Road To Hana in Reverse
The Road to Hana is a must do when visiting the island of Maui however, if you hate the crowds and hate the traffic, then driving The Road To Hana in Reverse is the best way. All things considered, I spent a total of 4 days in Maui in which 2 of the days were dedicated to Road To Hana. Further, if you don’t already know, that road is 52 miles long with 620 curves and 59 bridges.
As a teenager, I remember doing this trip with my family in a little sedan. We tried to do the drive from Paia to Hana and all the way back in one day leaving no time for hikes or anything remotely interesting. In addition, there was a lot of traffic so Imagine being stuck in a car for 8 hours.
The Road to Hana in Reverse is not for the faint of heart. Prior, I was really nervous about driving because I hadn’t driven in 9 months. There are some sketchy unpaved roads hugging the side of a cliff with no guardrails. Just remember to take it SLOW. If you see someone tailgating you, chances are it’s a local so pull over when it’s safe and let them pass.
HNL (Honolulu) –> OGG (Kahului)
Southwest Airlines: 3,556 points + $5.20
Hertz: Mid-size SUV (recommended) for 4 days = $162.50
Use autoslash.com to find a rental. Once you book it, “track” your rental on the website. Consequently, if there is a lower price, autoslash will automatically send you an alert email. Just so you are aware, most rental companies will say that your coverage is void should you choose to drive in prohibited areas (such as the reverse way to Road To Hana). Based on the blogs I read, the car companies just don’t want to be responsible if you get stuck because of towing. In my opinion, just as long you’re not driving irresponsibly that you should be fine. As you’re driving, you’ll see many abandoned cars on the side of the road.
Home base was an Airbnb in Kihei – $99/night for 4 nights and includes parking. I was doing an Around The World Trip and I had large suitcases with me and I did NOT want to have that in the car while doing Road To Hana. Hate to say it but car break ins are quite common so leave NOTHING of value in your rental.
I didn’t want to spend a fortune on food so I went to Safeway in Kihei and loaded up on snacks and drinks. Did you know that Safeway has a large selection of fresh poke for a reasonable price?!?!
This was the start of our Road To Hana in Reverse trip so I figured Hana would be my halfway point so I booked an Airbnb there. It’s $101/night – cheap and reasonable priced stay although the walls were a bit thin so you can hear the neighbors. It was perfect rest stop.
Day 3 & 4 – Back to our apartment in Kihei
Preparing for Road To Hana in Reverse
Shaka Maui App – $9.99 for the Reverse Route. I cannot stress how important it is to have this app. At first I thought that I could drive the reverse and have my co-pilot spot out the mile markers. WRONG. The mile markers aren’t really in order AND it’s hard to read especially since the signs are a bit faded. This app was a true life saver. There were many parts of the trip where there wasn’t cell service. This app is able to work without cell service (it downloads an offline map) and based on your gps this app can continue to guide you and tell you exactly where to park to get the full experience. This app must be downloaded before the start of your trip.
What To Bring:
- water shoes
- swim suit
- battery charger
- dry bag
- waterproof cell phone case
- bag for muddy clothes
- insect repellant – the strong kind!
- CASH – not much – just in case you want to buy some snacks here and there
- car charger for phone
**NOTE** Do not leave any valuables in the car. I left off my valuables back in the apartment in Kihei and only took the necessities mentioned above
Road To Hana *Favorite* Stops
I was lucky to experience Road To Hana in Reverse in November with no rain. Many of the waterfalls I dipped my feet in were freezing cold. Although it could be raining up in the mountains, please be cautious of flash floods and use good judgment before jumping into a waterfall pool. I started the drive at 8am. Depending on your interests, you can drive right past or stop at any stops your heart desires! Although there are many suggested stops on the Maui Shaka app, below are a list of my favorite stops. I’ll be sure to explore other parts of Hana next time I return.
1st half of Road To Hana in Reverse
- Haleakala National Park – Parking is $30 as of year 2020 – a $5 increase from last year. Credit cards are accepted in this parking pass will allow you 3 days here should you wish to come back. Here you can hike the Pipiwai Trail and see the Oheo Pools (aka 7 sacred pools) We spent probably 2+ hours here.
- Venus Pool – you have to walk through a ranch to get here
- Hamoa & Koki Beach – beautiful views although it’s not advised to swim here due to strong currents
- Kaihalulu Red Sand Beach – Please be careful trekking to this area
- Grab some food at Ae’s Thai Kitchen Food Truck
- Check in at Airbnb in Hana.
2nd half of Road To Hana in Reverse
- Black Sand Beach – there are trails, caves and blowholes
- Nahiku – I parked in front of the church and walked through. As you walk down, there’s a home made swing into the water on the right side. Beautiful views
- Lava Tube Cave – bring your cellphone for flash light
- Pua’aka’a State Park – for bathroom break, waterfall
- Wailua Iki Hike
- Waikani Falls (3 Bear Falls)
- Keanae Peninsula – Stop for Aunty Sandy’s banana bread. $6 per loaf and $10 minimum. One of the best banana bread ever made
- Na’ili’ili-haela Waterfall – 20 minute hike through the bamboo forest. Do not come here at night time as it can be hard to navigate. The first 2 waterfalls are easy to get to and there are 2 more that are a bit more challenging to reach.
- Ho’okipa Beach – great for watching wind/kite surfing. You can see the sea turtles chilling on the right side
I was so bummed that all my photos didn’t transfer when I upgraded my phone to the iPhone 11. I’ll be coming back for sure. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below.