Monday, June 21, 2010

Drive to Hanna

One of the highlights of my trip to Maui was the drive to Hanna. It is vital for me to point out that while this is called the "drive to Hanna", it is an adventure that takes place during the drive and not actually at Hanna. It is a perfect example of the quote, it is the journey and not the destination.

Before you begin the trip, here are some tips for you to consider:

  • If you have rented a car which I recommend you should in Maui, be aware that the drive to Hanna is not for the feeble minded. The roads are wrapped around the hills. Often, you will be on a one lane bridge. Be careful when you are driving. I found that the local drivers were very rash and not so tolerant of the tourists. They expect the right of the way. And then you have folks who drive SUVs for the first time in their lives. As everywhere else, they are oblivious to anyone else but themselves. While they are talking on their cell phones. So be careful and keep your distance from them.
  • On the way to Hanna, you will see numerous, numerous lookout points. These are great for taking photos and also to simply pull into if there are impatient drivers behind you. Passing a car is not allowed most of the time so it is best to let the rowdy/rushed drivers pass. You will see non-stop views like this one.
  •  There is a Shell gas station in town. (I am trying to remember the location. Will update as soon as I find my notes.) In the gas station parking lot, there is a little booth where someone sells a guided tour CD for the road to Hanna. It cost us about 20 dollars but was well worth it. The things you will learn by following the CD is priceless. I highly recommend that you get it. While you are buying it and if you are planning on going to the volcano, buy a CD for that as well. If you buy the first CD, the second one is only 10 bucks.
  • At the same Shell station, you can rent a cooler. The deposit is 6 dollars. If you decide to keep it for the rest of the trip, you lose the deposit. We kept it throughout our trip and it came very very handy.
  • Leave early. We left around noon and had to rush back because we did not want to drive in the dark. Plan everything a day ahead and leave as soon as you can. It gets bright very early in Hawaii. 
  • Bathrooms/restrooms are simply awful on the drive. I have been to 3rd world countries and these were much more worst than that. Since my body decided to stop retaining water that day, I had to pee every hour. So I can tell you that I saw each one of them. They were disgusting. The government of Hawaii needs to do a better job of cleaning them. There were port-a-potties galore which I have used before. But they were covered with bodily excrement. And the regular bathrooms I found were even worst. Not just the stalls but floors, the walls, etc. Ugh! Needless to say, I threw the sandals I was wearing after the drive. They certainly need to clean it up. Even in restaurants, the bathrooms were awful! Shame on you the government of Hawaii.
  • On your way, stop by at one of the smoothie stands on the roadside and grab some pineapple smoothie, or some coconut drinks. Simply the best in the world. Passions fruit juice and sugarcane juice are also not to be missed.
  • It is quite windy in Hawaii. I had a difficult time taming my freshly permed/straightened hair. Consider wearing a hair band or simply tying your hair up into a pony tail. While this sounds trivial, I ruined many photos because my hair kept flying into my camera lens.
  • Flowers. In general, when you go to Maui or even Hawaii, the very first chance you get, buy some flowers for your room. During our first dinner, my hubby got me a tube rose garland. While the nice lady who sold it to us said that I should keep it in a ziplock bag and store it in the freezer, I wore it right away. Where is the fun in keeping it in the fridge? It is not like I could bring it back to Austin. So I kept it in my room on a damp towel. And every time we would enter the room, we were captivated with the intoxicating smell of the tube roses. Getting to the point... On the drive to Hanna, you will see numerous unmanned shops that sell fresh fruit and flowers. There is a little deposit box where you can drop cash for whatever you buy. I got a bouquet of the most exotic flowers for 5 dollars. They stayed fresh in my room and when I left, I passed it on to another guest in the hotel. Since I did not have any vases handy, I asked housekeeping for an extra ice bucket and placed the flowers in the ice bucket. Flowers like that would cost at least a 100 dollars here. And it was lovely to come into a room with these exotic flowers and the fragrant smell of the tube roses.
  • Wear a swim suit. There are numerous, numerous waterfalls that will tempt you to just take a dip. And keep some towels and an extra pair of clothes handy.
  • Do not go to the Twin Falls. It is highly overrated. What folks don't tell you is that the falls very far apart and the trek to falls is super long. And when you get to the falls, you have to climb over rocks, water tanks and ledges to even see the waterfalls. We spend over 2 hours there and saw just a glimpse of the falls. The second I did not even bother to see even though I had trekked for 30 minutes from one fall to the other. I was carrying my camera equipment and you have to walk on a high wall, then walk in the water to even catch a glimpse of the fall. It was the utmost disappointment of my trip. Most people stop there because it is one of the first diversions on the trip. I can tell you it is a total waste of time. There are many many things much better that you can do. Skip this one. You won't regret it.
After a 20 minute hike to the second fall, you have to walk over the little ledge that you see here, jump on the other thingie and jump down. Seriously? I was carrying my expensive camera gear. What if I would fall? I was more concerned about my camera gear getting wet but I grabbed a complete stranger's hand and asked him to escort me please.

But it is not over. After you climb over the stuff, you have to wade in the water to actually access the falls. No thanks. Not with my gear with me. Shame on you government of Hawaii. At least build a little natural trail or a mini-bridge for tourists to access this! I understand your desire to want to be as natural as possible but you built these cement things. Why not build a little wooden bridge for visitors? Specially since you tout this as an attraction. How many people have fallen off the ledge and hurt themselves?

  • Notice the fauna on the way. I have never seen exotic flowers and ferns growing in the jungle. Most amazing.Birds of Paradise grow every everywhere!
  • While we never made it past Hanna, I recommend that you go past it to see some more fabulous beaches and waterfalls. I will definitely do it on my next trip.
  • If you decide not to rent a car, you can book a tour for this trip. It is definitely worth the money. And saves you the anguish of driving on the treacherous roads. Most people who rave about the drive did not actually drive on the road. The drivers only remember it as a very dangerous road.
  • Pull over at every lookout point! The views are amazing! And it gives the driver a break.
So tell me about you. Ever been to Maui and the drive to Hanna? What was your experience?


Kala said...

I waded in the "Seven Sacred Pools" but I didn't have a nice camera with me at the time!

NicoleB, Egypt said...

Those shots look so way cool :D
What an amazing place to be!
Wish I could go there one day!

Postcards from Wildwood said...

Never been to Maui - we went to Oahu. But ever since then I've wanted to go to Maui. One day - I hope. Great account of your trip, and photos.