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Top 10 Road to Hana Stops!
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August 10, 2016

Top 10 Road to Hana Stops!

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Hey guys!

I am writing this post as I sit on the plane from Kahului Airport, Maui back to LAX. There is a bit of sadness in my heart as I leave the beautiful island…but luckily reality for me is not something that I avoid or despise, so don’t worry about me, I’ll be okay. *Cries quietly inside*

This is my second time on Maui. Sam and I were out here for a friend’s wedding and decided to make a vacay out of the trip…so there were A LOT of things I wanted to see and accomplish. One thing that we didn’t get to do last time was the Road to Hana – everyone scared us out of it, saying it would be too treacherous, that our car may break down in the pouring rain and that we’d be lucky to make it back.

I am happy to say that after renting a Ford Fusion, we (I mean Sam) calmly drove the road there and back and we were TOTALLY OK. You really don’t need a four wheel drive car or Jeep but a convertible would be nice!

So I want to share with you our amazing adventure. I feel a little troubled and apologize in advance to any locals reading my blog post as I don’t want to further populate your special spots. But I feel it is my duty to share these gorgeous experiences with those who may never get to see it.

THINGS TO PACK:

  • Snorkel gear
  • Sandals
  • Tennis shoes
  • Sunblock
  • Bug repellant
  • Swimsuit
  • Towels
  • Food & Snacks
  • Water
  • CA$H
  • Car charger and/or external charger for phone(s)
  • The Gypsy Guide App
  • Phone
  • Camera

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TOP PLACES TO VISIT:

  1. Keanae Arboretum
  2. Pauwalu Point
  3. Three Bears Falls (Upper Waikani Falls)
  4. Nahiku Marketplace
  5. Wainapanapa Caves + Black Sand Beach
  6. Red Sand Beach *TOP SPOT*
  7. Koki Beach
  8. Wailua Falls
  9. Oheo Pools (Seven Sacred Pools)
  10. Pipiwai Trail + The Bamboo Forest

Sam and I decided to do an overnight stay in Hana since we didn’t want to be rushed, but I will tell you right now that it is not really necessary. You can totally do Road to Hana in one day if you start early (leave Kihei or Lahaina around 6:45am). The only problem is that EVERYONE does this, so the spots get crowded at the same times (which makes it tough for cool pics). Perhaps it would be smart to start early and drive all the way to the end and then slowly work your way back to go against the traffic?

We left Kihei around 9am and got gas for the last time in Paia. Such a cute town with so many cute bikini shops. Did not have time to go inside. Wish I did.

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Then we were off. I turned on my Gypsy App which I downloaded because another blogger recommended it. I bought the “Road to Hana Tour” (about $5) which basically guides you along the way based on your GPS coordinates. So, you don’t even need service for it to work! I thought I was so cool and underground for knowing about this until I met another traveller who boasted about the app too. Hana, I guess everyone knows about it. Either way, if you’re going to Hana, I 100% recommend downloading it as you get to learn factoids along the way AND the app preps you for upcoming stops! Just know that it EATS YOUR BATTERY ALIVE. So you need to have your phone charging constantly!

1. KEANAE ARBORETUM

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We drove over an hour before we stopped at our first location, the Keanae Arboretum. You get a close look at the Rainbow Eucalyptus trees which look like they have painter’s brush strokes on their thick trunks. Other than that…I don’t really see another reason for stopping here. The app said this is a highlight, but honestly, the Rainbow Eucalyptus trees you see near the beginning of your journey (on the left) are WAYYY cooler. They have blue stripes!

2. THREE BEARS FALLS (Upper Waikani Falls)

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These falls were so cool and right by the highway! They look like big bear, middle child bear, and baby bear. Apparently when it’s raining really hard, the water flow gets so intense that all 3 falls blend into one big kahuna fall, and the three bears lose their uniqueness. We were lucky to see the three!

3. PAUWALU POINT

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I really loved this spot because it was the first spot on the Road to Hana where we got to get up close and personal with the ocean. Oh and boy was she TURBULENT! The water is deep blue and the waves crashing against the dark black rock formations make for a stunning visual experience.

4. NAHIKU MARKETPLACE

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At this point, more than halfway to Hana, we were getting hungry. There had been mini stands run by locals along the way selling fresh banana bread, fruits, and fish tacos. We decided to wait for the Nahiku Marketplace, which is a row of stands, for more food options. Be prepared to have cash, as most of these stands ONLY accept cash and I did not see an ATM machine! The fish taco I had was OK. The beef taco was better, but still, I much prefer the tacos from Coconuts! That was probs my fave fish taco of the entire trip…and I had A LOT of fish tacos! The only place that took credit card was the smoothie place to the left.

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That is also where we bought some banana bread, and I must say…that was indeed buttery and memorable!

5. WAINAPANAPA CAVES + BLACK SAND BEACH

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The app told a scary legend about a Hawaiian princess who was murdered here by her cruel chief husband. So, once a year there is a phenomenon in this very cave where the water turns red like blood as a reminder of the incident…but really…it’s just shrimp being born! It was a short 5 min hike down to the cave.

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In the same place you also get to see the Black Sand Beach! This was one of the top things I wanted to see FOR SURE. When we got down, we saw a cool mini tube cave thing on the right. You have to duck your head low to get in, but once you do, you’ll see the light and it makes for a cool silhouette pic!

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The sand is indeed black and it’s AWESOME.

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Except that the rocks hurt. So I ended up wearing my sandals into the water and they floated away from me a couple times! This is not a beach for snorkeling or easy wading. The waves are quite big. Well, I’m scared of waves, so anything above my knees is big. But no really, I think most would consider them large as they will go up to your neck.

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Black Sand Beach was very crowded around 2pm.

6. RED SAND BEACH

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We finally made it to Hana and were rewarded with the BEST thing in the ENTIRE Road to Hana adventure. The app does not tell you about this place on the way there, so don’t forget to make a note and GO HERE. It is the most visually stimulating thing I have EVER SEEN IN MY LIFE. I mean, LOOK:

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We did this on the way back to the Kahului airport on our final day so I did not get a chance to go in the water, but oh man, I would have gladly traded a couple Hana stops just to spend a good half day here.

Do you see how there’s a natural swimming pool with calmer waters because of the natural rock gate that barricades the crashing waves from the shore? YEAH. That will allow for peace swimming, and from what I hear, snorkeling too.

The hike here is tough to find and I almost slipped a few times. I was wearing full on tennis shoes and lost my balance more times than my life would like.

How to find it?

Park on the street in front of the Hana Community Center. Then look to the left of the Community Center beyond a green grassy field and you will see a tiny dirt trail not too far from the gate for the hotel guest parking gate. It’s a little hard to find. We missed it at first. You will walk through a bunch of tall grass. The whole time I kept telling myself – please no praying mantises please no grasshoppers please no snakes. I am happy to report that none of those touched me to my knowledge.

You will continue on the trail to walk left…and KEEP GOING for 10 min or so. And then you will see it. YOU WILL SEE THE HEAVEN THAT IS THE RED SAND BEACH.

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If you go here, please be safe. It is EASY to fall off the cliff and tumble into the ocean. Please wear good shoes with grip, and hold on to the roots of the trees as you climb. If you can, get here EARLY like 7am-8am (makes sense for those staying the night in Hana and leaving the next day) and you won’t see any tourists. Seeing this place without people really adds to it’s glory.

7. KOKI BEACH

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We stopped here because the app told us to and I really loved the scenery. We didn’t get in the water because we thought we forgot to lock the car, but I did get a chance to snap this shot. Once again, lots of waves at this beach. Not too many people around 3:30pm.

8. WAILUA FALLS

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Another waterfall by the road that we needed to see! You can totally swim in the pool here but we decided we’d rather save pool swimming for the Oheo pools at the end. Awesome pic opportunity PLUS the rock walls also have water trickling down them which adds to the whole rainforest experience.

9. OHEO POOLS (Seven Sacred Pools)

I read EVERYWHERE that we needed to go 45 min past Hana to see the Oheo Pools which were dubbed the “Seven Sacred Pools” by some marketing people to keep people driving after they reached Hana. Apparently there are more than a dozen pools here so “seven” is just a word that sounded nice with “sacred”, and according to the app, these pools are not sacred at all. LOL.

$20 entrance fee (really parking fee) to get into Haleakala National Park. This ticket lasts for 3 days FYI so don’t pay again if you’re going to the top! The hike down to the pools took a mere several minutes (0.5 mile loop) and when we got there, we were a little disappointed to see a ton of people.

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It was about 4:15pm. For sure, it was beautiful, but having so many tourists there took away from the experience. We decided not to swim and instead got ready for the Pipiwai trail.

Look, I’m not trying to say I don’t like tourists (because I am one) but I think the internet has really populated a bunch of places that once used to be cool and hidden hang out spots for the locals. I feel responsible now contributing to the tourism. But then again, I would feel selfish if I didn’t share this beauty with you. Hmm, how do you feel about this? Is it bad to share local spots with the internet? Will it lead to the over-visitation (and maybe destruction!??) of these sites?

10. PIPIWAI TRAIL & THE BAMBOO FOREST

After reading Unreal Hawaii’s blog post on the Pipiwai Trail, I knew I wanted to go here to see the Bamboo Forest up close and personal! We started the trail around 5pm and DID NOT want to walk back in the dark, so we made it a goal to get the Bamboo Forest but to not go all the way to the end, which I heard was a 4 hr – 4 mile loop!

Be prepared for SWEATINESS!!! Heart rate was UP UP UP. But it felt nice (in an OMG I’m dying kinda way) to be active after sitting in a car so much of the trip. Lots of roots, mud, and rocks. WEAR TENNIS SHOES OR HIKING SHOES.

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Halfway to the Bamboo forest, you will see the Makihiku Falls from a distance. Keep going and you will pass a huge Banyan Tree too!

Then after more heart thumping hiking, you will reach this bridge…

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which leads to the Bamboo Forest!

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When we got to the forest, I was halfway expecting Pandas to pop out. Or like a ton of centipedes camouflaged as bamboo. I did not see either. HOWEVER, I do hear that centipedes are a thing. Just make sure you’re bug sprayed up. The forest was beautiful and quite majestic. Tried to take a pic here but lighting was bad for a human, so you get just the bamboo by itself!

After hiking back to the parking lot, we left for our VRBO house rental around 6:30ish. It was still light, so we were happy about that. I wish I could say that after getting to our place, we relaxed, ate, and slept peacefully into dreamland…but…THAT WAS SOOOOO NOT THE CASE.

The house was indeed lovely, and the owners left fresh Hawaiian flowers on the towels and the beds and even fresh fruit (bananas, avocados, star fruit, papaya) in the fridge for us. All was grand until…

I saw it.

I was reaching for a window to close it and as soon as the window slammed, I saw a dark grey mass skitter to the right of my hand.

It was…

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…the biggest spider I had ever seen in my life.

It was the size of a crab.

A CRAB!!!!!!

I died. I died so many times. I just could not live.

I called the owner and left voicemails for help. I told them I was dying. I’m sorry if I sound like a whiny baby but I have arachnophobia TO THE MAX. And when you see a spider the size of a crab in your bathroom when you’re about to take a shower in your most vulnerable state and you have extreme arachnophobia, you feel like death is near.

All I can say is that eventually (like in a 30 min battle) between spider crab and 3 humans, humans won, but only kind of, because I slept in fear that night, waking up several times thinking there was a spider on me.

SO!!!

I hope you enjoyed this Road to Hana recap! If you ever go, just remember that this trip is more about the adventure than it is about actually getting to Hana. Enjoy the journey. Have a good playlist prepared. If you’re on Spotify, download the songs first. You will not have any service. Don’t forget the Gypsy Guide app, and don’t miss the Red Sand Beach. TAKE LOTS OF PICS. But boomerangs are better. And video is a plus if you want to be an overachiever.

Alrighty, just a couple more hours to LAX. Time to catch a few zzz’s since I’m a little sleep deprived…

love-cassey-transparent-150px

57 thoughts on “Top 10 Road to Hana Stops!”

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  1. Jana says:

    I went to do my workout and noticed this post because we were just in Maui. In fact, we left the same day you did! My 10 year old daughter was excited to see your pictures because she had just played at the black sand beach a few days before you. It made her want to go back today.

  2. Beth says:

    OMG THAT SPIDER. Here I am, drifting happily along and admiring the sights, and then THAT happened. Ughhhh. Glad the rest of the day turned out so well! I love the idea of driving from point A to point B and working back to avoid the tourist rush. Such a good idea!

  3. Kaitlyn Evener says:

    Cassey, there is no way that you sound whiny about the spider. I have the deepest phobia of spiders out of anyone I know and when I saw the picture on my computer screen I had a mini panic attack. So…basically don’t feel that your reaction was abnormal or anything. YIKES! I would have been a sobbing, shaking, incoherent mess.
    The rest of your pictures are amazing and I am incredibly jealous!

  4. Jhoss says:

    OMG!!! I reading your post thinking “Oh! I must go there one day!” and then I read about the spider and all my dreams fell down >.< I have arachnophobia too, really just with that pic I went paranoid and started to looking around me and scratching myself, generally I can't stabnd bugs but spiders are a big NO to me (º-º)'

  5. Julie says:

    Looks like a cane spider! I hated finding those in my parents house ><

  6. Rita Montenegro says:

    Omg I just can’t deal with spiders too! I’m dying with the pic! So big!! It looks like a beautiful place! You have to come to guatemala someday (we have black sand too 😉 ) I totally can be your tour guide LOL 🙂

  7. Melissa Hoffman says:

    Looks like your had so much fun! The scenery was BEAUTIFUL! and OMG I would die if I saw that spider in person… I totally understand arachniphobia! Because I have it as well. Along with every other bug… aphobia. yeah xD

  8. Amanda Loucks says:

    Looks like your trip was SO full of adventure! When we did the road to Hana we had a convertible and I can’t lie, it was AWESOME! I was dying when I read about the spider incident. You reaction is priceless and exactly like mine would be!

    1. blogilates says:

      LOL it was the worst! OMG convertible sounds amazing!!!

  9. Tabatha Michelle says:

    Did you kill the spider? I really hope you didn’t… She surely was scare too, I like your trip and I want to go to Hawaii someday ????

  10. Julia D says:

    Wow I never had a terrible urge to go to Hawaii but now I feel I need to go!!!

    1. blogilates says:

      Twas the best!

  11. Kelina Collins says:

    It looks like you had an amazingly beautiful trip!!!! But, that spider. Oh my god, I’d be running out of that room and I wouldn’t sleep in that house. I would’ve gone to a hotel nearby. Lol. That thing was HUGE!!! Ilysm Cassey!!! ❤??

    1. blogilates says:

      LOL the only other hotel nearby was wayyyyyyy too expensive! We had no choice!

  12. Lam says:

    OMG THAT S-S-PID-D-DER I-IS SO H-H-HUGE!!!!!!!!!AHHHHHHHHHHH IM SO SORRY BUT IN JAPAN THERE ARE ANTS THAT ARE 2 centimeters long!!!!!!!

    1. blogilates says:

      EEEW WHAT

  13. Rose says:

    Love the pics. Glad you had a wonderful time. That spider would have given me a heart attack, just the sight of it is terrifying. Glad you survived.

  14. Brooklyn says:

    That spider was massive!
    Looks like an awesome trip 🙂

    http://www.justbeingbrooklyn.com

  15. Camille says:

    You did not overreact with the spider incident. That creature is terrifying!!! But I’m glad you had a good time. Thanks for the pics:)

  16. OH MY GOSH KILL IT!! I HATE SPIDERS!

    I shivered looking at that.

  17. Brittany says:

    Next time you need to stop at Coconut Glen’s along the way for some ice cream! Also, kind of unrelated, but I would love to see a video where you explain the steps you take toward achieving goals…. Are you into visualization, manifesting, meditation, vision boards etc…? Do you set deadlines for yourself? You are so inspiring and always accomplish every goal you set for yourself, and I would love to see your process!!!

    1. Naomi says:

      Agree!

  18. Mandy says:

    Beautiful pics !
    But OMG the spider !!!! I totally understand you !! I’d have a panic attack & not be able to sleep, like you !!

    1. Naomi says:

      I am not afraid of spiders…but if I saw one this size…yep it would be really difficult to scoop it and take it outside.

      “I died. I died so many times. I just could not live.”

      That line just cracks me up. Not that I wouldn’t do the same. Sorry Cassey, but you have a knack for writing and this just made me laugh.

      1. blogilates says:

        Aww that is good to know. I’ll keep writing.

  19. Christine Tarkowski says:

    You officially need to bring me on your next Hawaiian vacation as your designated spider handler and Cassey saver. You make me smile, Love you, Cassey!!

  20. Arianna says:

    Looks like a wonderful trip : ) The natural swimming pool reminds me of the movie The Beach. Also, I have the giggles while typing this because the song Spiderwebs by No Doubt is playing on fiance’s playstation. I am glad you got away from that thing!

  21. Polly says:

    Your photos are making me miss Maui so much! It’s my favorite of all the Hawaiian islands I’ve been to so far! Looks like you had a great time!

    1. blogilates says:

      Ugh I miss it so much!!!

  22. Alexandra Nugent says:

    That spider will haunt me for the rest of my days…

    1. blogilates says:

      It was the worst.

  23. Kailie Dawn says:

    I love reading these posts about your adventures Cassey! Just looks like a beautiful experience. That would 100% be my reaction to that spider though. A million times no to that! I would not sleep that night!

    1. blogilates says:

      It was sooooo terrifyinggggg!!!!

  24. Celia Vitale says:

    HOLY CRAP THAT SPIDER! I would have died too! But it looks like the rest of the trip was soooo much fun! <3

    1. blogilates says:

      I so wished I did not see that thing.

  25. Cassie says:

    This place looks so cool! I love Maui since I never fail to have a good time. These are definitely some destinations I have to visit!

  26. Marla Savage says:

    OMG! We just got back from our honeymoon there. Thank god I didn’t see any spiders like that! We loved all the places you listed too. We never made it to the arboretum, but now I don’t feel like I missed anything since we saw the rainbow eucalyptus trees at the beginning! I was sure we’d die on the road to Hana, but it really is fine if you are safe. Thanks for sharing!

    1. blogilates says:

      Yay! Maui is my fave. I will need to explore the other Hawaiian islands next. I just love the adventure aspect so much of these types of trips.

      1. Marla Savage says:

        Me too! I recommend Kauai next. So unbelievable and breath taking! Lots to do there, though it’s less touristy. You can hike the coast, go to Hanalei Bay, and so much more!

  27. Elise says:

    OMG That spider is HUGE. I was going to ask if bugs are not too big or scary and well…that post answered my question. I don’t have arachnophobia but I would have died just like you O.O Anyway, thank you for this post ! The pictures are gorgeous ! ^_^ <3

    1. blogilates says:

      Glad you liked the pics! Yup. Spider will haunt me for the rest of my days.

  28. Amanda Rae says:

    Sounds like a wonderful adventure! I was dying reading about your near death experience with the spider because 1. you are hilarious and 2. I would be having the exact same reaction? Thanks for sharing! I’m adding red sand beach to my list of top places I want to to see?

    1. blogilates says:

      Haha. I was dying too.

  29. Susanne says:

    this looks like such a fun adventure!!! Thanks for sharing, you brightened my day with your positivity 🙂

    1. blogilates says:

      Thanks for reading!

  30. Corina Hill says:

    Glad you made it to the red sand beach and to the sacred pools! The key to beating the crowds in Hawaii is to get there early. Your post is no different then the other touristy tips and books out there, so don’t feel bad about blasting these spots- I think what irritates us most is the fact that people blast out what we call “secret spots” and those are typically for a, “let me show you where the tourists don’t go” moment, but now people on social media has blasted these spots and it’s frustrating, and it has turned into overcrowded areas that were once quiet, beautiful and peaceful. But we do live in Paradise so what can we expect? Maui is my Fav island and was blessed to have lived there for a summer and you just gave me serious FOMO! that spider though!! Never in my life have I seen such a thing here! The biggest spider I ever saw was in Fl.. But this topped that!? ? Mahalo for sharing your adventures!

    1. blogilates says:

      Thanks! I feel better having that come from you! And yeah…that spider….I died.

      1. Janell Kent says:

        Agree with my POPsister Corina! Don’t feel bad about “revealing” these spots as they are already pretty well traveled. Having been born and raised on Oahu, I too like to escape to the outer islands for a nice vacation! My brother is currently flying back and forth between Maui and Oahu for work…oh what a life! Haha. OMG that spider!!!! I was dying inside for you. I would have the same reaction! That kind of looks like a cane spider, but that would be the LARGEST one I have ever seen!! Anyway, glad you enjoyed your vacation! You SO deserve it!!

        1. blogilates says:

          Yes, I heard it was a cane spider!!! I heard it doesn’t bite but I don’t care. IT’S UGGGLLYYYY.

          1. Corina Hill says:

            the image of this spider has not left my head since you showed us- ? It creeps me out – I don’t even think I could have stayed there afterwards! I’m sure you’ve seen our big ass cockroaches too?! You just don’t get used to it-EVER! Lol

          2. Christina K says:

            Omg. I have lived in Hawaii all my life and I have never seen a Cane Spider!!! I have major arachnophobia too!! My husband told me they carry their babies on their backs and he hit one once and they all scattered on the wall!!

            And I think it’s all good with you showing the awesome spots we have! Really some of the hidden stuff most of time is really a secret even to most locals!! Like the Wallabies we have in Oahu.

  31. Paige says:

    I’m done. That spider!!!!!

    1. blogilates says:

      Was so done.

  32. Anni Lehtonen says:

    That spider……I can’t live anymore that is HUGE!!!1! I died by seeing it on picture.. so I would totally cry after seeing it irl D:

    1. blogilates says:

      I screamed and ran around the house.

  33. emma leonardi says:

    Are you and Sam together?!

    1. Debbie B says:

      Same question here!

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