If you plan on visit Maui, you absolutely must add the Road to Hana to your itinerary. There is nothing like this amazing, windy, 64-mile road that connects Kahului to Hana. Along the way, you will carefully cruise down one-lane roads right along cliff faces, cross over 59 bridges, and pass by some of the most gorgeous natural wonders in the world, including Haleakala National Park, the Seven Sacred Pools, and Waianapanapa State Park.
Doing Hana right will take some planning, and you’ll enjoy yourself more if you prepare with these important tips:
Figure out your transportation
Driving the road to Hana can be delightful or stressful depending on your driving tolerance. If the thought of hugging right up against a cliff face or rumbling down a one-lane bridge (46 of the 59 bridges on the Hana Highway are one lane) excites you, then consider renting a convertible or for the more daring, a motorcycle to really take in the views. If you would prefer not to be in charge of keep everyone alive, consider hiring a van or coach tour.
Don’t try to fit everything into one day
There are endless sights to see, parks to visit, waterfalls to hunt, and trails to hike on the Road to Hana. If you try to squeeze it all into one day, you’ll be rushing out of your car to snap a few pictures and then rushing back to hit the next landmark. Instead, either pick just a few things to enjoy during your day on the road, give yourself multiple days to hit all the major landmarks, or simply throw away your watches and play it by ear. The point of the trip is not to make it to every landmark. It is to have fun and enjoy yourselves.
Follow a guided tour
The Hana Highway is rich with history, stories, and hidden treasures. Unless you happen to have a local with you, it is easy to miss out on all of these things. Consider buying a guide book or even a CD tour to give your trip more meaning.
Bring food for a picnic
The Hana Highway will take you through lots of amazing parks, including Twin Falls, Koolau Forest Reserve, Kaumahina State Wayside Park, and more. Consider picking up some food before you start off (Kuau Mart just after Paia is a good option), so you can enjoy a picnic in one of these parks or in another scenic area along the way. There’s no better way to really soak in the views and the feeling of being in Hawaii than a picnic.
Get gas before you go
The road is long and gas prices in Paia are particularly high, even for Hawaii standards. Make sure you fill up your tank before you leave. You will need to drive slowly in many areas of Hana, and there are no places to refuel before you get to Hana.
Because so much of the Hana Highway is one-lane roads and bridges, you will need to practice safe and considerate driving skills. Always honk before coming around sharp curves on one-lane roads. Let other cars cross one-lane bridges if they approach before you, and pull over if the person behind you flashes their lights. Honking is considered very rude in Hawaii, so only use the horn on sharp curves, never to pressure someone to pull over and let you pass. Get into the laid-back Aloha spirit and work with your fellow drivers, so everyone can have a great time on the Hana Highway.
Sunscreen, water, bug spray, and hiking shoes
You are in Hawaii, which means lots of sun, bugs, and heat. Keep away sunburn, bug bites and dehydration with sunscreen, bug spray, and lots of water. Don’t forget to reapply the sunscreen every few hours, put on more bug spray before entering a park, and drink lots of water. You’ll also want to bring hiking shoes as there are many glorious hikes you can tackle along the way, including the two-mile Pipiwai Trail, which will take you to the fabulous Waimoku Falls.
Don’t leave valuables in your car
Unfortunately, there are a few bad apples no matter where you decide to travel. The Hana Highway attracts many tourists throughout the year and thieves as well. Rental cars are easy to spot, so make sure you never leave anything valuable in your car when you get out to visit parks or check out views. Keep phones, wallets, and purses on you and since there’s limited cell service out that way, leave your tablets and laptops in your room.
Get ready for tourists
The Hana Highway is a world class attraction…which means it will attract many others besides yourself. Be willing to share all the natural wonders you find. During high tourist months, the waterfalls and trails may be crowded, and your trip will be a little slower as you’ll have to stop more often to let other cars by on the road. Again, stick with the Aloha spirit. The more the merrier, and get ready to share your adventure with new friends.
If you still need accommodations for your trip to Maui, contact Ali’i Resorts. We offer high quality vacation condos throughout South Maui that can fit parties of various sizes.