HERE. So we always planned on doing the Road to Hana ourselves (and if you're unfamiliar, Hana is small town on Maui's Eastern coast. It's a gorgeous drive there with incredible views, less than 60 miles total, but it takes a few hours since the road is windy and trecherous in some places). Anyway, after chatting with a friend who had been there, doing some reading, and seeing the windy journey dubbed the "divorce highway," since so many couples fight on the high-stress drive, we decided, nope, a tour was the way to go for us! I booked our tour about a week before we left and some things the company provided that sold me: They picked us up and returned us right to our hotel, breakfast, lunch, and snacks were provided, along with water and soda all day, the tour was guided by a local who told us fun stories and gave us tons of great info, and my favorite part: the tour went beyond Hana, all the way around the island, to places where rental cars cannot go (dirt roads). and those parts were my favorite!
Our guide, Glenn, picked us up from our hotel at 6:30. Our bus had us and about 10 others on it. We drove for about an hour to a golf course where we had breakfast (There were about 6 buses from the same company going to Hana that day. We had breakfast and lunch together with a few other buses). I snapped tons of pics of the gorgeous green jungles. It was so beautiful and lush! We stopped for a bathroom break about halfway to Hana (that was another pro of the tour---Glenn knew all the best bathroom stops along the way!), and we got to taste the best banana bread of my life! There were tons of cute fruit and juice stands on the way up.
We arrived at the black sand beach (Waianapanapa) which was amazing! We brought our swim suits but it was crowded and we only had about 30 minutes there so we decided not to swim. We stopped for lunch around noon at a flower farm stand in Hana. One thing I was not expecting was getting to know the other people on the tour so well. It was fun and interesting to get to know the people, where they were from, and what brought them to Maui. Glenn grew up on Maui so it was awesome to get his perspective on the island.
After lunch in Hana, the real fun began! Glenn told us to buckle our seatbelts, because we were about to go beyond Hana and the roads were rough! We went to the Seven Sacred Pools (O'Heo). They were beautiful. Swimming was banned that day due to rough waters, but there was a great little mile hike around the area that we did (I packed bug spray but yours truly forgot to put it on! I got eaten alive here!).
Next we went to Palapala Hoomau church in the forest where Charles Lindbergh is buried. There is an amazingly gorgeous little church tucked away on the coast in the jungle and it was a beautiful, spiritual place. One of the other bus guides brought his ukelele and played some hymns to us in the church. It was a really special moment. Many people had tears in their eyes. It's not everyday you get to a one-man ukelele concert in a 19th century jungle church!
The views after O'heo become STUNNING!!! I took so many photos, and told AJ, I felt like we were in a car commercial---winding cliff roads overlooking the ocean. Many parts here were just dirt and I couldn't believe some people were trying this stretch beyond Hana on their own.....even with an expert driver, it was scary!
We found this cute little honey stand overlooking the ocean. It was run by college students and it was seriously a majestic setting. They talked to us about sustainable farming practices and protecting the bees. It was evident after just a week on Maui, the dedication Hawaiians have to taking care of their gorgeous home. After the honey stand, we all started to get tired. But I immediately got a spurt of energy when Glenn pointed out the entrance to Oprah's Maui home and organic farm. Oh how I would love to sit down and chat with the Queen herself! Maybe if I make it on Super Soul someday?? Haha.
We made it back to our hotel around 6:30. We were super hungry so we hightailed it to the beach bar at our hotel for mahi mahi tacos and frozen rose. A perfect end to an amazing, incredible day! The views were majestic and I will never forget it!
Until next time....Savor your ALOHA,