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Maui, the Valley Isle
Called “The Valley Isle, ” Maui is named for the demi-god the Hawaiians believed to have pulled the chain of Hawaiian Islands up from the sea. Known for it countless waterfalls, breathtaking hikes, stunning beaches and resorts, Maui is one of the most popular Hawaiian vacation destinations as an island full of enchanting history and exceptional beauty.
Maui History and Fun Facts
A well-known local saying is Maui no ka ‘oi, meaning Maui is the best.
November to May is the whale-watching season on Maui, which is one of the best places in the Hawaiian Islands for vacationers to view kohola or humpback whales.
Maui’s first sugar mill opened in the early 19th century, drawing immigrants from China, Japan, Puerto Rico, Korea, the Philippines and even from Portugal as the industry grew.
The primary source of Maui’s economy was once based on large scale plantation farming of sugar and pineapple. Tourism is now the driving force of Maui’s economy as well as the entire State, due to the steady increase in visitors since the 1970’s and the steady decline of plantation farming.
Maui, about 48 miles long and 26 miles wide, is the second largest Hawaiian island, and has a population of over 131, 500 people.
Maui was formed by two volcanoes that are now bridged by an isthmus connecting the islands. The larger volcano on the east side, Haleakala (meaning House of the Sun), is slightly over 10, 000 feet in elevation. The Valley Isle has more than 80 beaches, with a combined shoreline of over 120 miles, making it one of the most desirable Hawaiian vacation destinations.
Must-see Maui Attractions
Lahaina, is a town noted on the National Register of Historic Places and was the erstwhile capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom in the 19th century. Once known as “Lele, ” meaning the town of relentless sun, Lahaina is also a historic whaling harbor. With theaters, museums, luaus, hotels and tours, this town is full of cultural sites and landmarks. On Front Street you can see the impressive Lahaina Banyan Tree planted in 1873 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first missionaries’ arrival in Hawaii. The tree covers two thirds of an acre with numerous weaving trunks. For those who want to take a peek into the past, explore the history of whaling at the Lahaina Whaling Museum or tour the Hale Kahiko, a traditional thatched-roof village open to the public. The Lahaina Historic Trail also offers a self-guided tour of over 60 sites.