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Get Outdoor Gear HereKapalua, which means in Hawaiian "arms embracing the sea," was aptly named after the resort's dramatic lava peninsulas that shelter its five bays. In the 1800's this area was the Honolua Ranch and later became the Honolua Plantation when Kapalua's acres of grassy slopes were converted to geometric patterns of silver-blue pineapple fields. Throughout Kapalua, historic Cook pines lend a striking silhouette to hidden pathways and mountain vistas. Varieties of flowers and trees planted generations ago adorn the property, from breadfruit, lychee and mango trees to flowering ginger and ti leaf plants.

Situated on Maui's scenic northwest coast at the foot of the verdant West Maui Mountains, Kapalua is a 1,500-acre destination resort set amidst 23,000 acres of privately owned pineapple plantation. The luxury resort and master-planned community features a rare native rainforest, a protected marine life conservation district, an ancient Hawaiian burial ground, and golf courses that double as wildlife sanctuaries along with historic sites such as the Honolua Store, churches, and plantation homes.

Guests here create their own mix of leisure. Among their list of choices are an exciting variety of restaurants, two award-winning tennis complexes, walking and jogging paths, scuba, kayaking, sailing and snorkeling, shopping in more than 20 boutiques and galleries and three white-sand beaches.

The Best Beach in America (1991), officially certified by the University of Maryland's prestigious Laboratory of Coastal Research is here. They surveyed 650 beaches nationwide, judged them on aesthetic beauty, swimming conditions, water and air temperatures, texture and color of sand and degree of solitude. Kapalua Bay excelled in every area and won the title.

Tropical Gear From Around The EquatorKapalua features three championship golf courses, each one a challenge in a setting of incomparable natural beauty. All three courses have been declared Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuaries by the Audubon Society of New York State, due to their environmental efforts to conserve water, reduce chemicals and protect the native species. In January, The Plantation course is the home of the Mercedes Championships.

The resort has assumed a role of leadership in bringing the finer things of life to Maui with its annual Kapalua Food & Wine Festival, an event that draws the world's top vintners, chefs, and food and wine experts, and gets them together with people who appreciate them. The Earth Maui Nature Summit is held annually in Kapalua to focus on Maui's commitment to preserving and protecting its distinct environmental niche.

It's difficult to remember that all this happens, not in one of the cultural capitals of the continent, but on a tropical island at a resort surrounded by a pineapple plantation just a few miles from a little Hawaiian village where people farm, raise pigs and pound their poi.

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