Maui is a 20-minute flight from Honolulu. Known as the "valley island" because of its two large extinct volcanoes divided by a central valley, it is the second-largest of the Hawaiian islands after Hawaii. It has fine beaches and some top-rating windsurfing and surfing.
Maui provides superb scenery and diverse landscapes. Its western coast is sunny and lined with white sandy beaches and warm waters teeming with humpback whales.
High-rise resorts are confined to the beach areas of Lahaina, Kaanapali and the Kihei strip, but it's easy to escape to rainforests, eucalyptus groves and ranches on the western side.
Most people who visit Maui are keen to see the giant green sea turtles or honu. They get their name from the colour of their body fat, which is green from the algae or limu they eat. While juvenile turtles are carnivorous, they become herbivores in adulthood. Adults can weigh up to 225 kilograms and live near coral reefs and rocky shorelines where limu is plentiful.
Green sea turtles are agile swimmers, but on land they are cumbersome. Females clamber ashore between May and August to lay their eggs, which then incubate for 50-60 days. On a clear, moonlit night the hatchlings dig themselves out of their nests and the 5cm-long babies scramble to the water. As they make their way to the open sea, they need to avoid crabs, sea birds and fish. All hatchlings from the one nest are of the same sex, determined by the temperature of their surroundings. Cooler nests produce male and warmer nests females.
Maui Eco Tours have kayaking and snorkelling trips for all ages and levels. A three-hour trip combines two snorkelling destinations with leisurely paddling. They are suitable for those new to the experience and even those who aren't strong swimmers can join in. US Coast Guard-certified paddling life jackets are provided and are comfortable enough to leave on when snorkelling.
Turtle tours are kept to small numbers and the ancient creatures outnumber the humans. They surface regularly for sun and air and once you begin to snorkel, it is amazing to see how many are below the clear water.
Kaanapali Beach Hotel is on a flawless stretch of sand. The low-rise building has 430 rooms and suites overlooking tropical gardens. Rooms have Hawaiian decor with typical bedspreads, original art and tropical furnishings. Airy lanais allow you privacy to enjoy the views and you never feel as though you are in a hotel.
Maui's most Hawaiian hotel serves the best of regional cuisine. The cultural diversity of the islands left a legacy of tastes. Each wave of immigration brought its own cuisine, so get set to enjoy Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Portuguese and even fare favoured by missionaries from New England.
The award-winning Tiki Terrace serves breakfast and dinner and at night guests enjoy a selection of island seafood, steaks and suckling pig off the rotisserie. Children under five eat free from their own menu and each night there is a dinner show.
Next to the lobby is the Aloha Spa Salon. After a day of snorkelling and kayaking, a good massage might be needed! They also offer facials and other beauty treatments and open every day.
Maui Eco Tours 2.5-hour Seafari Kayak tours are around $70 per person.
Kaanapali Beach Hotel rooms start at around $230 a night.
Prices quoted correct at 5.07.2007
Maui in the Hawaiian Islands.
For further information
Kaanapali Beach Hotel
2525 Kaanapali Parkway
Hawaii 96761 USA
Ph: 0011 1 866 891 2223
Ph: 1300 137 727; (07) 3218 9900
Fax: (07) 3229 7073
6/117 York Street
Ph: (02) 9286 8952
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