Maui’s world famous Road to Hana (also known as the Hana Highway) is a twisting, sometimes treacherously narrow roadway that snakes it’s way around the rugged north Maui coastline from Kahului to the village of Hana and around the southern slope of Haleakala. It is a route peppered with quaint seaside villages, breathtaking ocean views, immaculate beaches, and endless picturesque waterfalls. Many travelers will go the Road alone, opting to let personal recommendations, online tips, a guide book, or chance guide their journey. However, there are some very good reasons that hiring Road to Hana guide and doing a guided tour on the famous road will help you have a more enjoyable experience.
1. Your Road to Hana guide will show you the best places for food.
Chances are you’ll have breakfast before you start, so that leaves only 2 meals remaining in a 1-day Hana trip, although no one would fault you for adding an extra one in there. There are many tasty food options along the way and choosing can be overwhelming. Your guide will point you to the best banana bread and plate lunch at the little known but much enjoyed local joint, while avoiding the over-hyped, over-priced restaurant you saw on Tripadvisor.
2. The coolest spots on the Road to Hana are hard to find.
Many of the Road’s best attractions, such as the popular Venus Pools location pictured, are unmarked, lack signage, or just generally hard to find. Good luck relying on your guide book, as they’ll use mile marker signs as landmarks, and the signs themselves are easy to miss. Your tour guide can discuss the merits of different stop off locations with you beforehand, come up with game plan, and help you actually find the places you want to see, a crucial element in enjoying them.
3. Skip the driving.
Blind curves, steep drop-offs, ultra narrow sections, wet conditions, all make the driving somewhat hazardous for the inexperienced driver. Even if you are comfortable with the driving conditions, as the driver you will miss alot during the drive; waterfalls, ocean views, etc. Your Road to Hana guide will be experienced with the driving conditions, and by taking the wheel will allow you to see the amazing sights you’ll encounter.
4. You are safer with Road to Hana guide.
Aside from the driving, the Road to Hana journey other hazards that vary from day to day and will be impossible to steer clear of with only the help of a guidebook. For example, your guide knows that hikers are regularly rescued from the Bamboo Forest (pictured) area hike during flooding conditions, so they’ll have you skip the Bamboo Forest hike if it’s been raining heavily.
5. Learn about Maui culture from a local.
Chances are your Road to Hana guide will be a Maui native or someone who has lived on the island for a great while, is passionate about their work, and is well-versed in local culture, flora, fauna, and history. The added context and information that your guide will provide you during the journey will lead to a richer, more memorable Road to Hana experience.
6. You’ll make a new friend.
Your guide will be one of the most laid-back, relaxed, and friendly people you’ll ever meet, full of Aloha spirit and happy to share it with you. It’s common for Road to Hana guides to have customers who do the trip year after year, eager to return to the Maui rain forest for another Hana adventure.
Do you have some Road to Hana tips to share? Leave them in the comments.
About the Author: Russell Scott Snyder is an entrepreneur, writer, and ocean enthusiast based in south Maui. He is the co-owner of Maui Happy Hours, the free mobile app that connects Maui visitors and residents to happy hour discounts at Maui bars, restaurants, and night clubs.