In the middle of the Pacific ocean on a tiny tropical island, there is a 52 mile stretch of road known as The Road to Hana. The Hana Highway has around 59 bridges, the majority of them being only one lane wide, and over 620 curves. The fact is, when you drive this highway, your wheel will be turning from left to right almost the entire time, as there are so many curves.
My husband and I decided to rent the GyPSy tour guide for our drive to Hana. The GyPSy is a GPS device that is filled with many different stories about Maui’s history. As you drive the Road to Hana the device will share historical information (and some legends) relating to your location along the highway. The best part about this GPS is that it informs you of the tourist traps and places to avoid (or consider avoiding) and it also tells you about places that you MUST stop. After doing some research on Trip Advisor, my husband and I felt like the $40/day rental cost was well worth the money. Little did we know how valuable this small device would be.
Our first stop was at Charley’s in Paia (Pa-ee-ah). We filled up on Macadamia Nut Pancakes, omelets, hashbrowns, and Orange Juice in order to start the day off on the right foot. The car was packed with drinks and snacks, we had packed our beach towels, the camera, and our map, and were ready for an adventure.
As we began our journey along the beautiful northern coast of Maui we realized that our adventure was truly about the journey, rather than the destination. That day we took over 600 photos and stopped too many times to count, so I’ll just share the highlights.
One of my favorite moments of the day was when we took a left turn off the highway and drove towards Nahiku Cove. I read a quote about Nahiku that said, “Nahiku is the place where plants go after they die.” I was amazed at how many shades of green were found in this small area, and the further we drove along the three-mile stretch of road, the denser the surrounding foliage became.
Next up was our stop at Wai’anapanapa State Park. Because we spent so much time here I decided to dedicate an entire post to this beautiful park. Tune in later for that. For now, let’s just say that it’s an absolutely gorgeous location and a MUST see on your journey along the Road to Hana.
We made it to Hana and drove the tiny, stone-lined, streets throughout town. I only remember that we ate at Tutu’s Snack Shop because I took a picture of the sign. Obviously it wasn’t that amazing, or I would remember the delicious-ness. 😉 After lunch we continued to Wailua Falls (If the name sounds familiar it’s because there’s a waterfall with the same name in Kauai). Wailua Falls is a popular swimming hole and I didn’t want to miss an opportunity to swim in my first waterfall in such a beautiful location.
On this trip we turned back shortly after Wailua Falls instead of continuing on to the Seven Sacred Pools and the backside of Haleakala. I will definitely try to continue the journey on our next visit to Maui. (That means I get to go back one day, right?!)
On our way back to the western side of Maui we stopped at a small road-side stand for a break. We enjoyed shave ice and ate homemade banana bread before continuing on our way.
The Road to Hana gets a bad wrap for causing many visitors to become car-sick. There are many twists and turns, and cars stopping and going, that I get dizzy just thinking about it (and I never get car sick). The key to this road is to appreciate the scenery around you instead of constantly looking down at the map. I find that rolling down the window to get some fresh air helps as well. Because my husband and I rented the GyPSy guide we didn’t have to look at our map once on this road, so the next time you’re visiting save yourself some trouble and rent a GyPSy guide.
As I mentioned earlier, when you are driving the Road to Hana remember that this adventure is about the journey, not necessarily about the destination. There is so much to see and experience along the drive that visitors should slow down and enjoy the beauty all around.