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Travel Information on KAPALUA
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Kapalua, Maui County, Hawaii

Kapalua is where the best beaches in the State are found. The paradise-like landscape of Kapalua has a reason behind it. With a population of only 467, as of the latest 2000 census, Kapalua can be likened to a sanctuary of tropical beauty. A low land compared to the other resort towns in Maui like Wailuku, Kapalua continues to flourish with the sea's embrace and the warmth of the Hawaiian sun. Even if the whole of Kapalua measures only 5.23 miles, its beauty more than compensates for its size.

Kapalua is also a place with diverse cultures. Aside from the native Hawaiians, its residents are a mix of people with American, Hispanic, European, and Asian heritage. The increase in migration and foreign residents also influence the changing culture of Kapalua. The racial mix give way to a carefree lifestyle where there is mutual respect for everyone and every culture. As a result, ancient Hawaiian customs are still alive and exist complementary to contemporary advances. Kapalua mirrors the diversity of its inhabitants' culture and way of life in its beauty and variety.

Located at the western tip of Maui, Kapalua has the ocean as its boundary. Together with other resort towns like Kaanapali and Napili, Kapalua forms a strip of white beaches, rocky cliffs, and clear, tropical waters. But more than beaches, Kapalua is also a center for trade and tourism in Maui, with its multiple hotels and fruit plantations. For its size, Kapalua sure packs a lot of punch.

Kapalua's History

Kapalua's history began before written text. Oral history and the passing down of rituals, stories, ancient hulas, and chants are the basis for what is presently known Kapalua's history. Its name means "embracing the sea" in ancient Hawaiian language. The meaning of its name sums up its origins.

The first native Hawaiians came into Kapalua by sea. Seeing the curve formed by long coast as if by a half closed embrace, they called the land Kapalua. They divided the land in accordance to the ancient custom of ahupua'a or triangular sections. These first settlers thrived by cultivating the fields from which they planted taro. The bay and the sea provided them with rich harvests of fish and different seafood. The settlers treated the land, together with all its resources, as sacred because of the blessings and sustenance it provided for them. Soon, other people came and lived with the locals. Poets, musicians, artists, chiefs, and families of local royalties came and lived in Kapalua.

An English missionary residing in Kapalua, Dwight Baldwin, received land holdings of about 2,675 acres in 1836. These holdings were taken out of the original Kahana and Mahinahina ahupua'a. These holdings grew over the years and was established as the Honolua Ranch. It developed into a pineapple plantation and cannery, which is the biggest in Kapalua. Civic and economic development continued through the years. Presently, Kapalua is one of Maui's main resort towns with a collection of big hotels and thriving real estate and tourism industries.

Kapalua's Attractions

Kapalua attracts its share of tourists and locals with its three beaches of powdery white sand. Kapalua Bay, a consistent topnotcher in "Best Beaches" lists, is a major come-on for tourists and locals in Kapalua. Located in Maui's west coast, the beach features a picturesque strip of white coast usually tinted with the golden light from the sun. The beach also sports spectacular views of Lanai and Molokai. With its protection of natural lava coves, the waters remain free of current and calm. D.T. Fleming Beach is the beach of choice for tourists staying in hotels in the main part of town like Ritz-Carlton. Why? Because it is located steps away from the hotel's lobby. This beautiful stretch of powdery sand boasts of beautiful sights and good food. Its own Beach House is a grill and bar restaurant with a delicious array of refreshing cocktails and tropical cuisine. Shaded with over 40 coconut groves, the beach provides a good place to relax. Privacy is not difficult in Kapalua. Oneloa Beach offers the beauty of a tropical paradise and the seclusion of a private pool. Located between the two more popular beaches, crowds are almost unheard of in Oneloa Beach.

Good food are the perfect match for superb beaches and Kapalua does not disappoint. With a variety of restaurants from different hotels, there are food choices for everybody. Vino has an extensive array of tapas and good Italian wines. Sansei serves up authentic Japanese cuisine with Asian fusion meals and dainty sushi. For local cuisine, Plantation House and Pineapple grill serve Hawaiian meals at their finest -- fresh, delicious, and meant to be shared. The hotel Ritz-Carlton offers a variety of restaurants in its lobby, each serving a different cuisine worth trying.

If beaches and food are not enough, Kapalua also have outstanding golf courses, water sports sites, and other sports facilities. These golf courses include the Plantation, the Bay, and the Village. These golf courses had played hosts to various international major league golf tournaments. Spacious tennis courts and jogging lanes are open for the public for free. Private and public tours of plantations and orchards are also offered by local organizations.

Kapalua's Economy

Kapalua's economy relies mainly on tourism. Revenues and profits from its hotels, beaches, golf courses, and other facilities comprise the bulk of its finances. The inviting tourism industry also opens new business opportunities that attract prospective investors. Sensing an agreeable business culture in Kapalua, businesses from the mainland are investing in projects like souvenirs and art pieces. This boosts the art scene and encourages the artists of Kapalua to come up with unique and interesting designs. With significant annual tourist size, Kapalua is considered as one of Hawaii's finest tourist spots.

But Kapalua is not all about tourism. Kapalua also has a thriving agriculture and agribusiness industry. Major pineapple plantations, taro fields, and tropical fruit orchards are found throughout Kapalua. Though concentrated mainly in the higher areas, Kapalua also has its share of cut flowers industry. Kapalua truly embraces the sea with its fishing industry that delivers fresh fish and a bounty of seafoods around the area. Major clients include hotels like the Ritz-Carlton and other restaurants. Needless to say, Kapalua's fish markets are among the best in Maui.

The real estate industry in Kapalua is also a major player in terms of finances. Kapalua real estate is mostly comprised of houses and condominiums on the higher end of the scale. These houses fetch good money for a variety of reasons: location, history, and design. But other than pre-owned houses, pre-construction projects also make money for the Kapalua's economy. To sum it up, Kapalua spreads its investment eggs among different baskets. This makes Kapalua economy a sustainable one.

Kapalua is everything tourism journals say it is. A beach paradise, food haven, and nature's sanctuary, Kapalua fits these roles almost perfectly. Coupled with a sustainable economy and great local investments, Kapalua certainly is a terrific place to be.

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