Road to Hana

This way to Hana
Pools of 'Ohe'o
Red Sand

Overview

The Road to Hana is almost a right of passage for anyone on their first trip to Maui. It consists of over 50 miles of highway that circle the East coast of Maui, starting from Kahului. This is not just a normal highway, though, consisting of an estimated 617 turns and about 57 or so single lane bridges. With a few stops and walks, it usually takes more than 5 hours to drive from one end to the other.

Other than being a difficult road to draw on a map, there is more to this trip than just turns and bridges. With hidden waterfalls, stunning cliffs and views, beaches, parks and small stands and shacks selling goods and run by the local Hana residents, it’s the total cummulative experience of all this untouched and prestine land that is so awe inspiring.

There a number of different ways to experience this journey. You could choose the "do it yourself" option, making the drive with the aids of any number of various books, maps, and even audio CDs for your car. Heck, it’s a rental car, so no worries about wear and tear, right?

You could book a guided tour with one of the local tour companies, and leave the driving and details to someone else and sit back and take in the views for youself. They do tend to leave fairly early, but some stop for a light breakfast and most include a picnic lunch. The mini-buses are usualy nice and comfortable and the tour guides offer a great, personable touch to the experience.

Details

Here’s a list of the different stops we have visited along the way on our trips to Hana so far:

  • Kaumahina State Wayside
  • Honomanu Bay
  • Keanae Lookout
  • Halfway to Hana Stand
  • Waikani Falls
  • Wailuaki Falls Bridge
  • Hanawi Falls
  • Makapipi Falls
  • Waianapanapa State Park
  • Hana Post Office
  • Hotel Hana Maui
  • Hana Bay
  • Ono Farms Fruit Stand
  • Koki Beach
  • Tropical Flowers Boutique
  • Wailua Falls
  • Oheo Gulch aka Seven Pools
  • Haleakala National Park
  • Grave of Charles Lindbergh

Notes

For us, it was a no brainer to go with a guided tour and leave the car parked at the hotel. We had used the tour company Roberts Hawaii for a Circle Island Tour on the island of Oahu durng our honeymoon, which left us pretty pleased with their service and tours. For our first guided tour on the island of Maui, we gave them the benefit of the doubt and chose them for tour to Hana.

After the drive go underway and we started to wake up for the morning, we got closer to the beginning of the highway, having to drive all the way to Kahului from Lahaina. With our first stop and photo opportunity overlooking Honomanu Bay, we knew then it was going to be a nice trip. And it was.

You will undoubtedly hear different things about Hana from different folks. Some people, like us, are stunned by the beautity and wonders of the land and the beaches along the road. Others, may describe it as just a long road with a lot of bridges, boring, or say that "I can see waterfalls anywhere". When it comes down to it, the experience offered by the Road to Hana is what you make of it and that of your individual mindset. If you go into the all-day journey thinking it’s just boring and not worth the time, of course it will be awful.

However, if you’re in love with this island and look forward to seeing so many untouched and unbelievable acts of nature, you will walk away from that long car ride with a most certainly walk away with memories and feelings that will last a very long time.

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