Makawao Town

Makawao is a soulful little eclectic town, with as much diversity in shops as in people.

Makawao is an old, Upcountry, Paniolo town. A Paniolo is a Hawaiian Cowboy. While most visitors had no idea there was such a thing as a Hawaiian Cowboy, they’ve actually been around these-here-parts since the 1800’s. Paniolo have their own, rich, unique culture that makes them distinct from their mainland cousins. But while a Cowboy in the West is considered as American as apple pie – a Paniolo is pure Hawaii. You don’t have to take my word for it, if you spend any significant time in the area, you’ll see plenty of them. I’ve personally witnessed one riding a long-horned bull down Makawao Ave. (under full control of the rider, in line with traffic, no less!) The rodeo is just up the road, and the the only market remaining in town is called “Rodeo General Store.”

But if you’re just quickly passing through Makawao, you’ll be more likely to see an out-of-shape-too-much-Krispy-Kreeme-eatin’-cubicle-cowboy careening recklessly downhill on his rented blue mountain bike, than a grisly old Paniolo capably in control of his steed. But, that my friend, is part of Makawao’s charm: like much of Upcountry Maui, Makawao has an impossibly eclectic mix of souls painted across a beautifully diverse canvas.

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