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Napili Surprise – Our New Favorites

Location: Napili Maui Hawaii USA

We have always stayed in Kihei when visiting Maui. Kihei is in the southern part of the island, with a dry and almost desert like climate. But this time we are house sitting for our friends, and are finding we are loving the west side and the experience of many new things. Although I have spent so much time on the island of Maui, it never ceases to surprise me! Here are some thoughts – Napili Surprise Our New Favorites.

Napili Surprise

Napili is a tiny hamlet tucked in between Kahana and Kapalua about three miles north of the more well-known and touristy Kaanapali area. Technically all these places mentioned above are part of the city of Lahaina, but each has a distinct flavor of its own.

Napili is book ended by Kapalua on the north, which I would describe as affluent and upscale, home to the renowned Kapulua Golf Club. On its south flank Napili borders Kahana, more simple and family oriented with condos but also many local residential neighborhoods.

Napili

It’s actually hard to define where Napili begins and ends, but for my purposes in this blog post, my reference points are from Kapalua Beach to Kahana Sunset Condos along the Lower Honoapiilani Hwy.

Climate and History

Napili has a long and rich history going back to its first Polynesian settlers arriving in the 8th century. Wet and lush, the region was and still is a prominent agricultural area for native islanders.

Dragon’s Teeth Labyrinth

Although not the rainiest part of the island, Napili’s annual rainfall is four times that of the arid Kihei area. While we were here we saw spits of rain nearly everyday, but only two times was it significant enough to keep us from our plans. Much of the rain happens overnight or early morning from my observations. And due to this, there are rainbows every single day. So beautiful.

Maui Rainfall Map – Napili in the yellow zone while Kihei is in the red zone

During our six weeks living in Napili we have loved the low-key local vibe, especially since we have been living in an apartment complex of locals rather than in a tourist resort. The school bus comes each morning and neighbors are friendly and it feels very much like home.

Our Favorites

The Napili surprise – finding our favorites in this small little village has been very easy. There are a few ocean side resorts, and I hope when people stay in one of those, they get out and see some of this tiny town. For instance;

Napili Plaza – the only shopping area in Napili, the plaza is home to a small but great grocery store (the Napili Market), as well as hair and nail salons, mail services, a coffee shop and bakery, a boutique and a handful of small restaurants which are all worth a visit.

A’ A Roots – I’m not vegan, but I am very much into healthy eating and sustainable food and that is the mission of A’ A Roots, a small vegan restaurant in Napili Plaza. When we visited the inside was still closed due to Covid, but they had a few outside tables and take away as well. We had a fantastic meal for lunch and it’s a not-to-miss spot in Napili.

A’ a Roots

Slack Key Show – Grammy winning George Kahumoku Jr and a group of very talented local artists perform twice a week at the Napili Kai resort. This fabulous series is in its 18th year and is a great way to learn about Hawaii’s love of the slack key guitar, as well as the ukelele. This concert was an amazing Napili surprise and we enjoyed it very much.

George Kahumoku Jr.

Kapalua Coastal Trail – Although named after Kapalua, the trail begins in Napili and heads north through Kapalua. This trail offers astonishing views of the ocean, the island of Molokai and sometimes whales and dolphins. At the northern end of the trail you will find the Dragon’s Teeth Labyrinth, definitely worth a visit. If you are up to it, from the Labyrinth take Office Road up the hill past the Honolua Store to Pineapple Hill for a beautiful view and work out.

Kapalua Coastal Trail

Napili Farmers Market – walking distance from our apartment and Napili Plaza is the twice-a-week Napili Farmers Market. Held every Wednesday and Saturday, the market changes regularly but offers local produce, honey, baked goods and crafts. We purchased some delicious Baba ganoush and flat bread.

Sunset at Honokeana Bay – This rocky bay is a bit difficult to access (look for the gravel trail between Honokeana Cove and Napili Point Resorts), but is a beautiful place for spotting sea turtles and for watching the sunset. Check it out.

Honokeana Bay

Honu (Sea Turtles)– The native Hawaii Green Sea Turtle is protected under the endangered species act since 1978. It is against federal law to touch or harass these beautiful creatures either in the water or on land. Every beach we visited in Napili offered a great way to view the turtle population from the beach. The Honu have increased in number since they became protected, and as frequent visitors to Maui we definitely have noticed an increase in Honu sightings. Napili is a great place to watch these beautiful creatures from a respectful distance.

Green Sea Turtle (Canva)

Check out this link below of a video we posted on Instagram of a green sea turtle.

https://www.instagram.com/reel/CVRbNDXl_ot/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

Napili Bay – This beautiful bay is a great place to snorkel, swim and enjoy the sandy beach. There is a small public parking area on the south end of the beach. A handful of small condos front the beach as well as the historic and beautiful Napili Kai Resort.

Napili Bay and Beach looking south

The Sea House Restaurant – One of my top restaurants on the entire island, the gorgeous beach front restaurant The Sea House is in the Napili Kai resort on the north end of beautiful Napili Bay. Make a reservation and don’t miss a beautiful evening at The Sea House. Funny story, when we ate there it started to pour down rain but my food was so delicious I carried under the eaves to finish it…I didn’t want to miss a bite!!!

Napili Kai Resort and The Sea House Restaurant

The Gazebo – So this is one of those places that gets a reputation and then it explodes…some people waiting hours to eat macadamia nut pancakes or a mountain of fried rice with eggs. I’m not sure it warrants a two hour wait, but the view is nice, it’s fairly inexpensive by Maui standards and it’s kind of a local icon. If you don’t want to wait for hours arrive by 7am for the 7:30 opening.

Mountain of fried rice at The Gazebo

On the Fringe

Technically not in Napili, we also spent a lot of time at Kapalua Bay and Secret Beach in Kahana. Additionally we frequently visited The Fish Market on the border between Kahana and Kaanapali as well as the long stretch of Kaanapali Beach. Our favorite beach was Secret Beach in Kahana, because, as it’s name implies, we usually had it to ourselves, except for the dozens of green sea turtles that call this beach home.

Talking to Green Sea Turtles at Secret Beach, Kahana

Surprising Maui

Through the years and our many visits to this beautiful island I continue to be astonished by the variety of hidden gems we find each visit. You will never see everything because Maui constantly changes and evolves while remaining graceful and beautiful and friendly. Maui – The Valley Isle. Napili Surprise – Our New Favorites.

Maui No Ka Oi.

See last week’s blog post Maui Top Five.

See this week’s top performing post on Pinterest here My Self Care Journey With Noom

We love it when you pin and share our blog posts. Mahalo!

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11 Comments

  • Reply Annie H

    Fascinating stuff. Especially the rainfall map.

    October 22, 2021 at 12:23 pm
  • Reply Angela

    I love that the sea turtles are being protected and yet can still be viewed by visitors. And those beaches – wow – definitely a destination on my bucketlist

    October 23, 2021 at 1:25 am
  • Reply Alma

    I could see myself spending six weeks living in Napili! It looks delightful – especially those beaches.

    October 23, 2021 at 1:53 am
  • Reply sue

    I love the sound of Napili! I’ve not been to Maui yet on my travels but you have definitely whetted my appetite for the next time I am on the islands. I love that you can constantly find new places & especially the idea of all those gorgeous turtles!

    October 23, 2021 at 2:14 am
    • Reply Laureen

      You would love it!

      October 23, 2021 at 9:53 am
  • Reply Talek Nantes

    Love the sea turtles and the food. Very enticing destination. Will need to put it on my bucket list.

    October 23, 2021 at 9:04 am
  • Reply Linda (LD Holland)

    Would love to visit Hawaii and Maui is definitely on the list. It looks like we will need to put Napili on our plans to visit when we finally get this booked. I like visiting local places like this with awesome views. Especially if we catch sight of the Honu!

    October 23, 2021 at 10:41 am
  • Reply Bree

    Wow what a slice of heaven this is. Hawaii is on my list of places to visit so thank you for sharing.

    October 24, 2021 at 12:36 pm
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