Located at the extreme southeast of the island of Maui, the city of Hana is like another island. Travel to or from the region of Hana to any other major population center takes several hours by car. Fewer tourists lodge here than in other Maui locales, and in the morning it is quiet and peaceful. Attracted by the popularized Road to Hana, day-trippers begin to flood in by midday. Although the harbor is too small for cruise ships to dock, some cruise passengers arrive by launch.
Hana is also a different island in terms of climate. Whereas most of the resorts of Maui are placed for sun-lovers in areas that get the least rainfall, Hana faces the easterly trade winds, which bring moisture from the sea. It is surrounded by rainforest and has more lush and green vegetation than other parts of the island.
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The Road to Hana is one of the most beautiful drives in the world. It follows the northeast coastline through lush rainforest. Budget three hours for the drive southeast from Kahului to Hana. Sharp curves, a 15 mph speed limit, and heavy traffic make the approximately 40 mile distance take longer than travelers expect for a highway. Going early in the morning can avoid much of the traffic. Several miles southwest beyond Hana, the road becomes single-lane dirt. The rental car companies may tell you not to take your car here, but the road isn't too bad. However, it can be very bumpy, requiring normal cars to slow to 5 mph or less in some sections. It passes through farmlands and the empty, desert-like southern coast of the island. There are soaring views of volcanic cliffs and, in clear weather, the Big Island on the distant horizon. The area is very beautiful but remote, and there are no services.
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Swim Ohe'o Gulch (Seven Sacred Pools). Southwest from Hana, but still accessible from the paved portion of the highway. A discontinguous part of Haleakala National Park. A trail leads toward the ocean from the parking lot to large sunny pools with small falls cascading between them. These are the most accessible but also the most crowded. Another trail uphill crosses the highway. After a short hike, you can reach pools shaded by rainforest trees. Some can be reached with a little bit of rock scrambling. The trail continues to a high waterfall.
Waianapanapa State Beach is a black sand beach that can be accessed from the Road to Hana several miles northwest of Hana. The beach faces a deep cove and is surrounded with lush vegetation. There is no swimming because of dangerous currents and dangerous jellyfish.
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Several other smaller hotels are more affordable.
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