Moving to Maui in 2023 Ultimate Guide

Moving to Maui in 2023 Ultimate Guide

  • Maggie Salerno
  • 11/9/22

Maui Lifestyle


Living in a tropical paradise is not all sunshine and rainbows all of the time. Of course, there is beauty surrounding you every day, but it can be easy to get stuck in a rut of everyday life. When planning on moving to Maui it is important to visit the island with a different outlook than you would if you were on a vacation. Check out the local supermarkets, post offices, laundromats, shopping malls, and restaurants, drive around different neighborhoods, talk with locals, and visit places that you would likely frequent if you were living on the island full-time. 


Maui offers a serene, laidback lifestyle that can be very rejuvenating and eye-opening. If you are used to a large city with lots of hustle and bustle, Maui’s calming atmosphere can make you very introspective and existential. The quietness can unlock any suppressed emotions and feelings, providing you with a lot more clarity in your life moving forward. Maui is a very healing place and attracts people that are seeking a healthy, holistic lifestyle. 


Is it Expensive to live in Maui? 



Living in Maui is relative to any major city in the United States. Before moving to Maui, I lived in California and New York, so I found my Maui budget very comparable to my monthly budget on the mainland. If you are moving to Maui from middle America you will definitely feel the economic impact more than someone moving from the east or west coast. When I lived in New York City and Los Angeles I was paying $1250/month for a studio apartment, and when I first moved to Maui my studio was also $1250/month, but unlike my studios on the mainland my studio in Maui also had a big outdoor living area and it was located in a safer neighborhood than my mainland residences. 



Grocery shopping is probably the most expensive thing in comparison to mainland prices. For example, a gallon of milk in California on average costs $2.69, and in Hawaii the average price for a gallon of milk is nearly doubled at $4.69. Food is more expensive in Hawaii because most products need to be imported from the mainland. Having a Costco membership is a big win because it will always be more economical to buy food in bulk than purchasing individual items at Safeway or Foodland. I have also realized that buying produce at local farmers' markets and trading fruits and vegetables with neighbors who also have gardens in their backyards has reduced the price of groceries dramatically. Gardening is very popular amongst locals, and in my own backyard, I have mango, avocado, and coconut trees so I am never running out of avocado toast and fresh coconut water! 


Public transportation is not a big thing in Maui, so having a car is crucial for getting around the island. Having a Costco membership will also be handy for the best gas prices on the island. Typically, gas is about $1 more than California prices at Costco, but can be more like $2 more at other spots on the island. Luckily, since Maui is a relatively small island you will never be traveling too far to get to your destination. If you have a car on the mainland, I would recommend shipping it over to Maui because it would likely still be more affordable than buying a reliable car on the island. Most new cars on the island are overpriced since they have to be imported and there is a low inventory of cars available, making the demand very high. You can get a “Maui cruiser” which is basically an older, beat-up car from Craigslist which will run you a few thousand and will be just as expensive as shipping your reliable vehicle from the mainland. 



Also, I have realized when I lived on the mainland I was paying a lot more for eating out and entertainment than I am currently living in Maui.  I think this has a lot to do with the type of activities I was involved with on the mainland vs my island lifestyle. For example, when I was living in New York City I spent so much of my free time indoors - going to restaurants, concerts, networking events, movie theaters, museums, etc. whereas now most of my free time is spent doing outdoor activities like hiking and going to the beach which are very low-cost activities in comparison to the entertainment on the mainland. 


What will I do for work?


Popular industries on Island

Hawaii as a whole has become predominantly a tourist destination for obvious reasons, making the top industries that people gravitate towards, Accommodation and Food Services, Retail Trade, Educational Services, and Agricultural work as well. The food service and hospitality industry would be amongst the most popular because of the vast amount of restaurants and hotels spread out across Maui. With the average yearly visitors being close to 2.3M people, the hotels and restaurants are always looking for eager individuals to join the hospitality industry to better serve the ever-growing clientele that visits Maui.

Remote Work Opportunities / Entrepreneurship

If you have a virtual job where an office isn't required or if you are a business owner looking to expand your horizons, finding a home to rent or buy will allow you to work flexible hours while living in paradise. Being 3 hours behind California and 6 hours behind NYC, you may have to start your days earlier for remote work, however, that means your work days will likely be finished at either 12 pm or 3 pm. This will allow you to spend the rest of your day enjoying the pristine beaches, the great outdoors, as well as the local shops and restaurants.


Retired Life / Part-Time Work 

Being that Maui is an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, it's easy to step away from the hectic lifestyle that the mainland typically brings. For those who are retired or only work part-time, living on the island of Maui allows for a relaxing and more serene lifestyle, while also offering opportunities for business expansion. Enjoying the cool climates of Haleakala, the laid-back beach lifestyle on the South and West sides of the island, or living a secluded lifestyle on the North Shore. You will notice a dramatic lifestyle shift when moving to Maui, as you will find that the slower pace of life here will help you to relax much more frequently.

What will I do for fun? 


Outdoor Activities 

There are so many outdoor activities to do in Maui - it really comes down to your preference on what is the best to do. Maui is notorious for the best beaches in the world, so whether you are in the mood to sunbathe, or do more adventurous activities such as surfing, kayaking, or snorkeling, Maui’s beaches are some of the best to do it all. The wildlife on Maui is also extraordinary. Maui has incredible hiking trails and scenic views. 


Local Events

Most of the neighborhoods in Maui have a small-town vibe. Various neighborhoods throughout the island have weekly farmers' markets and monthly block party events featuring local vendors and food trucks. Maui Arts and Cultural Center also known as the MACC hosts some of the island's most sought-after events, galleries, education, and entertainment for all ages. Da Playground is the newest, hippest event venue which is home to some of the best nightlife on the island that welcomes DJs from all over the world. Recently,  Da Playground has been hosting Taco Tuesdays every Tuesday from 5-10 pm – the tacos are reasonably priced and the atmosphere is hip, young, and fresh. 

Resort Amenities

Maui is one of the most sought-after travel destinations in the world, and the resorts are nothing less than world-class. As a local, it is amazing to staycation and take advantage of the renowned restaurants and amenities the resorts have to offer. Often resorts will give locals discounts also known as kamaaina when dining, doing spa treatments, and reserving rooms at the hotels and resorts. These incredible perks of living on Maui remind locals how blessed they truly are to call Maui their home. 

Where to live in Maui?

Where to live in Maui really depends on what is important to you and your lifestyle.

Click Here for a Comprehensive Neighborhood guide


Kihei, Wailea, and Makena are on the Southside of Maui. Locals and tourists would agree that South Maui is certainly one of the best places to be on the island since it has an abundance of beaches, accommodations, and housing. Although it is very vibrant and popular amongst tourists and locals alike, South Maui still maintains a small neighborhood feel. 

 Most locals would agree that the south side is home to the best beaches on Maui.  Makena Beach State Park also known as Big Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches out of all of the Hawaiian islands! It is a pristine undeveloped white sand beach that extends for nearly 2 ⁄ 3 of a mile–although Big Beach is very popular amongst tourists and locals the beach is rarely overpopulated. Unlike the beaches in Oahu or on the west side of Maui, Big Beach is very spacious and sometimes you can be 1 of 30 people on the whole beach! Keawakapu, Po’olenalena, Polo Beach, and Ulua are also incredible beaches on the South of Maui. 

The South Side is one of the most diverse places to live on the island since it is a local and tourist favorite. This area of the island is close to all the action – with renowned beaches, golfing, resorts, shopping, and restaurants. It is also a short drive into Kahului town which has big department stores such as Costco, Target, Walmart, and Macy’s for any of your essentials. 

Wailea is a very well-manicured luxurious resort community in South Maui that spans 1,500 acres of staggering ocean views.  It is known for its resorts, beaches, attractions, and world-class Wailea Blue Golf course. Wailea is a great place to vacation, retire, or raise a family. If you go more south into Makena, you will quickly find that it is the least populated and most wildly beautiful part of South Maui. Makena is also home to the most renowned golf courses on the island – the Gold and Emerald Golf Courses. It is no surprise that Makena has some of the most luxurious real estate anywhere in the world; some celebrities that reside in Makena include Jeff Bezos, Clint Eastwood, and Steven Tyler.



The West Side of the island definitely feels like its own island! The west side is home to some of the best beaches, shopping, hotels, and amenities so there is no reason to leave – but if you do want to explore other parts of the island you are a minimum of 45 minutes to an hour away from wherever you would like to go. Whenever we head to the West side of Maui, we always stop by Front Street before heading to Ka'anapali. These areas have a lot of work opportunities in the hospitality and retail industry, which is great for someone looking to work in an area that has a lot of foot traffic. These area's are two of the most popular for tourists staying on the West side of Maui. However, if you head north of Ka'anapali, you'll find Napili and Kapalua – two secluded paradise pockets that are well worth the visit. In particular, Kapalua is a wild yet beautiful place that perfectly captures the essence of Maui.



If you're looking for wide open spaces and expansive views, then Maui's Upcountry area is definitely worth considering. The cooler temperatures are also a nice bonus! Upcountry Maui is made up of the communities of Makawao, Pukalani, Kula, and Ulupalakua. There are plenty of homes for sale in this area, so you're sure to find one that suits your needs and your lifestyle. One thing to keep in mind if you're thinking about moving to Upcountry Maui is that it is a bit of a drive to the beach. But the tradeoff is definitely worth it for the stunning views and peaceful atmosphere. Each area of Kula is uniquely its own little microcosm of Maui.

For those who enjoy easy-to-walk towns with a lot of shopping, Makawao and Pukalani are the perfect fit. In lower and upper Kula, you are 20-30 minutes from central Maui, a variety of beaches, and shopping. Here you can enjoy cool climates with stunning island vistas. There are restaurants, a strawberry farm, a lavender farm, recreational parks, and even goat yoga. Being near Ulupalakua means being higher up on the mountain of Haleakala. Here you will experience much colder climates, and you are closer to Haleakala National Park, offering breathtaking sunsets/sunrises on the summit, star trails where you can see the milky way as clear as day, and hiking trails through the dormant volcano.

North Shore

The North Shore of Maui is renowned for its rugged coastline and amazing surf spots. Jaws and Ho'okipa are two of the most famous surf spots on the island, while Kanaha is known for its wind sports. Jaws is exclusively for pro surfers to the nature of the gigantic waves that crash upon the sea cliffs. Whereas Hookipa is amazing for both the pros and the enthusiasts. Here you can learn to surf, snorkel, and enjoy watching as a bale of turtles rest on the beach.

Paia town and Northshore Haiku are both great places to live if you're looking for an active, healthy lifestyle. The North Shore is leeward, meaning it gets a lot of wind, making it ideal for kitesurfing and year-round mild climates! And of course, living on the North Shore gives you quick access to the beach and all the fun that comes with it, some as close as a 5-minute walk away from your home. There is a big health and wellness community on the North Shore as well as local artisans working in the boutiques in Paia town. If you're looking for a place to call home on Maui, the North Shore is definitely the place to be!

Central Maui

Looking for a comfortable and affordable place to live in Maui? Look no further than Wailuku! This central Maui town is close to everything you could want or need, from the hospital and courthouse to shopping and the airport. Plus, you're only 15 minutes from the beach! Whether you're a surfer or wind sports enthusiast up on the Northshore, or just looking to relax on the South Maui beaches, Wailuku is the perfect location for you.

East Maui

Hana is one of the most beautiful and rugged places in all of Hawaii. It has a stunning coastline, with cliffs plunging into the sea, and lush rainforests full of waterfalls. It's also one of the most remote areas on Maui, which means it's a great place to get away from it all. If you're looking for peace and quiet, Hana is the place for you.

Renting vs. Buying on Maui


Renting on Maui


When first moving to Maui, I would suggest renting before buying so you can familiarize yourself with various parts of the island before making the decision to call somewhere your forever home. The Hawaiian islands have a very unique rental market since so many residences have secondary dwellings on the property known as an “ohana”. Renting an ohana is a great starter home opportunity since they are more private than renting a room in someone’s house or renting in an apartment complex and usually come with a backyard/garden space as well. Searching for a rental can be tricky if you are not on an island, since there are a lot of scammers on the internet nowadays. If possible, I would recommend flying out here to look at various rentals in person or working with a rental agent that can provide you with virtual tours of the rental before moving out here. I have had the most luck finding rentals on Zillow, Craigslist, and word of mouth. My rule of thumb is if someone wants you to do a wire transfer or is not willing to provide a rental agreement – run! Because it is likely a scam. 

Buying on Maui 


If you're thinking about buying a home in Maui, I'm happy to help you get started. Just give me a call at 808-281-9530 and I'll be glad to answer any of your questions.

We can also help you find the right financing for your purchase. Once you know how much you can afford, then I can start setting up searches and showing you properties. We can do everything remotely these days, so there's no need to wait until you visit Maui. I have a team of reputable service providers, such as home inspectors, escrow companies, contractors, and other resources, who can make the process smooth for you. So don't hesitate to reach out if you're thinking about buying a home in Maui. We are here to help!


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.


Get In Touch

We're a top-rated team, with a wealth of knowledge in the area. Fill out your information below and one of our team members will get back to you.

Work with Mick and Maggie

We offer the highest level of expertise, service, and integrity. Specializing in Luxury Homes & Investment Sales, Mick & Maggie has amassed a Rolodex of clientele that reaches far internationally. They pride themselves on ensuring their clients the highest level of success in all of their real estate ventures. Whether it’s your next investment condo, your first property, or your retirement villa, Mick & Maggie are here to serve.

Follow Us on Instagram