Because its reputation is infamous, the Rappel Maui staff is often asked about the long and winding Road to Hana.
How twist-y and turn-y is the Road to Hana? And will I get carsick during the ride?
For the most part, the Hana Highway is just a normal highway as it wends its way from the busier town of Kahului (where the OGG airport is), to the crunchy hamlet of Paia, where the sign says, “Do not feed the hippies.” The views become more wide open as the highway traverses the North Shore, past the surfing, windsurfing and turtle rest stop attraction of Ho’okipa. (Ho’okipa means“hospitality” in Hawaiian.) Onward are some sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean from higher elevations, but the Hana Highway does not truly become that infamous Road to Hana until after the mile marker reset to zero at the corner of Hana Highway and Kaupakalua Road in Haiku.
Why Does the Road to Hana Get So Much Publicity?
At the Twin Falls fruit stand, or approximately mile marker 2, the Road to Hana scenery becomes more jungle-y and lush, but the twists, turns, switchbacks and one-lane bridges don’t come along until about mile marker 5. This is also where you’ll want to take in the roadside beauty. There are miles of bamboo, the ocean, waterfalls and rainbow eucalyptus trees. (No one painted them, we swear.) You’ll also notice that the road makes it impossible for the driver to focus on anything but the road, so take the opportunity to enjoy yourself as a passenger. We make our stop at about mile marker 10. That means the drive is particularly motion-worthy for about 5 miles of our journey, as you can see on the map.
Because our guides drive the Hana Highway every day, they are deft at keeping the motion to a minimum. And it’s a slow-motion trek once the curves begin, both because of the narrow lanes and the habits of visitors trying to get a glimpse of a roadside waterfall while driving. Your guides also stock chewy ginger candies, which seem to help with nausea–and are also just plain delicious. And, those who are most prone to carsickness can always sit in the front seat as the first line of defense, or the seat directly behind the driver as the second.
To speak in more detail about the drive to and from the activity site or the Road to Hana, please call or use the online chat function to talk story about making your tour the best part of your visit to Maui. Or check out these other related question and answer posts to learn more.