South Maui Destination Guide
E Komo Mai (welcome) to paradise!
Swim and bask in the sun on the picture-perfect crescent of Polo Beach, close to renowned snorkeling at Ahihi-Kinau Natural Area Reserve. Golf, shop and whale-watch in exclusive, serene Wailea or relax in sleepy Kīhei. South Maui, along with the West Coast, are the island’s most popular vacation spots.
We recommend calling ahead before visiting shops, restaurants and attractions to confirm hours of operation. Many businesses across the island have modified operations in response to the global crisis.
hawaiian canoe experience
Learn the basics of paddling, native chants, the history of the canoe and its importance to Hawaiian heritage. Our resort ho‘okele (navigator) leads small groups on a unique and exclusive ocean paddle in a six-man Hawaiian outrigger canoe, complimentary for resort guests 10 and older. Watch out for green sea honu (turtles) and learn the ways of the island seafarer first-hand. Call our concierge at 808 875 2290 to reserve your place — this incredible excursion fills up quickly and advanced reservations are required.
maui ocean center
Learn about Hawai‘i’s underwater ecosystems at this five-acre aquarium and oceanography center in Ma‘alaea on the southwest coast. Put your hands into the touch pools, take a behind-the-scenes tour, watch the tide pool ebb and flow, and see creatures like jellyfish, stingrays, sharks, sea turtles and corals in 60-plus exhibitions. Watch some 2,000 fish glide above the tunnel under the 750,000-gallon Open Ocean display.
Just south of Wailea, Keoneʻōʻio Bay, or La Perouse Bay, in Ahihi Kinau Natural Area Reserve is a must for snorkeling. Explore the little coves and tide pools in the turquoise water along the sheltered rocky northern end shore, and look for spinner dolphins and wild goats. Few visit this beautiful historic area, dubbed Maui’s Forbidden Coast, named after the French naval officer/explorer who landed here in 1786. The Haleakalā volcano erupted here in 1790; see the archaeological ruins and monument to the Hawaiian villagers who perished on the black-lava shore.
SnorkeLing at Molokini Crater
Snorkel the clear-blue sheltered waters around this striking partially submerged volcanic caldera — a marine preserve teeming with coral and thousands of fish and sea creatures found nowhere else — that resulted from an eruption 230,000 years ago. Ancient Hawaiians fished here and you’ll feel as if you’re inside an aquarium. Swim with green sea turtles or scuba dive along the sheer back wall plunging 300 feet down.
MAUI GOLF & SPORTS PARK
Hit the amusement park with the kids — or just kids at heart — for an afternoon of old-fashioned fun and games. There are tropical island bumper boats, two 18-hole miniature golf courses, a 25-foot climbing wall and bungee trampoline.
Shops at wailea
Indulge in some vacation retail therapy at The Shops at Wailea. The offerings span the gamut — from arts and crafts and original Hawaiian gifts and collectibles to global brands such as Louis Vuitton and local favorites like Honolua Surf Company. Shop, grab an island-roast coffee at a café and dine out at this pretty indoor-outdoor center set amid palm tree groves. There are 70 shops, restaurants and galleries, plus Polynesian nighttime entertainment, concerts and workshops like coconut frond weaving, wood carving, lei making and ‘ukulele lessons.
Wailea Golf & tennis club
Play 18 holes at both Golf Magazine and Golf Digest’s pick for the country’s best courses. Choose from three celebrated championship courses, famed for their gorgeous tropical island scenery, with the Pacific’s top outdoor training facility and two full-service pro shops. This is Hawai‘i’s largest and most acclaimed golf facility — and it’s just minutes from the Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui resort.
SOUTH MAUI RESTAURANTS
In Wailea, share drinks and seafood on the classic lanai (balcony) at Tommy Bahama at The Shops at Wailea. Head to Matteo’s Osteria (huge wine-by-the-glass list and handmade pastas) for Italian or try Maui recipes at the counter at family-style Nalu’s South Shore Grill. In Kihei, family-run favorite Café O’Lei serves local specialties; Pita Paradise is a Greek tavern featuring the owner’s fresh catch of the day; and Monkeypod Kitchen offers elevated pub fare Hawaiian-style: craft beer, wood-fire pizza with local wild mushrooms and Upcountry veggies. Try “brewery-to-table” dining at Maui Brewing Company’s Brew Pub over board games and straightforward island-inspired cuisine, with 36 craft suds for the tasting.
Our concierge team is ready to help you with information, ideas, insider tips and reservations. Email or call us at 1 808 875 4100, ext. 290.