Most Maui visitors pass through Kahului twice, when they arrive and when they leave. Maui’s large international airport and its major harbor are located at Kahului.
There are many other reasons, mostly useful, to pause awhile. It’s home to Maui’s major shopping centers. Many visitors make a stop at Costco (540 Haleakala Hwy.) near the airport or the other nearby box stores before heading to condos. And in case you can’t do without fancy produce displays, Whole Foods (70 Kaahamanu Ave.) has opened and carries many Maui-grown products.
Kahului also has Queen Kaahumanu Center, perfect if you forgot your swimming suit or the charging cord for your cell phone. Maui Mall has a 12-screen cineplex and a guri-guri shop, which chow hounds claim is the greatest thing since Marie de Medici taught the French to make ice cream. It’s a frozen dessert somewhat like sherbet.
Kahului is also home to Maui Commuunity College, part of the University of Hawaii system. The college has a terrific lunch Monday through Friday put on by its culinary program. It also hosts the island’s legendary shopping experience, the Maui Swap Meet on Saturdays. It moved from its old location in a grassy plot across from the post office to this very tidy site. The entrance fee remains at 50 cents,
Maui’s largest town is simply the place to head when you’re frustrated because you can’t find all the mainland conveniences at a beach resort. Kahului probably has them.