Every spring break, my family and I pack up our surfboards, skateboards, bikes, fishing poles, cooler and BBQ and hit The Road to Hana for some much anticipated fun and relaxation. This is our official 'unplug' trip and my personal favorite because Hana, like an elixir, makes me drowsy and calm with happiness. Getting there is half the fun, so read my 5 tips on surviving The Road to Hana and taking it all in once you arrive.
Take Your Time - This is one of the most spectacular scenic drives you will ever make. It winds along towering cliffs, through various forests, traverses, and over 50 one lane bridges. I live a mere 31 miles from Hana and it still takes a minimum of 90 minutes (without stopping) to arrive. I personally get car sick, so frequent stops are a must- but this gives us all the opportunity to get out of the car, stretch our legs, and take in all the beauty! Besides, breathing in the mist of a nearby waterfall is good for more than just clearing your head.
Eat Local - You are going to be on this road for a while so you pretty much have no choice. Definitely eat at that questionable looking road side BBQ stand, you won't regret it. Our Favorite is Ka Haku's Smoke Shack near mile marker 10. This place serves BBQ chicken and/or pork and ribs, pohole (fiddle neck) fern salad with tomatoes and onion, rice and grilled plantains. The food is ono (delicious) and one of the best things about the service is that it is zero waste. The dishes are served in a banana stalk, lined with a green ti leaf. Rough-hewn bamboo chop stick serve as your utensils and fresh coconuts are delivered with a papaya stem straw complete with local flowers for decor!
Save some room because the next stop is... ice cream! In my opinion, ice cream is a food group, therefore Coconut Glens is not to be missed. This colorful hippie shack makes amazing vegan flavors using fresh island coconut milk. I love the spicy chocolate and salted caramel, but the coconut is my favorite (duh). Served in a compostable cup with a wooden spoon, it is another eco friendly favorite.
No trip to Hana for me is complete with out a trip the Pranee's Thai Food truck, while my husband and son live for Braddah Huts. There are many other choices so bring your appetite.
Go With It - People, this is the rain forrest so expect some, or a lot, of rain. Children are the best at proving weather has no influence on a good time. If it rains - dance in it, drink it, splash in it, or simply watch it fall. Seriously, when was the last time you just watched it come down? Besides, the weather changes very swiftly in a tropical climate, so if you don't like it, wait a few minutes and be patient.
Stay A While - It is not possible to truly enjoy Hana in a rush. There are tropical gardens, beaches and waterfalls aplenty, so kick off your shoes and stay a while. You can find many excellent vacation rentals on VRBO and Home away, or if you prefer hotel life, the Tavavsa Ocean Front Cabins are a fantastic option too.
Un Plug - Maui is a very special place and Hana in particular has a very powerful mana (energy), but you will never notice it if your too busy checking your email or browsing Instagram. Hide your electronics, put your bare feet on the ground, breath in that sweet tropical air and gaze at your reflection in a waterfall. That 'feeling' will be the best thing you can take home with you.