Whenever I travel to a new place, I like to dive deep into the local culture, so when I asked my friends about Maui I was flooded with the same response “Road to Hana”. They know me so well. If you are seeking a road trip adventure full of jungle hikes, waterfalls, fresh water caves and stunning ocean views, you don’t want to miss the road to Hana. There are so many wonderful treasures along the Hana Highway it is impossible to see it all, but no matter what you experience it will be just enough to transport you to the quiet Hawaiian culture of the past. Plan to stay a few nights in the sleepy town of Hana, where you will relax and rejuvenate your soul before your journey back to reality.
I was there during the rainy season but the intermittent tropical storms didn’t interfere with my fun. I rented a jeep which was perfect for the wet, treacherous road and pulling off into the mud to see the sites. Aware that my specialty diet can make it challenging to eat in remote areas, I bought a cooler and stocked it full of healthy food from the natural grocery store, Mana Foods, in Paia before we headed out on the journey. Although there are several food stands along the highway, besides offering some fresh island fruit to snack on, they are not particularly healthy. Since the restaurants in Hana close early and choices are extremely limited I bought enough food to cook dinner the first night. There are two small general stores in Hana where you can buy fresh seasonal produce and other basic necessities but they close early and expect to pay a premium.
Bamboo Forest Trail
Coconut Glen’s Vegan Ice Cream
A vegan dream, Coconut Glen’s ice cream is even more delicious than I imagined! Be prepared to wait in line, because Glen, wearing his flourescent tie die shirt, is on island time, so relax, I promise it’s worth every minute. There are a variety of flavors, but I went for their specialty, toasted coconut made with fresh coconut and chunks of toasted coconut. He also has fresh coconuts for sale that he’ll chop with a machete right in front of you.
Fresh Water Lava Caves in Wai’anapanapa State Park
Pa’liloa Beach & Pi’ilani Trail
Lyon’s Hill Hike
I love guava fruit and couldn’t pass the opportunity eat a snack from the many guava trees that grow alongside this paved path. It leads straight up a hill from downtown Hana offering a view form the top, where a memorial for former Hana Ranch owner Paul Fagan stands as Hana’s most dominant landmark. The path begins behind the Travaasa Hana parking lot, enter the gate on the left and follow it up the hill.