Maui Lifestyle: South Side vs. West Side

Maui Lifestyle: South Side vs. West Side

  • Mick St John
  • 08/11/22
The Hawaiian Islands are among the most popular tourist destinations for people visiting the states. Maui is a popular and recognizable island by travel enthusiasts. With its sandy beaches, thick jungle forest, and modern amenities, it offers a luxury lifestyle that is near to nature.
This article will help you decide between the South and West sides of Maui. If you are planning to visit world-famous beaches; this will be your guide to one of the best destinations in the world. We will help you compare both sides of the heavenly island. If you plan to reside here permanently, Maui is a great investment opportunity with a growing real estate market and booming tourism. A dedicated section on the real estate market of Maui is included here. Let's get started with the tourist guide of Maui.


Tourist Attractions.

Maui is the second-largest Hawaiian Island and is famous for its beaches, jungles, and volcanic mountains.

The south side of Maui has much to offer to tourists. You can relax and enjoy the sun at Kihei on the island's southwest shore. It is the sunniest and driest part of the island. Comparatively, Makena Beach State Park, or "Big Beach" is popular for paddleboarding, swimming, and snorkeling. You can enjoy great views of the neighboring islands of Kaho‘olawe and Molokini from this long and beautiful beach.


Molokini is a small crescent-shaped islet that is a State Marine Life and Bird Conservation District. In addition to snorkeling and scuba diving, you can whale watch during the winter months on this small islet, don't forget your reef-safe sunscreen! If you are looking for a luxurious resort community with golf courses, beaches, and ocean views, Wailea is the place.

The Westside of Maui has royalty in its history. It was once the capital of the Hawaiian kingdom and a retreat for the royals for good reason. Lahaina is on this side of the island and it is the favorite port of tourists arriving by ship. The town's old buildings recall its days as the central port of Hawaii. It is also famous for winter whale watching. The art galleries, unique shops, and Hawaiian cuisine restaurants offer a full Hawaii experience here.

On the island's northwest side, Honolua Bay is a favorite spot for experienced surfers. Watching surfers ride long distances on the famous waves here is a sight worth seeing. Located at the foot of Kahalawai Mountain, Kapalua is one of Maui's most premium resort areas. With world-class golf courses and award-winning restaurants, this is the perfect place to experience the luxury of Maui. It is also the host of the Kapalua Wine and Food Festival (held in June). Kaanapali is Hawaii's first resort and a model for resorts worldwide. It is definitely worth a visit if you are planning to visit Maui.

Information about transportation in and between different regions of Maui is important for a great traveling experience.



The Maui Bus Public Transit System operates 14 bus routes seven days a week, including holidays. The service is provided in and between Central, West, South, Kula, Haiku, and Upcountry Maui areas. Taxis are available for most resorts and hotels.

West Maui has Kapalua Airport (JHM), a small commuter airport. You can book a rental car from the airport to explore the island. A ferry service is operated multiple times daily between Lana’i Island and Lahania in West Maui. 


Uber and other ride-sharing services operate in different parts of Maui but can quickly add up, taxis are metered and are usually more expensive than rental cars. So it's always a smart move to book a rental car through Turo Rentals or one of the Rental Car Stops at the airports The South Maui Shopping Express runs between hotels and the shopping malls in Kaanapali, just like the West Side. It runs daily from Makena, Wailea, and Kihei. The fee is $15 for adults and $5 for kids. The return ticket is free if you provide a receipt from one of the shops or restaurants.

Speaking of shopping, here are some of the best places to shop on the South and West sides of Maui.



On the Southside of Maui, you can visit the Pi'ilani Village which is the Kihei's largest shopping center. Outdoor shops, restaurants, and galleries at Wailea are a good choice if you prefer the open space shopping experiences. 

The Westside is home to Whalers Village Shopping Center. The Shopping center houses local and international shops and restaurants. It is within walking distance of major accommodation points on the Westside.



The town of Lahania is historic and a good shopping point for tourists. Overall, Maui Island has an amazing mix of international and local brands. This mix keeps you intact with your home country and instills the Hawaiian spirit in you.

As much as shops are important, earning money to shop is more important. Below is an overview of the Maui job market.



When it comes to jobs, while the island is beautiful and rejuvenating, Maui is not as calming as it is for tourists. There are not a lot of big corporations operating on the isle. Most of the jobs revolve around tourism and its supporting industries. If you belong to the travel, hospitality, or healthcare industry, you are in luck. The major portion of Maui's economy runs on these industries and typically there is always work available to those who love the island and for those who want to help the local economy.


Real Estate

Maui is a wonderful place to relocate to. With a near-to-natural environment and diverse accommodation options, shifting here would be a wonderful and life-changing experience.


For investors, the Maui real estate market is a profitable market for both buyers and sellers. For Sellers who own an asset in Hawaii, over the last 25 years, these homes have appreciated by nearly 400%, which is nearly double what the S&P500 brings in. And for Buyers, owning an asset in Hawaii is an incredible place to park your wealth, the islands are perfect for raising children and starting a family. And your home will likely appreciate year over year. The average increase in real estate value has been 10 to 1 between 2020 and 2021. This market has consistently high rates of appreciation for real estate across the islands.



Maui has a relatively low property tax rate, which is about 0.16 percent. About 95% of the land in Hawaii is allocated for agriculture and conservation. With people choosing the Hawaiian Islands for starting their family, as a retirement home, and as a vacation destination, demand is always high. From what we have seen over the past decades, investing in Maui now could mean even higher appreciation in the future and will likely lead to a significant increase in the quality of life for both you and your loved ones.


Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for the perfect place to call home or invest in property, Maui is it. Whether you prefer the South side with its pristine beaches and stunning vistas or the West side with its world-famous resorts and quiet neighborhoods, you can find what you’re looking for on the island of Maui. With such a wide variety of job opportunities, top-notch shopping, easy transportation, and endless things to do, Maui has something for everyone. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your move today!


Want to experience the unique Maui, Hawaii lifestyle? Contact Luxury Realtors Mick & Maggie to find residential homes, beach villas & luxury condos for sale on the island of Maui, Hawaii.

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