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Papawai Point A Popular Whale Watching Lookout

Maalaea, HI, United States
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Papawai Point, located along the Honoapiiliani Highway heading west from Maalaea to Lahaina, is a very popular whale watching lookout roadside park. In fact, unbelievably, we saw more whales here (at least 2 or 3 of them, in fact) than we did aboard our afternoon snorkeling and whale watching cruise that we had just taken. As for the point itself, its a beautiful point and you basically get a great view of Upcountry Maui to the east and the west coast/Maui Mountains and the island of Lanai to the west. Also makes for a good sunset place as well. Several small, short but rocky trails lead from the parking area for the more adventurous that lead down to the rugged coastline, too. Vegetation is quite sparse, with just small bushes and savannah-like trees here as southwest Maui lies in the "rain shadow" of both the West Maui Mountains and Haleakala. Normally it's quite dry here but since Maui had been experiencing a wet winter, it was still quite green. A great stop on the way back to Kaanapali!
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Transportation

Honoapiilani Highway
Main autoroute between Kahului and west Maui (Lahaina, Kaanapali, etc)

Points of interest

Kaho‘olawe
Large island off of Maui's southern coast is largely off-limits.
Manawainui Gulch
Pass through a tunnel on the highway near the Manawainui Gulch.
Wailea-Makena
One of two areas on Maui with many large resorts, along with Lahaina-Kaanapali.
Molokini
Conditions were clear and calm in the Molokini crater for snorkeling on this day.
Papalua Beach Park
One of several beaches on the Honoapiiliani Highway between Kahului and Lahaina.
Whale lookout point
Excellent spot for spotting whales in the sea at Papawai Point roadside park.
Papawai Point
Worthwhile stop between Kahului and Lahaina. Excellent views and whale watching spot.

Special activities

Lahaina Pali Trail - eastern half
Hiking trail through the southern West Maui Mountains in west Maui.
Maui Ocean Center
Visited the Maui Ocean Center on a rainy day a few days prior. Nice assortment of aquatic species.

On The Map

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