Luxury vacation travel to Hawaii is often filled with days on its beaches or spa treatments at one of its 5 star hotels, but to experience some of the state's most beautiful sights and witness the diversity of the island chain's majesty, you'll have to hit the road for a drive you'll never forget.
On the island of Maui, the Road to Hana is an adventure that will showcase the region's natural beauty. The trip can stretch a couple days with so much to see along the way, if you're willing to spend the night in the small village of Hana. The town of only around 700 residents offers a glimpse of what a genuine Hawaiian neighborhood is like. During this trip, travelers will undergo an authentic encounter with the island's culture and gain a vast array of memories on the 52-mile drive with many opportunities for stops on the road, according to a blog post by Viator on The Huffington Post.
The long Road to Hana is worth it With over 600 curves & spanning 59 bridges, the Road to Hana along Maui's coast starts at Kahului, according to National Geographic. The road, which was dug out and formed by hand, can be pretty dangerous at times, with some of the bridges narrowing down to only one lane & turns hugging steep cliffs. If you're planning to drive the route yourself, plan to take your time navigating the path.
There are two ways you can do the drive to Hana. You can either rent a car & travel at your own leisure or you can take a tour in a van lead by an experienced driver. Both methods have their advantages. When driving at your own pace, you can stop as frequently as you want, see whatever sights appeal to you most & spend as long as you desire on the whole excursion. However, the driver must make sure he or she stays focused on the road to guarantee everyone's safety, & a four-wheel drive vehicle is recommended.
When taking a van tour, all aboard can focus entirely on the passing beauty, leaving navigation in the capable hands of someone who has driven this road many times before. The driver may even throw in useful tidbits of knowledge about the attractions you pass, according to Maui Information Guide.
The drive will take you by dozens of waterfalls, stretching views of the horizons, black sand beaches & rocky cliffs with crashing waves below. You can stop at any of the local roadside vendors to purchase a snack before continuing on or stop to admire the tropical forests with all types of vegetation ranging from fruit trees to bamboo forests.
The return journey A common misconception is that after venturing along the Road to Hana, you have to turn back the way you came to return to Kahului. However the "Back Road" from Hana is full of its own attractions & offers a stark contrast to the scenery on the way there. This misguided perception is often caused by the car rental agencies or free road maps mentioning that rental policies are voided if the route is taken or tourists hearing that there is nothing of importance to see along the way, stated the Maui Guide Book.
The views on the back road aren't any less dramatic, as you get to see the landscape transform from tropical jungle to arid grassland, making you wonder if you're even on the same island anymore. One side of the road morphs into rocky cliffs with arches carved out thanks to the sea below, while the other has the Haleakala volcano lifting up to heights of 10,000 feet in the distance beyond.
The destination of this road trip at Hana isn't necessarily the prime reason for going and although there are sights to enjoy there, this drive is more about the journey & everything you'll see along the way.