The road to Hana is a must-do if you are headed to Maui. Even though the Hana Highway is only 65 miles it will likely take you the entire day to explore and drive it (it’s treacherous – you’ll see what I mean). Even with an entire day you still won’t see everything. While I had read tons of blog posts on the Road to Hana we were overwhelmed with which areas to stop and explore. We reviewed some apps and ended up deciding to use R2H. While there are lots of options out there, we decided on this one because it was downloaded as a audiobook rather then having to use cell data during your drive. Mobile data is spotty at best on the Road to Hanna. Our friends went with a GPS-based app that used data, while they enjoyed it they had issues with data connection on the road. Something to be aware of for sure!
What To Bring
You pretty much need to pack anything you’d bring on a hike or outdoors adventure. We brought our hiking boots because we planned to do at least one hike along the way, swim suit for swimming in waterfalls, pack towels, our camera, and hiking backpack with water, snacks, sunscreen, raincoats etc. The beauty of having a car the entire way is you can pretty much back whatever you want in the trunk. Don’t take anything extremely valuable that you will leave in the car, Hawaii is known for car break ins.
Driving The Road
Driving the Hana Highway is treacherous to say the least (see video below). It is certainly not for the faint of heart. There are tons of twists and turns and areas where you have to take turns with opposing traffic as only one car at a time can get through. Be patient and safe as you drive, the drive is half the experience so take your time. We took our time along the way and while these were our main stops we did stop a few other times just to take in the breathtaking views and stretch our legs.
Stop One: Waikamoi Ridge Trail
This was our hike that we had planned on. It was a quick loop that took no more then 30 minutes and was well worth the gorgeous views and rainforest like walk.
Stop Two: Haipua-ena Falls
This was a quick Stop, the path to get to the falls is about a 5 minute walk. This is a great swimming spot but there are no change rooms so we opted to take some pics and keep going.
Stop Three: Ke’anae Arboretum
This stop is a must do to see the rainbow eucalyptus trees. These are so neat and make you feel like you are on another planet. There is no fee to check out the Arboretum and you can see tons of trees and flowers in here.
Stop Four: Pua’a Ka’a Wayside Park
This is a great spot for swimming, because there are rest rooms, change rooms and two waterfalls. It was fairly crowded when we were here so we opted not to swim. The two beautiful waterfalls are worth the stop for some pictures and a quick look.
Lunch Stop: Up In Smoke BBQ
By this point we were hungry, the app recommend a lunch spot that wasn’t open so we kept on driving and ended up stopping at Up in Smoke BBQ. There are a couple of food stands in this same spot. We got the local fish taco and Kalua Pig Taco and shared the mac and cheese. It was all delicious and believe me 1 taco per person was enough – they were huge!
Stop Five: Wai’anapanapa State Park
This is the famous black sand beach in Maui. There are tons of things to see and do here and you can actually camp here as well. We walked out into the beautiful water and checked out the lava tube. I could have spent the day here.
We actually didn’t get out of the car in Hana, there wasn’t much to see to be honest. As they say, it’s the journey not the destination. haha We drove around a bit and the decided to head on to Wailua Falls.
Final Stop: Wailua Falls
Your journey on the road to Hana does not stop at Hana. The Hana highway continues on to some amazing spots that you will want to see. Our final stop was Wailua Falls and it was worth the drive. Though apparently it’s not always this impressive in terms of waterfalls depending on the time of year. There are no change rooms, we took turns changing in the back seat of our car like the classy people that we are. This is where we swam and had our “I can’t believe we are swimming under a waterfall moment”. Wailua falls is massive, so massive you can’t even photograph it in one frame. It wasn’t crowded here at all, at the time Bruce and I were the only ones swimming. This was the Hawaii experience I had been dreaming about since we booked our trip to Hawaii.
We had planned to continue on here to the Seven Scared Pools but we had heard they were closed. However, I have since found out that while the pools are closed for swimming the hiking trail to Waimoku Falls is still open and you can view the pools but not swim in them.
A Review of R2H
We really enjoyed the guided tour, it gave us lots of tips along the road as to what was worth seeing and what wasn’t. It provided lots of information about each area and you could essentially create your own guided tour along the way. I would recommend it for sure for anyone completing the Road 2 Hana.
Dinner: Charley’s Restaurant & Saloon
After the drive back we were exhausted and starving. Our hotel was in West Maui so we opted to stop for dinner at Charley’s in Paia. There was a band playing and the place was packed. The food was typical pub grub but everything we had was delish. Definitely recommend stopping here for quick bite before heading back to your hotel.
Disclaimer: R2H partnered with me in exchange for an unbiased review of my experience, as always all opinions are my own.
Have you experienced the Road to Hana? Any tips or tricks share them below!