First Time on the Road to Hana

May 30, 2019

Road to Hana

When you hear Maui, one of the first things that comes to mind is the picturesque Hana Highway featuring 620 turns and 59 bridges through the tropical rainforest. I can hardly believe Alex and I almost didn’t do the drive– the Road to Hana far exceeded our expectations!

Alex and I both get car sick rather easily and for that reason we prefer to fly rather than drive. We were strongly considering the idea of just doing a helicopter tour (75 min total, with a 30 min stop) to Hana but I told him this adventure could be worthwhile on the road. I wanted to get out of the car and see the waterfalls, feel the green trees, and walk on the beaches and volcanic rocks.

With life, I enjoy the journey it brings but with traveling I have a much different mindset. When I travel, I tend to focus more on getting from Point A to Point B to ensure I can enjoy as much of my time in a given location as possible.

However, driving the Road to Hana is an entirely different experience. The Hana Highway is the most beautiful highway you will ever see as you drive through the dense, lush rainforest, and along the edges of the cliffs created long ago from Haleakaka. You experience and relive the historical stories of Maui as you embark on the Hana Highway. I recommend driving rather than flying even for those of you who might get a little carsick like me.

We decided last minute at 10:30am to do the Road to Hana on a Sunday, which landed on Mother’s Day. Our late start didn’t impact our experience because the road wasn’t crowded due to the holiday and people who were most likely spending their time at brunch. The only thing we had going against us were the daylight hours. Our entire round trip was 6-7 hours from Ka’anapali to Hana, with only three stops: Ke’anae, a waterfall pull out and Waianapanapa State Park.

Road to Hana

Road to Hana

Road to Hana

Road to Hana

Road to Hana

Road to Hana

Road to Hana

Below are tips and things we plan to do differently for next time.

Tips: 

  • Pack Dramamine or any motion sickness medicine. 
  • Pack towels and a change of clothes in case you want to go swimming at the beach or in the waterfalls. 
  • Don’t be discouraged to do the Road to Hana if it’s forecasted to rain– spoiler alert: It’s a rain forest and experiences rain every day. 
    • Driving in the rain was pretty cool, actually! It was such a heavy rainfall and driving through the rainforest gave me the feeling of Jurassic Park without the dinosaurs. 
  • Bring water and snacks. 
  • Bring cash for the food trucks and smoothie stands. 
  • Write down the top locations you would like to see and what mile markers they are at, you will not have phone service. 
  • Get the Shaka App or Road to Hana Maui Gypsy Guide App. 

What We Would Do Differently: 

  • Allow much more time to experience everything, but split into two days. 
  • Drive earlier on the way over, think 6 or 7am! 
  • Stay overnight in Hana to allow more time to experience this peaceful haven. 
  • Go skydiving in Hana! 
  • Hopefully try the banana bread! Almost every banana bread stand was closed due to Mother’s Day.

While we would like to do the helicopter tour at least once, we know driving the Road to Hana is worth experiencing every time.

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