The road to Hana is on everyone’s bucket list for Maui. It’s an incredible area of the island but when you only have a few days to experience Maui, driving it yourself isn’t the best option.
Everyone knows, or should know about the road to Hana if they’re going to visit Maui. It is one of the most popular things to do on Maui, even more popular than going up to the top of Haleakala to see the sunrise or visiting Molokini Crater for some fine snorkeling. The popularity of it has increased almost exponentially over the years and of course there are numerous guide books, CDs and GPS apps are out there to help navigate the sights along the highway.
The problem with these is, to use them you need to drive yourself and that’s a bit trickier than you might expect. Many visitors, especially men, think driving the road is going to be a piece of cake. If you’re thinking, “we can get down the road quickly, see everything and it will be great” you really don’t understand the road to Hana. It’s definitely not the drive you were expecting.
The road to Hana (AKA: Hana Highway) literally cuts thru the length of longest drivable rainforest in the USA and runs along one of the most rugged coastlines on the island, or anywhere for that matter. Your mobile phone will have no reception at the best stops so forget using the apps and gps, especially at those fabulous waterfalls that cut deep into the gulches. If you’re going to attempt to follow the CD guide, be aware that the overgrowth makes seeing the mile markers very difficult. The jungle grows faster than HDOT can keep up. And, even the strongest stomach will feel a bit queasy trying to read one of those guidebooks as their driver traverses more than 600 turns and navigates 56 one lane bridges.
As a driver, you won’t see much beyond the road and that may make for a tiring, frustrating day. The rainforest growth is incredible, blocking most of the great views from a car or even a jeep. There are so many twists and turns, with only a few areas to stop, get out and check things out. In the end, you’ll be tired. Usually people feel like they’ve spent the entire day following other cars and missing great sites, which has prompted many drivers to say, “I didn’t see half of what I thought we would. What a waste of a day!”.
Adding it all up, it’s easy to see that your best option is to let an expert local guide take you on this all-day adventure. Road to Hana tours like those provided by Valley Isle Excursions are designed so that you get the maximum value out of your precious vacation days on Maui. From the elevated seats, you see so much more without ever getting wet. (It rains almost everyday, it’s a rainforest). The rainforest opens up below you as you see over the vegetation covered guard rails and sides of bridges to look down into pools and up at waterfalls. VIE’s Comfort Cruisers are specially designed vans with huge windows, specifically for taking pictures, which will provide you with some of the most memorable shots of your vacation.
Time management is important and the tour takes care of that for you, making sure you see the best spots at the best time of day. Local guides take you to their special places, where they tell stories, provide insights and spend the day providing a level of entertainment you won’t find in a CD, GPS App or Guidebook. They also take you beyond Hana which is rare. Go with Valley Isle Excursions for your drive on the road to Hana and you’ll travel to the incredible backside of Maui where few rental cars can go.
The Road to Hana Photo Gallery
These pictures on the Road to Hana were provided by Douglas Bowser. He is a professional writer and travel photographer who has lived on Maui for over 20 years. Connect with him now and see all that he has to offer.