My husband and I decided to honeymoon in Maui; neither of us had ever been to a tropical island and the destination was highly recommended to us. Two of our friends had gone to Maui a month before we did and brought this book with them--they raved about it so much that we all passed an enjoyable evening together before we left during which they sticky-noted the MUST SEE places in our copy of the book. (For the record, the waterfalls they recommended on the road to Hana were spectacular.)
I read the book cover to cover before we left and it gave me a great overview of the island's geography, attractions, and unique qualities. I am just back from the vacation and ready to return, and I will probably get a copy of their book for another island because of the "big picture" they so superbly provide. What regions are best for this or that, how far different locales are from each other, the general lay of the land, that sort of thing--I've never read a guidebook that gave me that kind of information before.
The drawback to this book is on the specifics. Maybe I'm too much of a "city gal" (I never really considered San Diego that cosmopolitan) but their recommendations for food and cultural experiences were a little too provincial. For example, the authors write that the "odd and bizarre add color to Pa'ia like no other Maui town" and recommend people watching as a main attraction. Now, I think that Pa'ia has the best shopping on the island (far more interesting than Lahaina, which is junk shops interspersed with fine art galleries) but a few guys with long braids and girls with ankle bracelets do not a people-watching location make. Nor is putting fish on pita bread culinary cleverness (tasty though it might be).
The real problem with Maui Revealed, however, is its overexposure. Even the guy sitting next to me on the plane had the book. At one point during our vacation, a local volunteer at one of their carefully described snorkeling spots stopped us at the trailhead just to explain how the ecology of the region has suffered in the past five years because of the sudden increase of foot traffic and swimming in what was once a sheltered cove. It was ten in the morning and we were persons number 40 and 41 to start on that trail. On a weekday, off season. He convinced us not to go (we were numbers 12 and 13 not to go after he talked to us--he was collecting data) and gave us a recommendation of where to go instead. I can't compare it to the Aquarium (a Maui Revealed spot) but the snorkeling where we went was amazing--we went back to it on another day, too.
Besides overpopularity, the other drawback I found were vague directions that could have gotten us into a lot of trouble. There were two hikes we followed at the authors' recommendation, both of which resulted in us getting quite lost and me somewhat afraid (my husband says he didn't think we were really that lost). The first was a trek up the hill of Pu'u O'lai in Makena. They said something like you have to traipse about a 100 feet through the forest until you find the trail. We never found it. The other was a hike to a quadruple waterfall path on the road to Hana (across government land no less--my guilty conscience flared up when I heard the helicopters overhead!). Maybe we are incompetent woodsmen but we actually lost the path three times on our way to the second waterfall (this in a bamboo forest so dark that our flash photos just look like black shapes) and I came out of there filthy with mud and sporting some rash on all four appendages! (Trust me, it's no heat rash either.) I don't think I'll go on anymore revealed adventures.
Yes, the book is great for newcomers to the island of Maui who want background information about this destination, especially when they are deciding what neighborhood to stay in and what kinds of attractions to see there. I do not recommend using this book to set your specific itinerary. ALthough we started out with this plan, we had fabulous luck actually talking to locals once we got there, like Ephraim at Onelui Beach, Sai the waiter at Pupu Something Restaurant, the girl at the snorkel shop, Hyper Miqe at the trail to the Aquarium, and Tasia the hitchhiker, and Sheldon the four-year-old who instructed us not to put flippers on our ears--not one of these folks steered us wrong. We could not have planned a better vacation.