Maui is a popular destination for vacationers looking for lots of adventure. Aside from the beaches
for sunbathing and surfing, the island is home to world-class snorkeling and diving areas like the Molokini Crater, as well as the Haleakala National Park and crater, which is the tallest peak in Maui. For visitors looking for scenic vistas, the drive to Hana offers views of waterfalls, rainforests and seascapes. Just past Hana are the famous pools of Oheo Gulch, known as the Seven Sacred Pools.
Snorkeling/Diving at Molokini Crater
Molokini Crater is a crescent-shaped extinct volcano located 2.5 miles off the south coast of Maui. It is designated a State Marine Life and Bird Conservation District, and is known for its snorkeling and diving, as well as a great place to see whales and sea turtles. Several tour companies offer boat excursions out to the crater, which is about 4 hours away. Maui Classic Charters is a local company that offers half-day morning and afternoon trips, which include snorkeling equipment (2009 average cost: AM trip, $89 adults and $59 child; PM trip, $41.95 adult, $29.95 child). The morning trip offers two meals, while the afternoon excursion offers an open bar and an optional $7 BBQ lunch. Scuba equipment can be rented for an additional cost of $49.
Haleakala National Park
Within the national park is the Haleakala Crater, known as the "House of the Sun," which is the world's largest dormant volcano and is a popular destination for hikers and backpackers. The 30,183-acre park was designated an International Biosphere Reserve in 1980 and boasts several endangered species of plants, birds and animals. It has three distinct terrain areas: Summit, Wilderness and the Coastal Kipahulu--each offering different activities. Hike Maui offers a 4-mile hike (average cost 2009: $130) to the crater that includes lunch and travel to the park from central Maui. The trek goes through three different environments: The first 2-mile hike via a lava rock trail (8,000 feet elevation); a 2-mile hike at the summit (10,000 feet elevation); and a trail through a cloud forest called Hosmer Grove (7,000 feet elevation).
Road to Hana and Seven Sacred Pools
A 52-mile drive from Kahului, Hana is a popular destination if you seek magnificent vistas. The road is a highway (HI-360) that takes you through 600 curves and more than 54 bridges, with views of rainforests, coastline and waterfalls. Depending on how many times you stop, the journey could take between 2 and 4 hours. Once you reach Hana, there are places to eat and relax, like the black sand beach of Waianapanapa State Park, which is also a snorkeling spot. Or, just past Hana in the Kipahulu area of the Haleakala National Park are the pools of Oheo Gulch, known as the Seven Sacred Pools. You can take a dip in the pools, or hike to the higher 400-foot Waimoku Falls via the Pipiwai Trail.