One of the most beautiful & rewarding adventures in Hawaii
is touring the Hana Highway (Route 36 - 360). Starting at the
heart of industrialized Kahului, the trek ends in a tiny Hawaiian
village set along beautiful coastlines, pasture land and lush
If it's your first time
traveling to Hana, you'll want to set aside an entire day for
the trip (plan for a 3-4 hour drive). The most important thing
to remember is to take the time to enjoy the drive. You will
be traveling roughly 51+ miles from Kahului going over 54 bridges,
passing through quaint towns, villages and the most gorgeous
terrain anywhere in the world. You'll see slopes and valleys
brimming with ferns, trees, and flowers of all colors, waterfalls
and freshwater pools that are excellent for taking a break,
and going for a swim.
Driving East out of Kahului on the highway, the first town you'll pass through is the old sugar plantation town of Paia. Paia is now known for being "The Windsurfing Capitol of the World" as well as a mecca for artists of all mediums. The two streets of the little town are lined with false front buildings that house shops, boutiques, galleries, and restaurants.
Three miles past Paia
The worlds best wind surfers can be seen here either in
competition or polishing up their skills in the great surf &
strong tradewinds that have made Hookipa synonymous with the
As you continue East,
Route 36 transforms into 360, there are small mileage marker
signs along the road side to aid in navigation. When you pass
the intersection of Ulumalu Rd. and the highway you'll see the
If you are in need of any last minute supplies, make this stop,
as it is one of the last stops before the Keanae - Hana
area. Just beyond this stop the roadway narrows and a series
of twists & turns begins your journey deep into the Hana
is the next populated area you'll pass by, then the small village
of Kailua (which is the last pay phone until Keanae).
Puohokamoa Falls is a nice area to stop to take a break and swim. Watch for the 11 mile marker, it's located just past it.
Bay at the
14 mile marker is truly a sight to behold. (A few valleys away
is where the helicopter scene in Jurassic Park was shot)
Keanae is a Hawaiian village dating back to ancient times. Kalo (taro) is still cultivated there as well as many other species of native flora. In the recent years that Maui has undergone such drastic development, Keanae has gone virtually untouched (thankfully).
Home to a strong Native
Hawaiian population, to look into life in Keanae is to look
into the Heart of Hawaii itself.
To get to the Keanae
Peninsula take the left at the 17 mile marker.
is also another farming and fishing community, like Keanae,
it to is dotted with gardens and charming rustic homes. As the
road extends it's snake like path eastward, Naihiku
is located near the 25 mile marker. If you have the time,
turn left off the main road. The road is slow going, but the
views you'll be presented with are unforgettable.