The sunsets from Kaanapali Beach and Black Rock are stunning. While there are many places in Maui to watch a sunset. There’s no better place than the west side of Maui, Kaanapali Beach or Black Rock. The sunsets from this viewpoint paints the sky with brilliant shades of pink and blue.
If you stroll over to the Black Rock which is right in front of the Sheraton on Kaanapali Beach, there’s a daily torch lighting and cliff diving ceremony (lele kawa) few minutes before sunset. It’s a free event that is open to the public. The Black Rock (Puu Kekaa) is considered a sacred spot. It is a place where after death, souls depart the earth and leap over into the spirit world. The legend is the last chief of Maui, Kahekili popularized lele kawa and gained respect from his warriors by being one of the first to jump off Puu Kekaa. Most were frightened of the spirits who lived in the area
Since then, the Hawaiians strive to keep the history alive each night by recreating Chief Kahekili’s famous actions. The ceremony begins with a Hawaiian warrior blowing the conch shell to the four directions of the earth. Then he makes a lei offering to the gods as he sprints barefoot up the volcanic rock and lights the torches. Then as a grand finale, he takes a spectacular dive into the ocean.
It’s a short ceremony that bids the sun farewell (10-minutes, max) and it is strangely moving. Don’t miss the spiritual and beautiful ceremony on Maui. You can also enjoy the the sunsets from Kaanapali Beach at many of the beach front restaurants. I recommend Monkey Pod and Leilani’s at the Whaler’s Village.
Kaanapali Beach is huge and stretches for 3 miles long. But the prime spot for the sunset is pretty much in front of the Black Rock which is found at the doorsteps of the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa.
Kaanapali Beach/Black Rock Parking
Sunsets from Kaanapali Beach are not to be missed. But parking can be tough here because the free spots limited or the paid parking can be pricey. Here’s a list of the various parking spots:
- Every hotel along Kaanapali Beach has to supply a limited number of free spots to access the beach there. There is a public parking lot located at ground level at the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa. It is the closes hotel to the Black Rock. There’s a very limited number of stalls so come early or camp out for spot.
- If you plan shop or dine at the Whaler’s Village, there’s a parking garage. It cost $3 per half hour. But it’s free for the first 3 hours if you get a validation from shopping or dining. The walk from the Whalers Village to the Black Rock is about 7 to 10 minutes. Just follow the cement path parallel to the beach til it ends heading north.
- Kahekili Beach Park has a huge free public parking lot. It is just on the north side of Black Rock, off of Kai Ala Drive. There’s another small lot at Kai Malina Parkway. Once parked, head south towards the Black Rock. There’s a pathway along the beach and walk parallel with the golf course. Cross the street, head towards the tennis courts, walk through the Sheraton Resort towards the spa and the Black Rock and Kaanapali Beach should be on your right. The walk is about 20 minutes.
- Bring something to sit on like a towel or a beach chair
- Bring a camera, you’ll want to capture this magnificent moment
- Come 20 minutes before sunset to snag a good spot, enjoy the magnificent view, and watch the torch ceremony at the Black Rock. View Maui Sunset Times
- If you sit in front of the Sheraton hotel, you can hear the announcer tell the legend of the Black Rock
- You don’t need a buy a sunset cruise ticket to see the Kaanapali Beach sunset.