Here on the sun-sparkled, rainbow-wrapped island of Maui, we have a saying: Maui No Ka Oi. It means, literally, Maui Is The Best.

Almost exactly one year ago, I set foot on magical Maui sand for the very first time. It was love at first sight, and although my season on Maui will soon be coming to an end, it is a love affair that will last a lifetime. Because Maui has my heart, and just like our whales return home to her tranquil waters every winter, I know that I will keep coming back, always. This tiny slice of paradise in the middle of the Pacific Ocean is my soulmate. And I know that no matter in what corner of the world I may find myself in the future, just the mere knowledge that such a magical place exists will be enough to bring a smile to my soul and warmth to my heart.

IMG_856026872006982As I’ve been reminiscing about the wild journey that brought me to this island and thanking the universe for drawing our paths together for a time, I’ve also been pondering all of the many, many reasons why Maui is the best island in the world, and I thought I’d share a few with you

It’s a bold statement to make, I know. Best in Hawaii? Sure. Best in the US? Absolutely. But best in the world…when I haven’t even been to most of the islands in the world? Possibly crazy.

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But, you see, it’s just that Maui has captivated my heart and soul in a way that no other place or person has ever managed to do. Maui could very easily be my forever. Allowing my life to get irrevocably woven into the rhythm of this island and never looking back would be the easiest thing in the world. Maui is the most exquisitely perfect and simultaneously flawed place that I have ever experienced. She reflects back my own strengths and weaknesses in a way that makes me embrace each of them more fully. She challenges me, inspires me, moves me, and makes my soul feel wildy, vibrantly alive.

That’s why, to me, she’s the absolute best of all of the varied lands my toes have touched, and even of the lands my toes haven’t touched.

And also because:

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1. the Beaches: 120 linear miles of shorelines, and 81 accessible beaches in a brilliantly vibrant range of sand colors, including white, gold, black, green, and salt & pepper… enough said.


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2. the Trails: when you’re done playing in the waves, there are endless miles of trails waiting to be discovered, all within just a short drive. Whether you feel like getting lost in a lush, cool, mysterious jungle, climbing a steep, hot ridge-line with panoramic views in all directions, wandering through a cool, dry forest, or trudging through the rugged, otherworldly crater of a volcano at 10,000 ft, you can find it on Maui.

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3. the Volcano: sunrises, sunsets, miles of hiking trails, campgrounds and cabins, more endangered species than any other national park in the US, a summit that soars above the clouds at 10,023 feet, snow… Haleakala is the crowning jewel of Maui – and it also happens to be the world’s largest dormant volcano.Rainbow-1

4. The ‘Bows: when I leave the Island, getting used to not seeing rainbows (anuenues) multiple times every single day is going to be…an adjustment.rainbow forest-4

5. the Scents: Whether you’re wandering through lavender fields in Kula, strolling through a Eucalyptus grove on the slopes of Haleakala, weaving a crown of plumerias through your hair, getting high off the bouquet of scents drifting your way from the piles of tropical fruits at a local farmer’s market, soaking up the intoxicating fragrance of the jungle in Hana, or burying your nose in a wild ginger bloom, the unforgettable fragrance of Maui will stick with you for a lifetime.

Kailua Farmers Market-66. the Food: an endless year-round supply of fresh lilikoi, avocados, dragonfruit, mangoes, bananas, lychee, pineapple, papaya, rambutan, coconut, jackfruit, longan, starfruit, guava, and so many more.

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7. the Aloha: the slow-paced, friendly, relaxed, laid-back island vibe that you see portrayed in all the movies and music about Hawaii is real. And Maui has its own particular flavor of Aloha that is, of course, my favorite. (We also have our own special blend of crazy but that’s part of what makes the island so whimsically quirky and unforgettable.)Maui Photographer-11

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Headed to catch the bus to the airport on my way to Maui for the first time a year ago… I was obviously extremely excited 😉

Mahalo nui loa, Maui.

Aloha au ia ‘oe.

Do you have a favorite island? I’d love to hear about it!