Regions rule if you want to find that perfect spot for your Maui vacation. Miraculously you are supposed to know the difference between places with unfamiliar and unpronounceable names.  Maalea. Ka’anapali. Wailea. Kapaula. Why the heck would you choose Kahana over all the others? The beauty of renting from owners is they have local knowledge to share to help you get your bearings in a landscape that’s new to you.

As vacation rental owners in Maui, we’re frustrated that you have to know you want to stay in Kahana, as opposed to Kihei, or Hana, or Wailea, to find our listing on most Maui rental websites. More important, to both of us, we want you to find us because our accommodation is exactly where you want to be. The chance to steer you in the right direction is a friendly thing to do, but also good business in our minds. We share your desire to find a great match up between guest and accommodation, one that will exactly suit your tastes and plans, possibly even exceed your dreams!

If you are traveling to Maui and want to know if Kahana, or another region, is the right spot for you, we have some guidance.

Start by visiting a major vacation rental site. Search Maui. There you’ll find Maui divided into four major districts…South, West, Central and East. A simplified listing of popular regional place names is listed under each district. Kahana, for example, is located in West Maui. Kihei is located in South Maui.

The variety of micro-climates on the island, price and accommodation options, scenic features, and the relative convenience of each location to what you want to see and do can add up to a significantly different experience for visitors.

South Maui (Wailea) tends to be pricey, with the exception of Kihei where prices are 10 – 15% below West Maui. Wailea has a somewhat cooler climate than Kihei. If you like luxury, you will like Wailea. If you’re on a budget, you can find a great deal in Kihei. Region names associated with the area include Kihei and Wailea.

West Maui arguably offers the greatest range of prices and variety of accommodations. From $1,000/night luxury condo overlooking a championship golf course, to a single beachfront residence at $350 – $1,000/night, to unbelieveably affordable true beachfront condos with homey comforts starting as low as $100/night. Kahana and points north of Lahaina tend to have a more moderate climate. If you want to be near the most popular tourist attractions on the island, West Maui should be your choice. Region names associated with the area include Honokowai, Ka’annapalli, Kahana, Kapalua, Lahaina and Napilli.

Central and East Maui also offer a range of bargains and accommodation types from ultra-high-end luxury plantation estates to modest and affordable beachside residences. Central Maui is the heart of local commerce and industry on Maui and has historic towns full of charm. The north-facing shoreline of Central and East Maui, attractive to highly-skilled water sports enthusiasts, particularly wind surfing and big wave surfing, can fetch significant prices. If you want to be where the water sport action is, Central or East Maui may be the spot. If you have business in Maui, the Central business area might suit your interests best. If you want to experience incredible wilderness and nature, remote East Maui’s Hana is beyond perfect.  Region names associated with Central and East Maui include Maalaea, Haiku and Hana.

Kahana will not be your place if you enjoy resort-style living, exciting nightlife, and mixing with tourists only. Ka’annapali, and possibly tourist-magnet old town Lahaina with its historic charm, would be a better choice. Both are extremely popular and offer a broad range of choices for your budget and travel style. Kapalua and Nipili are extraordinarily beautiful spots. They will cost a bit more than Kahana because they offer upscale amenities, like a championship golf course and scenic and celebrated snorkeling beaches. But if what you want is something more modest, homey and comfortable, not that far away from Kapalua and Nipili, then Kahana would be your choice.

Kahana’s resorts, built starting in the mid-1970s, had the pick of the island’s scenic beauty and temperate climate. They chose a premier spot and constructed some of the island’s roomiest and most favored true beachfront accommodations. Dated, yes, a bit, except most are resorts where individual owners of condos (not timeshares) have kept a home away from home with all the love they have for being fortunate enough to own a piece of paradise. Meanwhile, with Maui enjoying a robust tourist trade, the resorts continue to invest in their properties and keep them updated and attractive to a global market. As a result, Kahana has a unique style that sets it apart. There’s a village feel here, with a welcoming, laid-back mix of resort/hotels, upscale beachside residences, and commercial establishments.  You don’t have to travel far to find everything you need from fine dining to a dive and surf shop to a convenience store providing staples and gas service. Jogging, walking, biking along a beachfront roadway, sharing coffee with locals, or recalling the thrill of sighting whales or gentle sea turtles while swimming or sauntering along a mile-long white sand beach, is what the Kahana experience is all about. It’s the perfect, relaxed spot to “live local” and experience all that is best about “Aloha” and Maui. If you feel invited to stay, it’s because you are!

By Darlene Norwood. Darlene is a writer .