our favorite day in maui was definitely the day that we did the road to hana! i told riley that i wouldn’t go to maui without doing it because i heard it was amazing. maybe only tourists do it, but i loved every minute of it! it felt like such an adventure in our convertible, especially when it started to downpour and we had to quickly put the roof up, which happened often! even though it was a pretty rainy day, it didn’t stop us from having an amazing experience. i had read many articles and guides about the road to hana and a couple of them mentioned downloading the Shaka Guide App to use as a tour guide. i believe it is $5 but worth every penny. you lose cell service for most of the trip, so this app uses gps to guide you through. he tells you everything you need to know and we learned not to doubt him! he even guided us to some secret spots like a lava cave on the side of the road that we would never have noticed! the road to hana is about 50 miles long starting from kahului but takes at least all day to do. you are busy making lots of stops, taking in the scenery, driving slowly, and eating food along the way! next time, i actually want to do it in two days because we ended up driving back in the dark in the rain which meant we couldn’t do any stops along the way back. there were a couple stops that we said “we’ll do that on the way back” but couldn’t. the other great thing about the guide was that he told us stories about significant landmarks as well as hawaiian history. if you look at some of these pictures here, you would just think that it was a photo of a random island but really, there’s a mysterious banana tree at the top of it which legend says was planted there by a father for his son….or something like that, i don’t remember :) i wasn’t paid to tell you about this app, we just loved it so much and wouldn’t do the road to hana without it! so, i will tell you about some of the stops that we made but if you want to know how to get there, you’ll have to download the app! it even has guides for other islands as well!our first stop was a beach full of locals surfing and sea turtles sunbathing in the sand. i could have stayed there all day watching them! but of course we had a lot to do! this spot was a gorgeous start to our day.
There are about 600 curves and 54 bridges and like a billion waterfalls on the road to hana. you should decide ahead of time which waterfalls you want to take the time the see because you don’t need to see all of them. the ones that we saw were so beautiful and huge especially since it had been raining a lot. this one is called the three bears because there is a big, medium, and small one!
this was waianapanapa state park. there’s a ton to see here in this gorgeous setting. you can eve camp or rent cabins! it’s definitely full of tourists which is why we didn’t stay long. what you can see here: black sand beach, blowholes, lava tube, caves, and picnic areas.
we pulled over at this vegan ice cream shack. it was delicious (we got the mexican chocolate) although the serving was tiny for the price. the owner was a lady who could hack a coconut open like it was nothing. ice cream is always a nice little break!
the nahiku marketplace was awesome and delicious. it’s the first stop you see on the road to hana with actual food. however, i think we went at a bad time or chose the wrong food shack because it took 45 minutes to get our food! that’s a lot of precious time we could have spent on the road. but we enjoyed playing with the friendly wild cats and trying samples of coconut candy while we waited. the coconut shrimp ended up being dang good but i just wish we didn’t have to wait so long!
this was a little detour we took to take a short walk to a nice picnic spot and ocean view. of course it was raining so there were no picnics had ;) a local dog found us and followed along on our walk. she was so cute! and riley found a coconut and tried to crack it open by throwing it onto the rocks in the ocean below. it didn’t work haha.
we did a short hike to the waterfalls on the right. it was quite the adventure because it was raining so hard and the path was so muddy. but we kept going! we had our camera bag with us so we were scared it was going to get soaked through! we put banana leaves over it until they fell off but turned out nothing got wet on the inside! our bag handled the rain like a champ :)
here is the lava cave that the app led us to. it was pitch dark until we got to the end where it opened up to another way out. it was pretty incredible, especially all of those roots growing from trees above us!
we made another detour to check out the keanae peninsula (this was actually towards the beginning of the trip) where we had the best banana bread of our life. it didn’t even have chocolate chips in it! haha. we also saw a cool church made out of lava rocks and watched the blue water bang against the lava rock coast. it was a really pretty spot and i’m glad we went that way.
what to bring on the road to hana:
- cash- the fruit stands only take cash as well as some food shacks. banana bread is $6 a loaf and worth it!
- camera and extra batteries and memory cards
- towels and/or rain jackets. a change of clothes is a good idea too so you don’t have to sit in wet clothes! and of course a swimsuit.
- shoes to hike in. they are likely to get muddy if you do any hiking!
- lots of water and snacks. the only food along the way is fruit stands, banana bread, and ice cream. we also regretted not bringing enough water.
- bug repellent and something for car sickness. i thought i would get car sick but i didn’t since we drove slowly and stopped so many times. but my sister told me that she threw up so you never know! also bug repellent because bug bites are no fun. these are my favorite products: here and here, ask me how to get them at wholesale prices!