I’ve been to Maui five times and each time I visit, there is one place that always sticks out in my mind. I’ve always been attracted to the hippie lifestyle and consequently moved to Santa Cruz at the age of seventeen — so it would make sense that I would be drawn to the laid-back town of Paia on the island of Maui.
When I first found myself in the small town of Paia — on my second visit to Maui — it resembled so much of what I loved about Santa Cruz. I found myself thinking that if I ever moved to this island, Paia is where I would want to live.
When Scott and I visited Maui again last year, I made sure to make a stop in Paia to show him around and see how much it had changed over the past seven years. It had undoubtedly changed, but still has that surf town/hippie vibe that I love.
Here’s what we found during our recent visit to Paia:
Paia is only minutes away from one of our favorite beaches in Maui. Ho’okipa is a well-known surfing (and windsurfing) beach and the color of the water is stunning. I could imagine waking up every morning, throwing the boards in the car and spending a few hours soaking up this natural beauty.
On my first visit to Paia, I remember eating at a healthy little restaurant on Hana Highway. It’s one of my fondest memories, but I couldn’t remember the name of the place, so we decided to try Cafe Mambo on Baldwin Avenue. The menu looked healthy enough and we were able to sit near an open window to enjoy the afternoon breeze.
We ordered a sesame-crusted tofu salad, one of their award-winning burgers and a mouth-watering fresh fruit shake.
An exceptionally good grocery store with lots of healthy food options is key for me when I think of places I could live. Currently, we live right next to a small market that sells mainly fruits and vegetables — which is extremely convenient. Mana Foods in Paia was recommended by a friend, so Scott and I stopped in for a look.
We found a large selection of natural products, but what really won us over was the produce department. Ninety percent of their produce is organic — which is becoming increasingly important for Scott and I — and they support local farms whenever possible. We bought the most delicious dragon fruit we have ever tasted and I was instantly sold on this place.
There you have it. My top three reasons for picking Paia as a potential place to settle down for a while.
Have you been to Paia?