Posts Tagged ‘hawaii’

lahaina, mauii

Sometimes your dreams are just beyond the horizon! 

*Inspiration provided by this glorious Lahaina, Maui sunset.

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No trip to the Big Island is complete without a visit to St. Benedict’s Roman Catholic Church, otherwise known as “The Painted Church.”

The Painted Church

Minutes from the Bali Tree Cottage near Kealakekua Bay, we decided to attend mass in remembrance of a special family member who had recently passed.

The Painted Church

The Painted Church

Upon entering, we were overwhelmed by not only the warmth and hospitality of the priest and parishioners, but with the intricate and masterfully painted artwork depicting biblical scenes and lives of the saints.

The Painted Church

The Painted Church

The Painted Church

The Painted Church

The Painted Church

Since 1842, the Catholic church was an important part of South Kona.  This wasn’t always its present location or its original name for that matter. The first church was actually located near the beaches of the City of Refuge and called St. Francis Regis chapel.  Seeking a cooler climate with more fertile soil in the 1880s, the locals started moving to higher ground.  Father John Velghe, a Sacred Hearts Father from Belgium, decided to follow his many parishioners, and with their help, the church was dismantled and moved up the hill to its current location.



In August 1902, the church was consecrated and renamed in honor of St. Benedict.

This small Catholic church became “The Painted Church” after Father Velge, a self-taught artist, skillfully painted its interior between 1899-1904 to communicate Bible stories to non-English-speaking Hawaiians.

Today Saint Benedict’s Church is listed in the Hawaii State Register of Historic places and the National Register of Historic Places.

The Painted Church


St. Benedict’s Roman Catholic Church is located at:

84-5140 Painted Church Road
Captain Cook, Hawaii (HI) 96704
Phone: 808-328-2227


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Manini Beach

Karen and Ron Repan are residents of Kealakekua Bay on the “Big Island” of Hawaii and are the owners of the charming and rustic Bali Tree Cottage. Popular on Airbnb, Karen and Ron enjoy renting out their cottage and meeting people from all over the world. Last year, my husband and I traveled to Hawaii and experienced this secluded slice of paradise. Little did we know that two years earlier on March 11, 2011, the residents of Kealakekua Bay were affected by a destructive tsunami brought on by the devastating 8.9 earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan.

In an interview with Karen, she recounts her experience with the tsunami and the effect it had on the community.

Karen, as someone who has lived all over the world, what drew you and Ron to Kealakekua Bay?

Hawaii has the most temperate climate we have found. No extreme hot or cold weather. 83 degrees max, 72 low!  After living in Seattle, we were ready to move somewhere where we did not have to wear lots of clothes and heat or cool our home.

Plus, we love the ocean, especially one that we can swim in year round.

When the earthquake and tsunami struck Japan, was there immediate concern that Hawaii would be next?  If so, how did you and Ron prepare for the possibility of a tsunami?

We followed it on the news and heard it would hit around 5:00am. We didn’t really think we would be so impacted because the last evacuation we had for a potential tsunami was not necessary.

We were actually here when the first wave hit and could tell it was in our lower back yard! We got our elderly dogs in the truck and were able to get away south towards the City of Refuge. It was still really dark.

Had moved some cars to higher ground, but really did not do much else.  [We] will now heed any sirens and have great respect for what the ocean can do!

I can’t even fathom what that must have been like for you!  When my husband and I came to visit last year, it was hard to believe that your idyllic community was ravaged by a tsunami…but it became all too real when you gave us a tour of the area and pointed out an empty lot where a house used to be.  What did you discover upon your return home?

We were all shell shocked!  Very depressed for several months.  Did not want to go into the ocean for 6 months!

We had some very good friends up the hill that came with two of his visiting cousins that helped us clean up all the debris. Their moral support and hard work made all the difference!  None of our near neighbors realized what disaster we had in our backyard and concentrated on cleaning up Manini beach.

Thank goodness for John Farquhar and his two Canadian cousins!

TsunamiThe Repan’s backyard after the tsunami.
Photo credit: Karen Repan

TsunamiThe Repan’s backyard after the tsunami.
Photo credit: Karen Repan

TsunamiThe twisted and empty remains of a home’s foundation.
Photo credit: Karen Repan

TsunamiAlong the near shore is a home that was swept into the bay
(only their grey roof is visible).  Photo credit: John Farquhar

I’m glad your good friend John and his cousins were there for you during this difficult time!  Was the “Bali Tree Cottage” affected too?

Yes!  It got knocked off its’ foundation and moved 4 feet until it hit the ficus tree. A folded mattress was supporting one edge and the tree rooted supported the other edges.

TsunamiInside the Bali Tree Cottage.  Photo Credit: Karen Repan

TsunamiThe Bali Tree Cottage was knocked off its foundation.
Photo Credit: John Farquhar

TsunamiThe Bali Tree Cottage.  Photo Credit: John Farquhar

Oh wow!  You would never know it seeing how it looks today!  Were you renting it out at the time, or was this before you listed it on Airbnb?

It was before we added electricity and water to it. Had just finished building it!

Bali Tree CottageCurrent photo of The Bali Tree Cottage (2013)

From what I remember, your property is inland by about 1/2 block, and at that distance, the water brought so much destruction to your backyard!  How was the area closer to the shore effected, and how did you eventually get comfortable going back into the ocean?

We were absolutely appalled what the force of those waves did to Manini Beach. Several beautiful trees washed out to sea. We normally have an annual community beach clean up the Sat before the Tsunami but it was raining so we cancelled.  All the picnic tables we would have re-painted were washed out to sea!  It took quite awhile to see the positive things – more sand, new space to put a community garden….

So many fish were lost and huge heads of coral were turned upside down. But the ocean is healing, and the coral is coming back. Just felt different about the ocean knowing how destructive it could be.

TsunamiPhoto Credit: Karen Repan

The Manini Beach I saw was a slice of paradise complete with sand, coral and lava rocks. Is it my understanding that the tsunami pretty much relandscaped the beach into what it is today?

Yes. There was just coral and lava – no sand.  And the entrance to the water got carved out so we gained about 10 feet of chanel.  In the corner where the community garden is was just a jumble of night blooming cirus.

We lost a beautiful autograph tree and a big shade tree near the entrance gate.

IMG_0422Current Photo of Manini Beach (2013)

Manini BeachCurrent Photo of Manini Beach (2013)

By some miracle, no one lost their lives, but from photos I’ve seen, lots of personal property was damaged and destroyed. What kind of outreach did the community as a whole experience from others?

We saw in the papers that all agencies that offered help would be in one location on a certain day. Most people thought FEMA would step in and help but there was not enough damage for them to offer any help.

We went to check out what resources were available and signed up for a 2% loan from Small Business Administration.  Did not see many people there taking advantage of all the great programs available from various agencies including Red Cross.

TsunamiPhoto Credit: Karen Repan

TsunamiPhoto Credit: John Farquhar

TsunamiPhoto Credit: John Farquhar

TsunamiPhoto Credit: Karen Repan

TsunamiPhoto Credit: Karen Repan

Tsunami Photo Credit: Karen Repan

TsunamiPhoto Credit: Karen Repan

TsunamiPhoto Credit: John Farquhar

TsunamiPhoto Credit: John Farquhar

TsunamiPhoto Credit: Karen Repan

TsunamiPhoto Credit: Karen Repan

TsunamiPhoto Credit: Karen Repan

TsunamiPhoto Credit: Karen Repan

Have the people of Kealakekua Bay grown closer as a community since the tsunami?

Our little community has had many trials – An arson that burnt down a new house, a 6.5 earthquake, and then another house fire (not arson).  It brings all of us closer as we band together to help others.  It is amazing how people not from this area came to support us!

Today, Karen and Ron enjoy renting out their wonderful Bali Tree Cottage to vacationers near and far, traveling to exotic destinations and taking in gorgeous sunsets on the renewed Manini Beach.

Manini BeachParadise renewed.





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Last year, after spending 5 blissful days on the beautiful island of Maui, my husband and I boarded the Mokulele Express, and for one hour, we lazily dreamed of what awaited us on the Big Island of Hawaii.

You see…on our Hawaiian vacation, we wanted to experience something other than a typical hotel room.  We searched for something unlike anything we’ve experienced before, and so may I introduce…the enchanting Bali Tree Cottage in Captain Cook, Hawaii.

Bali Tree Cottage

A 12 year labor of love for long time residents, Ron and Karen Repan, the delightful Bali Tree Cottage combines rustic charm with modern conveniences blending the best of outdoor with indoor.  A true glamping experience!

Bali Tree Cottage

Arriving at 4:00pm, Karen met us at the entrance of the driveway leading to the cottage.  Her hospitality was genuine and abundant!  After settling into our new accommodations, Karen suggested we take a less than two minute walk over to the gorgeous Manini Beach Park overlooking the Kealakekua Bay.  She gave us a brief tour and history of the area (post to come!), and upon our return, the sound of relaxing Hawaiian music filled the air.  Ron, Karen’s sweet husband, had turned on the cd player in the cottage and stood on the porch welcoming us with a warm smile and two glasses of vino!

We felt like family!


Staying in the house next door, the Repans always respected our privacy and were just a few steps away if we had any questions or just wanted to say hello.

Curious about the origin of this open air cottage, Ron and Karen entertained us with the story of how it came about.

“Ron loves beautiful things.” Karen said, smiling his way.

Never experiencing Bali but loving the architecture and feel of Thailand, Ron expected to see many outdoor Bali-style cottages or huts upon moving to Hawaii, but he couldn’t find a single one…and so began his 12 year labor of love.

Visiting several antique shops through the years, he invested in gorgeous Balinese hand carved teak panels with intricate details, many which were left in the jungle for possibly over a hundred years.

Ron spoke enthusiastically about the panel on the front of the cottage.  “This panel is worth $12,000, but I got it for $6,000.  It took five men to lift it.  This wood doesn’t interest termites – it’s too heavy.”

Bali Tree Cottage

Nothing was overlooked in the Bali Tree Cottage.

On the balcony you will find a full service kitchen stocked with just about everything you need. A refrigerator, freezer, oven, sink, towels and dishes were all available for our use.  Just be sure to clean up after yourself…or the ants will!  A variety of spices, sauces and condiments are available to add to any dish you make.  There’s also a BBQ located in the garden that came in handy for preparing our steaks one evening.

Outdoor KitchenOutdoor kitchen

When you’re ready to enjoy that meal, choose from the lovely outdoor garden dining area or cozy up indoors.

Outdoor Dining

Bali Tree Cottage - Dining Room

Relaxing is something that comes easily here.  Rock back and forth into a peaceful state to the sound of the ocean waves on a comfortable rocking chair or on the garden hammock. Or enjoy some time reading, listening to the radio or just spending quality time with whoever you choose to in the thoughtfully eclectic living area (ficus tree included!)

Relaxing Porch

Bali Tree CottageLiving area

A unique sleeping experience awaits you in this four-poster bed with net draping.  Recycled metal for the roof keeps the raindrops and tree nuts at bay.  A decorative double vanity opposite the bed has a basket full of soaps, sun screen and heavy duty bug repellent (which was greatly needed and appreciated!)

Bali Tree Cottage - Bedroom

Double VanityDouble vanity in bedroom

Bali Tree Cottage

From the bedroom, exit through large wooden doors and wash the day away in the refreshing outdoor shower. Complete with soap, shampoo, conditioner, lotions, towels and therapeutic rocks to stimulate the shiatsu zones in your feet, your main job is to simply enjoy.  The sound of vibrant birdsong and rustling breezes comes into high definition as you become mesmerized by the truly special ambiance.  A definite highlight of our stay!

Shower HeavenOutdoor shower area

Outdoor Shower

Ron’s passion for surfing is also apparent in his large collection of surfboards inside the cottage and outside in the garden.

Surfboard Collection

Being a former surfer himself, Ron would also buy broken surfboards off of their owners for around $20, and he would have them sign it for his collection.  Some were designed by the best artists of the era while others are just beautiful to look at.

A special surfboard known as “Da Bomb” hangs from the bedroom ceiling.  Hand built on a warship in the Gulf War, Ron found this surfboard in a shop in Hawaii.  Just hanging in the surf shop for 5 years, Ron asked the store owner if he could buy it off of him, but the shop owner wasn’t receptive to his request, so Ron suggested they flip a coin.

Heads, the shop owner keeps it, and tails, Ron buys it off of him.  It landed on tails.

Although not shown here, a female on the back of the board is a copy of the one on the nose of the B-29 “Enola Gay.”

"Da Bomb" “Da-Bomb” (the gray one pictured here)

The outside of the cottage is as intricate and methodically thought out as the inside!

Step out of the cottage and into a wonderland filled with everything to delight the senses!  Lose track of time by simply getting lost in the lush garden and decorative elements including paper lanterns, tiki torches, stringed lights and surf boards.

Bali Tree Cottage

Surfboard Collection

Enchanting YardBackyard paradise

Pathway to Cottage


Beautiful Flowers


Various diverse plants decorate the landscape making you feel worlds away.

“Let me show you the sensitivity plant.”  On a table was what looked like an everyday fern.  “Now touch the leaves.”  I did as Ron instructed, and the leaflets folded in as if protecting themselves from predators.

The next plant Ron showed me had a more threatening way of protecting itself.  It was called the serenity plant.  Coming out of the trunk were dozens of razor sharp thorns.  “Touch the point very softly.”  And as I suspected, this plant was no joke.

A large ficus tree is an integral part of the cottage.  Intertwining in and out of the living room, you truly feel like you are camping in the jungle.

Ficus Tree

We quickly learned that combining both the indoors and outdoors meant that we would be sharing our lodging with visitors of all kinds.

“Now don’t be afraid.  That’s only a kane spider.  They’re gentle and shy…and they don’t bite.”

I stared at this thin, branch-like spider that fell on the table right in front of me.  Ron ensured me that I could pick it up and it wouldn’t harm me.  “It’s like holding a tarantula.”

These experiences had become an expected part of our lives for 3 fun-filled days here at the cottage, and we started to look forward to meeting our new four and six-legged friends (minus the mosquitoes!)

Peek-a-boo GeckoThis gecko loved the camera!

GeckoHe enjoyed hanging out with us in the outdoor kitchen.

IMG_0228Not sure who this little guy was, but what a unique looking creature!

Purry the CatPurry, the Repan’s sweet kitty, was always a welcomed guest!

There were so many things I loved about our stay at the Bali Tree Cottage.  From the vibrant birdsong greeting us in the morning, to the outdoor shower experience, to the unique ambiance of the cottage, to the simple act of relaxing.

IMG_0395Manini Beach Park

The list can go on forever, but what I enjoyed most was the warm hospitality from our wonderful hosts, Karen and Ron, who made us feel like family and ensured we had a memorable time. Whether it be enjoying each others company while watching a glorious sunset…or sharing stories…or Ron supplying me with treats for my solo walk to the nearby Keii beach…or bringing us delicious coffee one morning while we were enjoying an early morning sunrise…or Karen stopping by to say “Good Morning” with her darling dog Chloe and offering recommendations on places to visit. These heartwarming acts of kindness played a large part in shaping our trip into the wonderful experience that we will cherish forever.

Upon asking Karen what she thinks draws travelers to the Bali Tree Cottage and Kealakekua Bay year after year, she replied,

As to our success with Airbnb, I think the fact that we are here onsite to check people in and help them with any questions really helps.  I don’t know of any other vacation rentals in the bay that have onsite owners.  Also, because of all our great reviews, we are #1 to come up on site!!  We really want to share the Aloha of this Island!

Karen, our wonderful hostessAnd Aloha they did share!
One last photo with Karen before leaving the cottage.  We missed Ron 😦

If staying in an open air, Balinese style cottage experience in beautiful Captain Cook, Hawaii is something that sounds like fun (and it is!), check out this jewel on, and contact Karen and Ron to book your stay!

I guarantee it’ll be an experience you’ll cherish forever!







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Polynesian Cultural Center

I can’t believe it’s been one year since my husband and I experienced Hawaiian bliss!   Looking back through my photos, I discovered I have yet to finish writing about our wonderful adventures on the Big Island of Hawaii, so here’s a sneak peak of what’s to come!


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After our enchanting stay in Maui, we arrived on the Big Island of Hawaii and drove for about an hour until we reached our new island dwelling.  This tranquil coral and lava-filled beach was a mere 1.5 minute walk from our tropical sanctuary.

Can anyone guess what beach this is?

Whoever guesses right will get a ray of California sunshine sent their way!  😉

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After spending two magical days on the east coast of Maui, it was time to say goodbye to Halemano, our unforgettable sanctuary and the mystical Haleakala National Park.

We soon discovered that the Road “from” Hana was just as scenic as the Road to Hana.

Wailua FallsWailua Falls

Wailua Falls
We left around 8:30am to ensure we had enough time to enjoy the views before our 1:00pm flight…

Road to Hana Traffic…and also in case we encountered a traffic jam!
(This one was caused when two oncoming cars encountering the same turn didn’t allow each other enough room to pass causing a stand still, so they had to back up causing each car behind them to back up as well.)

Which Way Do We Go?A reminder of all the places we have yet to explore!


Road to HanaA lush wonderland around every corner!


Road to Hana BridgeI loved the moss-laden bridges!

IMG_9860The narrow road was an adventure in itself!


Road to HanaA sobering reminder that although the Road to Hana is beautiful,
it can also be very dangerous.


Eucalyptus TreePainted Bark Eucalyptus Trees

Eucalyptus TreeTruly a masterpiece!

Eucalyptus Trees
As we exited the lush wonderland and grew closer to Kahului Airport, we stopped at the this-can’t-be-real-the-water-is-much-too-blue Paia Beach.

Paia BeachPaia Beach

Paia BeachIt’s easy to get mesmerized with this view!

Mokulele ExpressSoon we were at Kahului Airport and boarding our flight for the Big Island on Mokulele Express, Hawaii’s #1 Island Hopper Airline.

Mokulele Express   Did I mention how TINY it was?  We had to literally duck our heads when entering the plane.  And look at the pilots – they were like RIGHT THERE!  Seating around 10-12 people, it was like a flying school bus.

Mokulele ExpressAnd oh what fun it was!
I would definitely recommend Mokulele Express when island hopping!

Like two kids in a candy store, we were eager to find out what the second half of our Hawaiian adventure had in store for us!

Stay tuned…

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After a fun-filled adventure on the Road to Hana, we were glad we decided to stay two nights in the pristine town of Kipahulu in our sanctuary of Halemano.  Not only did we drive the 52 miles at our leisure and not worry about making the return trip all in one day, but the entire next day, we were able to enjoy the gorgeous Haleakala National Park located just a few minutes away!

We arrived at Haleakala National Park early and discovered an almost vacant parking lot.  YES!  The park was ALMOST all ours..for now

Out came the camera gear, snacks, water, sun screen, insect repellant, hats and sunglasses.  It was time to explore!

First up, the Seven Sacred Pools otherwise known as Oheo Gulch.

Seven Sacred Pools, Oheo GulchIt was easy to get lost in the beauty of this magical place.

Seven Sacred Pools, Oheo Gulch

Seven Sacred Pools, Oheo Gulch

From the parking lot, a one mile loop takes you to a scenic vista closer to where the Oheo Gulch spills out into the ocean, and then the trail leads you back up to the parking lot.

Swimming is a popular activity here and usually allowed in the pools, but this time, it was closed due to flash flood warnings.

Seven Sacred Pools, Oheo Gulch

Did this stop people from swimming in the pools later on that day?  HAH! Of course not!  Lucky how some people are immune to being swept out to sea!  (Which is actually what has happened in the past.)  Signs were posted around the pools telling of how unfortunate swimmers were caught up in flash flooding and taken out to sea.  So basically, enjoy the beauty, but heed the warning signs!

Next, it was time to experience the Pipiwai Trail, a 4 mile round trip hike that takes you through a wonderland of waterfalls, lush foliage, bamboo forests and the grand finale, Waimoku Falls.

Be sure to wear sturdy shoes or proper hiking sandals because of weather that can change in the blink of an eye like it did for us.  A large portion of the hike is on a boardwalk that can get quite slippery when wet. Don’t be like the young girl we saw in the middle of the hike who was struggling to gain traction in her flip flops in the rain!

About .5 miles into the hike, we came across the 185 foot Makahiku Falls.

Makahiku Falls

Makahiku FallsMakahiku Falls – Picture perfect!

I mean, this is what Maui is all about!  Lush rainforest with magnificent waterfalls appearing out of nowhere!  Even though my legs were beginning to get sore, this view was so worth it!

Makahiku FallsYep, there he is, my dare devil!

The highlights just kept coming.  Next up, one of my favorites – the gigantic Banyan tree!

Banyan TreeDid I mention it was GIGANTIC?!

Banyan Tree It’s opportunities like these when my camera gets excited!

We continued our hike until we reached this bridge leading us into the black abyss of the rainforest.

Into the great unknown...Do we dare?

But before discovering what awaited us across the bridge, we stopped midway to ooh and aww at these most gorgeous waterfalls!


After crossing the bridge, we ascended into my personal highlight of the hike…the enchanting Bamboo Forest!

Bamboo Forest

Tightly packed bamboo towered above us providing cool shelter from the sun allowing sunlight beams to flicker through small openings.  As the wind blew, the hallow bamboo swayed and struck together creating the sounds of musical chimes…our very own concert!

Bamboo Forest

Bamboo Trail
I found myself wondering what I would do if I had to quickly escape by way of the Bamboo Forest.  It would make for quite the challenge! 

(For those of you who watch The Amazing Race – wouldn’t this make for an interesting pit stop?!)

Bamboo Forest

Bamboo Forest

Bamboo Forest

Following the Bamboo Forest, the lush rainforest reappeared and so did more challenging terrain to navigate.


Before reaching the Waimoku Falls, there was one last obstacle we had to conquer – the crossing of a stream.  I read about it in the guidebooks, and it wasn’t that bad.  You can rock-hop across or do what I did and just immerse yourself and wade on through.


After what was a memorable journey thus far, we finally reached our destination – Waimoku Falls.

  Waimoku Falls

Looking up from the base of this 400 foot sheer masterpiece, it’s easy to see why so many travelers flock to this very spot!

Waimoku Falls

To get even closer to the falls, get ready to navigate through a field of rocks and boulders.

  Waimoku Falls
My husband dared me to immerse myself under the waterfalls for a photo.  Had it been a hotter day where I could have enjoyed the FREEZING water and had it not started to rain, I probably would have taken on the dare.  Alas, a photo with my hubby several feet away from the falls is what we agreed upon.  I suggested he take the plunge.  His excuse was that he didn’t bring his swimsuit.  That didn’t stop other gents from dawning their undies and striking a pose under the falls!

After enjoying the refreshing combination of mist and rain, we decided that it was time to head back before the trail became too slick.  But I spoke too soon!  This time we experienced the trail in a totally different way – wet and muddy!  Nevertheless, the Pipiwai Trail was one I will always remember with great fondness!

Haleakala National Park is a treasure trove of everything you would expect from Hawaii and something everyone should experience once in their life!

Many people have asked if we did the sunrise bike tour, one of the most popular attractions at Haleakala National Park.  Looks of “Are you completely and utterly crazy?!” shot back at me when I answered their question with “No.”

Quelle Horreur!

We already had a lot planned, and although catching a glorious sunset overlooking the clouds sounded very appealing, we decided to save it for another day…

...a day we can dream about and look forward to!

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Serpentine roads.  Lush foliage.  Dreamy waterfalls.  Jaw dropping cliffs.

Road to HanaThis is the Road to Hana.

52 miles of zigzagging roads taking wide-eyed vacationers on a picturesque journey with scenic treasures around every hairpin turn!

With all of the scenic stops to explore on the Road to Hana, it can take anywhere from 4-8 hours to complete.  So instead of rushing to Hana and rushing back all in one day (like many travelers do), we decided to stay in Kipahulu, a town just outside of Hana, for two nights to give us more time to explore the surrounding area.

We stocked up with water, fruit and snacks and left our Napili condo at 6:30am to avoid the tour buses and throngs of people on the road.

Instead of using a guidebook or map, we opted for an audio GPS guide called GyPSy.  It’s like having a local right in the car with you giving you advice on where to stop, sights to see and history of the island…and it’s fun too!  We never had to worry about getting lost…the GyPSy always told us exactly where we were.  For less than $5.00, it’s so worth the investment!

Here’s a handy checklist before you go on your Road to Hana journey:

  • Full tank of gas
  • Cooler for drinks and food
  • Swim suit
  • Beach towel
  • Change of clothes
  • Sun screen
  • Mosquito repellant
  • Umbrella or waterproof windbreaker
  • Sturdy, waterproof shoes or sandals
  • Toilet paper (just in case…)
  • Seasick medication

If you forget to pack something to eat for your journey, never fear!  There are dozens of stands off the side of the road with yummy treats like warm banana bread, “huli-huli” chicken, coffee, juice & fresh fruit.

And away we go…

Twin Falls
The first waterfall on the Road to Hana at mile marker 2.  A 30 minute hike takes you to a secluded waterfall surrounded by lush foliage.  Bring your swimsuit for swimming fun!

Twin FallsTwin Falls Farmstand – Stock up on fruit, smoothies or snacks beforehand.

Walking to the Twin FallsOn our way to the Twin Falls

Crossing the streamCrossing the stream is part of the fun!

Twin FallsTwin Falls

Waikamoi Nature Trail
Eucalyptus trees and gorgeous views are part of this 0.8 mile nature trail at mile marker 9.

Waikamoi Nature TrailThe Road to Hana winds around this lush wonderland.

nature hike

Aunt Sandy’s Banana Bread & the Ke’anae Beach Park
For some of the best banana bread on the Road to Hana, take the detour to Ke’anae Landing and treat yourself to Aunt Sandy’s Banana Bread!  It’s warm, it’s moist…and it just melts in your mouth…yum!   It’s also cash only, so be sure you come prepared!

Aunt Sandy's Banana Bread

Aunt Sandy's Banana Bread

Aunt Sandy's Banana BreadBehold…the banana bread!

Drive a little further until you see a lava filled coastline with large crashing waves — this is Ke’anae Beach Park!

Ke'anae Peninsula
Ke'anae Beach Park
Ke'anae Peninsula
Yes, you see correctly…this dude is fishing amongst the lava and crashing waves!

Halfway to HanaOh & by the way, we are now halfway to Hana!

Three Bears Falls
About 1/2 mile past mile marker 19 is the Three Bears Falls (Papa, Mama and baby!).  This natural beauty is right off the side of the road with limited parking.  I saw some people scramble down a questionable path to the pool.  We opted to admire it from the road.

Three Bears

Three BearsWater streamed down the side of a moss laden cliff we parked next too!  The spray was quite refreshing!

If it weren’t for our GyPSy, we wouldn’t know this place existed!  Just past mile marker 25 is the steep downhill turnoff for Nahiku.  I highly suggest you make the turn!  For three miles, you will feel like you’re in the middle of the jungle surrounded by lush greenery and rubber trees!  A gorgeous sight is waiting for you at the end of the drive.  We enjoyed our lunch of huli huli chicken on a nice patch of grass overlooking this rocky lava-filled coastline.  Did you know that George Harrison loved Nahiku so much that he even called it home?!

NahikuOpuhano Point

Coffee Break, Souvenir Shopping & Free Ranging Chickens
6 miles before reaching Hana, you will find a row of unique stores, eateries and coffee shops on your left.  We enjoyed a coffee and cafe mocha at the “Cafe”, and we did some souvenir shopping at Nahiku Ti Gallery.  Don’t forget to say hello to the free ranging roosters, hens and chicks!


Nahiku Ti Gallery

Road to Hana
Hana 6 Miles

Road to Hana Rooster

Mama HenDon’t mess with Mama!  As I tried to get a photo of her baby chick, she shreeked, unleashed her fury and chased after me pecking at my legs!  LOL!

Wai’anapanapa State Park
Our last stop of the day, Wai’anapanapa State Park has it all!  A black sand beach, lava caves, hiking trails and a blowhole!

Wai'anapanapa State Park

Lava Cave

After a fun-filled day exploring the Road to Hana, we drove about 30 more minutes until we reached our sanctuary for the night around 4:30pm in Kipahulu…a place so magical, it takes a full post to describe it!  Stay tuned…

For more Hawaiian bliss, click here!

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Twin Falls

The 52 mile Road to Hana on Maui’s east coast is full of wonder and beauty around every hairpin turn.  The first waterfall on our journey was the stunning Twin Falls located in a peaceful cove surrounded by lush foliage.  The scenic and oftentimes slippery 30 minute hike was well worth it!  To get there, you’ll need to cross a small stream and walk over other tricky, slippery surfaces, so leave your flip flops in the car, strap on a pair of sturdy waterproof shoes and be sure to bring your camera!

Twin Falls is the perfect way to kick off your Road to Hana experience!

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