Hawaii, Maui, Travel

Maui-The Road to Hana

In the middle of the Pacific ocean on a tiny tropical island, there is a 52 mile stretch of road known as The Road to Hana. The Hana Highway has around 59 bridges, the majority of them being only one lane wide, and over 620 curves. The fact is, when you drive this highway, your wheel will be turning from left to right almost the entire time, as there are so many curves.

Photo credit

My husband and I decided to rent the GyPSy tour guide for our drive to Hana. The GyPSy is a GPS device that is filled with many different stories about Maui’s history. As you drive the Road to Hana the device will share historical information (and some legends) relating to your location along the highway. The best part about this GPS is that it informs you of the tourist traps and places to avoid (or consider avoiding) and it also tells you about places that you MUST stop. After doing some research on Trip Advisor, my husband and I felt like the $40/day rental cost was well worth the money. Little did we know how valuable this small device would be.

Our first stop was at Charley’s in Paia (Pa-ee-ah). We filled up on Macadamia Nut Pancakes, omelets, hashbrowns, and Orange Juice in order to start the day off on the right foot. The car was packed with drinks and snacks, we had packed our beach towels, the camera, and our map, and were ready for an adventure.

Driving along the Hana Highway

As we began our journey along the beautiful northern coast of Maui we realized that our adventure was truly about the journey, rather than the destination. That day we took over 600 photos and stopped too many times to count, so I’ll just share the highlights.

Rainbow Eucalyptus Trees in the Ke’anae Arboretum
Beautiful Flower… wish I knew what it was called…
Ke’anae Peninsula

One of my favorite moments of the day was when we took a left turn off the highway and drove towards Nahiku Cove. I read a quote about Nahiku that said, “Nahiku is the place where plants go after they die.” I was amazed at how many shades of green were found in this small area, and the further we drove along the three-mile stretch of road, the denser the surrounding foliage became.

Nahiku Bridge
Church in Nahiku
In case you need to make a phone call in the middle of the jungle…

Next up was our stop at Wai’anapanapa State Park. Because we spent so much time here I decided to dedicate an entire post to this beautiful park. Tune in later for that. For now, let’s just say that it’s an absolutely gorgeous location and a MUST see on your journey along the Road to Hana.

Wai’anapanapa State Park

We made it to Hana and drove the tiny, stone-lined, streets throughout town. I only remember that we ate at Tutu’s Snack Shop because I took a picture of the sign. Obviously it wasn’t that amazing, or I would remember the delicious-ness. 😉 After lunch we continued to Wailua Falls (If the name sounds familiar it’s because there’s a waterfall with the same name in Kauai). Wailua Falls is a popular swimming hole and I didn’t want to miss an opportunity to swim in my first waterfall in such a beautiful location.

Wailua Falls from the Hana Highway
That water was really cold!

On this trip we turned back shortly after Wailua Falls instead of continuing on to the Seven Sacred Pools and the backside of Haleakala. I will definitely try to continue the journey on our next visit to Maui. (That means I get to go back one day, right?!)

On our way back to the western side of Maui we stopped at a small road-side stand for a break. We enjoyed shave ice and ate homemade banana bread before continuing on our way.

Photo credit

The Road to Hana gets a bad wrap for causing many visitors to become car-sick. There are many twists and turns, and cars stopping and going, that I get dizzy just thinking about it (and I never get car sick). The key to this road is to appreciate the scenery around you instead of constantly looking down at the map. I find that rolling down the window to get some fresh air helps as well. Because my husband and I rented the GyPSy guide we didn’t have to look at our map once on this road, so the next time you’re visiting save yourself some trouble and rent a GyPSy guide.

As I mentioned earlier, when you are driving the Road to Hana remember that this adventure is about the journey, not necessarily about the destination. There is so much to see and experience along the drive that visitors should slow down and enjoy the beauty all around.

26 thoughts on “Maui-The Road to Hana”

      1. Be sure and do a whale watch! The Humpbacks are everywhere that time of year! They are my favorite thing about Maui!

        1. The whale watch was the first thing we booked. 🙂 We did a whale watch along the NaPali coast last year and I’m excited to go again while visiting Maui. I heard there are even more near Maui than compared to Kauai. Can’t wait!! Those animals are amazing.

          1. Yes, Maui is the main place they go on the islands. I love them. I spent three months studying them in Maui. I envy you right now 🙂

    1. Thank you!! I try to write about my experiences in a way that my readers feel like they are there with me, I appreciate the compliment. 🙂 Have a great weekend.

  1. This was one of my all-time favorite trips! We went in 2010. It was so beautiful, and there was so much to stop and see! The seven Sacred Pools is definitely worth it next time!

    What is “GyPSy? We had a CD that was timed according to the road, but this must be new. Where did you find it?

    1. Hi Joy, The GyPSy is a GPS tour guide. As you drive the Road to Hana the device tells you interesting facts, stories, and advice on things to do depending on your location. You can also use it on your drive to Haleakala. The link to the GyPSy Tours is above. It’s definitely worth it, in my opinion. 🙂

  2. Gorgeous photos! Your post brings back memories of my visits to Maui. It is truly a magical place. Thanks for capturing it so beautifully!

    1. I thought it was well worth the money! It was interesting to listen to a lot of Maui’s history that I wouldn’t have known otherwise. And on the way back there is different commentary so you don’t have to listen to the same stories twice! 🙂

  3. Ugh, I tried to do the Road to Hana with my family like 10 years ago and I got SO SICK! I’m not especially prone to car sickness, but OMG I was so miserable!! I lovingly requested that we not to this attraction in Maui when we were there last week and I was incredibly grateful that my man obliged. I know I missed out on some spectacular sights, but nothings fun when you’re choking back vomit 🙂 Glad you guys made it through!

    How Bout Some Cake?

    1. I can’t imagine getting sick on that road! It’s such a LONG drive there and back that it would be miserable! I’m so sorry you had such a bad experience. I would like to do the drive again but in a convertible next time. 😉

  4. This post brought back so many wonderful memories from my trip to Maui this past June and July! We also drove the Road to Hana and made it all the way to the Seven Sacred Pools! When you go back I’d highly recommend making the 45 minute drive past Hana to the pools because it was beautiful! That section of road is definitely more treacherous with blind corners and barely enough room for one vehicle, let alone two…but it was worth it! I did a post about our trip to the pools which you can see here: http://pearlsandlaceblog.com/2012/09/17/maui-monday-seven-sacred-pools/ I absolutely loved Waianapanapa State Park with the gorgeous blue water, green foliage and black sand it looks like a jewel! I love that you got to swim in a waterfall, that’s something that I really wanted to do but didn’t get the chance – something I’ll have to do on my next trip to Maui! Oh and I think the name of that flower is Red Ginger! It was everywhere along the road! Loved this post!

    xo jen

    1. Thanks for stopping by! We will definitely do the Sacred Pools next time. Have you gone all the way around Haleakala? Thanks for the information on the flower! 🙂 You should definitely swim in a waterfall next time, the water is really cold, but the experience is well worth it! Have a great weekend!

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