WHAT TO EXPECT IN MAUI DURING MARCH, APRIL & MAY
Spring In Maui
Maui is one of the most diverse of all the Hawaiian islands. You can drive, in less than an hour, from an area that is the second wettest place on earth to an area where the annual rainfall is 16 inches per year. With this kind of variety, Maui is an island that never gets old.
There is always something beautiful to see and do here no matter what time of year you visit, but there are a few times during the year when the weather is gorgeous but not too hot, and the crowds are thin. Those who live on the island know that there is something special about springtime in Maui!
The incredible diversity of Maui’s mountains and ocean have left us with 17 out of approximately 20 known climate zones on earth. Which means just about any kind of weather can happen in Maui depending on where you are. Hawaii sits pretty much at the boundary between tropical and subtropical regions on
the planet which is why the weather is ideal year around. Yes, we have seasons, but they are a little different than the rest of the U.S. First of all there are only two seasons – wet and dry. The transition between the two is what we call spring.
In this transition, you will see everything from rain to sunshine to calm seas to trade wind swells…all in one day! It’s what makes Maui such an interesting destination and one of the most popular islands in the state.
Maui’s weather has been a bit out of the ordinary in the last few years. Summer storms have increased causing some flooding and high humidity. The fall and winter months have been somewhat stormy too with occasional flooding. The southerly (Kona) rainstorms in the winter can also bring haze from the Big Island volcano, known as Vog (volcanic fog). This was an issue for some during the Kilauea eruption in the summer of 2018 but currently the volcano is quiet with no vog since.
Starting in March, the trade winds become a little more consistent. These northwesterly winds can blow 15 to 30 mph and bringing rain showers to north facing shores. These “trade showers” can result in light misty showers blowing over and around the mountains to the south and west facing shores. Rainbows often develop everywhere. You’ll see them upcountry where the moist trade winds hit the slopes of Haleakala but the shoreline and beaches sometimes have double rainbows which add a magical beauty to this time of year.
Hawaii Flowers In Spring
The flowers in Maui are endless. The beautiful year round weather keeps the perennial plants growing throughout the winter months of Kua (Wet Season) until they go off in the spring and summer months. Roses, lilies and hydrangea are just a few. It is also a time for flowering trees to produce amazing arrays of color. The Plumeria trees start to fill just in time for Lei Day which is May 1st (May Day). It’s really one of the most colorful times to visit Maui!
Maui’s Jacaranda Trees
Another spring ritual in Maui is the Jacaranda trees blooming upcountry. These trees could have arrived as early as the late 1800’s but the main reason they exist along so many roads in Makawao, Kula and Keokea is because they were planted there by the Territorial Highway Division in the mid 1950’s by the request of Maui’s first Mayor – Elmer Cravalho.
Jacaranda trees may be one of the most prolifically planted ornamental trees in the world. The trees grow to between 16ft and 50ft high, but I’ve seen larger ones than this in upcountry Maui. Blueish purple flowers cover the entire tree, and the ground below them as the flowers drop they creating pools of purple beneath the trees as they bloom for over a month in late spring. They do well in tropical and subtropical climates and can also be seen in southern California and Florida.
The first time the name Jacaranda was introduced was an encyclopedia entry in 1753. Since then it has spread around the world from its native origins of Argentina and Bolivia. It has also been seen growing wild in Cuba, Jamaica and the Bahamas. It has been planted widely in Asia and is common in South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Australia.
How Jacaranda Trees Arrived in Maui
Maui’s first mayor, Elmer Cravalho, is of Portuguese descendent who worked in the Hawaii Territorial House of Representatives starting in 1955, four years before Hawaii became a state. Much of Maui’s development can be traced to Cravalho, including a waterline from Wailuku to Kihei which enabled the development of the town, especially Wailea, into the world-class resort area it is today.
As a sixth-grade school teacher at Haiku Elementary Elmer got to know the local families and eventually began working for the Maui Board of Water Supply. As the Territorial Representative he was able to persuade the Highway Division to plant the beautiful Jacaranda trees you see today along the upcountry highways.
He began his political career in 1955 and was there for Hawaii’s admission into Statehood in 1959. As mayor from 1969 to 1979 Elmer began to develop and promote Maui as a vacation destination. He was very successful at this and during the 70’s the Lahaina Sun Times called him the most effective Mayor in Hawaii. He is still alive today so please give a silent “Mahalo” to him whenever you see these incredibly colorful Jacarandas as you cruise around upcountry!
Upcountry Jacaranda Locations
There are two main highways in Kula. One is known as Crater Road or highway 337 and goes all the way to the summit. The other is known as Lower Kula Road or highway 37 and traverses the slope to the south towards the winery and Hana. Both have Jacaranda trees planted at various spots and elevations along these highways.
Haleakala Highway & Kula Lodge
This lodge and restaurant is located just below (or before) the turnoff to Haleakala National Park at Crater Road. Kula Lodge is a popular stop for breakfast after experiencing the sunrise at Haleakala Crater. The front entrance and garden area behind the lodge has large Jacaranda trees that cloak the ground with a purple carpet by mid-May. The Kula Marketplace is next door and has some cool Made in Maui items. From here you can turn onto crater road which leads to the crater, or you can continue south where the road re-connects with highway 37 heading towards Keokea.
Kula Highway & Keokea
Kula Highway is loaded with Jacarandas starting in Pukalani and stretching all the way to Keokea, including the Jacaranda trees all around this small town. Former Maui Mayor Elmer Cravalho loved this area of Maui which has a sizeable Portuguese community.
The tiny town of Keokea is well known to upcountry locals for its amazing bakery called Grandma’s Coffee House. The banana bread and pastries are excellent as well as breakfast and lunch items.
The town of Makawao once served the farming and ranching community of upcountry Maui along with the nearby town of Pukalani. It is now mostly beautiful shops and boutiques with several fine restaurants. Driving down Makawao avenue you may see a few Jacarandas here and there but just outside of town is a quiet rural farm and ranch lands. Drive up Baldwin Avenue and turn right at Hanamu road. It leads back to Haleakala Highway and along the way is a stunning array of huge jacarandas!
This golf course winds its way through the lower part of the town of Pukalani. If you play golf, this is one of the most affordable on the island. If not simply turn right on Pukalani street and the road will take you past Jacaranda trees which are planted near the street. It’s not a long drive through this neighborhood, but there are some beautiful trees to see!
Maui Spring Events
Whenever you visit Maui, not just in the spring, keep in mind that there is always a town party every Aloha Friday Town Parties! Each party gives a historic small town on Maui a chance to show off their stuff. Highlighting everything from art shows in Lahaina to fashion shows in Makawao, each town creates an authentic Maui experience with food, live music, and local vendors. Both residents and visitors alike enjoy these special Fridays with a night of Maui culture, food, and free entertainment!
Spring does have a lot of events going on around the island but here are a few favorites…
There is much to do with the family in Maui at this time of year. You can check out our Spring Break post for more information on what’s happening for families on the island.
St Patrick’s Day – March 17th
You would think a tropical island wouldn’t be into an Irish holiday that much but Maui has three wonderful Irish pubs who throw down on this day! Live music can be enjoyed along with a Guinness at Mulligans on the Blue in Wailea, Fleetwood’s On Front St, or the Dog and Duck Irish Pub in Kihei.
There is also a St Paddy’s Day 5k fun run in Kahului. It’s a classic family-friendly event with a costume contest and a 100-yard kid’s Dash. For $35 ($40 race day) you get a commemorative t-shirt and a beverage!
Race starts at Kahului Ale House – 355 E Kamehameha Ave Kahului
25th Annual Celebration of the Arts – March 25th & 26th
Maui’s Celebration of the Arts has been rated as the #1 cultural event in Maui and includes hands on art demonstrations, films, cultural panels, music and dance. Residents and visitors alike can learn and participate in the culture and traditions of the Hawaiian people!
Prince Kuhio Day -March 26th
Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalaniana’ole was Hawaii’s first territorial delegate to Congress and spearheaded the 1921 federal Hawaiian Homes Commission Act.
Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole as a Congressional Delegate
He was born March 26th on the island of Kauai in 1871. His Ali’i (Hawaiian nobility) bloodline was complex. He was named after his grandfather, Kuhio Kalaniana’ole (High Chief of Hilo), and his paternal grandfather Jonah Pi’ikoi (High Chief of Kauai). His father died in 1878, and his mother died in 1884 leaving him an orphan at the age of 13. He was adopted by Queen Kapi’olani, wife of King David Kalakaua.
Like many Ali’i of the time, he attended the Royal School and Punahou School on Oahu. After finishing his basic studies, he traveled abroad studying first in California then London. He returned to Hawaii where he was appointed to the Royal Cabinet of the Kingdom of Hawaii administering to the Department of the Interior. After King Kalakaua’s death in 1891, Queen Lili’uokalani came to power and continued to favor the young Prince. However, in 1893 the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom put in power a provisional government that became a republic with no role for Hawaiian Royalty.
In 1895, at the age of 24, Prince Kuhio participated in a rebellion against the Republic of Hawaii which landed him in jail for one year. His fiancee, Elizabeth Kahanu Ka’auwai visited him daily while in prison, and they were married upon his release in 1896. They traveled widely in Europe and Africa from 1897 to 1902 and were treated as visiting royalty. During Prince Kuhio’s travels, Hawaii was annexed by the United States in 1898.
Prince Kuhio returned to Hawaii and became involved in politics. He became active in representing native Hawaiians and continued to fight for Hawaiian independence. He was elected as Hawaii’s delegate to Congress in 1903 and served until his death in 1922 winning a total of 10 elections.
Prince Kuhio is responsible for instituting local government at the county level, creating a system that is still in use today. He also created the first observance of the Kamehameha Day holiday in 1903 and the holiday has been celebrated in June every year since.
During his bid to pass the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act in 1920, his letter to U.S. Senators is a great example of his intelligence and thinking: “After extensive investigation and survey on the part of various organizations organized for the purpose of rehabilitating the Hawaiian race, it was found that the only method in which to rehabilitate the race was to place them back upon the soil.” Though the Hawaiian Homes Act was passed, it was not to Kuhio’s liking as it contained requirements of high blood quantum and leased land instead of granting it fee simple which created a perpetual government institution. He continued to serve the native Hawaiian people both at home and in Washington until his death in 1922. He is much beloved to this day. It is why his birthday is a state holiday!
Prince Kuhio Ho’olaule’a – A wonderful fun filled weekend is in store for the whole Ohana (family) under the Banyan tree in Lahaina from 9 am to 4 pm on the 26th and 27th. The Easter Bunny will even be there at 10:30 am on Sunday!
You can find out more on the organization’s Facebook page – //www.facebook.com/PrinceKuhioMaui/
Easter – April 15th
Maui is full of wonderful places for Easter Sunday Brunches and Easter Egg Hunting for the kids. Check out the lineup on Maui’s Sunday brunches on our Mother’s Day post or our Easter in Maui blog post.
East Maui Taro Festival April 29th
Taro was brought to Hawai’i by the earliest Polynesian settlers. In these early days more than 300 varieties were cultivated both in the uplands as far as 4000’ elevation and in the marshlands of streams. The life of ancient Hawaii was closely linked to Taro (known as Kalo to Hawaiians) and was believed to have the greatest life force of all foods.
The roots of the kalo (taro) plant are pounded into Poi, a paste that will last for months, and though quite bland in taste it becomes more flavorful with age. Hawaiians love their sour (aged) poi.
In its 25th year, Hana’s Taro Festival has evolved into one of the most authentic Hawaiian Festivals in the state. A Taro pancake breakfast starts out the event at Hana Bay beach park. The weekend events and entertainment include a farmers market, poi pounding, food booths, arts and crafts booths, music and hula — excursions to Kahanu Gardens, home to the largest Heiau (Hawaiian temple) in the state and a trip to Kapahu Living Farm Lo’i (Hawaiian Taro patch). It’s an excellent opportunity to get in touch with Hawaii’s culture and some real Aloha in the land of old Hawaii – Hana! Admission is free.
Maui Steel Guitar Festival April 28th thru 30th
Ka’anapali Beach Hotel will host the 9th annual Steel Guitar Festival. It’s an amazing weekend for anyone who loves Hawaiian music. It includes workshops such as playing techniques for steel guitar, slack key guitar, Ukulele, and Hawaiian style singing. Open stage sessions for visiting artist and “kanikapila” (jam sessions) where the public is invited to play along. Added cultural activities like lei making and hula bring this festival into the realm of top cultural things to do in Maui! Presented by The Arts Education for Children Group. Admission is free.
Earth Day – April 22th
Plenty is going on throughout the island for Earth Day. Check out our blog post for all the special events.
The largest Maui Earth Day Festival is held at Keopuolani Park Amphitheater in Kahului across from War Memorial Stadium. With two stages of live music going including food, environmental booths, farmers market and speakers of all kinds this is a fun local event and a great way to learn more about living green! $7 entrance fee
National Park Week April 15th thru 23rd
Haleakala National Park is one of the top things to do in Maui. For National Park Week both the Summit (at 10,000 ft elevation) and the Kipahulu district (Pools of Oheo on the road past Hana) will have the entrance fees waived on Saturday and Sunday, April 22nd (Earth Day) and 23rd. Sunrise at Haleakala will still require an online reservation ($1.50 per car) which can be made up until 4pm the day before you journey up the volcano.
Activities will also be taking place at these two park locations.
Kipahulu Visitor Center – Hana No’eau (Honoring Native Hawaiian Traditions) will offer cultural demonstrations throughout the week from 1 pm to 3 pm. The demonstrations include lei making, coconut weaving, poi pounding, lauhala (mat) weaving and who to catch fish with a throw net.
Haleakala Summit District – introductory hikes start at the Summit Visitor Center at 10 am on Monday the 17th, and a bird hike at Hosmer Grove (campground) at 10 am on Wednesday the 19th.
If you’re traveling with kids consider the Junior Ranger program during the weekend of April 22-23. Events planned for 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday in the Kipahulu District near the visitor center and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Headquarters Visitor Center at the 7,000-foot elevation in the Summit District. Youth and families can learn about volcanos, endangered species, and Hawaiian culture while earning a Junior Ranger badge and celebrating Earth Day!
Golden Week – Note: If you plan to come to Maui between the last week in April and early May and the island can become quite busy. Be sure you book your accommodations, inter-island air reservations, and car rentals well in advance. In Japan, the last week of April is called Golden Week because three Japanese holidays take place one after the other.
Lei Day– May 1st
“May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii Nei.” It’s a uniquely Hawaiian day of events and celebrations throughout the islands. Ever since Lei Day became a state holiday in 1929, May 1st has been the perfect reason to get into this Hawaiian tradition of making and wearing lei.
Today all around Maui there are wonderful things to do on this colorful Hawaiian holiday! Here are a couple of traditional events to consider if you’re in Maui for this holiday…
Bailey House Museum Lei Day Heritage Festival – May 1st 10am to 4pm
This wonderful museum is located in Wailuku and every year for Lei Day they put on the Lei Day Heritage Festival which has been popular with locals and visitors alike for decades. The event will include free museum tours, arts and crafts workshops, special exhibitions, cultural demonstrations, guest speakers, music, food vendors and a lei contest!
The Maui Historical Society was founded in 1951. Their mission statement is “To collect, preserve, study and share the history and heritage of Maui.” This beautiful museum is located in the missionary home of Edward Bailey. Mr. Bailey built his home, Hale Ho’ike’ike, in the royal compound of Maui’s last King, Kahekili, at the mouth of Iao Valley. Mr. Bailey and his family lived here from 1833 to 1888 and was instrumental in the development of the island. Hale Ho’ike’ike opened as a museum in 1957.
For The Heritage Festival local artisans will lead free workshops on flower, feather, ti leaf and native plants lei making. The event will also offer lauhala weaving, cordage making and poi pounding workshops!
Lei Day at the MACC
The Maui Arts and Cultural Center (MACC) is putting on an exciting shows and this year is no exception. On May 2nd the incredible Carlos Santana will be playing! The MACC is a wonderful venue with pre-show festivities in the courtyard include local crafters with a always stunning selection of beautiful Lei to purchase and wear to the concert!
Tickets are $65 $79, $89, $129, with a limited number of premium $149 seats (plus applicable fees)
Mother’s Day – May 8th
Another fantastic holiday to spend in Maui and there is much to do for and with Mom. Check out our Mother’s day blog for the latest things to with your beloved! It has lots of great info on Sunday Brunches, Spas and Activities Mom will love.
Maui Brewers Festival – May 14th
In it’s 9th year the Maui Brew Fest has grown into a favorite local event at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center (MACC). This year includes beer tastings from 40 local and national craft breweries. Ticket price includes complimentary food from 26 local restaurants and caterers. The funds raised from this even helps support programs at the MACC that includes art, Hawaiian culture and education programs that reach more than 260,000 people each year. It’s a lively event featuring live music by local musicians and wonderful food. Enjoy fantastic beer and pupus while supporting the MACC!
Tickets – Advance – $65, $120VIP Day of – $75, $130 VIP
Ancient Hawaiian Springtime
Today we see time as linear. Ancient Hawaiians saw it as cyclical. For instance, the Hawaiians had a name for every day of the moon cycles. Each moon had favored planting and fishing times and included Kapu on times such as fish spawning or plant gathering. It was a practical and very useful was to observe and manage the resources that these ancient people used to sustain themselves.
Even though the differences in seasons in Hawaii may seem minor, they were very distinct for the ancient Hawaiians. They were very in tune with their environment and aware of the need for conservation and managing the resources of a limited land mass.
ancient times this system was called the Ahupua’a system and involved pie-shaped areas running from the mountains to the sea. Gardens were planted along streams and irrigated for growing potatoes, Kalo (taro), banana, gourds, and sugar cane. The irrigation system emptied back into the stream where nutrients were carried to the sea into awaiting fish ponds. It was a very ingenious system that fed thousands of people for centuries.
Hawaiian Month Names
Nana-(Big Island) Hinaiaeleele (Maui) (Feb.-Mar.)–Sun rises due east and sets due west (spring equinox). Mulch and weed gardens; vigorous plant growth begins. ‘Ama’ama fishing season opens; malolo (flying fish) spawning.
Welo (Big Island) Kaelo (Maui) (Mar.-April)–Leo in the eastern evening sky. All things grow, crops maturing. ‘Ama’ama and malolo fishing. Deep-sea fishing through summer. ‘Ilio-holo-i-ka-uaua (monk seal) pups are born, spring through summer.
Ka’aona (Big Island) Kaulua (Maui) (May-June)–Sun rises and sets at its northern limit (summer solstice). ‘Ulu (breadfruit) ripens. Ula (lobster) and moi kapu through August during their spawning seasons. Aku and ‘ahi (tuna) season.
Things To Do During The Spring In Maui
There really is more to do in Maui than one vacation can cover, but if your traveling with youngsters you’ll probably want to check out the more adventurous stuff. Here is a list of the fun things those crazy kids are doing nowadays…
Road to Hana Waterfall Hunting
The road to Hana is one of the most scenic drives in the world and is a truly magical place to get in touch with old Hawaii. This remote area is one of the most popular things to see in Maui, but the road is crazy! If you would rather relax and enjoy the views without the hassle of trying to figure out where the best stops and waterfalls are, try taking a tour. Either way, it’s something you gotta see.
Outrigger Canoe Tour
Some of the best things to do in Maui involve learning about and getting in touch with the Hawaiian culture. These ingenious canoes were designed by the ancient Hawaiians and even though they are rarely carved out of wood nowadays, their cultural use and significance endure. Taking a tour with Hawaiian Paddle Sports will give the whole family a chance to learn the how and why of Hawaiian outrigger canoe paddling and experience the grace and speed of these wonderful boats!
Stand Up Paddle Boarding
This popular kind of ocean activity has been big on Maui for years. It has evolved into guided tours and even yoga! Because it’s fairly easy to learn many people rent boards and then head out to “wherever” not knowing how fast conditions can change here in Maui. If you start with a guide they can share with you not only good technique but where and when to get out on the water if you wish to rent a board later. It’s a great bit of exercise and a wonderful way to get up close with Maui’s unique ocean world.
The first zip line course in Maui was built in 2002 (Skyline Eco-Adventures) and since then the industry has grown to include over a dozen courses in six different locations across the island. They range from small lines for kids to high and fast for the thrill seekers. Zipline courses can be found throughout Maui for all levels of thrill seekers. Book in advance though…these are some of the most popular tours on the island!
West Maui Ziplines
Skyline Eco-Adventures Kaanapali 2580 Kekaa Dr #122, Lahaina, HI 96790
Kaanapali 8 line – $134.96
Kaanapali 4 lines Zip N Dip – $125.95
Ka’anapali 9 line Zip & Dip – $170.95
Kapalua Ziplines – 500 Office Road Lahaina 96761
3 line Sunset Zip – $165.62
4 lines – $176.00
7 lines – $207.29
Central and Upcountry Maui Ziplines
Skyline Eco-Adventures Haleakala 18303 Haleakala Hwy, Kula, HI
Haleakala 5 line – $107.96
Haleakala Bike & Zip -$224.95
North Shore Zipline 2065 Kauhikoa Rd, Haiku, HI 96708
7 lines – $123.96
Haiku Jungle Zip 50 E Waipio Rd, Haiku, HI 96708
4 lines $89.00
5 lines $109.00
7 lines $119.00
Maui Tropical Plantation Ziplines 1620 Honoapiilani Hwy Wailuku 96793
5 lines – $110.00 – great for young children
Piiholo Zipline 799 Piiholo Rd, Makawao, HI 96768
5 line tour – $135.00
6 or 7 line treetop tour – $99.00
Zipline/Waterfall Hike – $219.00
Flyin Hawaiian – Waikapu 1670 Honoapiilani Hwy Wailuku 96793
8 lines – $185.00
So there you have it! Maui is an incredible place that is truly unique to the Hawaiian Islands. Spring, summer, winter and fall are all wonderful seasons to visit. We hope this article sheds a little light on what’s happening this spring on our beautiful island.
It’s one of the reasons Maui has had the long-standing term used to describe it – “Maui No Ka Oi” (Maui is the best)!
Aloha Nui Loa