Everyone knows the Road to Hana is about the journey, not the destination. However, there are still several great places to experience once you have reached Hana. Isolated from the rest of the island, Hana is truly the last undeveloped paradise on Maui. Just like the famous highway that bears its name, it boasts waterfalls, a picturesque shoreline, and what are hands-down some of the best beaches on Maui. Hana still maintains a small town atmosphere that is largely untouched by the development that has occurred on the rest of Maui in the last twenty years. Because of this, Hana is often referred to as Maui’s “last Hawaiian place”. So, now that you have braved the Road to Hana, what are the best things to see and do in Hana itself?
#1. Hamoa Beach: Hamoa Beach is located just outside of Hana and shares some facilities with the Hotel Hana Maui. At Hamoa beach, sea cliffs and lush vegetation surround a beautiful bay. Author James Michener called Hamoa beach “the only beach I’ve ever seen that makes the South Pacific look like the North Pacific”. It is this one-of-a-kind appearance that causes Hamoa Beach to be voted one of Hawaii’s favorite beaches again and again. One of the coolest things about Hamoa beach is that you can see the small, coconut-topped island of A-lau as you look out across the water. Because there are no protective reefs at Hamoa Beach, the surf can be big, and dangerous. There are also really strong currents outside of the bay, so if you plan to get in the water be sure to closely monitor ocean conditions and be extra cautious.
#2. Kahanu Gardens: Kahanu Gardens features an ethnobotanical collection from all the Pacific Islands that includes plants with a cultural relationship to Hawaii and other Polynesian cultures. Located in a large native Hala forest on Hana’s coast, Kahanu Gardens is also home to the Pi’ilanihale Heiau, a large lava rock temple believed to be the oldest sacred place in Polynesia. A registered National Historic Landmark dating back to the 14th century, the site was hidden in thick undergrowth up until the 1970s. This is why the ancient heiau is in pristine, untouched condition today.
#3. Hana Lava Tube at Ka’eleku Caverns: At the 31 mile marker on the Hana Highway, you will see a sign for the Hana Lava Tube. Just turn off and go 4/10 of a mile until you see Ka’eleku Caverns. The park grounds also include an awesome Red Ti Botanical Garden Maze, but it is the lava tube itself that has often been called Maui’s greatest natural wonder. This one-of-kind, otherworldly ecosystem of stalactites and stalagmites was created by lava flows in Maui’s ancient past, and can today be seen in self-guided cave tours 7 days a week. The price of admission includes a flashlight and a hard hat, but don’t forget to bring a sweater – it’s cold under the earth!
These are just three of the sites to be seen and enjoyed once you reach Hana. Before you spend extensive time in Hana, we suggest planning whether you will tackle the Hana Highway again that day, continue on past Hana – where the road gets considerably more difficult to navigate – or maybe even stay in Hana for the night and return the next day. There are unlimited options for making the most of your time in this part of Maui.
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