Lucky you! You’re planning a trip to Maui! Whether this is your first time or you’re a regular Maui visitor, there’s always something new to learn. Just when you think you have it all figured out, something new pops up . . . or closes down, unfortunately. We live on Maui so we know this island, and it’s never boring! Beautiful, enchanting, romantic, healing, fascinating, sometimes maybe even a little aggravating (we do have traffic here). But never boring.
This Maui travel guide will help you with your basic planning, and below are our answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about Maui. For other helpful Maui travel tips, including how to choose where to stay on Maui, take a look at our ALL ABOUT MAUI blog. We add new information and topics on a regular basis, so check back often. For specific suggestions on what to do, where to eat, and how to explore the island, see THINGS TO DO. And if you’re interested in grabbing the latest bargains (let’s face it, who isn’t?), you’ll want to subscribe to our free Maui Deals & Steals enewsletter.
NOTE: If you’re planning to visit Maui during the COVID-19 pandemic, check out this blog to learn what you need to know!
Maui is one of the seven principal (inhabited) islands in the state of Hawaii. The island of Oahu is located to the northwest of Maui; the island of Hawaii (known as the Big Island) is located to the south. Oahu is too far away to see from Maui, unless you are blessed with a very high vantage point on an exceptionally clear day. You can see the Big Island in the distance from East Maui under clear conditions. The islands of Lanai and Molokai are located less than 10 miles to the west and northwest of Maui and are clearly visible from Maui’s western shores. The island of Kahoolawe is visible from Maui’s south shore, but that island is uninhabited and access is restricted.
TIP: Maui and Lanai are the only Hawaiian islands that have an interisland ferry service available on a regular basis. (For all other islands, the only interisland transportation is by air.) During the winter months, the ferry between Maui and Lanai provides a great opportunity for whale watching!
Hawaii is the 50th state of the United States. The State of Hawaii is governed by an elected Governor who is based on Oahu. Below the state level, the island of Maui, together with her sister islands of Lanai and Molokai, make up the County of Maui, which is governed by an elected Mayor and nine-member County Council.
TIP: In Hawaii, we refer to the continental U.S. as “the mainland.” We don’t call it “the states.” Hawaii IS one of “the states.”
The primary Maui airport is the Kahului Airport, situated in the town of Kahului on the northern shore of central Maui. There are also two small commuter airports on Maui with limited air service: the Hana airport, on Maui’s east side, and the Kapalua airport, located in Kahana on Maui’s west side. Under most circumstances, you will probably be flying in and out of the Kahului Maui Airport (code OGG).
Being a U.S. state, Hawaii’s currency is the U.S. Dollar. So if anyone offers to exchange your U.S. currency for Hawaiian dollars, walk away. There is no such thing.
Not if you’re a U.S. citizen. (Would you need a passport to visit Ohio?) International visitors should research the specific U.S. requirements for their country of residence.
If you don’t know your way around Maui yet, view our guide to Maui Regions and Towns for a brief description of the island’s different neighborhoods and resort areas. Also check out How To Choose Where to Stay on Maui.
Cotton, not polyester. Sandals, not sneakers. Shorts, not jeans. The mode of dress on Maui is cool, casual, and comfortable. Breathable natural fabrics. In our warm tropical climate, we generally opt for comfort over high fashion. So leave the dinner jackets and stiletto heels at home and enjoy Maui’s easygoing style. You won’t need to dress up here!
TIP: Bring a sweater, just in case an evening turns cool. But you likely won’t need anything warmer than that unless you are planning to spend time at very high altitudes on Maui (like camping at the top of Mt. Haleakala).
Hawaii is in the Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time zone (HST) and does not observe daylight saving time. So, during “standard time” in the mainland U.S. (approximately November-March), Hawaii is 2 hours behind the West Coast/Pacific time zone (5 hours behind the East Coast). April-October (during daylight saving time) we are 3 hours behind the mainland West Coast and 6 hours behind the East Coast. So, if you live in New York, please don’t call your friend in Hawaii at 9 a.m. your time!
We enjoy a comfortable tropical climate that varies by only a few degrees, winter or summer. The weather is generally warm and sunny year-round with temperatures averaging in the 70s and 80s Fahrenheit (some summer days might hit the 90s), with occasional tropical storms or rain showers. We have a winter and summer season, but there is no extreme variation in temperatures. Winter months (approximately October through April) tend to be slightly rainier and cooler; summer season (approximately May through September) tends to be drier and warmer, with slightly more humidity. Although there is more chance of rain during the winter months, it can rain at any time on any day throughout the year. That’s what keeps our Maui green and beautiful. Best Time To Visit Maui
(Note: We recognize and respect the significance of the ‘okina and kahakō markings in the written Hawaiian language; however, we have omitted those diacritical markings on our site in order to integrate with the more common spellings used in online searches.)
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