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Maui’s Neighborhoods: Makawao

Makawao Maui

Makawao is situated at an elevation of around 1,600 feet above sea level with a population of over 7,000. Upcountry temperatures are typically about five degrees cooler than those at sea level. The town has more rainfall in the upcountry because it borders the Waihou Spring Forest Reserve. At this reserve there are many caves, and hiking and biking trails.

Located on the slopes of Mount Haleakala, Makawao is part of Maui’s Upcountry area. The town is surrounded by beautiful green, rolling pastures and is contrasted by the scenic ocean views in the distance. 

In 1793 the British Captain George Vancouver transported the first cattle from California to Hawaii. They were a brought as a gift to King Kamehameha I. In order for the cattle to multiply and roam freely a 10-year kapu, or taboo, was placed on their slaughter. In 1803 Richard Cleveland, an American trader, offered horses as a gift to the Hawaiian King Kamahameha I. In 1830 King Kamahameha III brought the first vaqueros, or horse-mounted livestock herders, from Mexican California to the islands. They came from Vera Cruz over to the Big Island to handle the cattle. The Hawaiianized version of Espaniolo, or Spaniard, became paniolo as these cowboys are still known today.

The western façade of the storefronts add to the charm of the town of Makawao, which has an incredible selection of boutiques, art galleries, and restaurants. The healing arts are represented in a massage school and a health clinic. Makawao also has a public library, which services the community.

Makawao has a very quaint feel to it and has a great deal to offer families or people looking for the upcountry feel of Hawaii. There is a multitude of educational choices in Makawao. The number of private schools outnumbers the amount of public schools. Schooling begins at preschool and continues up through high school. This makes Makawao a wonderful and safe area for families to settle down.

There is also a strong presence of churches in Makawao, which can often be a very rich part of any community.  Christianity, The Baha’i Faith, the Tongan Community, and the Hongwanji Community are all represented. 

The area offers starter homes for the first time buyer to larger, more elaborate homes that are in a higher price range. The area is beautiful and inviting, and a wonderful place to call home.