Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Road to Hana ~ My open, honest opinion with some pretty good pics.

I have to be honest, we didn't do a whole lot of research before setting out on our journey. I was told that the road was curvy (approx 650 total curves). I had no idea that it would be similar to a Pacific Coast Highway/Devil's Slide Northern Calif area type drive over and over for approx 7 hours round trip. All this with mostly no guard rail, 59 bridges (46 which are one lane), all dating back to 1910.
With this in mind here are a few things to keep in mind:

-  Make sure you have a full tank of gas!
-  Be prepared you or someone in your party may become car sick
-  Do your research before setting out on your journey!
-  Consider downloading an app with descriptions of Road to Hana-just be prepared there will be no cell service most the way!
-  Bring lots of water and a picnic lunch or snacks to eat along the way!
-  Bring hiking shoes, water shoes or teva type shoes, water proof camera if you have one, swimsuit, and towel.
- Be sure to leave early enough to ensure you will not be driving in the dark!

 You start out on Route 36 which then becomes Route 31. When we set out, we honestly didn't have the commitment to follow through with the complete drive to Hana. We talked about driving out to the twin water falls then coming back. We did know that the drive would be at least 3 - 3 1/2 hrs there if we did choose to do it. We were in a convertible camaro (rental car).  I would highly recommend driving a jeep for this drive! Of course, you have the option to take a tour. Many people like that then they don't need to worry about driving themselves.

 Another suggestion I have is to make sure you research which stops you would like to stop at prior to leaving! We stopped in a little town before heading out and we bought water and a CD with explanations of where to stop along the way. As we started out, we realized our rental car had NO CD player!! We felt like fools! We ended up giving it to one of the bellman at our hotel and asked him to give it to someone who could use it!

 I believe our experience would have been a lot different had we of done more research or had the CD to listen to! The drive was quite beautiful and I would say I think it would have been totally different in a tour van rather than in our own car with the ability to go at out own pace.

 If you have ever seen any waterfalls on Kauai or even on Oahu, I would really recommend just skipping the twin water falls (that will be your first stop). The first set of falls was more like a trickling stream but there was a spot people could jump into a pool of water. You need to hike further in to reach the second waterfall. It is about .75 mile hike. It is mostly shaded, flat, easy hike. The unfortunate thing is when you almost get to the end to reach the actual waterfall you need to walk through water to get to it. Lots of people walked through it if they had water shoes on. It's a pretty unsteady walk. I saw a few people fall over. It's not really a big deal, the water is only about knee deep but if you are carrying a nice camera you might not want to take the risk. I didn't. I also didn't have water shoes, I was wearing hiking shoes. You most definitely can get great shots of the waterfall from the point before crossing the water.

                                         An example of the side of the road along the drive

One of the things I liked the most about the Road to Hana was being able to really experience the different climates of the island of Maui. It was amazing to see desert one minute then lush forest the next. I have to say I was a little disappointed in the town itself. I thought we were going to  see something more spectacular there.

We continued our drive right past Hana and journeyed on. The road back was much more scenic. We later found out about the Seven Sacred Pools and the Bamboo Forrest. I would have definitely liked to have stopped there had we of known about it ahead of time and allowed enough time for it.

                                                        Volcanic Rock on the side of the road,
                                          also an example of he dry climate area side of

                                               One of the great hikes along the road to Hana

                                                   This is one of the waterfalls along the way
                                                   well worth stopping for!

                                           Examples of the lush tropical side of the island

                                              Cute store on the way back. They have clean
                                               bathrooms and do ask for a donation if you
                                               aren't purchasing anything at the store. The
                                               store sells food, antiques, jewelry, and local
                                               handmade crafts. There is an amazing view
                                               across the street.

                                         This is a great example where the rain line can be
                                       This shot shows not only the amazing scenery on the way
                                        back but the condition of the road! It is very bumpy in
                                        many places. One final note, if you do choose to drive past
                                        Hana and keep on driving, there are some areas of unpaved road.
                                        I guess it's much better than what it used to be.


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