An Argument Against the Hana Road

Apr 19th, 2005, 05:53 PM
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An Argument Against the Hana Road

Having just returned from 10 days in Oahu & Maui, pleasantly exhausted, I may post some thoughts on a variety of terrific experiences and "finds" anyone interested at a later date. But we are somewhat incensed about the Hana Road.

Everything one reads about the twisty-turning personality of the road is true. The road is indeed the "attraction," not the town. However: The Hana Road is a big disappointment and was the only day we felt we wasted time and energy.

(Please, Hana advocates, don't write us off as not having "gotten it," because we have... lush, unspoiled, great visuals, not a terrible unpassable road, yes yes. Can't wait for my pictures.) But unless one is young with a Jeep or extremely energetic about mountain driving, or perhaps a fool, there is little to love about the Hana Road. This thought comes from experienced drivers who have done the Kerry Ring cliffside and weathered zero-visibility sandstorm drives in Calif. and fogbound mystery trips in Quebec.

Hana road has too many turns that offer no idea if you're about to head-on with a local doing 30 mph in a beat-up truck, usually not caring if anyone else is out there. The many views are unviewable for the driver who must stay eyes-glued to the road, turns and bridges. We are all for maintaining the pristine wilderness and not overloading with tourism, and aren't suggesting concrete rest stops. But there are so very few turn-offs, shoulders or opportunities to stop the car and get a look at it all.

Hana Road promoters and travel books admit that it's tricky, but say "go, go go!" We are saying that it won't give you the visual excitement as promised, the driver will go crazy worrying about what's next and won't see anything, and the place is full of nutty locals. Even worse, tourists who can't drive on a straight freeway at home much less handle this route. The wide-eyed fear on the faces of old ladies and the blank grins of golf-hatted nitwits are no reccommendation for this road.

Considering that Maui and other isles have so much "interior" lushness to appreciate, the Hana Road is a loser. We've seen and done a lot, and on our scale, Hana Rd. is one to avoid.
phillymazes is offline  
Apr 19th, 2005, 07:12 PM
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Wow, I guess maybe you didn't like it? Was it different than you expected? I agree that the drive up there and the stops along the way are better than the town of Hana when you have to turn around and head back. We have driven it 3 times, never in a jeep and enjoyed it, even in the rain. The many places to take side roads into small towns with great little churches or small parks, seven pools, etc were all nice. We probably haven't spent 20 minutes or so in town. If you only had one or two days on Maui, I would not recommend using a whole day for this. But with more time, I think it needs to be done once. But these are just opinions! Some people don't like sunrise on Haleakala.
jq is offline  
Apr 19th, 2005, 09:11 PM
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I agree that driving the road to Hana is exhausting and a waste of time. Next time I go to Maui, it is definitely something I will skip.
enjoylife is offline  
Apr 19th, 2005, 09:13 PM
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Yes you are correct. The road to Hana has nothing to offer but carsickness. Waste of time.......and don't even consider nightlife and rain rain rain....high surf no swimming. They are both huge wastes of time. Right Kal?
gyppielou is offline  
Apr 19th, 2005, 11:32 PM
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Thanks for confirming for me that this is something I will skip if I ever go to Maui again, which is unlikely since I can't get my hubby to go back to that island. I've heard the drive described in detail by friends, seen numerous photos of it, and it just didn't "do it" for me. It always sounded like too much hassle for what you get in return. And yes, the driver wouldn't get to see much, so it would be kind of disappointing to not have my hubby share in it. Thanks for the post, Philly.
juanita1989 is offline  
Apr 20th, 2005, 12:07 AM
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Yes, by all means, please stay at your resort! There is nothing there to see. The Hana Highway is just one windy road through Hell, going nowhere.

Hana and east Maui are just best left to us nutty locals.

here_today_gone2Maui is offline  
Apr 20th, 2005, 04:14 AM
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Yet still, the virtual tour leaves something to be desired IMHO, e.g.:
JohnD is offline  
Apr 20th, 2005, 05:31 AM
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I agree with gyppielou. Stay away!
joan is offline  
Apr 20th, 2005, 06:25 AM
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What a bore! I'd rather be sprtized with Evian than mix with the "nutty locals" anyway! Sheesh...
iamq is offline  
Apr 20th, 2005, 06:51 AM
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philly, i was with you til the "nutty local" phrase....why do i feel quite certain that i'd rather be a nutty Hana local than a grumpy overly demanding tourist from the mainland??????
stellaluna is offline  
Apr 20th, 2005, 09:57 AM
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I'm curious about how much time you spent to write this entertaining bash on the road to Hana (and it's "nutty locals")? Part of the road's fame is that it has hundreds of curves and surely had to know about this beforehand. So if that's one of your biggest complaints, a 2 lane road with "too many turns" then why go in the first place.

Of course everyone's entitled to their opinion, but I can think of a lot that I would have missed, had I chose to skip the Road to Hana.
ggrtist is offline  
Apr 20th, 2005, 10:36 AM
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Hmmm...maybe it was because I was "young" and "foolish" when I drove this road that I enjoyed it. Of course, that was over 20 years ago, and I've heard they have "improved" it since then.

This was actually a highlight of our time on Maui. Of course, 20 years ago there wasn't a whole lot else going on on Maui. Anywhich way, we loved it because we never knew what was coming at us, what was around the next turn, oh, and the trash truck was even pretty funny once we realized we weren't going crash into it!

We found plenty of spaces to turn off. Or, we simply pulled over as much as we could and let traffic work its way around us. But then, there wasn't much traffic then. Hmmm.

Yes, I was the driver going to Hana and beyond, but one of my girlfriends volunteered to drive back. So none of us missed anything. But then, we were ages 19 - 21 and very foolish, so I guess this explains it.

And as for the "nutty locals"? Excuse me?? They were the safest drivers on the road. They knew it and realized they would have to deal with us...uh...young, foolish, and probably nutty in their minds, tourists from the mainland.

Don't know if I would do the Hana thing again, and everyone has a right to their opinion, but this just seemed a little harsh to me.
Chele60 is offline  
Apr 20th, 2005, 10:37 AM
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Returning to my thoughts from yesterday on how the Hana Road doesn't match the previews. We read many Fodor postings, as well as the books... it was on the strength of these postings (including the many fine ones from "heretoday") that we took the road, knowing full well it had curves.

A shame that the Hana advocates did what I hoped they wouldn't, which was to write us off as those resort-loving, demanding, Evian-spritzing lazy types. We stayed in an excellent Wailea condo rented from the owner (we don't like isolated resorts or their population), explored the interior roads, lunched at Mama's and a number of small-town local dives where the best food and most interesting locals are to be found.

Also enjoyed those turn-offs on the Hana road where we could rest and soak it in, including a few side trips to the unseen towns. We put up with a lot of discomfort to see the real life in our travels, because one should do so.

We wrote our un-Hana posting because that trip from Paia (great town!) to the 7 Pools (which were also decidedly unspectacular relative to the write-ups) made up the the sole seven hour period (out of 10 days) that didn't match the grandiose reviews and encouragements from many Hawaii info sources. And we had no problem with locals, they are our single most effective source of info and fun when we travel - just the inconsiderate ones who (dangerously) don't want to make room for decent travelers on their tiny roads. Perhaps the critics in the previous postings are among them... Roxy, put us in perspective, please...
phillymazes is offline  
Apr 20th, 2005, 10:37 AM
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I resent being called 'nutty'. If anything, I'm a macadamia momma!

This reminds me of the time I went to Philadelpia. Spent big money and time in line to see the Liberty Bell, and those loony locals there had not even bothered to polish the darn thing, and didn't even seem to notice it had a crack in it!

And those battlefields nearby...just big fields of grass. No actors shooting guns, no bones in the dirt, no taxis out to where the action happened... Whats with that?

lcuy is offline  
Apr 20th, 2005, 10:50 AM
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If you dont like the road to Hana - dont ever try the road around the West Maui Mountain Range- thats the scariest drive I ever took!!!
sunbum1944 is offline  
Apr 20th, 2005, 10:51 AM
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I guess having certain remarks taken out of context or proportion is part of the game on these postings... Meanwhile, "lcuy" I doubt you've been to Philly, for if you had, you'd know that the Liberty Bell doesn't cost to get into. It's a free national monument and us East Coasters take care of it for you, polish and all, just as we want you folks to keep Hawaii nice for us (even for those who can't make it to visit). And rather than embrace the "nutty locals" here who make life difficult for visitors on the streets, I apologize for them, rather than defend.
phillymazes is offline  
Apr 20th, 2005, 10:54 AM
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Gosh I am so sorry you so intensely distiked the road to Hana. I and My husband drove it last fall and just loved it and even spent the hight at the Hotel Hana Maui. But everyone sure is entitled to their own opinion. I just wish someone had explained exactly what the road to Hana was all about. Noting the severe twists and turns, few pull offs, etc. before you went so you could have avoided the whole thing.

That said I loved it and when I go to Maui again will do the road again and spend a few nights up there at the Hotel Hana Maui as that was the highlight our our Maui trip.
Kaymit is offline  
Apr 20th, 2005, 11:05 AM
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We thought the Road to Hana was beautiful and had no trouble at all making frequent stops along the side to take in the great views. I think it goes without saying you are probably not the adventerous type - I'm not "exteremly energetic about mountain drive" nor do I consider myself a "fool" and dh and I thought it was probably one (if not the most) beautiful drive we have ever taken. We also stopped during the drive and had a great hike to a hidden waterfall. We had it all to ourself and took a heavenly dip in its pool. Now there is an argument for the Road to Hana.

One bit of advice . . . don't ever visit St John, USVI if you couldn't handle Hana. Every road on the island is Hana x10 - and the locals drive down the middle of every windy road at all times. That said, we loved St John and are saving our skymiles to return!! To each his own.
snowrooster is offline  
Apr 20th, 2005, 11:17 AM
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I'm sorry you didn't enjoy it.
But I can understand why not.
My better half didn't either.
To each his / her own, as has been said.

Its good of you to write so that future travelers will have another perspective.
Sorry some have been critical of your post.
Keep in mind that it depends on the screen name posting, some receive cheers regardless of content, be it helpful or outright rude.
Thanks for sharing your opinion Phillymazes.
wanderluster is offline  
Apr 20th, 2005, 12:11 PM
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I lived in Maui for 5 years and loved it and all its beauty, but personally, I didn't care for riding the Hana Highway either. I got car sick way too many times, and taking Dramamine/Marazine/scopolomine just made me sleepy, which didn't enhance the ride, especially when I was driving. No thanks, I'll go somewhere else.
kamahinaohoku is offline  

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