Know Before You Go, Shaka Guide's Classic Road to Hana Tour
Ah, the Road to Hana, if you’re embarking on this roughly 65-mile road trip along the winding Hana Highway, you’ve probably heard about the stunning waterfalls, swimming holes and scenic spots you’re about to uncover. On Shaka Guide’s Classic Road to Hana Tour, you’ll make over 25 stops as you traverse the road on your way towards Hana Town. Because this tour takes roughly ten hours to complete (no joke!), there’s a lot you need to know to start planning and make the most of your day. So buckle up, we’ve got it all outlined here for you.
You’re about to go on an epic road trip, but there are a few things you should know about the tour before you get started.
- Start the tour in Kahului near the airport and end in Kipahulu (Haleakala National Park (past Hana). The tour then guides you back to Paia Town (near the airport) with more stories the same way you came.
- If you’re staying in West Maui in the resort towns of Kaanapali or Lahaina, plan to spend 45 minutes driving to the start of the tour in Kahului.
- Entrance to Haleakala National Park (Seven Sacred Pool aka Oheo Pools) is $30 per car — you can pay with cash or credit.
- IMPORTANT: Beginning 3/1/2021 reservations are required to visit Waianapanapa State Park (black sand beach) - book up to 14 days in advance, no same-day reservations allowed, $5 for pedestrian walk-ins, $10 per car. Book here: www.gowaianapanapa.com.
- The Hana Lava Tube, Garden of Eden and Kahana Gardens close at 4 p.m. Each of these attractions has an entrance fee — see more below under budgeting.
- One of the hikes on this tour -- Wailua Iki Falls -- is technically on property owned by EMI (East Maui Irrigation). You’ll see no trespassing signs, however, it’s frequently done by locals. We’ll let you make the call.
- There are many stops on the Road to Hana that you SHOULDN’T make. These might be dangerous or on private property. We recommend you stick to the itinerary we’ve laid out.
- Proper etiquette on the Road to Hana is extremely important. Remember, there are locals that must take this road everyday.
- This tour has one stop on the way back, other than that, it’s all stories and music so you can focus on the drive, especially if it’s getting dark. The return drive will only take about 3 hours back to the start.
What to Expect
To Get An Early Start
We recommend starting the tour by 8:00 a.m (from Kahului). If you are starting from Kaanapali you should start driving more like 7:30am. We know it’s early, but it’s imperative if you want to visit all the spots and minimize nighttime driving.
To Spend 10-12 Hours Exploring
If you wanted to do EVERYTHING on the tour -- each hike, scenic spot, swimming hole -- we recommend you plan to spend about 12 hours on the tour. Since there’s so much to see, we've created this suggested itinerary so you can plan which spots you want to visit in advance. Also, some advice: don’t get caught up in visiting every spot, sure you’ll want to make the most of your day, but this road trip is truly about the journey. Stay flexible and enjoy your time at the spots you do visit.
To Be Active
There are four hikes on this tour, but that’s just the beginning. There are caves to explore, ponds to swim in and gardens to marvel at. In addition, a ton of stops for viewpoints. So be prepared to be in and out of the car A LOT on this drive!
Not only will you stop at multiple beaches along the Road to Hana, you’ll also visit a number of swimming holes! These are generally beneath cascading waterfalls, making them truly unique experiences. Here are all the beaches and swimming holes you’ll visit on this tour:
- Ho’okipa Beach
- Twin Falls
- Ching’s Pond
- Waikani Falls
- Wailua Iki Falls
- Waianapanapa Black Sand Beach
- Koki Beach
- Hamoa Beach
- Seven Sacred Pools (Oheo Pools)
- Venus Pools
Pro Tip! The best waterfall and swimming is toward the end of the tour. So some early stops you can just check out briefly. This saves time so you can swim and relax at better waterfalls and swimming holes later in the day.
To Try Local Goodies
In the midst of all your driving and exploring, don’t forget to stop for a bite to eat! We’ll remind you about the best food stops throughout the tour, but you can also check out the tour highlights in the app. Some of our favorite stops are Aunty Sandy’s for fresh-made banana bread, Coconut Glen’s for coconut-milk ice cream and Halfway to Hana food stand for some snacks.
The Road to Hana is more than just seeing, it’s about embracing the natural beauty of Maui and learning the unique history of Hawaii. With Shaka Guide, you’ll actually learn about the history of the spots you're visiting. You’ll leave with a deeper appreciation for this special corner of Maui.
How much you spend truly depends on what you do along the tour route, but here’s a breakdown of some costs:
- $30.00 per car: Haleakala National Park (Oheo Pools)
- $15.00 for adults: Garden of Eden (per person)
- $11.95 per person: Hana Lava Tube $10.00 per person: Kahana Gardens
- $15.00 per person: Lunch
- $10.00: Local snack, like banana bread or shave ice
The Road to Hana has many beautiful natural wonders but it is not a theme park and can be dangerous when proper safety steps are not followed. The following are suggestions. You are in charge of your own safety.
- Waterfall Safety: do not go underneath any waterfall due to falling rocks.
- Swimming and Rock Jumping: Check depth before jumping off rock into pools
- Hiking Safety: Bring water & hike in groups, stay away from ledges
- Driving Safety: 3-5 cars per at a time for one-lane bridges. Pull over for locals.
- Ocean safety: Watch for rogue waves. Be aware of strong undercurrents and waves especially during Winter months.
Here’s our packing list for this tour. It may seem a little long, but remember, what you bring depends on the activities you choose to do for the day.
- Layers and a Jacket
- Hiking Clothes
- Water Bottle
- Bug Spray
- Bathing Suit
- Sun Glasses and/or Hat
- Car Charger *Very Important*
- Phone Mount
Shaka Guide’s Road to Hana By the Numbers
Let us break it down for you! This tour features:
- 1 Lava Cave
- 2 Cute Towns
- 2 Gardens
- 4 Hikes
- 5 Beaches
- 5 Scenic Spots
- 6 Swimming Holes
- 8 Waterfalls
- 10 Hours of Fun
The Road to Hana is not a theme park. It is a rare natural resource that many locals call home. With so many visitors driving this road everyday the impact is real. In Hawaiian the word malama means “to take care” and the word aina means “land.” When you’re in Hawaii, we ask that you practice this and pick up your trash; respect the marine life, plants, and animals; and avoid spots that are unsafe. Hawaii’s natural resources are precious, it’s up to all of us to help preserve these resources for generations by respecting the aina when you visit.
We hope that we’ve given you all the information you need to make the most of your day. Your vacation is extremely important to us so if you have any questions feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more detailed information to help you plan check out our Classic Road to Hana Tour suggested itinerary.