About Kaʻanapali, Maui
Located conveniently in West Maui, Kaʻanapali is the gorgeous, slightly more upscale neighbor of Lahaina Town. It’s here you’ll find the award-winning Kaʻanapali Beach, named America’s Best Beach in 2006, where it’s hard to resist a relaxing day spent enjoying the pristine waves, sand, and views. While Kaʻanapali is one of the largest and most popular resort areas on Maui, it’s also one of the most fascinating areas for Hawaiian history and culture.
Known as leina a ka ʻuhane, meaning ‘leap of the soul,’ it is in Ka’anapali where King Kahekili, the last ruling Chief of Maui, proved his spiritual strength by leaping from Puʻu Kekaʻa, known more commonly as Black Rock, in the 1700s. Hawaiian legend also states that leaping from here transports the soul of the deceased from the physical world to the spiritual one, and because of this, many battles were fought in the area so the souls of deceased warriors could easily find their way into the spiritual world. Today, a sunset ceremony is performed daily in front of the Sheraton Maui at this exact spot, where you can watch a diver jump beautifully into the waters below.
As the next era began, Kaʻanapali housed many immigrant families who worked for the area’s sugar plantations. This was also a vital hub for shipping operations and supplies bound for Honolulu, as well as a popular location for horse racing, a favorite pastime of Hawaiian Aliʻi, or royalty. In the 1960s, Kaʻanapali was chosen for Maui’s first resort community, and the Kaʻanapali Airport, golf courses, and resorts were built soon after.
Things to do in Kaʻanapali
Today, Kaʻanapali is home to some of the most popular resorts on Maui, including the Sheraton Maui, Marriott Maui Ocean Club, Hyatt Regency, Westin Maui, and more, as well as the shopping hub of Whalers Village, two championship golf courses, MauiGrown coffee farm, Drums of the Pacific Luau, Spa Moana, ziplining courses, snorkeling, and several excellent restaurants and bars. If the beach is a major draw for your trip to paradise, don’t miss this Maui gem!