There is a reason why they sell t-shirts that tout "I survived the road
to Hana". After 50 miles (and at least 3 hours) of driving a single-lane
narrow road with 617 hair-pin turns and 56 one-lane bridges it's nice to have
a momento that says you actually made the trip. But, in this case, "getting
there" is all the fun. That's exactly why it is called "The Road to Hana" and
not just "The Town of Hana." If you intend to race straight to the end of
the road just to say you did, and not stop at many of the pull-outs and
sometimes-hidden beauties, "smell the flowers" and learn about the area,
you might as well stay on the beach. The drive is beautiful whether you drive
yourself or take a narrated, guided bus tour! With lush rainforests,
gorgeous flowers, cascading waterfalls, incredible coastal views, the Road
to Hana is an attraction like no other.
Be sure to leave early (very early) so you'll have time to
return in the daylight hours (and in time for dinner or a luau). Bring food,
drink and motion sickness remedies if you are so prone, as the constant turns
can take their toll. There is little along the way for eating or drinking.
Pick up a "Road To Hana" tape or CD in a local gift or souvenir shop which
will describe and direct you to each hidden lovely stop along the route.
Famous aviator Charles Lindburgh is buried here and musician
George Harrison had a home nearby here. It is remote and extremely tropical.
The recommended route is to return the same way you came. However, after
reaching Hana and basking in the Seven Sacred Pools, hiking to the top of
the rainforest or browsing the General Store, you can continue on and take
the full scenic drive south and west around Haleakala from whence you
can clearly see the Big Island. The terrain turns more barren and windy on
the southwest side but there are many interesting sights to be seen and the
drive seems a little bit faster. Be forewarned: the road narrows even more
(as if that could be possible), and at times may be completely washed out.
There is no rescue if you get into trouble and you may need to turn back anyway.
Some car rental agencies' contracts strictly forbid driving that way at
certain times of the year (and even track it using GPS), so check in advance
with them to make sure you won't be penalized and charged a surcharge on your