2021 Shaka List: 20 Reasons to Love Maui

Every year we publish our Shaka List — the multitude of reasons Maui is nō ka ‘oi (the best) — and this time our staff offered up their personal lucky-to-live-on-Maui suggestions. From trees to seas, shoes to views — these intimate, inspirational details are what make our island home the magical place that it is.


Story by Lara McGlashan

1 Giving lei — just because!

Lei are not just for greeting arriving visitors island-style. They can be given to anyone for any reason any time of year. Aloha! Illustration by Matthew Foster

2 A day at Napili Bay

This tidy little crescent of white sand is protected from the trade winds by a husky finger of lava rock, pointing upward and westward from Kapalua. Ride undulating waves on an inner tube or boogie board, or snorkel and explore the sea life along the edges. Hungry? Grab a bite at the Sea House — just steps away from the sand! Photo by John Giordani

3 Jacarandas in Bloom

Head Upcountry between April and June and you’ll find yourself in a lavender-colored wonderland. Former mayor Elmer F. Cravalho persuaded the highway commission to plant jacaranda trees along the roadside in Kula and Pukalani. When in bloom, the 40-foot-tall trees sport 12-inch bundles of sweet-smelling trumpet flowers, heralding the approach of spring. Photo by Rob DeCamp 

4 Resurgence of Hawaiian Language

The Hawaiian words pūnana leo translate as “nest of voices,” an apt name for Maui’s first Hawaiian-immersion school. Launched in 1987 in Wailuku, Pūnana Leo O Maui was fueled by a singular mission: E Ola Ka Ōlelo Hawai‘i — “The Hawaiian language shall live.” Its success spawned satellite schools around the island to educate our keiki (children) about their Hawaiian culture through language, and to foster their identity and kuleana (responsibility) as Native Hawaiians. Image courtesy of Pūnana Leo O Maui.


5 Sunflower power

A spectacular sight located at the intersection of the Honoapi‘ilani and Kuihelani highways, this 12-acre plot of sunflowers is usually in full bloom by late summer. Pacific Biodiesel plants and harvests the flowers to create renewable fuel. They’re certainly a lovely attraction, but since it’s neither safe nor legal to stop on the highway, please enjoy them on the go. Photo by Cesere Brothers




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