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Wordtravels

Maui Travel Guide

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Haleakala Crater, Maui © HVCB/Ron Dahlquist

From the top of its dormant Haleakala volcano crater to its lush rain forests, pristine beaches and rainbows of tropical fish in the offshore valleys and reefs, the Hawaiian island of Maui offers a magical dream-vacation in the Pacific Ocean.

Maui, named for a Polynesian god, is as close to paradise as it is possible to get. Originally six different volcanoes created a single landmass that, over the millennia, separated to become the islands of Maui, Molokai, Lanai and Kahoolawe. All remain administratively linked today as Maui County.

Maui is the second largest of the populated Hawaiian islands (after Hawaii Island/Big Island itself), and also boasts the second largest population in the state. Its two main features are the Haleakala crater (the name means 'house of the sun'), which is the largest dormant volcano in the world; and the underwater valleys that connect Maui with its sister islands in the surrounding ocean, providing shelter for an abundance of marine life.

The island's main business centre is the town of Kahului/Wailuku, while the major resort area is in the west and concentrated in Ka'anapali and the historic whaling town of Lahaina. In the south of Maui is another busy resort district around the town of Wailea. Maui's tropical north shore is quieter without large hotels, only bed and breakfast establishments providing a relaxing break. The island offers several points of cultural and natural interest worth exploring, over and above its beautiful beaches and underwater wonderland.

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