The road to Hana has got to be one of the more spectacular drives anywhere! It is a narrow winding road with over 600 curves (I guess someone counted) and 59 bridges of which 46 are one way. There are even some stretches of road that are so narrow they are effectively one way. And if that wasn’t interesting enough – it travels through spectacular tropical rainforest, along the rugged coast crossing over endless streams and waterfalls – the one pictured above it just one of many! There is a photo opportunity around every curve, everywhere you look!
If you are to drive this road, and you should, bring your patience. The road is the destination so enjoy it. There is a good chance it will be wet and raining. Couple that with the narrowness, locals in a hurry and tourist who aren’t and you have a dangerous combination. In fact the morning we drove the Hana Hwy. we came across two head on accidents – and we were there during a slow time of year early in the morning. But, it definitely is worth it! And, you can continue on around the island past Hana, and except for a rough 10 mile stretch, the remaining road as you circle the Southern part of the island is some of the nicest on Maui, so the return drive is much faster and easier then having to return on the Hana Highway.
If you are thinking of driving the road, I have two strong recommendations that I though I would share.
First, I would stay at least one night in Hana. This gives you time to explore the Seven Sacred Pools and other attractions in the area, and breaks up what otherwise would be one really long day of driving.
Second, I would make sure I had a guide book, preferably Maui Revealed: The Ultimate Guidebook. Actually all the Hawaii Reveled books are excellent if you are visiting other islands, I highly recommend them. So why is a guide book so important? Even though you will drive past many spectacular waterfalls and sights, many of the best ones are out of sight from the highway – in some cases, just out of sight. But, the guide book will tell you right where to park, and where to walk to see some wonderful sights that you would otherwise miss. Not only waterfalls, but some great little side roads that bring you right down to the ocean in some really neat places.
The Maui Revealed folks also sell one of the best smart phone apps around – perfect compliment to the book.
As we drove the Hana Highway, we found that the same people kept stopping at the same odd places we were – it became very apparent who had that book and who didn’t. I even asked people, and sure enough, the had Maui Revealed.