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The tropical paradise of Hana is tucked away on the eastern tip of Maui in Hawaii. With its lush rainforests, scenic waterfalls, and peaceful beaches, Hana has remained relatively untouched from large-scale tourism and offers visitors a glimpse into old Hawaii.
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Hana is located on the eastern side of the island of Maui, about 52 miles from the main airport in Kahului. It sits at the end of the famous Road to Hana, a winding highway that passes through rainforests, alongside towering sea cliffs, and by many scenic stops and attractions along the way.
In this comprehensive guide, we will cover everything you need to know to plan your visit to heavenly Hana, including its exact location, the best ways to get there, top things to see and do, where to stay, and tips for making the most out of your Hana adventure.
The Specific Location of Hana
On the East Side of Maui
The small town of Hana is situated on the eastern side of the Hawaiian island of Maui. Known for its lush rainforests, breathtaking waterfalls, and beautiful beaches, Hana feels worlds away from the bustling resort towns on other parts of the island.
To get there, visitors must traverse the epic Road to Hana, a winding highway with over 600 curves and dozens of one-lane bridges.
At the End of the Road to Hana Highway
The town of Hana marks the end point of the famous Road to Hana drive. This iconic highway stretches for 52 miles along Maui’s eastern coastline through unspoiled rainforest and past jaw-dropping sights like the Seven Sacred Pools.
Upon arriving in Hana town after completing this unforgettable drive, visitors are greeted by a small, peaceful community centered around its iconic red-sand beach.
In a Remote, Rural Area
Given its location far from Maui’s resort areas, Hana feels refreshingly rural and remote. With a population of fewer than 2,000 residents, the pace of life here is relaxed and reflective of old Hawaii. Beyond the few restaurants and shops in town, there is little development.
Getting to Hana takes commitment due to the long and winding highway. But those who make the journey are rewarded with a tranquility and a connection to nature that is unmatched anywhere else on Maui.
Getting to Hana
Driving the Road to Hana
The Road to Hana is a 64-mile long stretch of highway with over 600 curves and dozens of one-lane bridges along the way. Driving it takes at least 3-4 hours one way due to the winding roads and many stops.
The lush rainforests, waterfalls, and views of the Pacific Ocean make it an unforgettable drive. According to the Hawaii Visitors Bureau, over 1.2 million visitors drove the Road to Hana in 2022.
Sections of the road are very narrow, so driving an SUV or van is recommended over a small sedan. Make sure to fill up on gas before starting since there are no gas stations after Paia. Also be prepared for rain, as the area sees over 120 inches per year.
Pack snacks, water, and motion sickness medicine if prone to car sickness.
Taking a Guide Tour
For those who don’t want to navigate the Road to Hana’s twists and turns, a guided tour takes the stress out of driving. Reputable tour companies like R2H Tours, Hana Highway Tours, and Temptation Tours offer full-day tours in air conditioned vans with knowledgeable guides.
Tours typically make stops at popular attractions like the Garden of Eden Arboretum, Waianapanapa State Park black sand beach, the Seven Sacred Pools at Oheo Gulch, and the town of Hana itself. Prices range from $139-159 per adult and include hotel pick up/drop off.
According to the Hawaii Tourism Authority, guided tours of Hana make up over 20% of visitors to the area annually.
Flying by Helicopter
For dramatic aerial views of waterfalls, cliffs, and the rugged coastline, a helicopter tour is the ultimate way to experience Hana. Companies like Blue Hawaiian Helicopters, Paradise Helicopters, and Sunshine Helicopters offer tours ranging from 55 minutes to over 2 hours long.
Prices start around $289 per person.
Shorter tours take visitors along the coastline of West Maui before crossing to Hana and circling the town. Longer tours explore deeper into the rainforests and waterfalls only accessible by air. With no transfers or driving involved, helicopter tours allow you to see more of the area in less time.
Flight schedules do sell out days in advance during the busy winter season though.
Top Things to See and Do in Hana
Explore Waiʻānapanapa State Park
Waiʻānapanapa State Park, located on the famous Road to Hana, is a must-see attraction featuring striking black sand beaches, sea caves to explore, and lush rainforest trails leading to scenic sights.
The park offers swimming, camping, cabins, and panoramic views of the coastline that will take your breath away. Don’t miss the chance to embark on the roughly two-mile coastal trail showcasing sea arches, blowholes, ancient Hawaiian sites, and the remarkable Hāna Lava Tube – one of Maui’s most fascinating lava tubes formed over 400 years ago.
This state park lets visitors experience the unspoiled awe-inspiring beauty of East Maui.
Swim at Red Sand Beach
Red Sand Beach, often referred to as Kaihalulu Beach, amazes visitors with its vivid red-colored sands and sparkling azure waters perfect for swimming and snorkeling. This gem of a beach takes some effort to access, but the payoff is an almost ethereal swimming and sunbathing spot far from crowds.
Tall cliffs surround tranquil waters that make an ideal place to spot sea turtles and tropical fish. Just be mindful of the strong waves when going into the water. The striking contrast between the beach’s rich red sands, blue ocean, and lush green cliffs make this a photographer’s paradise as well.
It’s no wonder why National Geographic named Red Sand Beach one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
Hike to Waterfalls
Some of Hawaii’s most spectacular waterfalls are found along Hana’s rainforest trails just waiting to be discovered. For stunning views, embark on the moderate Pipiwai Trail leading through bamboo forests to the 400-foot Waimoku Falls, one of the tallest falls in Maui.
Make sure to also see the unique Makahiku Falls with its mesmerizing twin cascades. The adventurous at heart can take on paths to remote falls like Waioka Pond and Venus Pool surrounded by lush jungle greenery straight out of Jurassic Park.
Whether seeking roaring plunges into sparkling pools or tranquil trickles hidden amid lush foliage, Hana’s winding trails through untamed tropical terrain offer many rewarding and rejuvenating waterfall destinations.
Where to Stay in Hana
Deciding where to stay in Hana can be tricky, as lodging options are limited in this remote area of Maui. Here are some of the best places to hang your hat during your visit to heavenly Hana.
Hotels and Resorts
If you want resort amenities like a pool, restaurant, and spa services, your choices are limited to a couple of premium properties:
- Travaasa Hana – This luxurious resort has it all – beautiful grounds and views, top-notch dining, a spa, and lots of activities. It’s pricey but worth it for a special occasion.
- Hana-Maui Resort – More affordable than Travaasa but still nice, set on lush grounds with a pool and access to Hana Beach.
Vacation homes and condos offer more space and amenities than hotels for groups and families. Great options include:
- Hamoa Beach Houses – Charming vacation cottages right on Hamoa Beach, which is absolutely stunning.
- Hana Ocean Palms – Spacious condos with full kitchens and laundry, next to Hana Beach Park.
- Hana Garden Cottages – Quaint cottages on a beautiful botanical estate, peaceful and relaxing.
If you really want to reconnect with nature, you can camp at one of two locations in Hana:
- Wai’anapanapa State Park – Gorgeous black sand beach, with 12 drive-up campsites and restrooms/showers.
- Hamoa Beach – More primitive beach camping, peaceful and right by the water.
Where you stay depends on your budget and interests, but you really can’t go wrong with any of these charming and peaceful places to stay in heavenly Hana!
Tips for Visiting Hana
Allow Enough Time
The road to Hana takes around 3-4 hours one way due to the winding roads and many narrow bridges along the way. Allow a full day to drive there, explore, and drive back. It’s best to start early to beat the crowds.
According to the Hawaii Tourism Authority, over 1 million people visited Hana last year, so the earlier you go the better.
Many businesses in Hana are cash only, with some accepting credit cards for a minimum purchase amount. There are no banks or ATMs in Hana town, so be sure to bring enough cash for food, shopping, and activities. The official Go Hawaii website suggests bringing $100-200 per person in cash.
Respect the Land
Hana is considered a sacred place to Native Hawaiians. Be respectful by not removing rocks, sand, or other natural items. Stay on marked trails and be careful not to trample vegetation or coral. As the Hawaii Guide says, “Take only photos, leave only footprints.”
|Annual visitors to Hana
|Over 1 million
|Suggested cash to bring per person
With its lush rainforests, breathtaking beaches, rejuvenating waterfalls and laidback pace of life, Hana is a magical corner of Maui that feels untouched by the modern world. By taking the scenic drive along the Road to Hana highway or opting to fly in by helicopter, spending at least an overnight in this tranquil paradise should be on every Hawaii bucket list.
We hope this guide has provided you with everything you need to know to plan your own adventure in heavenly Hana. No matter how you choose to experience this natural wonderland, you’re sure to leave with memories that will last a lifetime.