Maui’s unique climate and isolated location make it a dream destination for tourists and people seeking to relocate. Because of these conditions, Maui is also home to plants and creatures you’ll rarely (if ever) spot outside the Hawaiian Islands. If you get a chance to break away from the itinerary, here are a few of the hidden gems you might spot while exploring Maui.

Banyan Trees

Location: Lahaina and all over

The most famous example of a Banyan Tree in Maui can be found on Front Street in Lahaina, where the single tree spreads throughout an entire park. Many smaller varieties can be seen throughout Maui, characterized by their roots, which gradually find their way to the ground from the branches above. This atypical growth pattern can create an otherworldly landscape, perfect for photos, but even more unbelievable to see with your own eyes.

Nene (Hawaiian Goose)

Location: Haleakala National Park and through Maui (wherever they decide to land).

The Nene is Hawaii’s state bird, but it’s endangered status can make them quite hard to find. They occasionally choose to land on grassy patches in Kihei, but can also be spotted in the solitude of The Haleakala Crater. It always seems like these geese pop up where you’d least expect them, but it’s a rare treat when they choose to make an appearance.

Humuhumunukunukuapuaa

Location: The Ocean! (specifically areas with Reef or rocks)  

The Humuhumunukunukuapuaa (or Humuhumu for short), Hawaii’s state fish, can only be found in the warm waters of the southern central Pacific ocean that surrounds the Hawaiian Islands. They often camouflage themselves and hide between rocks and reef, but when the venture out into the open water, their bright yellow back, white snout and black stripe make them easy to spot. For a little pronunciation help, break it into syllables (who-moo-who-moo-noo-koo-noo-koo-ah-pooah-ah).

Monk Seal

Location: Secluded Beaches, Ocean

The monk seal is an endangered species that often comes to rest on Maui’s shores. They most frequently appear on North/ East Maui beaches away from the crowds. It’s best to view these majestic creatures from a distance for your own safety and for this species, that has a wild population of just over 1000. State law prohibits getting any closer than within 50 feet of a Monk Sea on land or underwater. 

Wildlife can be breathtaking, inspiring and invigorating to observe, but alway proceed with caution and respect when dealing with any of these creatures or plants. Nature can be unpredictable so having a guide or a safe environment (like an aquarium) can be a great way to stay safe on your nature encounters.

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