E komo mai - welcome to our home !
We know that you will come to love Hana as much as we do. Here are a few suggestions which we hope will enhance your visit to Hana and the Guest Houses at Malanai.
You will have a full kitchen (and BBQ) at your Guest House. There are only two small grocery stores in Hana, which are expensive and have a very limited selection. It's best to buy your groceries in Kahului before you come to Hana.
Near the airport in Kahului you can find Whole Foods, Safeway, Foodland and a Costco. Mana Foods is an excellent health food store on Baldwin Avenue in Paia (the last town you will pass on your way to Hana). It has a great assortment of fresh and mostly organic vegetables and fruits, plus many things in bulk. Plenty of hippies shop there.
Shopping in Hana
In Hana town the two small groceries are the Hana Ranch Store on the "Mauka" side of the highway (the mountain side), and the Hasegawa General Store on the "makai" side (the ocean side).
There are also a couple of farm stands that have fresh local produce (see below).
Local fishermen occasionally sell their catch from roadside trucks between Koki Beach and Hamoa Village - look for their handwritten signs proclaiming "fresh fish today."
The Road To Hana
Hana is about 50 miles from the airport in Kahului. The impossibly scenic road twists and turns through coastal rainforest, and contains 59 one lane bridges. Take your time and investigate the sights!
Drive with aloha - if a local gets right behind you, pull over at a turnout and let them pass.
Here's a useful summary of the drive: https://roadtohana.com/sights.
Restaurants, Farm Stands and Food Trucks
There are two restaurants in Hana. The Hana Ranch Restaurant is in Hana town, on the mauka side of the highway. It has a nice patio and a decent menu. Try the "catch of the day" or the burger. The Travaasa Hotel is on the makai side of the highway. It has a somewhat pricy dining room with a good menu and nice ambiance.
Hana has a couple of farm stands that are quite nice. Our favorite is Hana Farms, located on the Hana Highway just north of town. They grow a large variety of tropical fruits and exotic spices, and make a wide assortment of products with locally sourced ingredients. Don't miss their yummy banana bread! They also have a "farm grill" which serves fresh local lunches from 11am to 3pm every day. On Fridays they fire up the wood oven and serve excellent pizza from 5 to 8pm. BYOB!
Hana also has a handful of food trucks, some of which are very good. They all close when they run out of food (usually around 3pm), so plan accordingly. Our favorite is Huli Huli Chicken, which is on Haneo'o Road between Koki Beach and Hamoa Village (about a mile from the Guest Houses). It's a co-op, with different families manning the cash register on different days. Chicken and ribs are prepared over a large wood fire perched on a spectacular shore.
There are funky tables scattered across the shoreline, which have Alau Island and the Hana coast as a backdrop. Equally good is Thai Food By Pranee, which is behind the baseball park (close to Hana Bay). On the way south out of Hana there are a few trucks gathered in small lots on both sides of the road serving a variety of food. We like Da Fish Shack and Brudda Hutts (Hawaiian style BBQ).
Beaches, Hiking and Other Fun Stuff
Wai'anapanapa State Park
Located at the end of Waiʻanapanapa Road off Hana Highway, about four miles north of Hana (you pass it on your way in from Kahului). It's built around a shoreline where the ancient "King's Road” circumnavigated Maui. There are a black sand beach, several lava tubes, and a shoreline trail that is spectacular.
Go there early in the morning, as it can get crowded with day-trippers by late morning.
Waioka Pond (the "Venus Pools")
Across the street from the Guest Houses, perhaps a fifteen-minute walk. The morning is the best time to go. Head out the driveway and turn right. Follow the highway to the first bridge, where the trail starts on the makai side. The trail leads to a cattle gate. Step through the gate and follow the trail towards the ocean until you get to an old Portuguese bread oven (you'll recognize it when you see it), where you turn right and head down to the pools. Great swimming and cliff jumping. Beautiful. Highly recommended.
Our favorite, on Haneo'o Road (less than a mile from the Guest Houses).
Further down Haneo'o Road, past Hamoa Village. Not the best swimming beach due to the riptide, but local surfers love it.
Alau Island - a bird sanctuary - is directly off shore. Stunning.
Haleakala National Park
About six miles south of the Guest Houses, on the Hana Highway. It will cost $25 to park your car (unless you have a National Park pass), but it's well worth it.
You can follow themakai trails down to the Pools of 'Ohe'o ("Seven Sacred Pools"), a beautiful excursion and it's fun swimming in the pools. The best hike in all Maui is the Pipiwai Trail, which heads up (mauka side) from the parking lot. The hike is four miles round trip and ends at the foot of Waimoku, a 400 foot long waterfall.
Again, it's best to get there early in the morning when you can have the place to yourself.
Palapala Ho'omau Church
Past Haleakala National Park and just past mile marker 41, there is a road on the makai side that leads to the Maui Stables and this little church. Built in 1857, it is on an enchanting spot right on the coast. Charles Lindbergh is buried there, alongside the ancestors of many local families who still live in east Maui today.
Adjacent to the church is Kipahulu Point County Park, a fantastic spot for a picnic - bring a couple of food truck plates. It’s a beautiful drive south through Kipahulu to get there (the turnoff is 7.5 miles from the Guest Houses). Highly recommended.
Although fish hooks found on Hawaii Island have been carbon dated to 450 A.D., it is thought that the period of greatest human migration from Polynesia to the Hawaiian Islands came between 1000 and 1200 A.D. From around 1200 A.D. to 1778, Hawaii remained isolated from the rest of the earth. The first known western contact with Hawaii occurred when Cook passed by Maui and landed on Kauai on January 20, 1778.
When the first westerner (La Perouse) landed on Maui in 1784, there were perhaps 250 to 300 thousand Hawaiians living here. Remnants of their civilization are all around you. Ancient hale (houses), heiau (places of worship), rock walls, petroglyphs and fishponds are plentiful along the Hana coast. Recently, renovations to the beach pavilion at Hamoa Bay came to a halt when the remains of ancient Hawaiians were discovered buried there.
Much of this archeological heritage is on private land, and can only be appreciated from afar. However, Pi'llanihale Heiau, the largest and best preserved Heiau in all Polynesia, sits in Kahanu Garden just north of Hana. More than sixty acres, Kahanu Garden is a National Tropical Botanical Garden which focuses on plant collections from Hawaii and the other Pacific Islands. There is a walking tour through the garden to the heiau.
Local musicians hold forth on Thursday nights (6:30 to 8:30 pm) in the bar at the Travaasa Hotel. No cover charge. The audience will be a great mix of visitors and locals. Highly recommended!
Hana Cultural Center
Founded by Hana elders, the charming Cultural Center is a treasure trove of local lore and is a great place to see traditional Hawaiian artifacts. Mary Carol is one of the docents! Locals often drop by in search of information on their relatives and ancestors, many whom are documented in the fine selection of photographs. Located just above the entrance to Hana Bay.
Hana Maui SUP Adventures
Our friend and neighbor Monet Pierce can provide you with stand-up paddle boards, or better yet lessons and guided adventures.
Hang Gliding Maui
Armin Engert offers ultra-light air tours from the Hana airport. Expensive, but a fascinating adventure. Here's Mary Carol learning to fly:
When it's time to head back to Kahului and "the other side", consider taking the Piilani Highway along the southern coast.
Much drier than the Hana Highway, this route crosses the leeward flank of Haleakala, meanders through the small ranching community of Kaupo, passes several nineteenth century churches, and is in general one of the most starkly beautiful drives on earth. Take your time and drive with aloha - at places the road is not paved and very narrow.
Completed in 1859, this church is on a promitory near Kaupo. Except for an occasional local fisherman, you'll likely have it all to yourself. Another great picnic spot.
E komo mai,
Jon, Mary Carol and Steve
The Guest Houses at Malanai
All photos on this page by Steve Gayle