If you go online and look at “best things to do in Maui, Hawaii” Road to Hana will generally show up as the #1 must-do activity, and my husband and I couldn’t agree more. It was our most memorable and favorite tour/activity that we did in Maui! Not only did we learn about the landscape and what we were seeing, but we also learned about Hawaii’s culture and some Hawaiian words.
There are great sites for everyone of all ages. Great sites, places to explore, and fun adventures!
About the Road to Hana
The Road to Hana is a 68-mile long road. It has 620 turns and 59 one way bridges. It also has many one lane roads and rough roads where rental car companies won’t let you go on! The Hana Highway is also the longest highway that goes through a rain forest in the United States, and it’s absolutely gorgeous. Driving along the highway and then continuing around the island, you can see many different landscapes and see it change before your eyes from rain forest to desert. The island of Maui has 6 of the 11 different types of climates in the world. That’s a lot for a little island!
We’d highly recommend a tour group so you can relax and just enjoy the views and the drive. However, if you’re looking to hike and take your time, driving might be a better option for you, but the drive can be pretty anxiety producing. It is said that the Road to Hana is also called the divorce highway due to the amount of stress people have while driving it. While we personally don’t know anyone who got divorced driving it, we do know friends who have driven it and gotten really carsick partway through. I’m pretty prone to motion sickness, but had no problem on the tour!
Recommended Tour Group
We took a day-long tour with our driver named Kekoa of Maui Tour’s Valley Isle Excursions and can’t imagine a better tour group or a better driver. Not only did we learn a lot on our trip about the island, the culture, legends, and some language, but we got to see many great sights and stop at all the places we wanted. If you get a chance, ask for Kekoa because he’s very knowledgeable, sweet, and made the adventure fun and memorable for us. He even went out of his way to show and better explain some of the legends and cultures for me. A story I remember that he talked in particular was about the legend of the naupaka flower, Scaevola chamissoniana, which is found no where else in the world. Two version of the flower exists, one by the shore and one on the mountaintops, and the different locations have opposite petals since the flower only had petals that go halfway around. Only if you bring the flower from the shore and the flower from the mountaintop together will the flowers complete each other. The story goes that someday the flowers will go back together and the lovers will be reunited. Being on our honeymoon, sweet stories like and the fact that he showed us the flower really made the trip extra special. He also is more than happy to give tips, advice, and made the trip special for others as well.
We also enjoyed our trip because the food they provided was delicious, there was unlimited non-alcoholic drinks on the bus, the bus had huge windows that let us see everything, was very comfortable, and well temperature-controlled for the most part.
The stops taken by Valley Isle Excursions are also key spots that you’d want to stop at.
Breakfast Stop – fresh fruits, POG (passion orange guava), and other light breakfast foods
Various Maui Waterfalls
Waianapanapa State Park: Enjoy and walk along black sand beaches, enter into lava caves, and explore the area.
Wailua Overlook: Another scenic viewpoint we’d recommend.
Haleakala National Park: Not only is it beautiful there, but you might be able to swim in the Oheo Gulch (conditional on weather, park operations, and safety).
Hana Town and Bay: Grabbed some banana bread there and fresh fruits! It’s a cute little area.
A Hana Flower Farm/Lunch Stop: Their provided lunch was quite good and though the flower farm was not immensely impressive, the farm there sells cute Maui-made souvenirs.
Palapala Ho-omau: Visit the Chapel and location of Charles Lindbergh’s grave. Plus, you may be able to pet and feed a sweet horse couple that lives there!
Kaupo and Backside: Visit a place where many people are unable to go due to the dangerous roads. Not only do you get to see the changing landscape before your eyes, see cattle and other animals (if you’re lucky), but the sights are absolutely gorgeous.
For Food Lovers
There are quite a few great food stands around, but we highly recommend buying freshly baked banana bread (it’s honestly different!) and the different fresh fruits. Some of the best tropical fresh fruits can be found in Maui and the Road to Hana has so many great fruit stands. If you can find the one that gives free samples, I’d recommend to stop by! Granted, this can lead to a lot of extra fruit purchases, but it’s worth it! All fruit in Hawaii are sweeter and overall, in my opinion, better tasting. Some fruits that we have never seen before on the mainland is the apple banana, ice cream banana (best when frozen and eaten because it’s a lot sweeter than normal bananas), the sapota – a cinnamon-sugar tasting fruit, and the black sapote -which is a type of persimmon. If you’re a chocolate lover, the black sapote – aka chocolate pudding fruit – is a must try. Delicious on its own, it’s also amazing when frozen because it reminds us of chocolate fudge!
Book Early Online: There tends to be a discount when you book online and early, so take advantage of that!
Don’t Overeat: There are plenty of nice food stops along the way. Plus, if you’re prone to getting motion sick, it’s always better to keep it light.
Bathrooms: Some bathrooms don’t have soap, through they all are well managed have running water and toilet paper. The bus provides plenty of hand sanitizer for everyone, but it’s not a bad idea to bring your own if you like a specific scent.
Get Motion Sick? No Problem: When booking, mention that you’re prone to getting motion sick. If you booked online, just call them up to talk to them about your concerns. They will make adjustments to try to ensure that you’re comfortable and can recommend tips to help. They may also even pick you up first so ensure you get the front seats to reduce motion sickness. It’s important to note that all the seats are amazing because the windows are so big! I would also highly recommend motion sickness bands and ginger chews.
Coconuts: If you want fresh/young coconut juice then Road to Hana and Punakea Palms are your best bets to find it. It’s surprisingly hard to find fresh coconuts on an island filled with coconut trees!
Why We Loved It So Much
Top 5 reasons that Road to Hana was out favorite activity to do in Maui, Hawaii.
- Gorgeous and breathtaking landscapes that change right before your eyes! It really felt like you were transported to another place despite still being in the United States. From rain forests, dry Savannah, plains, mountains, beaches, etc, we saw it all!
- Small group tour which meant we got to know our driver and get additional attention to make our honeymoon more special and more memorable.
- Amazing tour guide that allowed us to learn so much about Maui – everything from the history, culture, plants, and the animals that we were seeing.
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