If you come to Maui, you will undoubtedly be told “You must drive out to Hana.” It is by far one of the most popular things to do here and with very good reason. I actually like how it is almost parallel to how we (and a lot of other people) attack life and travel in general.
“It’s about the journey, not the destination”
You see Hana itself, while impressive, is not what it is about. It’s about the drive to and from it. The journey is what it is all about. You won’t find a lot of roads in the world that are more impressive than the loop around the east side of Maui. Here’s our highlights of our tour with Valley Isle Excursions.
First of all, it is a long day. The tour lasts from sunrise to sunset as it is a long road, and there is a lot to see. After looking at the driving route, we made sure we sat on the left hand side of the bus, as this is the ocean side and gave us the best views for the entire duration of the drive. As mentioned before, the drive is spectacular. There are 617 curves and 56 bridges in all through stunning scenery of the east of Maui island and the surrounding Pacific Ocean.
Our favorite stop along the tour was at the black sand beach. The first thing I thought of when I heard ‘black sand beach’ is that it is going to be dirty, but it is nothing of the sort. The beach is in fact small stones, and the black contrasts beautifully with the green foliage surrounding the beach and (hopefully) blue skies above.
The stop at the Pools of ‘Ohe’o was our second favorite stop on the tour. After a short hike (less than 15 minutes) we got to swim in these famous pools. The pools are very important to the Hawaiian people, and you will learn about the history behind the seven different pools that form this ancient site. The pools are connected by waterfalls and make a beautiful site to swim or just sit back and relax. The water coming over the waterfalls is highly dependent on the recent rains in the area.
While they were our favorite two stops, there are plenty of other places the tour has a look at. They include a number of small waterfalls, the Keanae Peninsula, a drive though the town of Hanna itself, Hana Ranchlands, Charles Lindbergh’s grave site, Ulupalakua Ranch and the Tedeschi Winery. Like I mentioned before it is a full day!
Being out for a full day we were slightly worried about how we would get food and drinks. We needn’t have worried. The tour company started our day with a continental breakfast and a hearty lunch shortly after midday. They also had a full cooler of drinks to keep us going throughout the day. There are also numerous stops where there was an opportunity to pick up a snack or two if we were feeling peckish.
The buses used for the tour are also exceptional. The number of the people on the bus was less than 20, so the tour feels personable, and we never felt like just one of the crowd like you can on some tours. The seats were big and comfortable, and temperatures were nice and cool compared to the Hawaiian heat. The bus drivers are also extremely knowledgeable. The driver for our tour had lived her whole life on the island and was basically a walking encyclopedia. She was incredibly friendly and happy to answer any questions being asked.
Anyone looking to complete the drive out to Hana will be very happy if they choose to use Valley Isle Excursions for their tour.