What You'll Find at the End of the Long Winding Road.
Jet-black sand glitters against bright blue waters near emerald hills wearing lacy white crowns of mist in “Heavenly Hana,” the nickname of this tranquil region of East Maui since the 1940s. Its main draws for sightseers are the caves, tidepools and rugged shoreline of Waianapanapa State Park; Piilanihale Heiau, thought to be the largest such stone temple in Polynesia and now part of verdant Kahanu Garden; and the waterfalls and natural pools of the Kipahulu District of Haleakala National Park.
Beachgoers will also appreciate the soft gray sand at half-moon Hamoa Beach, “a beach so perfectly formed that I wonder at its comparative obscurity,” James Michener wrote, and the reddish sand of Koki Beach, where it’s better to watch from shore as local surfers ply its rougher waters. In town, hike up a 500-foot hill past grazing cattle to the landmark Fagan’s Cross for compelling ocean views.
Those who aren’t simply day-trippers on the winding, wonder-filled 52-mile Road to Hana will find heavenly lodgings at Hana-Maui Resort. Now managed by Hyatt, the only full-service hotel in the region is renowned for its seaside bungalows, rich activities program and serene spa. Other than the resort’s signature restaurant, sit-down dining options are scarce, but food trucks and roadside stands make the most of the local agricultural bounty.
History: Hana (Hāna, pronounced haah-nuh) has a large population of Native Hawaiians, some growing taro and throw-net fishing just like the generations before them. Cattle have grazed at Hana Ranch on former sugarcane fields since the 1940s, when founder Paul Fagan also created what became the Hotel Hana-Maui (now Hana-Maui Resort).
Queen Kaahumanu, favorite wife of King Kamehameha the Great, was born nearby, in a cave on the cinder cone Puu Kauiki. After the king’s death in 1819, Kaahumanu became a powerful leader in her own right, ultimately ending the kapu (taboo) system and embracing the Christian faith of missionaries who arrived in 1820.
Feature Photo: Claudio Schwarz/Unsplash
What to Do in Hana
Where to Stay in Hana
Hana's Annual Events
APRIL: The Annual East Maui Taro Festival celebrates and honors the Taro, a staple of Hawaiian diet, by educating locals and tourists during a festive one-day cultural event. Activities center around the Taro and food booths feature Taro as part of the meal. The festival also includes Hula, music, crafts and more.
SEPTEMBER: Eager to make your vacation a little more active? Grab a team of six and sign up to run in the 52 mile Hana Relay Marathon. The annual event challenges locals and tourists alike to run and compete for awards. After running through paradise, enjoy live music and food at the finish line.
OCTOBER: Aloha Week in Hana is packed with celebrations from daily events such as parades to activities such as contests and crafts. Take a look at the schedule and take advantage of the fun and festive week.
*Things change, so please check in with the organizers of these events to make sure they are still happening.