It's about the journey, not the destination: The Road to Hana

It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey. There is no better saying than this to describe the road to Hana. The journey starts in Paia about 20 minutes from OGG airport. Paia is a historic beach town with streets lined with wooden buildings left over from the plantation days and fences made of surf boards. Here you will find gourmet restaurants next to beach bars that offer everything from local seafood to sandwiches. You can stock up in this town to begin the 10-12 hour journey to Hana.

Hana is only 64 miles away but the twists and turns in the road on the way will slow down traffic, especially for those who are not use to it. There are over 600 curves and 59 bridges. The numbers are impressive but so are the MANY stops along the way. We used the GyPSy Road to Hana app to help us navigate where we wanted to stop. If we stopped at all the spots the drive would have taken two days instead of hours.

There are paid attractions such as The Garden of Eden, it is a lovely stop but around $15 per person. This is private property, you are literally just walking through the families well manicured gardens. The views are amazing and so is the plant life and foliage.

Further up the road you will find landscapes like no other. The volcanic rocks in the sea look alien and watching the waves crash over is stunning. The rocks are jagged and slippery. If you decided to traverse them be careful of rouge waves or falling. The church in the distance is worth a look. You can just walk across the field to view this 150 year old church which has a tragic history. While in this are stop to get some banana bread…it was AMAZING.

After this area we continued on and found ourselves at the road side restaurants. Robert and I both love food so it was perfect. The slow cooked ribs and fresh fruit were to die for. Make sure you bring cash and your appetite. After we are well feed it’s time to keep moving. We go to the black sand beach which was filled with people. Robert and I like a good adventure so we just kept going around the blow hole to the other side of the trail. Below a small cove with crashing waves greeted us, we just had to find a SAFE way down. Once we found the way we sat and enjoyed the view for a while. The sand is black as night and rocky but what a tranquil spot!

Along the way there are more places to stop such as the Lava Tube, more beaches, and the rainbow forest. We had spent so much time at overlooks, and the other stops we decided to keep moving. Once we made it to Hana we found the red sand beach which took a little skill to get to. You will have to hike a bit and climb a few large rocks. I am short so reaching some of the rocks alone would have been difficult without a helping hand. After our little hike we sat by the water and had a snack. By this time it was getting late; we needed to get back to town before sunset, just to be safe.

On the way back we stopped and played in a road side waterfall that we passed on the way it; the water was ice cold but totally worth it. We made it back to Paia in time for the sunset. We went to the lookout, watched the surfers, hung with the locals, and cracked a cold beer. The Road to Hana was simply beautiful, a perfect way to see the island and spend the day.