Well, we’re here, y’all. 3,700 miles from Texas, 4,600 miles from Costa Rica, and 3 blocks from postcard perfect everything in Maui, one of the most beautiful islands in the world. By no means is it an easy trek to get here. In comparison, our direct flight from Dallas to Liberia, the nearest airport in Costa Rica, was 3 1/2 hours. Our direct flight from Dallas to Maui was 8 hours. Ouch.

But there’s a reason so many people flock to the middle of Nowheresville, Worldtown, and that’s because it’s worth it.

Maui First Impressions

We chose to live in Kihei, a narrow stretch of city on Maui’s South Shore, due to its close proximity to surfing and lounging beaches, fish tacos, happy hours, resorts, abundance of young people, short drive to Costco (a total must for gas), as well as a good taking off point for other awesome spots on the island, like Haleakala and the Road to Hana.

maui first impressions

Maui: What We Like

  • No language barrier. As fun as it was working on our terrible Spanish skills in Costa Rica, it’s nice to be able to ask questions, tell stories, and eavesdrop on stranger’s conversations again.
  • Variety. This is America, after all. Want some Asian food? Cool, there are seven different options right down the street. Need to find a rainbow tutu for your Halloween costume? Ain’t no thang. There are shops for that.
  • The beaches. The water here is turquoise and clear and the sand is the color of Goldilocks’… well, golden locks. The beaches are all public, so even at “exclusive resorts,” you can still walk up and sit your happy ass on the beach and enjoy the day. There are around 80 beaches on Maui, so if think you’ve seen it all, you probably haven’t.
  • Close proximity to amazing stuff. We are within an hour of the Road to Hana, a 68 mile winding road through waterfalls, beaches, bridges and caves, and Haleakala, a dormant volcano where you can hike, bike, camp and watch the sunrise from 10,000 feet in the air.
  • Culture. Hawaii has a pretty fascinating history. Plus, you won’t find another U.S. state with their own language, distinct look, customs and rituals quite like the Hawaiians.
  • Cheap mopeds & vehicles. We’ve been told several times that as long as the car runs and isn’t visibly losing parts, it passes inspection. I like that rule. If you’re going to pay over $4/gallon for gas (currently $3.84 at Costco and $4.39 everywhere else), it’s reassuring that at least you can buy something cheap to get you there.
  • It’s clean. It’s nice to walk on the streets and beach without a sad amount of trash everywhere.
  • The sidewalks and roads are all in good condition. Besides a short stretch of unpaved road on the back side of Haleakala, it’s smooth riding (and walking) pretty much everywhere.
  • Buying things. It’s nice to be able to shop for cool things again, including clothes, beach accessories, scuba gear, random food items, etc. High end to dollar store shopping, they’ve got it covered.
  • Nice people. We heard rumors beforehand that locals aren’t always super friendly to mainlanders moving to their island, but so far we’ve only been greeted with smiles and friendly suggestions. Aloha, y’all.
  • Scuba diving. Great visibility, lots of turtles, and whale season is here!

maui first impressions

what it's like to live in hawaii

Maui: What We Don’t

  • Cost of living. This is obvious. It’s paradise. Nobody likes paying $3 for a packet of taco seasoning, but you just suck it up and do it and go drink a piña colada on the beach.
  • Renting. It’s difficult and expensive and semi terrible.
  • Driving. While we love our new (old) 4Runner and scooter, it’s way easier to be able to walk everywhere.
  • Getting around. Places that are fifteen miles away often take 45 minutes. Almost all roads are one lane, so you’re pretty much at the mercy of the person in front of you.
  • Dust and sugarcane burning. If you’ve never smelled burning sugarcane, it’s like a cow ate a bunch of corn and then pooped on your pillow. Not good. Also, because of this and because of where we are on the island, everything is covered in half an inch of red dust.
  • American rules. No legal drinking on the beaches, no beach bonfires, etc. And while these rules aren’t always enforced, I will miss the days of to-go margaritas and “pura vida” in Costa Rica.
  • Air conditioning. Most places here don’t have air conditioning because of the strong trade winds on the island, which is really lovely some days and nonexistent other days. To sum up, we sweat. A lot.

All in all, no place is perfect, but our Maui first impressions get pretty damn close.

moving to maui

maui travel blogs