History of Kihei, Maui

Kihei, situated on the southwestern coast of Maui, was once a barren and arid region ignored by tourists and locals alike. Its transformation began in the mid-20th century when developers recognized the potential of Kihei's beautiful beaches and sunny weather.

Over the next few decades, Kihei grew rapidly, with homes, condominiums, shopping centres, and resorts springing up.

Today, Kihei is known for its laid-back vibe, stunning beaches, and water activities, but it still holds a deep connection to its roots, offering visitors a unique blend of modern amenities and traditional Hawaiian culture.

FAQ for Kihei

What is the best way to get to Kihei?

The best way to reach Kihei is by flying into Kahului Airport, which is the main airport serving Maui. From there, you can rent a car or take a shuttle to reach Kihei, which is approximately a 30-minute drive away.

What is Kihei famous for?

Kihei is famous for its beautiful beaches, such as Kamaole Beach Park and Keawakapu Beach, which offer excellent swimming, snorkeling, and sunbathing opportunities. The town is also known for its stunning sunsets and as a gateway to the world-renowned Maui Ocean Center.

What are five interesting facts about Kihei?

  1. Kihei has one of the sunniest climates in Hawaii, making it a perfect destination for beach lovers.
  2. The Hawaiian green sea turtles, known as "honu," can often be spotted in the waters off Kihei's shores.
  3. Kihei is home to several popular annual events, including the Maui Whale Festival and the Maui Brewers Festival.
  4. Maui Brewing Company, one of Hawaii's largest craft breweries, has its flagship brewpub located in Kihei.
  5. Kihei is a great base for exploring other attractions on Maui, such as Haleakala National Park and the Road to Hana.

How did Kihei get its name?

Kihei's name is derived from the Hawaiian words "ki" meaning "ti" (a type of plant) and "hei" meaning "lei" (a wreath or garland). The name reflects the area's natural beauty and the abundance of flora that can be found in and around the town.

What are some travel tips for Kihei?

  • Don't forget to pack sunscreen, as the sun in Kihei can be intense.
  • Explore the local cuisine by trying traditional Hawaiian dishes like poke and plate lunches.
  • Respect the environment and follow guidelines for protecting marine life while snorkeling or engaging in water activities.
  • Be aware of ocean conditions and always swim in designated areas with lifeguards present.
  • Take advantage of the beautiful walking and biking paths along the coast for scenic views.

Do I need a visa to visit Kihei?

If you are a U.S. citizen, you do not need a visa to visit Kihei as it is part of the United States. However, if you are an international traveler, please check the visa requirements based on your country of origin.

When is the best time to visit Kihei?

The best time to visit Kihei is during the months of April to September when the weather is warm and dry. This period offers ideal conditions for beach activities and outdoor adventures. However, Kihei enjoys pleasant weather year-round, so you can plan a visit at any time.

Are there local customs I should know for Kihei?

When visiting Kihei, it's good to be aware of a few local customs:

  • Drinking: The legal drinking age in Hawaii is 21 years old. Please drink responsibly.
  • Greetings: Aloha is a common greeting in Hawaii, and it is appreciated when visitors learn and use basic Hawaiian words like "mahalo" (thank you) and "aloha" (hello/goodbye).
  • Public transit: Kihei is not well-served by public transportation. Renting a car or using rideshare services is recommended for getting around.

Time Zone for Kihei

Kihei follows Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time (HAST), which is 10 hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC-10:00).

Voltage/Plug Types

The voltage used in Kihei and throughout the United States is 120 volts, and the plug type is the standard Type A and Type B, with two or three flat pins.


The currency used in Kihei is the United States Dollar (USD).

Are ATMs readily accessible in Kihei?

Yes, ATMs are readily accessible in Kihei. They can be found at banks, shopping centers, and convenience stores.

Are credit cards widely accepted in Kihei?

Yes, credit cards are widely accepted in Kihei. Most hotels, restaurants, and shops accept major credit cards such as Visa, Mastercard, and American Express.

Can you use ApplePay and Google Pay in Kihei?

Yes, ApplePay and Google Pay are accepted at many establishments in Kihei. Simply look for the contactless payment symbol or ask the merchant if they accept these forms of payment.

How much do I tip in Kihei?

Tipping customs in Kihei are similar to the rest of the United States:

  • Tipping at Restaurants/Bars: It is customary to leave a tip of 15% to 20% of the total bill for good service. Some restaurants may include a service charge automatically, so check the bill before adding an additional tip.
  • Tipping at Hotels: It is customary to tip hotel staff, such as bellhops and housekeeping, a few dollars per service.
  • Tipping Taxis: It is customary to tip taxi drivers about 15% of the fare.
  • Tipping Tour Guides: If you take a guided tour in Kihei, it is customary to tip the tour guide around 10% to 20% of the tour cost, depending on the quality of service.

City Data

Founded Population (as of 2020) Elevation
Early 20th Century 21,423 (source) 3 ft (1 m)


Season (Month) High (°C / °F) Low (°C / °F)
Winter (Dec - Feb) 28 / 82 18 / 64
Spring (Mar - May) 29 / 84 19 / 66
Summer (Jun - Aug) 31 / 88 21 / 70
Fall (Sep - Nov) 30 / 86 20 / 68
No Content Available