There are t-shirts for sale in the tourist shops that say "I survived the road to Hana". With that kind of publicity we knew we had to give it a try. We wanted to do the full circle, through the red dotted line on the map. Apparently if you drive this dangerous rocky road (the red dotted line portion on the map) in your rental vehicle, your insurance is void. I'm not sure if that's true, but we decided a tour would be the best way to do the trip.
We were up early Wednesday morning to be picked up by Discover Hawaii Tours at 6.25 am for our Road to Hana tour. We were picked up in a cab at our condo by a wonderful woman who is originally from Vietnam and has lived in Maui for 27 years. She brought us to a meeting point where we met the van that we would be with all day.
Our guide, Junior was the most unique guide I've ever had. He entertained us all day. He shared Hawaiian history in a memorable way and most importantly, he was a really good driver!
We started with breakfast (pineapple and muffins from the back of the van) just outside of Paia. Once we finished, we were on our way to the twisting, narrow road to Hana. We made stops along the way to check out sites; we got up close to a waterfall, watched coconuts being cut down, walked along the black sand beaches in Wai'anapanapa State Park (black sand is hard on the feet), visited a flower farm (white ginger flowers are pretty cool) and of course bought warm banana bead (twice). Oh and a highlight was seeing the gazebo from Fantasy Island. I loved that show as a kid - even though it often scared me.
We had lunch in Hana and checked out the shops. The woman who runs the post office also runs the bank so both can't be open at the same time. I thought the bank looked especially secure.
We did then complete Hana circle which means some pretty terrifying dirt road - jagged rock cliff on one side and steep ocean cliff on the other. The scenery was outstanding. It's legal to ride in the back of a truck here and we were shocked when we saw a couple trucks with people loaded in the back. That's crazy!
We learned about all the famous people who have homes on Maui - including Oprah and her 5 mile long driveway.
We had a full day and made it back safe and sound around 6 pm. The entire trip was awesome!
We survived the road to Hana but I probably won't buy the t-shirt.