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What is Upcountry Maui?

On the slopes of Haleakala, away from the city, is the famed country side and quiet way of life that many retreat to Maui for. Here, farms are widespread and the scenery is unmatched, the weather cooler, and the way of life easier. Residents take great pride in living “upcountry”, and are quick to point out that living in the country is far superior to the city.

But what exactly does “Upcountry” mean? To hear the term for the first time, it can be confusing and someone is going to have to explain it to you.

The term is used widely on the island, and its meaning is just to go up the mountain to the country. Pretty simple right? Upcountry is the portion of Haleakala over South Maui, stretching to the North Shore, and covering all the way up into Haleakala National Park. To get here, trekking up the side of the mountain on switchback roads (don’t worry, they’re full functional, paved roads) is required, winding back and forth across the mountains.

And the higher you travel up the mountain, the more incredible the views. Surprisingly, there is quite a bit going on as you travel up the mountains, with a handful of small towns found here, and many of the best local farms on the island. Pukalani, Makawao, Kula, and Haiku are quaint little towns on the side of Haleakala, and a stop in any of them offers a look at the unique way of life here.

Despite being away from the big towns on Maui, and the beaches, there is a lot to do. The summit of Haleakala is the biggest attraction, and many visitors enjoy a downhill bike ride down the side of the mountain. Touring the local farms is a lot of fun, and ziplining is one of the biggest activities Upcountry.

As you travel higher Upcountry, the weather cools off considerably, and many locals choose to make their homes up here because of the cooler temperatures, and needed break from the warmer weather sea level. If you plan on visiting Upcountry, plan on bringing a light jacket or sweater, especially in the early morning or evening hours. It can get downright cold!

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