No trip to Maui would be complete without spending a day on the Road to Hana, which offers some of the most panoramic views in the world. The area is so unspoiled that it’s frequently referred to as the “Land That Time Forgot”.
The drive will take at least three hours from Lahaina or Kihei. The road provides one of the most breathtaking experiences for visitors to Maui. It dramatically winds 50 miles past seascapes, tropical waterfalls, stunning and pristine beaches, gardens and lush rainforests.
The trip will take all day and it’s not for the faint of heart or those that suffer from car sickness as the road is especially challenging with over 600 curves and over 50 bridges. The road winds and curves and there are many one-lane areas and blind turns. As with most experiences in life, keep in mind that reaching Hana is not the objective; it’s more about the journey to Hana. The road is best enjoyed driving slowly and enjoying the beautiful waterfalls, the lush bamboo forests and dramatic cliffs along the way.
Several options exist to experience the Road to Hana. You can rent your own vehicle (if you have nerves of steel), take an organized tour and sit back and relax or even take a helicopter trip. All represent good choices with each having its own unique advantages. Certainly, driving is a beautiful way to experience the sights, and for an added thrill, 1957 Porsche 356 Speedster replica convertibles are available for rental. Nothing can quite compare to driving the road with the top down, the wind whipping through your hair and enjoying truly spellbinding sights.
It’s best to leave very early in the morning so that you can return before it gets dark. Under no circumstances would it be wise to attempt to drive the road back in the dark. If you can manage to leave as early as 7 A.M. you will avoid much of the traffic.
Be sure to fill the gas tank as there are no gas stations along the way between Paia and Hana. It’s also a good idea to bring some food and drinks for a picnic. Alternatively, there is the Kuau Store which has a good deli, ready-made sandwiches, salads, coffee and snacks. Don’t forget the hiking shoes, maybe a change of clothes if you get wet, and some insect repellent.
Along the road, you will encounter an occasional food stand with fresh local fruit and coconuts. Be sure to sample some of the freshly baked, delicious banana breads.
Since there is so much natural beauty, it’s best to do some research ahead of time and plan to stop at just a few locations that are of most interest to you so that you can enjoy your time and not be rushed. Read about the history, folklore and myths for the various spots. Some are spun with legends of the fire Goddess, Gods and spells.
All of the spots are marked by mile markers. A hike to Twin Falls will be especially rewarding as it’s one of the most magnificent falls, and there is a swimming area as well. Another memorable stop is Wailua Falls, which is considered by many to be one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the Hawaiian Islands. The falls cascade down through lush vegetation. Another great stretch of road is between Hana and the Kipahul region in the Haleakla National Park where you will find Oheo Gulth, which is frequently referred to as the Seven Sacred Pools.
A vacation on Maui and a trip to Hana is soothing to the soul and the best way to enjoy a stay is at one of the fabulous villas on the island. For those with, not only nerves of steel, but also large bank accounts (the ones who rent the Porsches for the Road to Hana) will surely revel in a stay at the Villa Kumalani, which provides unsurpassed elegance and privacy and an stunning location just across the way where the beaches of Palauea Bay may be enjoyed.
Kahana House is another spectacular home that effortlessly blends the indoors with the majestic outdoor beauty. The commanding panoramas of sky and sand are heart-stopping. Spacious interiors provide the much-needed space and peace from which to unwind after a day on the Road to Hana.
The Jewel of Maui is most appropriately named offering exceptional interiors and grandiose outdoor living areas, all located on a perfect stretch of beach. It truly doesn’t get much better!
Enjoy the Road To Hana and get back early enough to enjoy a matai at your own private villa while you watch the sunset. Savor the serenity of your tropical paradise and your memorable drive to Hana that you will treasure forever.