Makena has been the most isolated, most quiet part of Maui since it is about as far out of the way as you can get on Maui's south shore.
During the 19th century, Makena Landing was the principle port on the south side that serviced Upcountry Maui. That small landing was eclipsed in the 1920's by Kahului Harbor's modern, centrally-located facilities. With Makena's only real connection to the rest of the world gone, the population shrank to nothing.
Times changed in the 80's with the construction of the beautiful Maui Prince Hotel, an oasis of civilization with gardens, water courses, elegant accommodations and several awarding-winning restaurants all tastefully carved out of the surrounding cactus and kiawe trees.
The two 18-hole Makena Golf Courses, North and South, offer breathtaking views of the Pacific as it's challenging fairways wind around the remains of ancient Hawaiian rock walls along the coastal slopes of Haleakala.
Makena's beaches are among the best on the island, but since they are so secluded, they do not have showers, shelters, or other amenities except for the Naupaka Beach in front of the Maui Prince Hotel.
The second turn off past the Prince leads to Makena's most popular beach: Oneloa Beach, otherwise known as Big Beach; it stretches 3,000 feet down the coastline and remains the largest undeveloped beach on Maui.
If you walk down Big Beach, and scale the cinder cone, you'll find a path that leads to Maui's most infamous beach: Pu'u Olai Beach, known as Little Beach. Because of its seclusion, nude sunbathers favor Little Beach as a place to catch rays au natural.
Beyond Big Beach, where the paved road ends at the beginning of the island's last lava flow two hundred years ago lie the ruins of an ancient Hawaiian fishing village.
The coastal waters are still rich fishing grounds (though fishing is prohibited in the Natural Preserve) and the diving is spectacular with abundant sea life and numerous underwater caves.
Rugged and beautiful, with only a touch of civilization, Makena still offers a taste of Maui much as it used to be.