On our last full day in Hawaii (*single tear), which happened to coincide with the husband’s birthday (*smile) A.J. and I drove to Hana, a small town on the east side of the island. Everyone who goes to Maui has most likely heard of this Drive To Hana. We were told that this eight hour drive to and from Hana would be the most beautiful part of our trip, but also the most treacherous.
Although there are lots of Hana tours available, A.J. and I decided to make this drive ourselves using our rental car and a $10 tour CD. How difficult could it be?
The drive along the Hana Highway is a 68-mile stretch of winding narrow roads amidst the Maui rainforests. It is treacherous because these 68 miles are made up of more than 600 sharp curves, most of which circle around tall cliffs on one-lane roads. Therefore, you have to drive really really slow. We made it, and had A LOT of fun, but I would be lying if I didn’t admit that it was a nerve-wrecking experience.
Along this drive, which was originally built for sugar plantation workers, we stopped for pure sugar cane juice and freshly made banana bread, visited a black sand beach and a red sand beach, and took pictures of many beautiful waterfalls. Tour Hana through some of my photos below.
As I said earlier, there were many blind turns. I didn’t get any good photos of them, but here’s a great one from Hawke Backpacking. Scary looking, right? And it’s not even one of the one-lane turns!
There were a ton of waterfalls. Some you had to hike to and some were visible right off the highway. All of them were gorgeous.
Some other must-see sites included the black sand beach (The Honokalani beach, located at the Waianapanapa State Park, is a beach that was formed by a lava flow that fell directly into the ocean while hot, causing the molten lava to quickly solidify and shatter into smaller pieces of black rock sand.); the red sand beach (The Kaihalulu beach, an isolated beach that you have to climb up rocks to find, gets its dark red color from the crumbling red volcanic cindercone hill that surrounds the bay, giving the water its beautiful azure hue.); and the Seven Sacred Pools (Located at the Oheo Gulch, this coastal area just outside of the town of Hana is made up of beautiful trails, waterfalls and small pools that you can swim in if weather permits. You have to pay to visit this specific park, but if you have enough energy left to endure some more trails, it is beautiful and so worth it.).
If you love beautiful sights, visit Hana in Maui, Hawaii. And if the drive scares you, just go with a tour guide. Here are a few tips for your journey.
+ Get plenty of rest the night before.
+ Wake up bright and early. It’s going to be a long day.
+ Eat a hearty breakfast and pack road trip snacks and a healthy lunch. There aren’t many food stops along the way, but there are a bunch of beautiful picnic areas where you can stop and enjoy a sandwich.
+ Bring cash. There are a few stops where you will want cash for fresh Hawaiian treats.
+ Wear a bathing suit under your clothes for impromptu swimming, and bring a jacket as some of your stops will be rainy and chilly. (It is a rainforest after all.)
+ Bring both walking shoes for hiking and sandals for the beach.
+ The trip is long, but it’s not a rush to the finish line. Just take your time on the highway and enjoy the breathtaking views.
So long Hana.