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Road to Hana - tour company or on your own

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Feb 21st, 2012, 01:27 PM
  #1
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Road to Hana - tour company or on your own

We will be in Maui for 3 days in May (plus 6 days on other islands). Can't decide on whether to rent a car and drive the road to hana ourselves or just sign on with a tour company. Have no other real need for a car. Any recommendations? Also suggestions for a tour company?

Thank you.
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Feb 21st, 2012, 01:39 PM
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We rented a car and bought the Audio CD at the Shell Station in Kahului. With a car, you can stop when you want and for as long as you want and you're not with a bunch of strangers. We drove the entire route instead of turning around at Hana. I would not recommend doing that, however. It was quite an adventure. We stopped at a roadside park and ate lunch. It was an awesome birthday...waterfall hunting on Mauai...doesn't get much better than that..
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Feb 21st, 2012, 02:00 PM
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The best benefit is that someone else does the driving. If anyone in your party has any problems with motion sickness, I strongly recommend you rent a car and drive yourself.
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Feb 21st, 2012, 02:00 PM
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rbugress55, Why don't you recommend going all the way around? We're planning on doing the Road to Hana in our rental car.

Utahtea
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Feb 21st, 2012, 02:05 PM
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Your rental car agency may prohibit it.

If you have a flat, or need service, it will be hours of wait and hundreds of dollars out of pocket.
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Feb 21st, 2012, 02:17 PM
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We did it ourselves because we wanted to go at our own pace, get out and take pictures where we wanted to, etc. We loved going on our own. We had the same narrative cd mentioned above. Our rental company did prohibit going all the way around.
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Feb 21st, 2012, 07:28 PM
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Placename, I called our rental car (Avis) on the Maui and she said there weren't road restrictions on any of the islands. I hope the lady I spoke to knew what she was talking about.

Utahtea
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Feb 21st, 2012, 07:40 PM
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She didn't !
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Feb 21st, 2012, 07:49 PM
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Better make sure you have that in writing.
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Feb 21st, 2012, 08:10 PM
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Dear Adkmud, unless you plan on sitting at a resort and getting spritzed with Evian by the pool boy and never leaving the resort, I cannot imagine not having a car and seeing a bit of the island. Not that sitting by the pool and having the pool boy spritz you is so wrong! Certainly there are tours, and many go counter clockwise to the tourist drive. So if the big tour people movers vans can make the trip, then do you really think the rental car companies won't allow it?

Dear Utahtea, you have gotten a whole slew of bogus advice from people on this forum, including this thread. Years ago, I did the one direction route but prefer to take the road to hana back after making it as far as the lovely church in Kaupo. I just find it more inspiring to backtrack. And as far as the West End drive, when you pull over to let the school bus pass, consider whether or not it is safe for you to take that drive. When you get on island check about road conditions and if short gravel areas have been resurfaced lately and in good condition. And if you get a flat tire, open up the trunk and change it.
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Feb 22nd, 2012, 12:09 AM
  #11
 
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We drove the full circle in our rental car in October no problem. My husband and I enjoyed the road past Hana almost as much as the part leading to Hana. It was bumpy but nothing awful.

I would not enjoy taking a tour bus. We stopped at several waterfalls but both of us are kind of the "seen one seen them all" mindset! The falls were not especially full when we went and I would have been bored stopping and waiting for a group to shuffle over to the falls then get back on the bus numerous times. I would rent a car to better see the sights and I also like to eat dinner away from the property I stay at.
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Feb 22nd, 2012, 01:49 AM
  #12
 
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My apologies to adkmud for semi-hijacking their thread but the info might be valuable if they decide to rent a car.

DH and I have a jeep Liberty and we go off road all the time on single lane, washboard dirt & gravel roads, so the road itself does not worry me.

Utahtea
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Feb 22nd, 2012, 06:55 AM
  #13
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Thanks folks for all your feedback. my concern about driving the route myself is that as the driver I would need to focus on the road and not be able to see as much as the scenery vs being a tour passenger.
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Feb 22nd, 2012, 09:22 AM
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Parts of the road past Hana were not paved (2010) and there was only room for one car...I don't know if those parts are paved now. The paved parts aren't much better until you get close to Keokea. The scenery is awesome past Hana, however...totally different than the road to Hana...The entire trip from Kaanapali took all day. We left at 7:00 and got back at 5:00. If you choose to go all the way around, there aren't any services past Hana and you are "on your own". If you're adventurous, go for it...

We were restricted from Waihee to Kahakuloa on our rental car. They just told us to be careful if we did the whole Hana loop..
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Feb 22nd, 2012, 11:40 AM
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Thanks rburgess. We are definitely adventurous (gained nerves of steel driving in Costa Rica!). Just trying to figure out all of our options.
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Feb 23rd, 2012, 02:14 AM
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Pay attention to your rental agreement. It will often say not to drive on unpaved roads. That said...I would definitely drive, we always rent a Jeep Wrangler because we like to take the top down and drive wherever we want to. Be sure to start early as it will take a full day. We usually stay in a Hana for a week or so, which was fantastic, but if you get bored easily, you will get bored there. The road trip is awesome. Especially if you like waterfalls. There are some great pools and waterfalls along this trek. The road itself is a winding road, with many spots to stop for the occasional waterfall.

My advice is rent a car or ATV. Roll down the windows and listen for falling water, especially around bridges. And then hike in to see the waterfalls. There are/were a few waterfalls that you could jump off of which is an at your own risk kind of thing. I've done it, but usually only after I see someone else jump in first.

I would also recommend checking out the bamboo forest. It isn't "exciting" but its kewl. I mean, how many times will you see a forest almost entirely made of bamboo. Then again, I live in Chicago.
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Feb 23rd, 2012, 05:15 AM
  #17
 
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I drove all the way around and also enjoyed the parts "beyond" Hana. I also checked with my rental car agency (Alamo) and they insisted that there are no restrictions that forbid you from driving on ANY roads in Hawaii -- it's just that they won't come bail you out if you get stuck on them. I'm not sure how this rumor came about that you are "not allowed" to drive on some roads.
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Feb 23rd, 2012, 05:20 AM
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Neo, the "rumor" was written on our contract.
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Feb 23rd, 2012, 08:46 AM
  #19
 
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People are under a mistaken impression that you can't drive all the way around past Hana. This is not true. A contract may restrict driving on "unimproved road" but the highway has been constantly improved for a couple of decades. There is no restriction on that specific route (Highway 31 to 37). It is a spectacular drive.
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Feb 23rd, 2012, 09:16 AM
  #20
 
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We drove the road to Hana and LOVED it!

I recommend buying the travel book from Rick Steves. It has a list of all the "hidden" waterfalls and short hikes to take to see them. Pllan the drive in advance.

And remember its not the destination but the drive!

8-)
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