The Maui's northeast is perfect for people who love nature. The famous road to Hana is a must see when visiting Maui. The following are some important spots along this way.
Along this road, there is a small village called Paia. In Paia, the visitor will find old, wooden houses full of color along the main street. Henry Baldwin founded the village; around the time he had the first sugar plantation. Translated, Paia means noisy. This is how the early days in this town used to be. Today, the colorful houses have been transformed into art galleries, windsurfing shops, restaurants, and souvenir shops.
Windsurfers from around the world visit this town. It is the last stop before reaching the Hana town, and tons of longhaired windsurfers make the stop here for provisions and gas. Visitors may think that they work in town; however, they are passing by as well. The windsurfer schools in Paia also rent equipment.
Traveling outside Paia, for ten minutes will lead to Hookipa Beach County Park. The winds pick up in the afternoon and windsurfer’s numbers will increase during this time. The area turns into a colorful event. This beach is not good for swimming. The left is suitable for windsurfers and the right of the beach is better for surfers, as they can find better waves. Parking is by the roadside. It is polite to leave the lower parking spots for the surfers and windsurfers that have to carry their equipment down to the beach. Michael's House and Bob's vacation rentals are two places by Spreckelsville to get accommodations nearby.
Just a few miles and off the main road is Haiku. Haiku translates to abrupt break, meaning that the weather can change fast in this area. This place was best known for having two canneries, but these have been turned into Hawaiian shopping spots. Here you can stay at Puo Koa, perfect accommodations for windsurfers, and so are the Dream Bungalows. The Haiku Ranch is another great place to stay, at a bargain. It has gorgeous surroundings. From here, the road continues towards Hana.
This road is a bit difficult, as you will think of yourself as the only skilled driver, while the waterfalls along the way, the stiff cliffs, and the beautiful lush forest surrounding you distract other drivers. A narrated tour is a good idea if you do not want to drive around here, but if driving it is advisable that you keep eyes on the road. This road is the one that tourists refer to the locals as being rude, however, this is the road that locals take to and from work, and tourists and honeymooners, who have plenty of time, may be in the way. It is polite to let the locals pass to their destination.
Along this road, you may find a few fruit shacks belonging to local farmers who sell their fruits and fresh fruit juice. Before heading to this road, it is advisable to fill up the gas tank and pack some snacks.
The trip to Hana requires planning for a whole day and overnight stay. There are some very nice bed and breakfasts in Hana. You can hike towards 7 pools during the next morning. Early is better as after 10:30 am, paradise will start getting crowded. Here you will also find great vacation homes. The Hana House is perfect for honeymooners.
The drive is a bit long, about 52 miles and it takes about three hours; however, for nature lovers it is paradise, as they will encounter many natural wonders. The visitor will love the many waterfalls along the way. Waianapanapa State Park is just four miles before Hana. This is a large park, about 120 acres that has a rugged coastline and gorgeous black sand beaches.
The hike will take you over black lava roads towards the Wainapanapa Caves, the beach with black sand, or to ancient Hawaiian spots. The black sand beach is a bit rough for swimming, but the caves offer clear calm waters, however cool.
Hana has approximately two thousand residents. The feel of this town is of the Hawaii at the turn of the century. This town is special, has a very slow pace of life, no stress, and is away from civilization. Do not expect the bank to have traditional or regular banking hours - the bank is simply open when it is open, if not it is closed.
The economy of this town started to change in the 40s, when sugar was not profitable much longer. The economy turned to cattle, which was brought from Molokai. The Hana Cattle Ranch was born. This ranch has about fourteen thousand acres.
The Hotel Hana Maui was opened around 1946 by a millionaire who invited his friends to stay, and later decided to open it to the public. Many visitors like this hotel, especially some celebrities that want the privacy and seclusion of the area and can afford the luxury of this hotel. Here, horseback riding is a great way to take in the gorgeous views of the ocean and of Haleakala.
The 1970s brought a transformation for the area as people started to purchase homes here. The wilderness gave way to an attractive living in the country. The price of land soared exorbitantly, from $20,000 per acre to $200,000 per acre. There are plantation homes for people who would like to live here.
This small place goes down in a slope to Hana Bay. Hawaiian Royalty used to love the bay area, but it was also a strategic point for attacking the Big Island of Hawaii. King Kamehameha's favorite wife was born here. The popular Red Sand Beach is found close to Hana Bay.
The town of Hana has an airport that is small and Aloha Island Air flights to and from here. The planes have small propellers and flights are scheduled here to other islands. Here you will also find two helicopters that offer tours as well as a sailplane company. Private jets can also land here, as in the case of celebrities that own homes in the area.
Leaving Hana, and twelve miles beyond, visitors will head towards the 7 Pools of Oheo Gulch, which is located at the Haleakala National Park. These fresh water pools are breath taking, almost as if the visitor’s steps into a perfect movie set. The most popular pools are the ones closest to the ocean and below the bridge. Along the river, a hike up will take you to the Makahiku Falls and to the Waimoku Falls. On rainy days, these trails are very slippery, proper footwear and caution is recommended. The Waimoku Fall is amazing and the highest ridges surround the area. You can appreciate the rainbows that form and the beautiful sunrise, as you stand underneath the waterfall, as the waters are not that strong. There are also tours and guides will share incredible legends about this place.
The Wailua Falls are not far away from Hana, only about seven miles. Charles Lindbergh rest in peace here, as it was his wish to be buried in this paradise. He lived in Hana for many years. Next to his grave a church stands, the view from here is of steep cliffs and of the Big Island vast channel.
The road will keep going along the south coast until it disappears and becomes unpaved road. Unless you have a 4x4-terrain vehicle, it is best to turn back. The road gets tricky and insurances of rental car companies will not pay for the damages. There is risk of getting stuck in this area, which is heavily lush forest with no phone for many miles. Towing from this area is very expensive. The weather becomes very chilly at night. The views of the channel and the Haleakala back are stunning as you continue at your own risk.
The North Maui Beaches
These beaches offer much variety and when it comes down to beaches, Maui has it all. Mark Twain called one of these beaches the most beautiful beach in the entire Pacific. Here you will also find the most famous beach worldwide for windsurfing.
The Waianapanapa State Park
This unique beach has black sand and a small lava bay that is rocky. It is a must see when visiting this area, unfortunately not good for swimming due to the sharp lava formations. There is much to explore here.
The Kaihalulu Beach aka Red Sand Beach
Hiking to it through a trail that is a bit rough and tight can only access the Red Sand Beach. This is not an easy trail, and it is considered dangerous at some points. There are spots were the width of the trail is only two feet and there is a sixty feet high cliff below, so extreme care must be taken not to fall. It has red sand due to a red volcanic cinder cone. You can swim here; however beware of tricky currents to the left.
The Hookipa Beach Park
Taking the Hana Highway, and two miles passing Lower Paia, you will find the Hookipa Beach Park. This is a well-equipped park. It has pavilions with BBQ's, restrooms, picnic tables, an area for camping in tents, showers, and the parking lot is paved off. There is a small beach, but not suitable for swimming. It is great for surfing all year, especially in the winter months. This park is known for having consistent wind and surf, making it an ideal spot for windsurfing. This location is known worldwide as great for windsurfers. If in the area, the park is worth visiting. One great place to stay is Bob's vacation rentals.
The Hamoa Beach
This is the beach that Mark Twain referred to as the best beach in the Pacific. It is a gorgeous beach, tropical, and cared for by the Hotel Hana Maui. There is usually one weekly luau sponsored by the Hana Maui Hotel, and hotel guests are driven to the beach in hay wagons. It is located just passing Kiki, on the Hamoa Road.