I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate my birthday than spending the day on the Road to Hana. This is no ordinary road trip. It's a challenging drive but the stops and scenes along the way are worth it. One of the main things you need to do before you get started is find a guide. This year we used the Gypsy Guide.
It gives you turn by turn directions, tells you the best places to stop, and gives you a history lesson on the way back. We loved this guide! This trip made our fourth to Hana and this guide pointed out new places and sights we never knew about.
The Road to Hana starts in Paia. This is a good place to stop and get a picnic lunch, drinks, and snacks. Start early and make sure the car is fully gassed. There are very few places to stop and get fuel for humans or cars until you get to Hana.
The first stop is my favorite place to watch some surfing, Ho’okipa Beach Park and Lookout.
I go to this park every time I'm in Maui whether or not I'm going to Hana.
There was a lot of haze from the volcano on the Big Island so visibility was pretty bad most of the trip.
Fellow surf watcher -
There are several stops for rain forests and gardens. One of our favorites is Maui Garden of Eden . It is privately owned and requires a fee to enter, but it's worth it. You will burn though you camera's memory card pretty quickly.
This valley was in the opening sequence of Jurassic Park.
100 year-old mango tree
There are many hidden beaches and forests and without a good guide you'd never find them.
There is really nothing to do once you get to Hana except turn around and come back. The whole point of the trip is the journey, not the destination.
If you start early enough you will get back to Paia in time for dinner. Here's a link to my previous post about Paia to give you some ideas.
Top tips for taking the Road to Hana.
- If you get carsick , skip this trip. The drive is full of hairpin turns. If you do decide you just have to go, take something to combat the sickness, keep the windows rolled down, and call shotgun!
- Start early. It will take you all day even if you only hit the top spots. You will want to take your time and really enjoy it. Most guides will tell you to leave the resort areas by 6 AM. The latest I've ever left Paia has been 9 AM and when we got back to Paia it was dark and we didn't make it all the way to Hana.
- Fuel up before you go. There is a gas station in Paia but you won't see anything else until you get to Hana.
- Pack a lunch and take snacks and water. There are a few stands along the way that sell smoothies and banana bread but it's hard to catch the food stands open. A friend told me she had the best ribs of her life at a stand on the way but it was closed on my way through. There are some fruit stands that use a pay by the honor system so bring cash.
- Wear a bathing suit, bring a change of clothes, and a towel. There are plenty of swimming opportunities along the way, plus you might get caught in the rain. Hiking shoes are also a good idea or shoes you don't mind getting muddy. The paths can get wet and slippery, so I don't recommend flip flops.
- Bring sunscreen and especially mosquito repellent. The bugs in the rainforests will eat you alive!
- Charge all camera batteries and phones the night before. I got very little cell service on the trip. We used Mr. Ville's phone for the Gypsy Guide (he has Verizon, I have AT&T).
- Speaking of guides, download The Gypsy Guide here. This may be the most important prep you can do before you go. I can't wait to do some of the other guided road trips on the app! They have not paid me to say that, but if you are reading this, Gypsy Guide, I wouldn't turn you down:)