Road to Hana

Old Feb 9th, 2021, 09:00 AM
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Road to Hana

We are planning a trip to Maui in August and will be staying 5 days in the Wailea area. After that we planned to drive the RTH and stay 2 nights in the Hana area. We wanted to take our time driving there and not rush and then the following day go to Wai'anapanapa State Park early before the crowds and then go to 'Ohe'o Gulch after that. Do we need a 4-wheel drive for the RTH and what are the requirements when renting a car on Maui if we want to drive this road.

On the morning of day 3 we plan to leave Hana early to drive back to the airport where we are planning to fly to Kona. How long should it take to drive back from Hana to the airport if we leave early in the morning? (We plan to get a covid test 72 hrs before our planned flight out of Maui to Kona)

Does this plan sound feasible and any suggestions are welcome.

Thank you,
Karen
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Old Feb 9th, 2021, 12:41 PM
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It's been awhile since we drove to Hana but I do not suggest driving back the day you have a flight out in case something happens. In our case we got a flat just a bit north of a black sand beach and my husband had to change it in the rain, then we had to drive to the rental car place near OGG to get a replacement rental car.
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Old Feb 9th, 2021, 02:09 PM
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aloha Karen, I also would not suggests being out in Hana on the same day you need to go to the airport for a flight.

If you aren't already there, do also check out the Hawaii forums at Trip Advisor (not the reviews sections but Destination Forums similar to this format). Lots of Maui posts and information on a daily basis over there (like about type of car, etc.)
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Old Feb 10th, 2021, 06:12 AM
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Jamie 99 & Suze: Thanks for your suggestion.
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Old Feb 10th, 2021, 09:03 AM
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Depending on the time of the flight out, try for a pass to drive up to the top of Haleakala for sunrise. Limited parking is the reason for the online passes. They check for passes at the bottom and collect National Park fee if you don't have a Park Pass. Also try to get to the Io needle in the middle of the island.
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Old Feb 10th, 2021, 09:00 PM
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Originally Posted by TravelerKaren View Post
We are planning a trip to Maui in August and will be staying 5 days in the Wailea area. After that we planned to drive the RTH and stay 2 nights in the Hana area. We wanted to take our time driving there and not rush and then the following day go to Wai'anapanapa State Park early before the crowds and then go to 'Ohe'o Gulch after that. Do we need a 4-wheel drive for the RTH and what are the requirements when renting a car on Maui if we want to drive this road.

On the morning of day 3 we plan to leave Hana early to drive back to the airport where we are planning to fly to Kona. How long should it take to drive back from Hana to the airport if we leave early in the morning? (We plan to get a covid test 72 hrs before our planned flight out of Maui to Kona)

Does this plan sound feasible and any suggestions are welcome.

Thank you,
Karen
Hi, Karen, I don't like being negative, but I live on Oahu and have been to Maui numerous times. Driving to Hana was my most unfavorite thing to do on Maui. Perhaps there will be fewer tourists in August (we are still really light on tourists here now), but that experience was 4 hours of driving with hair-raising turns and other drivers who thought none of the rules applied to them. We got to Hana and there was nothing to do there. We checked out the Seven Sacred Pools and headed back, another 4 hour drive. There is no need for a 4WD vehicle. As others have mentioned, it's not good to drive back from Hana on the day you fly out because all kinds of things can go wrong. There are a lot of accidents on the road. Wailea is a gorgeous area to stay in and of course you'll want to go check out Lahaina. The Old Lahaina Luau is by far the best commercial luau I've been to in my life, don't miss it! The drive to Haleakala is wonderful and if I had an extra 2 days, I'd either spend them in Kula on the slopes of Haleakala, or Paia. Don't miss eating at Mama's Fish House in Paia! In Wailea I love Monkeypod Kitchen.
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Old Feb 11th, 2021, 06:46 AM
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Tom: Thanks for your suggestions. We will most likely not have time to do that on the final day but do plan to get there on another day.

Podie: Thanks for your feedback. I'm really surprised to hear you didn't like the RTH. Maybe because you live in Hawaii and have all that beauty around you because everyone we know that has done that drive loved it (other than the crowds). . We have decided to fly out of OGG to HNL to get a late flight the day we leave Hana and get our COVID test at the HNL airport, stay the night there and then fly to Kona the next day, There are lots of late flights out of OGG to HNL and we won't need to worry about having our COVID test in time before an early afternoon flight to Kona. If there are problems getting out of Hana that night, we can always stay at the OGG airport, fly to HNL the next day to get our test and fly back the same day. Not ideal. We are hoping things may change by August regarding the COVID test requirements to BI.

We have planned to go to Mama's Fish House from Wailea for dinner one evening and have plans to drive to Kula on another day from there. .
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Old Feb 11th, 2021, 08:02 AM
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Chiming in as another who didn't enjoy or appreciate the Road to Hana. Too long and tedious.
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Old Feb 11th, 2021, 08:51 PM
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One more opinion... I enjoyed the RTH, but I wasn't blown away. Then again, I live on Kauai and see a lot of natural beauty. I used a regular compact car and did not mind the drive--but I am used to driving narrow, winding roads in N. Ireland and New Zealand. I only stayed one night in Hana and that was definitely enough. There really is nothing there. The next day I did the Pipiwai Trail through the bamboo forest to the waterfall. Loved it. On the way to Hana we stopped at the black sand beach and checked out the caves at Wai'anapanapa State Park. That was a fave and we stopped again on the drive back.

Sunset at Haleakala was a highlight of a lifetime. The downside is that you have to drive back down in the dark, but it wasn't too bad because I followed the headlights in front of me. The star-gazing on the drive down was incredible.










Every time I thought it was over, it just got better. But it was FREEZING -- in August! Enjoy.
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Old Feb 12th, 2021, 03:05 AM
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We visited Maui last February. The road to Hana was one of the most breathtaking (and I mean that in every sense of the word) we did. We're quasi-adventurers and live in the northeast so we're used to a little difficult terrain. We had a convertible, which was fine, but due to ground clearance wished we had a Jeep Wrangler or similar. Read up on the road protocols. Don't miss the banana bread lady, the coconut milk ice cream place or the art gallery. Buckle up and have a blast!
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Old Feb 12th, 2021, 08:33 PM
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I am not a fan of the Road to Hana; however, everyone should do it once. The mistake we made was stopping at EVERY point of interest on the way. By the time we got to Hana and the the Sacred Pools, we were worn out. Plus the pools were dried up. Then we had to drive all the way back to Kaanapali. Pace yourself and plan so you don’t do as we did.
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Old Feb 13th, 2021, 06:26 AM
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Songdoc: Beautiful photos! Thanks for your feedback and the pics. We did a sunrise drive to Haleakala years ago but sunset looks even better!

Janishardiman: Thank you for the positive review. I was getting bummed that some people didn't like it.

Michelle: Appreciate your positive review too!

Thank you everyone!!

We do plan to take our time and only stop at a few places on the drive there since we will have time to visit the Sacred Pools the next day.
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Old Feb 14th, 2021, 12:51 PM
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Coincidentally, on yesterday's news I learned they are instituting a mandatory reservation system and fee at Wai'anapanapa State Park for non-residents.
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Old Feb 15th, 2021, 07:13 AM
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Songdoc Thanks for the heads up about the reservation and fee at Wai'anapanapa State Park.
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Old Feb 16th, 2021, 07:41 AM
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Originally Posted by TravelerKaren View Post
Podie: Thanks for your feedback. I'm really surprised to hear you didn't like the RTH. Maybe because you live in Hawaii and have all that beauty around you because everyone we know that has done that drive loved it (other than the crowds).
Raising hand.

My partner was miserable on the RTH. We didn't make it all the way.. We pulled over and spend the rest of the day on a green sand beach. She was miserable on the drive.

I returned many years later and completed the drive but I could easily skip it on a return visit.

If anyone has a problem with motion sickness, it can be a miserable experience.
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Old Feb 17th, 2021, 07:13 AM
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Another who found both Hana and the RTH to be a disappointment. I didn't go to Maui to spend hours driving a car on a narrow road behind other people driving their cars on a narrow road, no matter how impressive it may be. Maybe if you've lived your whole life in a big city and never seen or been anywhere naturally scenic, it's Something. Other than that, it's pretty much an over-hyped tourist attraction, and just takes time away from the enjoyment of beautiful, relaxing Maui. imvho

caveat: I'm not a fan of spending hours in a car, period. I like road trips, and I like driving on scenic routes (e.g., Big Sur, Yosemite), but not when a very long road is the point of the trip. Just not my thing.
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Old Feb 17th, 2021, 07:19 AM
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Originally Posted by LucieV View Post
Another who found both Hana and the RTH to be a disappointment. I didn't go to Maui to spend hours driving a car on a narrow road behind other people driving their cars on a narrow road, no matter how impressive it may be. Maybe if you've lived your whole life in a big city and never seen or been anywhere naturally scenic, it's Something. Other than that, it's pretty much an over-hyped tourist attraction, and just takes time away from the enjoyment of beautiful, relaxing Maui. imvho

caveat: I'm not a fan of spending hours in a car, period. I like road trips, and I like driving on scenic routes (e.g., Big Sur, Yosemite), but not when a very long road is the point of the trip. Just not my thing.
That very much sums up how we felt. We felt like we wasted a day in the car (my then four year old daughter was also not happy to spend the day in the car when she could have been digging holes in the sand).
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Old Feb 27th, 2021, 02:45 PM
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I would highly recommend changing your itinerary and go to Hana first from the airport (if your flight comes in by early afternoon. We have driven straight from the airport to Hana and stayed a couple of nights before heading for Wailea. You may want to stop in Pia'a and pick up groceries (if staying in a condo). You won't need a 4-wheeler. We have driven RTH when road conditions were awful from thirty years ago. We just didn't tell the car rentals where we were going. Most of the roads are paved now (a few places are dirt/gravel and only one lane).

I love the Hana area as it's very remote and tropical. For people who drive over for a day, it is probably hard to enjoy the beauty but when you spend a night or two in Hana, I think you have a different perspective. Have a fabulous time in paradise.
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Old Mar 8th, 2021, 07:00 AM
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portobelloB: Thank you so much for your feedback. We plan to visit Hana and stop in Pia'a for a night before our flight out the next day to Honolulu.
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Old Mar 8th, 2021, 10:30 AM
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Originally Posted by TravelerKaren View Post
portobelloB: Thank you so much for your feedback. We plan to visit Hana and stop in Pia'a for a night before our flight out the next day to Honolulu.
Great question. I've been to Maui a few times and we drove to Hana in 2008 but didn't continue to the Seven Gulches. I've always wondered if we missed something. The road was beautiful, but it is not worth gripping the steering wheel for hours, as so many pasty tourists do based on the myth.
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