I spent my first 9 months in Maui based on the west side of the island in a town known as Kihei. It’s a beautiful place with well manicured beaches and parks, great views of the sunsets and whales, and a high dollar tourist area to boot. I liked it over there but it was not a priority to find a place back there again when I returned. Rents seemed a bit higher and any bargains got snapped up quickly.
During my stay last time I did some exploring and one day found myself on the north side of the island in a little village called Paia. It didn’t look like much at first and had a reputation as a surf bum hangout. I only visited the one time and pretty much forgot about it, until the current situation arose.
When the room came up for rent I was a bit skeptical at first but when I got the address and came and looked around, I decided to give Paia a shot. About a week or so in and I’m glad I did.
Paia is a actually a cool little village. There is not much too it. Just a crossroads about 7 miles east of Kahului on the Road to Hana. It’s proximity to some of the best surfing in the world makes it attractive to the younger surf/windsurf/paddleboard crowd but it’s also a favorite destination for tourists. You can walk up and down all the streets in about the same time it takes to walk Duval in Key West, without the crawl. Said streets are lined with old buildings converted to art shops, tourist traps, restaurants, and surf wear. It reminds one a lot of Key West in the old architecture, most of the buildings were built back in the plantation days. Overall, Paia makes a nice place to spend an afternoon just walking around exploring.
Some cautions when coming here. It’s very congested traffic wise and parking is at a premium. From what I have heard, the police treat vehicles like an atm machine when it comes to parking fines. The more better way is to take the Haiku Islander bus which runs every hour and a half and save yourself the trouble.
Anyways, here are some photos to give you a little idea of what the village is like: