s if you limit yourself to one cocktail. But, believe me, it’ll be hard. They make the best Mai Tai’s I’ve ever had. And they ain’t cheap.
With a single cocktail, and dinner, you can walk out for a $100 for you and the Mrs.
This might serve as a cheaper alternative, as a real Hawaiian feeling experience, in place of a Luau. Especially if you choked when told you the price of The Feast at Lele. You just won’t have the dancers.
This is a common place to get on a boat, if you want to snorkel or dive Molokini. Molokini is a half sunken volcano crater/marine preserve, lying in the middle of the channel between Maui and Kaho’olawe, about 6 miles out. It is pristine.
If you'd like to go out to Molokini, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND the Leilani (pictured above), which operates as part of the Pride of Maui company. You may have a little trouble navigating the Pride of Maui site to find this specific trip. But, no worries, I've got the direct link for you right HERE. C.J. and his crew will take excellent care of you. In addition to their sparkling personalities, we love the size of the boat. I'm pretty sure the maximum number they take out is 21 per trip (24 life jackets minus 3 crew). If you've ever been out to Molokini, you know there are a lot of boats there. They all have their designated mooring spots, and keep their snorkelers where they can see them. So, if you go on a bigger boat you may find yourself (literally) bumping into 150-200 other snorkelers. We done this trip on many boats, and the experience on the Leilani exceeds them all. I shot the video below on a trip to Molokini in 2016 with them.
Outside the crater drops 300 ft, and the Manta Rays and Whale Sharks common there make it great for Scuba. Also, Pacific Whale Foundation runs Whale Watching tours from here daily. Ma’alea is also home to the Maui Ocean Center. If you don’t want to, or can’t get in the ocean while here, it’s the next best thing.