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Maui Revealed Guidebook:
The road to Hana is without question the most famous road in all Hawai’i, the crown jewel. A slow, winding road through a lush paradise. The Hawaii of your dreams, the tropical fantasy that becomes reality.
Driving all the way to Hana and then turning around — which the vast majority of visitors do — is like a shave ice without the ice cream on the bottom. It means missing the incredibly expansive views of the coastline, the impossibly blue sky against the brown and red upper slopes of the volcano, and the utter lack of civilized development — these are the things that make a drive along the bottom part of the island (the loop) worthwhile.
Car break-ins can occur at scenic spots [if you drive yourselves]
Lonely Planet Guidebook:
Hawaii’s Top 20: Road to Hana. Hold on tight! Of all the jaw-droppingly dramatic drives in Hawaii, this is the Big Kahuna. A roller coaster of a ride, it twists down into jungly valleys and back up towering cliffs, curling around 600 twists and turns along the way. 54 one-lane bridges cross nearly as many waterfalls. It’s ravishingly gorgeous, but certainly not easy.
Smash-and-grab thefts do occur [if you drive yourselves]
Maui’s Top 15 Attractions. The stunning Road to Hana is an iconic, winding road with dramatic coastal views and can be the highlight of a trip. It is a Hawaii pilgrimage and is one of Hawaii’s best experiences. It is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful drives on the planet.
Arguably the most beautiful place on earth. Devote a full day to the experience. Don’t drive back the same way you came in: Following the back road all the way around the island, you are graced with new views as your surroundings change to windswept, arid lava flows. If you question your ability to drive narrow, mountainous roads, then take a guided van tour. Local guides can provide insights into Hawaiian history, culture, and personal anecdotes which add humor to the lengthy drive.
Yes, individual groups that are larger than 8 can be accommodated. The 8 person maximum only applies for groups that are mixed with others. A single van has 12 seats, although in general no more than 10 is recommended on one van for optimal comfort on this full day tour, unless you have younger children and don't mind being cozy. If you have more than 10-12, we can put you on an additional van(s), pending availability, in which case please note at checkout the number count for each van. Again, you would need to pay for 8 seats on each van for them each to be private.
Please note that if your group does more than one van, not all stops will be made together. About 60% of the stops can be made together, including all the longer stops, but many of the shorter stops don't have enough room for both vans to safely park at the same time. This is true for all Road to Hana tours.
Like other Road to Hana Tours, this tour does not stop at the Red Sand Beach (Kaihalulu) due to a precarious cliff-side trail to get to it. Injuries are common involving tourists trying to reach this beach (example 1, 2 & 3). The tour does stop at Koki Beach, which has a mixture of red, black, and white sand.
The tour stops here most of the time, depending on weather, timing, road conditions, and the interests of the group. The downside is that this stop can get really crowded, and getting there early before the crowds would mean rushing through the majority of the Road to Hana, since it’s located past the town of Hana. Swimming is not permitted at the pools here due to often hazardous conditions and multiple injuries and deaths that have occurred in the recent past (although not on this tour). There will also be many other scenic and memorable waterfalls on your tour, including for swimming, even without a stop here.
Fresh baked goods made with local tropical ingredients from a famous bakery, with flavors including Coconut Macnut, Strawberry Guava, Banana Macnut, and Pineapple. Also fresh Maui-grown fruit served include premium Maui Gold pineapple and strawberries from Kula Maui. Hot coffee is not served and shouldn't be brought on the tour due to safety/liability issues.
Monday - Friday is Tahitian BBQ at local favorite Braddah's Hutts with 9 choices and Sat & Sun is Hawaiian BBQ with 4 choices. Vegetarians and gluten-free eaters can be accommodated (vegans might want to consider bringing own food).
During the week, the vegetarian option is veggie pasta, mac salad, and rice; on the weekend, it's veggie pattie, corn, rice, and salad. For gluten-free eaters, the main protein and rice would be fine, but the side mac salad would be skipped; for breakfast, the pastries have gluten, so only fresh fruit would be available. Please indicate any dietary restrictions at checkout.
The tour uses the popular Ford Transit touring van. They are designed for 14 people, but the tour only has 8 passengers max (on non-private tours). Comfortable seats, customized enhanced suspension system, and large windows. Not a low-ceiling cargo van like some other tour companies. Seating is mostly attached, but individual seats are molded.
Couples usually end up having their own row (since there are 4 rows with 3-4 seats in each row for a total of only 8 passengers) which is better for maneuverability and comfort than if it was stand-alone "captain seats" and so they can easily see views on either side -- no risk of being stuck on a side with limited views.
Photos of the van can be seen in the photo gallery (note: you need to scroll through to the end). Vans are maintained daily and replaced annually. Safety and comfort are a top priority.
While there is no age minimum, you are responsible for providing a child car seat for any child age 5 & under, as required by law. Please consider the length of the tour (9-12 hours), much of it in a van, in determining whether this tour is a good fit for your child and that your child won't significantly detract from the experience of other passengers (if non-private tour).
For all our outdoor tours, we recommend early in your trip in case weather cancels it and therefore you have a better chance of being able to reschedule. If you're not coming in on a cruise ship, we recommend avoiding Sundays, which are the busiest day due to the large Pride of America cruise ship in port every Sunday (starting again April 10). Saturdays and Mondays may also be busier than average, although there may also be large conferences/conventions and other cruise ships on other days too. The tour starts early and plans stops strategically to best mitigate crowd issues.
Yes, the tour has restroom stops planned throughout the day, as needed. If you require frequent access to a bathroom, this 12-hour tour may not be for you, since there are usually only about 5-6 restroom stops, with the longest gap being 2-2.5 hours. However, by request, 3 more bathroom stops could be added, and the longest gap reduced to 1.5 hours.
On most tours, there is at least one swimming opportunity at a beach (black, red, or white sand beach, depending on conditions) and/or waterfall for those who wish to swim. If interested, it is recommended to wear a bathing suit and bring a towel.
In some cases, recent or current rains may prevent swimming, which can often be the case during the wet season (Nov-Apr). If swimming is important to you, you can always inquire about conditions at least 48 hours prior to the tour (so you can reschedule/cancel if you wish without penalty). You should also tell your tour guide when you start the tour of your swimming preference, and they will do their best to accommodate.
Minimal. There are some possible short trails, including to a bamboo forest and some waterfalls, but these are optional and the tour guide will use their judgment in determining which stops are most appropriate for the guests on the tour. At the time of booking, there is a place to indicate any physical limitations, and some effort is made to combine parties with similar physical abilities. All guests must be able to get on and off the van without assistance from the driver.
There is a weight maximum of 320 lbs / 145 kgs, as above that has damaged the vehicle. This policy is strictly enforced and refunds are not given if the guest cannot participate and it's within 48 hours of the tour.
No. Federal/state law prevents the tour from taking these items onboard because it is not an ADA-compliant van and these objects can serve as hazardous projectiles. Since ADA vans are wider, most, if not all, Road to Hana Tours have this restriction (if operated legally). Canes are permitted but not walking sticks. There is a low step to get on the van, and all guests must be able to get on and off the van without assistance from the driver. Note: sitting in the front passenger seat (next to the driver) is prohibited by law for safety reasons.
In addition to comfortable seating on the van with large windows, there are benches and tables at some of the stops, particularly those where the tour stops for an extended period.
It is not recommended if you are pregnant (2nd or 3rd trimester) or have a bad back due to a rough section of the road past Hana which is over 10 miles long and takes about a hour to get through. If you still decide to go, you will need to sign a waiver at check-in. Due to van restrictions and safety concerns, those over 320 lbs / 145 kg unfortunately will not be able to participate. Finally, guests should be able to enter/exit the van without assistance from the guide/driver and in a timely manner.
Alcohol is not permitted on the tour, per government regulations. This is the case for all tours on the Road to Hana.
The drivers are highly trained and experienced, and even guests who typically get motion sick are pleasantly surprised how they don't in the vans customized for this route (a benefit of taking a tour). In addition, doing the loop route means you are not coming back the more windy way you took to Hana; the backside return is much more straight.
To minimize, you should also try to sit near the front and perhaps consider taking medicine (such as Dramamine, or Hana Tonic that can be found at ABC Stores on the island).
Seating is not assigned and passengers are usually picked up at different times and locations depending on the final makeup of the tour that isn't known until the day before, so seating requests cannot be accommodated and seating is first-come, first-served. However, feel free to make a note at checkout so the tour is aware.
There are multiple vans that go out on the same day and that don't generally stay together. Therefore, if booking separately, please answer the question at checkout about you being with another party so we can ensure you are on the same van.
Although passing showers are not uncommon on the lush rainforest side of the island, if there is a storm forecast or any other situation that would make the tour possibly unsafe for the driver and passengers, the tour will be cancelled. You will be contacted and asked to reschedule or receive a full refund.
The tour operator has been in business for over 15 years as one of the most popular and highly rated ways to experience the Road to Hana with an authentic local guide. The operator's name and phone number will be provided with your detailed confirmation email. They are a fully permitted & insured operator, with Hawaii PUC License #4865C.