10 things you must know before a trip on the Road to Hana in Maui to make your adventure even more memorable & enjoyable!
As you may have noticed. Roger & I have been a bit obsessed with Maui over the last two years. Yet somehow this last trip was the first time that we took the time to do the full Road to Hana, plus the backside of the Road to Hana!
While Roger had been on the Road to Hana (& the backside) a couple of times growing up, this was our first time to explore it together.
During our first two trips (for a variety of reasons) we went about halfway on the Road to Hana before turning around, but this time we made sure to save a full day for this fun adventure.
I also had to add these two similarly posed pictures of myself… Please feel free to laugh! But I wanted you to be able to see how the difference in the season can change the scenery. There were big waves when we visited in January & March vs minimal to no waves in early September. I must admit I prefer the dramatic waves
And while I originally planned on writing a post about things to do on the Road to Hana, there are just too many things to do! And it all really depends on your personal taste & the amount of time you have.
For example, when my parents went to Maui a couple of years ago they made it their mission to stop at every map marked waterfall & hike to it for a quick dip. We were not as adventurous. Instead we each chose 2-3 must do’s to add to our flexible itinerary.
So I realized that it would be more beneficial to you if I wrote a post with Road to Hana tips that will help you no matter how you like to adventure around Maui. And as you may be able to tell I included pictures from our last two adventures in this tip filled post!
1. Leave Early
The earlier you leave the more you will get to see & do on your trip. And if you live in the continental U.S. getting up early will be relatively easier for you because of the time difference.
Plus, if you leave earlier you will get to your top destinations before most people even begin their Hana road trip.
2. Get A Full Tank of Gas
The last place to get gas before Hana is Paia. So make sure to stop in this adorable town to top off your gas before you hit the road.
3. Food & Snacks are a Must
There are lots of places to grab snacks & food along the way. You can use credit cards at many places, but I recommend bringing cash too.
Also, if you are vegetarian, vegan, or have other food restrictions you will want to plan your food stops (maybe even a picnic) ahead of time. We are (nonenzyme fearing) vegetarians & found plenty of food along the way. Plus we had already planned to have a big dinner in Upcountry, which is where the backside of the Road to Hana ends.
4. Restroom Availability
Outside of the ocean, there are several public restrooms available throughout the drive on the Road to Hana.
However, there aren’t any on the backside of the Road to Hana. I recommend you plan accordingly.
5. Cell Phone Service is Limited
This is where tips #6 & #7 come in handy.
Even though your cell phone service is limited your iPhone maps will still show you where you are as you drive. So a handy trick we picked up was to drop pins where we wanted to stop (& take screenshots just in case) so that we wouldn’t miss a turn-off or any hidden gems on the Road to Hana.
6. Plan Ahead & Plan for the Unexpected
There are a plethora of adventures that await you on the Road to Hana. And the biggest problem you may have is trying to decide where to stop & what to skip.
This is why researching is highly recommended. I suggest you make a list of everything you want to see & rank them (“must see” to “won’t regret missing”) so that as you are driving you can make those last minute decisions on if you have time to stop at the lava tunnels, bamboo forest, or one more gorgeous waterfall.
And since you won’t have cell service for a large portion of your trip, you will most definitely want to plan your stops ahead of time so that you can enjoy the beauty around you instead of being glued to your phone trying to figure out your next stop.
7. CD Tour & Hawaiian Music
During our vacation in Maui in Septemeber we stayed at the Fairmont Kea Lani in Wailea & one of the many fun complimentary aspects of the Fairmont Kea Lani is that if you let the concierge desk know ahead of time that you are going to be driving the Road to Hana they will provide you with a complimentary cooler, towels, water, & audio tour cd for your day trip! (Ps. You can read all about our stay at the Fairmont Kea Lani here.)
The Audio Tour was a huge asset as it provided a large amount of interesting information about the Road to Hana as well as let us know what was just around each corner along with what mile marker each point of interest was located as we drove.
And since you won’t have much cell service you may also want to have some Hawaiian music to listen to as you drive through the jungle rain forest of Maui.
Also, if you plan on driving the backside of Hana I highly recommend you bring some Hans Zimmer music with you. The dramatic landscape pairs perfectly with many of his most popular pieces.
8. Snorkel Gear & Swimsuits
There are so many beautiful places to stop & swim. Be sure to come prepared with swimsuits, snorkel gear, sunscreen, towels, etc.
9. It’s a Rain Forest Expect Rain
A lot of people love to rent convertibles & jeeps while on Maui, just remember that the Road to Hana takes you through a rainforest. Don’t be surprised if it starts to sprinkle, drizzle, or even rain. It’s a part of the beauty & adventure of the scenery on the trip!
10. The Backside of the Road to Hana is AMAZING!!
The backside of the Road to Hana was our favorite part of the Road to Hana, which is crazy because it is the part almost everyone skips. Roger prepped me for a very bumpy ride on an unpaved road, which is what he experienced years ago as a kid, but that is not what we encountered.
When you first leave Hana there is a small stretch that is unpaved, which I think is the locals way of discouraging tourists from venturing farther, which results in them turning around. But if you stick it out for about 10 minutes or so you will hit the pavement.
I feel like I might get in trouble for saying this because even the audio tour discouraged the back side of the Road to Hana, but that may be because it was an older recording. Yes, there are some scary turns, but the Road to Hana has some scary corners too.
Plus you will encounter very few cars on the backside of Hana, unlike driving back on the same road you came in on with all of the rest of the tourists.
Although we don’t have any plans for visiting Maui in 2018 (we decided we should take a mini break after visiting twice in 2017) we loved the backside so much we have even talked about driving that way to Hana next time we visit for something different.
I should note that I’m not recommending you do that, but rather I want to emphasize just how much we loved it! The backside of Hana is something you won’t want to miss if you have a sense of adventure & love dramatic landscapes!
Oh, & remember how I said the Road to Hana is a rainforest, well the backside is the complete opposite!
Do you have any special tips for adventuring on the Road to Hana?
I’d love to hear from you!
Feel free to comment below, email me, or tweet me on Twitter.
With love, Giustina
But now Christ is risen from the dead,
& has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
For since by man came death,
by Man also came the resurrection of the dead.
1 Corinthians 15:20-21