There’s this famous saying that goes like this: “Maui nō ka ʻoi.” It means, Maui is the best.
And if you ask the locals or people who have had the pleasure to experience Maui for their “best” recommendation, they’ll all point you to one direction: The Road to Hana.
Road to Hana is an experience that opens up your world to a beautiful sense of calm. It lightens you up and transports you to a world full of visual delights.
Depending on where you’re starting from this is a 3-10 hour round trip drive that you’ll experience jaw-dropping ocean views, sea-cliffs, roadside waterfalls, and unforgettable views of Maui’s north shore.
The stretch of endless lush greens, undiscovered lands and waterfalls, and breathtaking shorelines are an experience everyone should have at least once in their lifetime.
Road to Hana will take your breath away
You can think of this journey like a breath of fresh air or the first rays of the sun; it isn’t just cathartic to your senses, but also an inspiring note to begin an unforgettable journey.
Road to Hana is a story about us and our place in the wild and beautiful world. It’s like a painting of the local raw land of the forgotten real Maui but one that you can touch, see, smell, and feel.
When you cross the dramatic landscapes, 620 curves, and 59 bridges, all while taking in the panoramic views, you’ll feel magical.
We are glad you plan to take on this journey. To make it easy and eventful, we put together a checklist for Road to Hana. Print it, bookmark it, and share it with your friends. It’ll help you discover more.
Let’s ride into the checklist.
Do your research
Acres of lands, untouched and unexplored by humans: Road to Hana is a treasure that rewards you for patience. A lot of that patience comes from doing prior research on Road to Hana.
From the weather to points of interest, it’s recommended you know them before embarking on this 64-mile long experience.
Drive time is key
To soak in all the stunning sights, it’s recommended that you plan the whole day for this epic journey. People usually start their trips early in the morning before 7:30 am and start their return journey by 6:30 pm.
Check the weather forecast
Road to Hana can also see rains sometimes and although the rains here are brief and add to the visual magnificence of the road (you’ll see more vibrant colors), carrying a rain jacket still is always a good idea.
Be ready for curves
Road to Hana has some of the most beautiful tropical sites on the planet – and knowing where they are and why they are famous will help you get the most of your Road to Hana trip.
One such sight, for example, is the Waianapanapa State Park. Pronounced as “why-a-napa-napa” which means “glistening waters”, this is Maui’s one-of-a-kind “black sand” beach and a must-see for any Hana visitor.
A quick warning: DO NOT TAKE LAVA OR CORAL from the beach. It is considered very bad luck to do so and desecrates the site for future visitors.
Having an itinerary will give you an idea of the hidden gems you’ll want to explore. It’ll help you time your journey stopping points so that you can take in all of Maui’s incredible Northshore experience. We do recommend keeping a light itinerary though since Road to Hana is all about exploring new paths and relaxing amidst mother natures’ stunning wonders.
An ABSOLUTE MUST to experience the Road to Hana
We highly recommend visiting the Road to Hana website and buying the Road to Hana audio and map guide. This epic audio guide is filled with chapters that will educate and inspire you along the way. It is instrumental in making sense of where you are and why it is so special. They also provide a map of the road as well as itinerary suggestions along the way.
Getting to Hana
There are several ways to get to Hana;
- Drive a rental car
- Book a bus tour
- Book a flight
- Book a helicopter tour
- Book a helicopter & bus tour
Renting a car in Maui is one of the most popular options because you get to experience what’s it’s like to journey to Road to Hana by car. There’s nothing like the feeling of being closer to your Ohana while you pass some of the most phenomenal views on the planet. Whether you plan to go for the Waikamoi Ridge Trail or spend time at the magical Haipua’ena Falls, all of it is possible with a vehicle on your side. Remember, the Road to Hana is a magical experience that needs your time and attention. This is only possible when you have your own time.
When you do get your favorite car for an unforgettable drive, don’t forget to get a full tank of gas. As you begin your journey on the Road to Hana, the Hana town will be your last chance to get a full tank. You can also fuel up at Kahului or Paia.
Once you do, you’ll be ready to breeze through the highway – taking in the fresh air and experiencing some of the most gorgeous natural wonders in the world like the Haleakala National Park, the Seven Sacred Pools, and the Waianapanapa State Park.
We wrote a comprehensive post on renting a car in Maui that details why and how you can rent a car.
If you aren’t a car person and are looking to escape the long drive back you might opt-in for a cozier and more comfortable ride, with a tour bus by Valley Isle Tours.
You pass the tropical rainforests, Keanae Peninsula, Hana flower gardens, and so much more. The bus tour usually starts between 6 am – 7:30 am and the return varies between 5 pm – 6:30 pm.
You can also book a flight from Kahalui or Kapalua to Hana. The tickets are cheap and the views are just as magnificent. Here’s a great read on flying to Hana that we highly recommend.
Lastly, you can go for 360-degree panoramic views right from the sky by book yourself on a helicopter tour. Ideally, you should get the helicopter one way and take the bus ride back. Going down this road you are able to see the unexplored, raw Maui island and experience the luxury of the bus tour on your return.
Most helicopter rides begin at around 7 am, start at the Kahului Heliport, and also includes a breakfast followed by lunch. One such tour that we recommend taking is the Hana Helicopter and Van Tour. You can learn more about it here.
You can also check out the Hana Sky Trek that gives you a 15% discount on the price of $344* if you buy direct. *Prices do vary depending on when you read this post.
Don’t forget the necessities
The Road to Hana is not about completion. It’s more about the journey of those 64-miles. It’s an experience you undertake – one that changes you in ways little else can. Your appreciation for our blessed mother nature will increase in your heart ten folds and you’ll find yourself in a place you’d want to stay in forever.
The Road to Hana has some accessible stops like the great halfway stop of Keanae Peninsula. It’s here where there are many food truck vendors and places where you can get food refreshments.
But every journey needs more than this. Essentially, basic necessities that keep you well.
Here are some that will help you on the Road to Hana:
Carrying a sunscreen is always a good idea. All over the route, you’ll have plenty of spots where you would want to spend time and take in the magical views.
The Road to Hana is usually bright and sunny most of the year and because you’ll be out so much, carrying a sunscreen will protect you from the harmful UV rays you’d otherwise get exposed to.
✔ Mosquito Repellent
Nobody likes the bad itches from the mosquito bites. Having a mosquito repellent will help protect you from those tiny little causes of distress.
While you hike a trail or head into the wild to explore a wondrous waterfall, a mosquito repellent will always be helpful.
✔ Comfortable shoes
Because you will be spending a lot of time outside of your car exploring the many scenic views on the Road to Hana, make sure you feel as comfortable as you can.
This comfort first comes in the form of comfortable shoes. You can go for good hiking shoes if that’s what you are interested in but a bare minimum would be good sports shoes. Avoid flip flops and sneakers as they might get wet and slippery.
✔ First-aid kit
While this is standard, we often forget about our safety and underestimate the chances of anything happening to us while on the road. Having a first-aid box by your side will fool-proof you against any injuries and will make sure you have a proper treatment.
While this is something nobody wants, it’s always a great idea to prepare for such situations. A first-aid box is the right choice in that case.
✔ Wind-proof jacket
It’s warm and sunny most of the year, it also can get windy on the Road to Hana. To protect yourself against the trade-winds, we highly recommend carrying a jacket. This will allow you to go about your day as usual without feeling stressed about the cold or wind.
✔ Phone car charger or portable charger
We are sure you’ll be mesmerized by the beauty of Road to Hana and will be snapping shots endlessly with your phone. With this in mind, we recommend bringing a car charger or a portable charger to keep your battery life charged up.
✔ Carry a professional camera
Imagine you are old sitting by your garden in a rustic chair. You recall your trip to Maui: the things you did, the fun you had, and the wind that reminded you that the world is a beautiful place. And then you start to piece together your trip on the Road to Hana. The waterfalls, unexplored greens, wide and beautiful shorelines, and a wild-wild memory of all of it. How would you like to remember it? We think that the best way to remember the day – the true beauty of it – is by documenting it.
When you take the Road to Hana, you go through some stunning stoppages. One that comes early is the magical sight of the famous Rainbow eucalyptus trees. As you take on the drive, you can see these colorful and life-like trees that are no less than nature’s artwork. Stop here, experience the delight, and get yourself a photo.
You probably would have seen the stunning photos of the Road to Hana already. Most of it would be the famous Seven Sacred Pools at Haleakala National Park where the journey ends.
But we believe that even thousands of those pictures and videos on Instagram and a million more on other platforms can’t do justice to the lights and aura of that place.
That entire stretch is some of the most visually stunning landscapes you’ll see in your entire life. And what’s the best way to capture the beauty? A camera (with an extra memory card).
If you are filming, we recommend you carry an extra pair of batteries too. This will allow you to make the most of your trip by capturing the right moments at the right times.
Road to Hana is beautiful – we know we keep saying that but it’s because even words can describe it only a little. It needs to be seen. Road to Hana needs to be felt.
What are some things you plan to do when you do the Road to Hana? Tell us in the comments below.