Trying to figure it out where to go first, we looked through travel sites. I will remind you: we have never been to Maui before.
What did we see?
Ka’anapali – Wailuku – Wai’anapanapa – Nahiku – Haleakala – Molokini – Lanai…
Ah? Do these names mean anything to you? Well, they didn’t to us either. Therefore, again, we shut down the Internet and drove to Hana.
Tour operators exited us to see the tropical “utopia of Maui”: majestic waterfalls (many of them), bamboo forests, exotic flowers, Black Sand Beach, Red Sand Beach and other excitements. Very promising, don’t you agree?
The road to Hana is full of incredible scenery, but it is an adventure to drive along the curvy, serpentine, two-lane (in many parts one-lane) road for 3 hours one way. A mere 42 miles separate Paia from Hana. It’s definitely an all-day experience. Be prepared that the local drivers will stubbornly sit on your tail, regardless how fast or slow you drive. Also, all of them are possessed by a weird habit to pass your car right after the severe sign: “Do not pass!” So, if you want to visit Hana only because you would love to say to your friend “I have been there!” – don’t do it! Postpone your trip till you have enough time to enjoy your journey.
The first major sight: Twins Waterfall.
Another waterfall and happy adventurers.
We didn’t take any food with us and we found out that grabbing a bite to eat can be a challenge on the way to Hana. We missed the few cafes; we didn’t have a chance to slow down because an angry islander literally glued his car to our rear bumper. Finally, we let him pass us and stopped at a road stand. We had a tasty lunch: chicken, sausages and pork were sliced, BBQed and placed on a sugar bamboo leaf.
It was pure luck. The friendly local gentleman does not cook BBQ lunches every day, only when he is in the mood to do it. I would recommend you bring some food and refreshments and do not rely on luck.
Somewhere in the middle of our trip we stopped at the rest zone. This couple shared their lunch with homeless kitties. I don’t know who they were, but they have heart! Thank you!
There are over 1,000 wild cats on Maui. They look horrible – skinny, hungry and sick. Cats do not have enough food (birds and mice) and they have turned into scavengers. To see those miserable creatures was painful. I wish the tour operators had informed us. If we knew we would have brought cat’s food with us. Unfortunately, we had our lunch before we stopped at the rest zone. I experienced a shock: tropical island, hundreds of thousands of tourists, million-dollar hotels everywhere and… starving animals. Whatever stern veterinarians say about the danger of animal obesity I prefer to see fat cats rather than cats dying from starvation. It was very sad.
Next stop: Wai’anapanapa National Park and Black Sand Beach.
Here is another native islander, but he is in full camouflage. Can you find a cat in the picture?
The volcanic black sand. Awesome sight!
It’s really black! Never in my life have I seen such an amazing place!
Next stop: Hana Bay.
Hana is a small community town, green and full of flowers. The main attraction is the famous Red Sand Beach. By the way, there was free parking at the local middle school not far away from Red Sand Beach, but I am not sure if it was again our lucky day, or anyone may park there anytime?
Red Sand Beach looks more like a bay or tiny harbor.
You will have to walk up and down along a narrow path grabbing the tree branches to secure yourself from falling off the cliff, but the natural beauty of Red Sand Beach was worth the effort!
In the past this place was closed to the general public by the wish of the owner (because of the liability and legal issues). Now, since it is open again, be careful getting there: you are responsible for your own safety.
Here, in the bay of Red Sand Beach, our trip was over. It was time to go back. The way back took us less time – about 2 hours. Maybe we got used to the sharp curves in the road?
The red sun was half gone and most of the sky was covered with the clouds, when we reached the highway. Gradually, the sky turned from a bright-pink into gentle-lilac. Last flash; the sun disappeared.
We were overloaded with impressions of what we saw. Yes, as Maui Revealed Book promised us, Hana “doesn’t hit you, it seeps into you”.