Hana to Maui is what
is to the rest of the world.
Hana for Mauians is an oasis from the grind of
Incomprehensible to think that
Then there is Hana. Hana to me always feels like a breath of fresh air after being under a blanket of vog. In all fairness, Hana residents have work and families and demands on their time too. It’s not all wine and roses in Hana, or Hawaiian-style kava and plumeria. Still yet, how can I pass up a chance to go to Hana? As we say on
“Thank God for Hana!”
There is Hana and then there is the road to Hana. Both are legendary. Sure, you can fly to Hana (easy peasy) or take a boat (difficult to arrange and I don’t know anyone who does this), but most people drive there. Some people may even bike the road to Hana, but…I hope they are well-insured.
A month ago, exactly today, I toured the road to Hana with some other
Maui bloggers and social media peeps in a VIP
style, air-conditioned bus operated by Valley Isle Excursions.
Full disclosure here: The tour was offered free by Valley Isle with the hope that we would provide good publicity and social media coverage. Travaasa Hana paid for our lunch there and gave us a tour of their resort for the same reason. BTW, Travaasa is not included with the standard Valley Isle Excursion Tour. Moreover, snacks and tips were included and we were given a free CD of the Road to Hana. This trip was arranged by Maui Information Guide and assisted by @erikblair. Moreover, a carrot was dangled in front of us: the best instagram photo of the Road to Hana, the one that most captured the essence of the Road to Hana, would win a $50 gift card. We were also encouraged to tweet using the hashtag #HanaTrip.
As the reader, you are asked to employ your powers of reasoning and realize there is some inherent bias here. Enough said.
I love Hana and the road to Hana so much that it’s really hard for me to do just one post on this excursion. I can’t do it. So this will be the first in a 7 part series. Some of the posts will be on my blog and a few will be posted as guest blogs. I will let you know where and when.
|Hana - it looks closer than it really is.|
Why is the Road to Hana so legendary?
· It’s windy and sinuous, full of sharp s-curves and old one-lane bridges. It's very narrow in many places.
· It’s beautiful. Even on a cloudy or rainy day, it is still magical. There are unexpected panoramas and vistas. There are waterfalls along the side of the road, hiking trails and paths to explore, fruit stands to visit, quaint shacks and jungalows to gaze at, while passing by.
· It invites you to slow down and enjoy the moment. The Road to Hana is not about getting to Hana, but about the journey. Although Hana is still pretty amazing too.
· There is nothing like it on earth. I’m sure that there are other magical roads around the world, and I haven’t traveled everywhere, but this road is like a road that goes back in time, to a less developed
There is nothing like it on any of the
islands. Yes, there are plenty of tourists on the road to Hana, but there are
no golf courses, big resorts, strip malls or McDonald’s. There are no gas
stations on the Road to Hana, so fuel up before you go! Hawaii
|Nothing like the excitement of driving the Road to Hana. |
So glad I wasn't driving a bus full of distracting Social Media peeps.
Is the Road to Hana a must-do?
I am not crazy about the term “must-do” since it is usually someone else’s good idea. I love the Road to Hana and most people really enjoy it. But a few people don’t:
· The road is very curvy, and some people can get motion sickness. If you are a sensitive person, you may want to be the driver and control the pace of the trip, go on a tour which I had to admit, was very comfortable and smooth, or not go at all.
· It is an all day trip. Don’t go for a few hours and think you can do some other big activity on the same day.
· If you don’t like scenery and nature, it may not be for you either. DH enjoys travel but is not a sightseeing kind of tourist. He could go on the Road to Hana once a decade and be perfectly fine. I could go almost every weekend.
|Wailele Farms, better known as Twin Falls. Our smoothie stop.|
@MauiMamala and @Maui Carmel pose in the bottom picture.
A few highlights of our Hana Trip, on the way to Hana:
Peninsula – About
halfway to Hana. A side road takes you down to the ocean, with more views and
lava rocks. Aunty Sandy’s banana bread stand is here. On the other side is the
Ke’anae Congregational Church.
|Beautiful Ke'anae. Hard to resist buying banana bread from Aunty Sandy's. |
@RoxanneDarling posing in front of the sign.
Waterfalls and Ching’s Pond - Every one-lane bridge offers an invitation to step out of the car, look over the bridge to see if the stream is running, and hike uphill to find a waterfall. Some streams are very full and others nearly dry.
A crazy Road to Hana Story:
Some tourists I met recently shared a story of going on the Road to Hana this spring during the drought. They stopped near one of the bridges and were so disappointed that there was no water flowing, that the driver cussed, “Where’s the f’’ing water?” and there was a big roar, and water started gushing into the dry stream bed. In a few minutes, it was completely full and he said he was so grateful that they weren’t along the stream bed when it happened. He said it was the most amazing experience to watch the stream bed fill up with water. I don’t know if this was an irrigation dam that was released, or what, but it’s definitely a strange incident.
One of the most well-known waterfalls is right on the side of the road, Waikani Falls aka “
because it usually makes three parallel waterfalls. Three Bears Falls
Ching’s Pond is a popular swimming hole with very cold water. Some people jump into the water off the side of the bridge.
Wai’anapanapa – This is a state park outside of Hana with exquisite black sand beaches, caves, and an air of mystery. I’ll be writing about this place in the next post in my 7-part Road to Hana series. Update: Post #2 is up! The Trek to Waia'napanapa AKA The Harrowing Story of One Hobbit's Journey...
Hope you’ve enjoyed reading!
P.S. Please feel free to check out some other posts by
Maui bloggers who also went on the trip: