The Road to Hana: Part I

The Road to Hana: Part I

My guess is that few Hawaii travelers have not heard of The Road to Hana. It is consistently rated one of the most wondrous drives in the world, and with good reason. This 40 mile, curvy, narrow road snakes along Maui, Hawaii’s northeast shore, blessing motorists with one eye-candy scene after another. Look toward the Pacific and you see craggy coastlines being pounded by 30-foot waves. Look inland and you see spectacular waterfalls every few miles.

The bamboo forests afford tons of opportunities for macro photography.

This is a drive that forces you to slow down, although locals won’t even think twice of passing you going twice the speed limit around a curve. Of course the speed limit is mostly 15MPH, but most drivers learn to breath and relax on the drive. Cliff diving in a car doesn’t sound very attractive. The drive takes maybe two hours, but for a photographer, better count on at least double that.

If you plan to do the Hana drive and then get back to Kihei, Kahului or Lahaina the same day,  my advice is- don’t do it. You’ll just frustrate yourself. Instead, do what I did this past week; take a full day to drive to Hana, spend the night, and then either backtrack the next day, or else complete the loop by driving back along the spectacular Pi’ilani Highway (more on that tomorrow).

Hotel Hana

For more years than I care to remember, I’ve wanted to stay at the Hotel Hana, the venerable resort that was recently acquired and renamed Travaasa (what the heck??). So on this visit to Maui I scheduled an overnight stay, so I could take my time and stop wherever I wanted en route to and from this neat town. If you can swing it, a visit to Travaasa is well worth it, although we could only sample a tiny slice of what they offer in a one-night stay.

Travaasa is located in a drop-dead gorgeous location. All cabins have Pacific Ocean views. There’s a world-class spa, wellness center, horseback riding, hikes and more. Do as much or as little as you want. On our evening we hiked the shoreline to snag this beautiful sunset, taken from their property.