Getting to Hana
The World Famous “Road to Hana”
For first timers and repeat visitors, most folks opt to rent a car at the Kahului airport and make the 50 mile journey to Hana along the famous “Road to Hana” (HWY 36). In Kahului, you can purchase a ‘Road to Hana’ CD which will describe the sights along the way to make the trip more informative and fun. You can find these CDs all over Maui at places like Longs, Kmart, Wal-Mart and Minit Stop.
As you begin your journey, you’ll first pass through Pa’ia town, home of the fantastic oceanside restaurant “Mama’s Fish House”. You might want to end your trip here with a fantastic meal before returning to the airport! Next, you’ll reach the Ha’iku district. This is where the road begins to get fun! Enjoy spectacular scenery as you journey across 54 bridges taking in verdant tropical foliage, waterfalls and awesome vistas of the sea below.
The drive can take anywhere from 2 to 3 hours depending on how many stops you make along the way. If you have cars backing up behind you on the road, pull over at a safe place and let them pass. The locals will love you for this and probably wave or honk to thank you.
It is a good idea to plan your meals and grocery list ahead of time. No use wasting your valuable vacation time in stores!
In Hana, there are two small grocery stores (Hasegawa General Store, and Hana Ranch Store) which carry the basics (milk bread, eggs, juice etc.), though prices are high and selection is limited.
Many guests prefer to purchase their grocery items at one of the many stores back in Kahului.
If you want to do your shopping “on the other side” before you make the drive – you can find the following stores:
- The Road To Hana - Bananas, Bridges, Ocean, Waterfalls, etc.
- Whole Foods (70 E. Kaahumanu Ave)
- Costco (540 Haleakala Hwy)
- KMART (424 Dairy Road)
- Wal-mart (1011 Pakaula St)
- Safeway (170 E Kamehameha Ave.)
- Longs Drugstore (Maui Mall 70 E. Kaahumanu Ave)
- Star Markets (Maui Mall 70 E. Kaahumanu Ave)
- Mana Foods (Up Baldwin Ave)
Items to consider bringing with you:
- Fresh Fish
- Meats & Cheeses
- Fresh fruits
- Fresh Vegetables
- Specialty items (sauces, seasonings, good coffees, yogurts)
- Toiletries (we provide bath soap only)
- A disposable cooler and ice to keep your perishables fresh along the road.
Items you do not need to buy (we supply them):
- Toilet paper
- Paper towels
- Sponges & cleaning supplies
- Dishwashing soap and laundry detergent
- Coffee filters (we have a gold filter)
Preparing your Meals
Our guest houses are equipped with full kitchens for our guests to prepare their own meals. We stock our guest houses with coffee & tea, fresh local seasonal fruit, olive oil & balsamic vinegar, assorted cooking spices, salt & pepper, and other assorted condiments.
Please see cottage pages for complete amenities information.
If you want to bring some Hawaiian items home with you for gifts, it’s a good idea to give yourself some shopping time before your flight back. Both Wal-Mart and K-Mart have Hawaiian sections where you can pick up all kinds of gifts – including chocolate covered macadamia nuts!
Hana Town and Its History
Windy Palms at the SeaHana was one of the earliest Polynesian settlements in the Hawaiian Islands dating back to approximately 700 AD. Hana is steeped in rich history and has always been famed for its natural beauty, fertile soils, and strong mana (spirituality). Hana was once home to the ali’i, or chiefs of Hawai’i, and is famous as the birthplace of Ka’ahumanu, the premiere wife of King Kamehameha the Great who united all the Hawaiian Islands under one ruler.
Like so many rural Hawaiian areas, after Western contact the Hana coast was cultivated with sugar from the 1840’s to about 1945. In 1927 the famed “Road to Hana” was built which opened up Hana to the outside world. The road runs from Pa’ia town through Hana, a distance of about 40 miles. In 1930, Paul Fagan, a San Francisco financier, bought the Hana sugar lands and in 1945 converted them to pasture lands for what is now called the Hana Ranch. These pristine pasture lands still surround the town of Hana and vicinity. Though the road has been paved and improved, there are still 54 bridges to cross to reach one of the last unspoiled areas of Hawai’i.
Hana today remains a magical place, with pristine rainforests, endless tropical flowers and vast meadows tumbling down to the majestic Pacific Ocean. Hana is one of the last remaining native Hawaiian communities and the “locals” still radiate the graciousness and aloha of the Hawaiian people. Time goes slower here; there is no stoplight, no pollution and no rush hour. At night the only sounds you will hear will be the lull of the waves crashing on the shore and the gentle Malanai breeze blowing through the palm trees.
Here is a pretty cool article about the history of our guest house in the Hipstorical blog.
It won’t take you long to navigate about Hana Town! Located just three miles from our property, Hana town consists of a bank, post office, several small gift shops, a gas station, a flower shop, a real estate office and two small grocery stores: the Hana Ranch Store and the famous Hasegawa General Store.
Also in Hana, you will find the Wananalua Congregational Church. Organized in 1837, Wananalua is one of the oldest missionary churches in the Hawaiian Islands. Wananalua was constructed by hand out of lava rock over a 20-year period. It is truly the historical monument of Hana.
You may also wish to visit the Hana Cultural Center & Museum, “Hale Waiwai o Hana”, located on Ke’anini Street. Hana’s museum is home to a small display of ancient Hawaiian artifacts, shells, and a collection of Chinese and Japanese antique bottles. It also houses a beautiful example of the traditional Hawaiian quilt and a photographic genealogy of the town. Next door to the Museum & Cultural Center is Hana’s original jail and courthouse built in 1871 and refurbished in 1989 to look much like it did in the 19th century. It is still used monthly for county court sessions. Also located on the grounds are examples of traditional Hawaiian grass hale (houses), including a meeting house, a sleeping house, a cooking house, and a canoe house. Open daily and admission is free; however, a donation is suggested.
Walk or drive up to the Fagan’s Cross Memorial. Erected in honor of Paul Fagan, this hillside lookout gives you a wonderful bird’s eye view of picturesque Hana Town and Hana Bay (Kapueokahi) lying below.
Hana Guest Accommodations Near Hamoa Beach, HanaFamous Hamoa Beach (15 minute walk from the property – 2 minute drive)
Author James Michener called Hamoa Beach “the most perfect crescent beach in the Pacific”. Hamoa Beach is the favored beach for both visitors and locals, and was rated as one of the top 10 beaches by Dr. Beach. The active type will enjoy swimming, surfing, boogie boarding and bodysurfing. Or, the lazy can simply relax and enjoy sunbathing on the beautiful and pristine white sand. Be advised that there can be a strong shore break and powerful waves. There is no lifeguard, so swim with caution at all times.
Kaihalulu (“Red Sand Beach”) (7 minute drive)
This dramatic cove was once a volcanic cinder cone. Bring your mask and snorkel and see colorful fish. It is best in the mornings when the sun shines. Parents, please be advised that this is a clothing optional beach. Please exercise caution on the trail, as the cinder is loose and slippery. Not recommended for anyone who is fragile or has difficulty walking or hiking.
Hana Bay (“Kapueokahi”) (7 minute drive)
Enjoy swimming and snorkeling in Hana’s beloved Hana Bay- originally named “Kapueokahi”. Hana Bay has very calm water and has the safest swimming for very small children and inexperienced swimmers. Snorkel off of Ka’u’iki Hill and discover rare blue corrals thriving in Hana’s clean waters.
Koki Beach (3 minute drive)
Located just minutes from our property near Hamoa Beach, this is a gorgeous strip of beach. It’s a perfect place to sit and watch the sunrise or sunset pink clouds, or to go shell and sea glass picking! Though the water looks inviting, please be advised that there is a strong rip tide past the surf break. It can be dangerous so please stay very near the shore if you swim.
Haleakala National Park- ‘Ohe’o Gulch at Kipahulu (“Seven Sacred Pools”)
Enjoy the 20-minute drive to Kipahulu while you take in the beauty of cascading waterfalls, tropical forests and dramatic cliffs. Once you reach Haleakala National Park ($10 parking fee per vehicle), visit ‘Ohe’o Gulch. Commonly known as the “Seven Sacred Pools”, ‘Ohe’o Gulch is a chain of twenty-four pools tumbling down to the sea. Enjoy a refreshing dip in the lowest pool. The second gem of the park is the 2.5-mile hike alongside the pools and streams and through a magical bamboo forest to the amazing 400- foot “Waimoku” waterfall. Please keep in mind that you are nature and pay attention to cautionary signs. Complete your visit to Kipahulu with a visit to the serene Palapala Ho’omau Church, the final resting place of famed aviator, Charles Lindbergh.
Step back in time and experience the unspoiled beauty of Hana and the fascinating culture and history of ancient Hawaiians. See the world’s largest collection of breadfruit trees and remarkable and useful plants brought by the Polynesian settlers to Hawai’i. Kahanu Garden is also home to one of the greatest engineering and construction feats in all of Polynesia, the Pi’ilanihale Heiau. It is a temple of stone formed by lava rocks stacked one on top of the other. At over 50 feet high and the size of two football fields, it is considered one of the largest heiau in Polynesia. It has been lovingly restored by the owners of the Kahanu Garden. Open Monday through Saturday from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. $10.00 entrance fee per person.
Wai’anapanapa State Park
“Wai’anapanapa” means “glistening waters.” Experience the spectacular, natural wonders at this State Park. Here you will discover the dramatic stone arches and sparkling black pebbles at the famous black sand beach (Pa’iloa). Enjoy a swim in a freshwater cave-pool and walk along the old King’s Trail on the bluff above the ocean. The swimming is pleasant when the water is calm, but can be very dangerous when it is not. Please heed all caution signs.
Tours and Activities
- Horseback Riding
- Travaasa Hotel Hana
- Kayak Snorkeling Tour
- Ka’eleku Cavern Lava Tube Cave Tour
- Hang Gliding or Hang Gliding
- Ono Farms (organic fruit farm)
Shelling, pasture walks, hiking, wildlife viewing, (whales & birds), surfing, bodysurfing, snorkeling, swimming, sightseeing, tennis, basketball, horseback riding, kayaking and more.
We are committed to helping you have a memorable vacation. We can direct you in booking activities and fill you in on what past guests have enjoyed. You may want to schedule an in-house massage, get the inside scoop on where to buy fresh fish (when available) or visit the many beautiful areas of the Hana coast.
Dining and Shopping
Travaasa Hotel Hana/The Ka’uiki Dining Room
Enjoy fine dining with spectacular views of Hana Bay and Ka’uiki Hill at the Ka’uiki Dining Room at Hotel Hana-Maui (the Hana Hotel). Each day the chefs create a new dinner menu with only the freshest local-caught seafood, produce and other ingredients. Reservations required. Open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Inquire about live music offered Thursdays and Sundays in the Lounge, 6:30-8:30 pm.
Hana Ranch Restaurant & Take Out Window
Casual dining with an awesome ocean view. Full bar. Open daily from 11:30-3:00 pm for lunch. Open daily for dinner 6:00- 8:30 pm.
Casual fare and cocktails served daily from 2 pm until 9 pm. Live Hawaiian music Thursday and Sunday nights from 6:30-8:30 pm. Come hang out at the local watering hole!
Located at Hana Bay, you’ll find snacks, burgers, local plate lunch, cold drinks and desserts. Breakfast, lunch and dinner offered. Picnic table style dining.
Look for the roadside stands along the Hana Highway that sell everything from fresh coconuts, smoothies, banana bread, local style plate lunches, BBQ & Thai food. (We can assist you with more details and directions while you are here!)
In Hana town, shop for some fun gifts and souvenirs at one of several gift shops. Pick up a fragrant lei for a special person to wear to dinner or celebrate an occasion or order beautiful flowers to ship home at the ‘Ohana lei & Flowers. Beautiful local made jewelry and collectibles are sold at the I Love Hana Boutique!
Hasegawa General Store
Located on the Hana Highway in the heart of Hana Town, this general store has a little bit of everything! You’ll get a kick exploring a real small town general store. They rent DVDs and Videos. Hasegawa General Store carries a collection of Hawaiian music CD’s.
Hana Ranch Store
Located in the town center, you will find most of your basic grocery items here. Selection is limited. They also rent DVDs and Videos.
Hana Coast Gallery
Featuring beautiful fine art, exquisite wooden carvings, native cultural art and jewelry by local artists.
Travaasa Hotel Hana (The Hana Hotel)
NoeNoe –Designer clothing and fine jewelry. Resort leisure attire, local art, collectibles, fun jewelry and gift items. NoeNoe carries a collection of Hawaiian music CD’s.
Spa Travaasa –Spa boutique items including: spa products, apparel and unique gift items.
Visiting the Rainforest
Life in the Tropics
Hana is a largely unspoiled pristine environment, home to verdant pastures, lush rain forests and magnificent waterfalls. All of this beauty would not be possible without the abundant rainfall year round. Almost every day sees a couple of showers, which keep the plants lush and feed the spectacular waterfalls. The winter months (October to February) tend to be the “rainy season” though storms can come through at any time of year. There is nothing more beautiful than the rain forest in the rain.
The lush foliage and tropical climate also support abundant insect and animal life. You will awaken in the morning to the symphony of birds and the busy chatter of the myna birds. Malanai is located in a sun belt and is surrounded by Hana Ranch pasturelands, which means fewer mosquitoes and insects than the more forested areas of Hana. Nonetheless- as with all tropical places- you should bring your favorite mosquito repellant to apply on your outdoor adventures and at dusk when the mosquitoes are most active. The exterior of our property is regularly serviced for insect pest control, and every effort is made to keep the cottages free of pests. Please do not leave food out on the counters as it will attract uninvited visitors such as ants and other unwanted critters.
Hana, as with all the Hawaiian Islands, is also home to the famous “Hawaiian Gecko.” Geckos are small harmless lizards that live in the plants and trees. They also like to move inside. Geckos are the only lizards that are able to make clicking sounds and their name is a direct imitation of their nightly chatter. Though they may take a little getting used to if you are new to tropical locations, they are perfectly harmless and are great for insect patrol. Many visitors like to give them names as you get more acquainted with them.
Hawai’i is very lucky to have no snakes or other threateningly poisonous or dangerous insects, reptiles or animals.