South Maui is one of the three different areas we stayed in during our Maui vacation. There are 2 main resort areas and at least 4 other areas where visitors can stay. That means keeping the areas straight even on such a tiny island isn’t easy. Especially when all the guide books like to tell you that every location is wonderful!
Here are our impressions of South Maui.
South Maui – West Maui, South Maui, and East Maui compared
South Maui is on a different west coast, on the south end of the island around Wailea-Makena.
This is where you’ll find the newer resorts! In our experience, on average the resorts tended toward a more modern decor and feel than those in West Maui.
This is also where you’ll find the most condos, on and off the beach.
There is a very nice sidewalk next to the ocean that goes in front of most of the resorts. In our snorkeling guidebook, we could see that this walkway starts at Mokapu Beach and goes south from there.[link] We enjoyed walking this several evenings, hopping on and off the beach and washing sand off our feet at the available wash stations, to take in the amazing sunsets. This beachwalk is less crowded than the one in West Maui and also seems to be a more safe distance from the ocean waves.
While the grounds of the resorts and condos are lush, they aren’t quite as lush as the ones in West Maui. To see why, you only have to look across the highway at undeveloped land.
Some people think the South Maui beaches offer the best snorkeling. But that’s debatable. [link]
There seems to be more beach access parking in South Maui near the resorts than there is in West Maui. This is really handy if you’re staying in a condo that’s not directly on the beach. But it does mean that when we were there we saw more large family all day fishing trips. So watch out for little inexperienced fishermen enthusiastically casting their lines when you’re walking the beach! It’s also a little disconcerting when they pull a five foot shark out of the water near where you’re planning on snorkeling. Not that there aren’t sharks in any ocean anywhere else. Ha! Maybe it’s just a good reminder to always respect the ocean an it’s inhabitants.
The sand is easier to wash off in South Maui than it is in West Maui. However, the sand really churns at the edge of the water and you’ll get a LOT of sand on you to wash off. So it’s a good thing it’s easier to remove.
You will likely have to drive to any boat trips, like snorkeling boat trips.[link]
Our favorite shopping area on Maui was the Shops at Wailea.
It looks like a ritzy shopping center, but they have shops at all price levels. It’s where our daughter bought her cherished souvenir – a ukulele! It’s fun to look through the different styles and listen to the different tones of the ukuleles at Mele Ukulele. While you can find some really nice, expensive ukuleles in their store, they also have some less expensive ones comparable in price to what you can buy online.
My family paid for our own trip including accommodations, food, and entertainment. I received no compensation for writing this post. Opinions are my own and may vary from your experience.