The Road to Hana, Maui itinerary.
One of my all time favourite activities in Maui, that’s probably the most famous one is driving along the Road to Hana. Although the Road to Hana is literally a road that leads up to Hana, the whole point of this activity is to enjoy the ride and make small stops along the way to experience the wonders of Maui. After all, who doesn’t love a good road-trip, that happens to be driving in the middle of a tropical jungle?
All in all, there’s about 17 stops to make on the Road to Hana. The whole idea is that you’ll start from the East side of the island, drive along the coast and jungle up until you reach Hana. There’s guided day tours operated by local agents, or, you could just “ride solo”, rent a dope ass convertible car and road-trip with your travel buddies, like I did! We made 11 stops, some were worth it, some were not so keep on reading to find out!
1. Twin falls
Before starting off, I’d like to take a minute and express that if you’re taking this road-trip, it’s best if you start super early. Like, 5:30 AM wake-up call early. This is because if you’re anything like me, you’d like to have some privacy while enjoying the stunning stops. Tour groups and other tourists will definitely be experiencing this activity. The earlier you start, the better for you as you’ll have waterfalls and beaches all to yourself (see below).
The first stop on the Road of Hana is the ‘Twin falls‘. As we started super early, we were lucky enough to have this waterfall all to ourselves to play with.
There’s a designated area to park your car, and you’ll have to walk 20 minutes to reach the falls. You’ll also have to walk right past a “no trespassing” sign but fun fact; that means a whole lot of nothing in Hawaii. Anyway, the falls were amazing, the water was perfect (freezing nonetheless, but perfect) and the rocks were slippery and pointy AF. It’s best if you wear your flip-flops on at all times, even in the water. Trust me.
2. Huelo lookout and food truck
The next stop is a “viewpoint”, called ‘Huelo lookout‘. There’s many viewpoints on the Road to Hana, so be prepared. However, as pretty as the viewpoint is, we kind of got distracted by the food stand that sold all kinds of snacks. These God sent candies made from coconuts made ME go coconuts. He he.
These were a God-sent. They taste truly amazing, especially when paired with a fresh sugar cane juice with lime. 100% recommend!
3. Keanae peninsula
The next stop, known as ‘Keanae peninsula‘ is what you guess, a peninsula. The most dramatic scene I’ve witnessed in a long time – and that says a lot. Fun fact: these rocks were formulated from a great amount of lava flow originating from the Haleakala Crater, a.k.a the Volcano.
If you’re into viewpoints, perhaps taking a moment to just stare into oblivion then this view is the view for that. There’s just something mesmerising about watching the waves crash. However, if you’re really into the most top of the top spots, I’d skip if I were you.
4. Halfway to Hana
Halfway to Hana isn’t really a “must” stop, but it’s more of a “have-to” stop. Although there isn’t something to see and do, there is food and bathrooms. Fun fact: Apparently, the best, most authentic banana bread is sold there. I do not disagree at all.
We arrived at 9 AM and the banana breads were fresh out the oven. They were warm and friendly and inviting. Also, please excuse my pictures, as I’ve mentioned, it was 9 AM.
Please enjoy my time-lapse video below for a glimpse of how the Road to Hana truly is.
WARNING: If you get easily nauseated, its best to skip the video.
Fun fact: With an estimated 600 turns and 54 one-lane bridges, this narrow and twisting “highway” is often considered one of the most beautiful and spectacular roads in the whole world.
5. Wailua lookout
The Wailua lookout was pretty dope. Nothing that interesting to share about this other than it was pretty.
6. Three bears waterfall
The Three bears waterfall is a definite must-stop on the Road to Hana. You have a choice; either have a look at the waterfall from afar, or be the daredevil within you and go all the way down to it.
Normally, I would have definitely gone down there. They look truly amazing, have a quick search online! However, it was raining when we arrived, and it can be really dangerous to walk down as there’s just rocks and mud. But please do, the waterfall is just dreamy!
7. The Nahiku Ti Gallery
The ‘Nahiku Ti Gallery‘ is a stop where most people have lunch. There’s Hawaiian food trucks but more importantly, there’s a store that sold other non-edible stuff, such as jewellery and goodies.
Tip: Most people have their lunch here, however, I’d suggest you take it with you and enjoy it at the next stop; ‘Wainapanapa State Park’.
8. Wainapanapa state park
Now probably one of my favourite stops on the Road to Hana was the ‘Wainapanapa state park‘, a.k.a. ‘glistening water’ or ‘Black Sand Beach’ or ‘Pa’iloa beach’. The whole area is just picture-perfect! Contrasting colours, dramatic scenery of black cliffs formed from lava and whatnot. Of course it’s covered by little black pebbles (not barefoot friendly) and the “sand” burns like the depths of hell. However, a pair of flip-flops will compensate for this outstanding beauty.
As mentioned above, I would suggest having a snack or lunch at the Wainapapa state park. There’s benches at the top overlooking the beach, and it’s just worth spending some more time there. Pack your lunch or “take-away” it from the previous stop, Nahiku Ti gallery and enjoy it while watching people frolic!
Full disclaimer. We skipped the next two beaches, since we’re “from an island” and we get to be #beaching a lot. We decided to just continue onto the highlights on the Road to Hana; the ‘Bamboo forest’ and the ‘Seven Sacred pools‘.
9. The Bamboo forest
The ‘Bamboo forest‘ and the ‘Seven sacred pools‘ (see #10) are both located in the same area. To get to the former, you have to hike up about 2 miles, whereas to get to the Seven pools, you have to hike down half a mile. Making it a total of 5 miles.
Were we mentally prepared to hike? No. Were we physically prepared to hike? Still no. We forgot mosquito repellent. Thankfully, my mosquito repellent was my two friends. My friends got viciously attacked whilst I wasn’t even touched by one.
Tip: To all future Hawaii tourists, mosquito repellent is a must.
So, we started hiking up to the bamboo forest, with hopes that we would hike the whole 2.5-ish miles to the Waimoku falls. The hike is absolutely beautiful. You get to walk in the middle of the jungle, climb trees, cross over bridges and play hide and seek in a bamboo forest.
About an hour into our hike we had finally reached this bridge (below), that lead straight to the bamboo forest. You could say that the bridge acted as a euphemism to crossing it and reaching the “other side” where the “good stuff” is (i.e the bamboo), or you could just not be extra and cross it without having to sound like a smart ass.
9.1 Waimoku falls
We stayed and played around in the trees for a while and contemplated on whether we should continue on to the Waimoku falls. However, we decided that we’re strong independent women that don’t need to hike another hour to enjoy ANY form of nature and so we turned our little tooshies right back the way we came from. But, we’ve heard they’re pretty dope so I don’t know, check ‘em out here.
10. Seven Sacred Pools
The Seven sacred pools is basically the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. However, if there is a high tide, the National Park won’t let tourists swim in the pools, because fun fact: even grey sharks can find a way to reach the pools on high tide days and eat you. Slippery/falling rocks are also a hazard. But I mean sharks… not the same.
To get to the pools, you come all the way back down to where you started and then you go back to the trail that leads to the pools. You’ll pass the church and follow the trail that leads to a loop. In the middle of the trail, the gate to the seven sacred pools will either be open or closed. This depends on whether there is a high tide or a low tide. Well, I didn’t know that and neither did one of my friends who we decided to chat whilst speed hiking. We reached the middle, saw the closed gate with its partial view of the pools, made a quick but not so thorough assumption that “this is not it” and continued on the trail. And before we knew it, circled back around to where we started, completely missing the whole thing.
Don’t do the same!
11. Road to Hana vs Home
When the ‘must do’ things on the Road to Hana were done, we were like #byefelicia, let’s go home. Most of the people decide to just turn back around and do the whole road again from the other side. However, I would strongly suggest again that. We continued on and was the best decision ever. First of all, you’ll get to meet this super cool guy, Yogizen.
He lives in the middle of the jungle, something that he has been doing for quite some time now, either in caves or whatnot. The best part is that he makes coconut art! And the art is actually pretty impressive! He’s super polite and lives by his own philosophy. Yogi offered us aged coconut which actually tastes so much better than young coconut, lol. If you ever find yourself on that Road, stop by his little colourful oasis and buy some coconuts!
Now lastly, the view. The sun was setting right in front of us. I don’t even know how to describe the feeling, but being in a car with the windows rolled down, listening to dark side of the moon with your best friends and enjoying what could possibly be one of the loveliest sunsets in the world is what I guess life is all about. Please enjoy my time-lapse video below.
Thank you for reading this post on The Road to Hana! I hope you enjoyed it!
To read more about Hawaii, check out my Oahu post!