Makawao is a classic Paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy) town reminiscent of the Old West. The town's storied past is still visible in the building facades. and these historic structure are now home to a variety of shops, restaurants and impressive art galleries. Located about 1,600 feet above sea level on the lower slopes of Haleakala Volcano, Makawao's friendly character reflects its plantation and cattle-ranching past though it is now also a thriving arts community.
Things To Do
A variety of fun activities are available in the Makawao area from horseback riding and hikes to zipline adventures through the treetops. Visit the town's art galleries and shops, and stop in at Hui Noeau Visual Arts Center to see interesting gallery exhibits and arts events. Makawao is home to some upscale art galleries that have earned the area recognition on the international arts scene. Take a drive around the Upcountry region to Ulupalakua, Keokea, Kula and Pukalani to visit flower farms and eat hearty local fare at the welcoming cafes along the route. Then continue on up toward the summit of Haleakala Volcano and hike into the crater and through summit forests. Also available are Haleakala horseback riding tours. From Makawao you are also close to the road to "Heavenly Hana," a scenic coastal route that takes in sweeping vistas of the rugged shoreline with many stops along the way to view waterfalls. Hana town has some picturesque beaches, and just past Hana is the Kipahulu with swimming holes and a popular hike up the Pipiwai Trail through a bamboo forest with spectacular waterfall views.
Just down the hill from Makawao is Hookipa Beach which is known as the "windsurfing capital of the world."Winter swells bring big waves here and you can see kitesurfers and windsurfers performing tricks and aerial maneuvers as they ride the waves. Nearby is the lovely Baldwin Beach Park which is nice for swimming and also has a lagoon area great for young children. Both Hookipa and Baldwin beaches have lifeguard stations as well as restrooms.
Start your day with some fresh backed good from the renown T. Komoda Store which was founded in 1916 by Japanese plantation worker Takezo Komoda. It's just a small store and bakery though they do a lot of business supplying locals and visitors alike with delicious food including their famed cream puffs. For dinner check out the Casanova Italian Restaurant and Deli for exceptional Italian food including gourmet pastas in a comfortable environment rich with local history. Casanova makes a great hot Panini over Focaccia as well as homemade mozzarella cheese and freshly-baked croissants. The Makawao Steak House has a rustic cowboy decor and serves up hearty dinners including seven different types of steaks charbroiled to perfection. Also on the menu are chicken and seafood dishes along with all the trimmings, and they have a nice salad bar and reasonable prices.
A cowboy theme is pervasive in many of Makawao's restaurants, boutique shops and art galleries housed behind the historic old storefronts. Working artists are often seen demonstrating their crafts from painting to sculpture and glassblowing. More interesting shops can be found in nearby Paia and Haiku as well as the scenic Maui Upcountry region in the towns of Pukalani, Kula, Keokea and Ulupalakua. Large malls and department stores are found in Kahului, the island's main shopping district.
A rental car is recommended when staying in Makawao vacation rentals so you can explore the area's many great beaches and attractions as well as day trips to the scenic Maui Upcountry, the summit of Haleakala Volcano and the lush landscapes of "Heavenly Hana." Maui's public bus system operates 7 days a week and provides service between most major communities including West, South and Central Maui including Haiku, Kula and the Maui Upcountry.
Weather and Ocean Conditions
Makawao town is about 1,600 feet above sea level and enjoys slightly cooler temperatures than coastal areas. Conditions are relatively mild all year around with summer temperatures averaging around 80 F at sea level, sometimes rising into the low 90s with tropical trade winds providing a comfortable, cooling effect. Winter temperatures average in the 70s on the coast and can be 5 to 10 degrees lower in Makawao. Casual and beach attire is appropriate for most activities though if you are visiting higher elevation areas bring something warmer as the temperatures may be significantly cooler. The winter months typically bring more rain on the north and east shores than on the west and south shores, which keeps everything lush and green. It's often best to enjoy beaches during the morning hours as the trade winds may blow a bit stronger in the afternoon. However most afternoons are nice as well for water as well as land activities. Inexperienced swimmers are advised to always swim and enjoy ocean activities at lifeguarded beaches. Winter months can bring big surf on exposed northern shorelines while summer conditions are often very calm. Like all Hawaii beaches, conditions can change at any time of year and you should always use caution before entering the ocean. Check with lifeguards before going in the water to learn about the safest areas to swim and enjoy the water activities you choose.
Our Makawao vacation rentals are the perfect setting to explore the beauty of Maui with close access to great beaches and island attractions. Makawao vacation homes provide the optimal way to enjoy your Hawaii vacation with all the luxuries of resort living and comforts of home. Browse through our Makawao vacation rental listings to get an understanding of the different amenities and property features we offer. Our goal is to provide you with a with an unforgettable Makawao accommodation for your dream Hawaii vacation. We take pride not just in having the largest selection of high-quality vacation rentals in Makawao, but also in the fact that we stand behind our product and make sure only the best of the best Makawao properties are listed on our site. If you have questions about our Makawao rentals or which destination is best for your vacation needs, please give us a call and we will be happy to assist you.
The cattle herding history of the Makawao region began in the early 1800s after the first cattle were shipped to Hawaii and given to King Kamehameha I as a gift from Captain George Vancouver. It was Kamehameha III who brought Mexican vaqueros to Hawaii to teach the Hawaiians how to raise and herd the cattle. These Mexican cowboys and those who they trained came to be know as Paniolos (Hawaiian cowboys). The Makawao region saw an influx of military personnel visiting during World War II and the following decades when many active duty soldiers were stationed in nearby Haiku, the location of the 4th Marine Infantry Division. Today Makawao is a charming town that still reflects its unique past and is attractive to locals and visitors alike.
by Jeff Berzolla