The Road to Hana| Travelling in Hawaii

Since we returned home from Hawaii,  our daily schedules and life has slowly resumed back to normal.  As we get busy with projects here at home and at the camp, memories of Hawaii start to fade.

Did we really go there?  Did we really drive to that mountain top, get hit by a wave, swim with the turtles, walk on Waikiki Beach, and smell the sweet, sweet fragrance in the tropical breeze??

Yes, I guess we did!  And today, I’ll try to remember some details of our final full day there.   We tackled a famous, windy road…

The Road to Hana seems to be the most talked about road! You might want to take it for the adventure when you are travelling in Hawaii.

The most mixed reviews we ever got were when we questioned people about their experience on the Road to Hana.  Here are some  actual responses:

{UGGH} “You’re going to throw up.”

“It takes 18 hours!”

“I don’t know what people are talking about.  It’s not that bad.”

“They call it ‘Divorce Road’.” {Yikes!}

“You should do it.  It’s beautiful!”

The mixed messages had the same effect on both of us.  We were as curious as all get out and wanted to know what all the fuss was about!

I had no clue what “The Road to Hana” meant.

What is the Road to Hana?

In a nutshell, it’s a narrow, winding road that hugs up against a mountain with the coast down below.

“Winding”  is an extreme understatement.  I’ve never experienced anything remotely comparable…

The catch phrase for the experience is “It’s not the destination, but the journey.”

Doesn’t that sound nice??

Most people recommend that you take your time and stop frequently to enjoy the picturesque views and exquisite waterfalls.

That would, perhaps, be nice.

But,we, well… We just wanted to conquer that famous road!Smile


We started our last full day in Maui like all the others ~  lingering over coffee on our beach.  It was a little bittersweet.  It was our last full day and we weren’t even close to ready to be going home!

When we got ourselves organized and out the door, we started our little trek.  On the way, we made a stop by a Tropical Plantation.


The Road to Hana has lots of beautiful waterfalls along the way.

We oohed and ahhed over the beauty of it, grabbed a cup of Maui coffee, and headed to our first stop ~ Twin Falls.

I had heard about this area and it was one of my Hawaiian dreams.  I wanted to swim in a pool with a real waterfall.

It didn’t disappoint.

The trails led to one pool  and then, further up the hill was another one.  It was both refreshingly cool and delightfully warm.

twin falls pool 2

The trail itself was beautiful, and not such difficult hiking that you couldn’t still wear flip flops.  (Thank heavens, since that’s all I had with me!)

on hike

There are many roadside stands that sell delicious food and drinks.

I also heard that you MUST get a pineapple banana smoothie on the way out.

twin falls stand

We agree…

Our day was going fabulously.  It was now about 2:00.  We decided to push on and drive “The Road”…

I was totally thinking people oh, so overreacted…Until we met our first oncoming car around a completely blind corner of the mountain.

The Road to Hana is the most extreme twisty road I’ve ever travelled!

Each side of the narrow road has a sign “Yield to oncoming traffic”.  It’s a bit difficult to do when neither of you can see each other until you’re nose to nose!{Yes, I’m exaggerating slightly…}

But, I do admit I developed a new squeal, just for the Road to Hana.

I used it a lot.

The idea is that you stop often at lookout spots to admire views like this:

on road to hana

We really only did that once.

Otherwise, I took pictures like this:

rita photographing out window

I knew if we stopped enough times, I just might not have the endurance to finish the ride…  We were on a mission!Smile

road to hana

The Road to Hana ends with a black sand beach.

We finally made it to Hana, where we heard there was an amazing black sand beach.

What we discovered wasn’t exactly amazing.  In fact, we laughed when we saw it…


We thought a picture by the recycling bins was a nice touch…

and the sand WAS black…


We found out later the real beach we should have been at was a few miles down the road…

Oh, well, maybe next time??

We got back into the car to head back on the winding road.  The good part of travelling it at 4:30 in the afternoon is that there isn’t much traffic.  We wanted to get back to our place in time to get ready for a special evening out.

We heard there was a resort (Kannapali Beach Hotel) that did a free nightly hula show.  Many people choose to go to a Hawaiian Luau when there, but we both ran out of time and also weren’t that wild about sharing the experience with 700 other people!  (Are we anti-social??)

It was great fun.  It was a short show, with probably less “flash” that the other luau shows, but it was done by locals and was really neat.

hula dancers

As the sun was setting that night, we realized it was our last Hawaiian sunset.  Although on a driving mission, we stopped to take pictures and soak it in…


Amazing…(and the next morning when we woke up, the vog was gone!)

For the other posts on our Hawaii trip, click the links below:

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  1. I LOVED the road to Hana…but we took a guide and he did all the driving while we did all the gawking 🙂 We did not hike to Twin Falls but it does look so beautiful (we should have!!). The black beach is truly amazing and really worth going to. You will have to go there the NEXT time!! I am just like you – thinking did we actually go there? Maui truly is paradise and a place someone should visit at least once in their lives. Thank you for sharing your memories with all of us.

  2. I, too, have done the Road to Hana – and we LOVED it! Everyone was telling us we needed to eat ginger and that we would throw up – we did not have that experience at all (but we also had a guide that did all the driving). I agree, the sites are amazing and I SHOULD have taken my good camera, but I was afraid since it was my first flight ‘over seas’, maybe next time (we so want to go back!). Thanks for the memories!

  3. Oh Rita! I DIED laughing when you said you developed a new squeal for the Road to Hana!

    We did a LOT of driving, including the Road to Hana – and I have never seen the likes of those narrow roads. I didn’t squeal but I was leaning over toward the land side of the car – as if that could keep us from going over! My parents and Kory had fun teasing me. I kept trying to sit up straight, but inevitably I would soon be leaning again…just couldn’t help myself! 🙂

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