Posts Tagged ‘Road to Hana’

Towering lush greenery surrounded our car as we carefully navigated down a steep, winding road covered with rocks and uneven terrain.  Wide enough for one car, we prayed for no oncoming traffic.  A sigh of relief filled the air when the parking area appeared.  After 7 hours of navigating the curvy Road to Hana, we found our evening retreat 30 minutes south of Hana in a town called Kipahulu at a sanctuary called…Halemano.

HalemanoIn Hawaiian, Halemano means “Many Houses.”

We parked our car, and per the instructions from our host, started to explore the expansive 7 acre eco-friendly grounds in search of someone to assist us.  The marked path took us by cozy cabins, an open air, shared bathroom and the outdoor, communal kitchen overlooking the ocean.

“Jennifer?”  Tanya happily emerged from the kitchen.  “Welcome to Halemano!”

Tanya, the daughter of the owner, Manju, was filling in while Manju was away.  She and her boyfriend, Stephan, were very friendly and immediately gave us a tour of the cliff side paradise.

Our accommodation for the night was called the “Ridge Cabin.”  More like a tree house, this simple, charming cabin consisted of a bed with mosquito netting, a small light, windows, an outlet, artful touches and a jaw dropping view of the tropical landscaping from the lanai.

The Ridge CabinThe Ridge Cabin

The Ridge Cabin

Ridge Cabin

The Ridge Cabin

Halemano had other sleeping accommodations to choose from consisting of a yurt or a hotel room with private bathroom.

If you require cell reception or wi-fi 24/7, this is probably not the place for you.  Part of the charm of Halemano is that you are totally disconnected from the outside world.  It gives you a chance to unwind, decompress and become immersed in nature.  Just be sure to bring insect repellent!

Before entering our cabin, Tanya explained the 2 house rules:

  1. Remove your shoes before entering the cabin to keep the rug clean.
  2. No food in the cabin because it attracts ants and bugs.

After getting settled into our cabin, I decided to experience the open air shower before dinner.  At first, I felt a little uncomfortable showering without the privacy of a door, but it’s not like I was out in the open for all to see.  You walk into the open air restroom, round a corner, and the shower is tucked away in a little nook…so if you hear water running or see clothes lying on the bench, you know it’s occupied.  For the toilet, Tanya advised that we remove our shoes and leave them out before rounding the corner to show that someone is there.  It all worked out fine, and the refreshing breeze felt wonderful as I showered.  The property operates on solar power and water catchment.  Be sure to bring a head lamp or flash light in case you need to use the restroom when it’s dark, like I did!

That evening, we enjoyed a special vegetarian Indian dish prepared by Tanya.  For $20 per person, this delicious feast, comprised of rice, beans and squash, was the perfect way to end a long day on the Road to Hana.  Since the closest restaurants were about 30 minutes away, we decided to place our order ahead so we could just relax, unwind and enjoy our dinner as the sun went down.

The kitchen is an experience in itself.  Everything you need is there!  Avocados, papayas, bananas and any other fruit you find on the grounds is yours for the taking (and enjoying!)  Everything is recycled, and leftover food is used as compost.  The kitchen is open air, so you are sharing it with little critters.



After dinner, we explored the grounds and spent a good part of the evening sitting on a small bench positioned a few feet away from the steep cliff.  The view of the ocean crashing into the rocky shore below was hypnotic.  It’s easy to fall under the spell of the magnificent view and sounds of the water.

Bliss Bench


Both mornings, I unintentionally woke up before dawn, so I grabbed my camera and headed outside to take some photos while the early morning light painted the grounds.

There is a magical garden to explore and photograph.  Secret artfully decorated paths take you through perfectly manicured tropical landscaping with exotic plants, small benches and even an open air yoga studio tucked away to sit, relax, take in the scenery or participate in a yoga class.







Yoga Studio

Surrounding Halemano is a fence, and attached to this fence is an inconspicuous little door leading to a neighboring state park.  Walk down the length of the park until you come across a cemetery that is home to the grave of the great aviator Charles Lindbergh.  Charles loved this particular part of Maui so much that he decided to be buried here.

Charles Lindbergh GraveInscribed is:  “If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uppermost parts of the sea…”
From Psalm 139

If experiencing paradise, unplugging from the digital world, and letting tranquility fill your soul sounds appealing, then Halemano is the sanctuary for you!  

Prepare to be transformed.

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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!

Check out more Photo Bliss!

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