Makawao/Pukalani

Welcome to Makawao / Pukalani

Proximate Upcountry towns with unique paniolo culture

The  Upcountry towns of Makawao and Pukalani are at the heart of paniolo culture. Paniolo are Hawaiian cowboys, and these quaint towns have a rich history of this unique part of Hawaiian culture dating back to the 1800s. Makawao’s name means “eye of the forest” and the town is located on the mid-slopes of Haleakala, at the start of the dense rainforests that cover North and East Maui. Pukalani means “window to heaven” and its elevated location on Haleakala’s slopes causes clouds to form above and below the town, providing it with consistently sunny weather. These historic communities hold onto paniolo traditions such as rodeos, along with recreation activities including polo and golf.

Much of Makawao is covered with picturesque ranchland, while the towns’ laid-back commercial centers feature chic boutiques, cafés, and restaurants. Pukalani offers a town center with banking, grocery, and dining options. Both communities offer an array of single-family homes in diverse architectural styles.

What to Love

  • Unique paniolo culture
  • Picturesque ranchland ​​​​​​​
  • Eclectic shops and restaurants
  • The Rodeo and other annual events

People & Lifestyle

Makawao and Pukalani are friendly communities with an idyllic laid-back vibe. The area’s paniolo traditions give these inviting small towns a feeling unlike anywhere else on Maui. They also offer great amenities with a wide variety of restaurants and retailers.

Dining, Entertainment & Shopping

Baldwin Avenue and Makawao Avenue intersect at the heart of Makawao and form the Upcountry’s main shopping and dining hub. Here, you’ll find eclectic eateries such as Polli’s Mexican Restaurant, a laid-back spot serving homestyle Mexican cooking and the best margaritas on Maui. Hali’imaile General Store is an award-winning restaurant serving chef-driven farm-to-table meals that creatively blend Hawaiian cuisine with Asian influences. Casanova Italian Restaurant and Deli offers fresh seafood specials, delicious handmade pasta dishes, and pizza and focaccia baked in an old-world brick oven. Casanova also carries an impressive wine selection with varietals from around the world. Stop by for an espresso and made-to-order sandwiches at lunch or indulge in a leisurely evening meal with live music entertainment several times a week. Other Makawao dining choices include Satori’s farm-to-table sushi food truck, Habibi for flavorful Middle Eastern fare, and Komoda Bakery for cream puffs, stick donuts, and other specialty sweet treats. Sip Me Maui is your go-to Makawao coffeeshop for fresh-roasted espresso blends, health-conscious juices and smoothies, and organic pastries. Makawao is also teeming with stylish boutiques such as Pink by Nature and Driftwood for hip womenswear and accessories. Since the 1970s, Collections has been a Makawao favorite for fashionable clothing, artisanal jewelry, and unique home décor items. Designing Wahine Emporium’s eclectic offerings include designer beachwear, one-of-a-kind furnishings, and chic womenswear. Sherri Reeve Gallery and Gifts showcases the work of its prolific namesake watercolor artist. Along with framed artworks, the Sherri Reeve Gallery sells unique gifts and accessories. Makawao’s other businesses include luxury real estate brokerage – Island Sotheby’s International Realty. In Pukalani, Pukalani Superette is a family-owned grocery store that has served the community since the 1950s. Items stocked here include fresh island produce, all manner of daily essentials, and mouthwatering ready-to-eat foodstuffs.

Things to Do

Makawao Forest Reserve covers more than 2,000 acres and features an abundance of indigenous and foreign trees and plant life. Seven developed trails run through the reserve, with the 6.2-mile Kahakapao Loop being the longest. The mountain biking trails in Makawao Forest Reserve are considered the best on Maui. The community’s rich heritage of paniolo culture comes to the forefront during. Festivities run over the Fourth of July weekend, with paniolo parading through town and participating in events such as bull riding, steer chasing, and horse racing. Other annual local events include the Seabury Hall Craft Fair in May. Entertainment at the Craft Fair includes two live music tents, a Kids Zone with lots of fun activities, a rummage sale, and a silent auction. Makawao Third Fridays is a monthly town party featuring live performances, arts-and-crafts vendors, and island-style food and drinks. Makawao also hosts a large Chinese New Year Celebration with lion dancing, martial arts demonstrations, and firecrackers. Pukalani is famed for its golf, and Pukalani Country Club offers one of Maui’s best and most picturesque 18-hole golf courses.

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