Masthead header

maui november 2009 – day 2: Road to Hana

This is Day 2 of our Maui November 2009 adventure.

The next day, we woke up at around 4:30am – because of the time difference, it was about 9:30 NY time. We figured we’d get a head start on our drive to Hana so we got ready and headed out for breakfast. The only place open that was close by was the Kihei Caffe (yes it‘s spelled that way). It was a very short drive from the Maui Coast to the café. The café is cute, very small, with limited outdoor seating. You place your order at the counter and then find a place to sit outside. They bring your food to you when it’s ready.

We ordered coffees and asked about what they suggested was good for breakfast. The guy behind the counter was really friendly and recommended the fried rice with eggs. My husband ordered that, and I ordered 2 eggs with spam and hash browns. Gotta love all the spam in Hawaii! We also got a large, fluffy cinnamon roll to share. We found a seat outside, filled our coffee mugs from the self service station and pretty soon our meal came. Everything was delicious with the winner being the fried rice. It’s a bit mushier than your traditional fried rice but it had bits of ham, spam, scallions and I think some peppers in it too. You get 1 free refill on your coffee, and it’s based on the honor system.

view from the outdoor seating at kihei caffe…the sun was beginning to rise


eggs, spam, and a fluffy buttered biscuit…breakfast of champions


the giant cinnamon roll

After our huge breakfast, we headed on out to get some supplies – Styrofoam cooler, and drinks, my favorite being the Hawaiian Sun beverages. We shopped at Safeway, which we don’t have here in NYC, and I got a Safeway card to save on some groceries.

We embarked on the long road to Hana. The last time I was on this road was when I was about 12 years old on a trip with my family. I barely remember anything except for visiting some waterfalls. On the way we passed through Paia, which a was really cute town, we knew we wanted to stop here on the way back. We also passed the entrance to Mama’s Fish house which I was excited to eat at on our last day of our trip.

Our guide for our trip was the wonderful “Blue Book“. People either love or hate this book. The haters say that the book guides tourists to a lot of unsafe areas – like dangerous tide pools or private property. I loved it because it really gave us the lay of the land and helped us around, but we honestly don’t follow every guidebook to a “T” – so just use your own judgement and if a place looks a little sketchy then you probably shouldn’t go there. We also used map that I printed out online for the Road to Hana. Lots of useful free stuff out there, including blogs like mine. 🙂

The RTH was wonderful, especially since we were in a convertible, which allowed us to partake of the warm sun and cool breezes around each bend and turn. The views are nothing short of amazing. The road is VERY windy, lots of hairpin turns and one-lane bridges. If you are an experienced driver, I don’t think it would be an issue though. Since we were out so early, we didn’t encounter much traffic at all on the way there. We saw a couple of colorful fruit stands, some of them were closed at such an early time though. It was only about 8am at that point. If you get carsick easily, just load up on the Dramamine (non drowsy version). Also the convertible helps a lot. I think if we were not in a convertible, I would have gotten a bit ill.



sorry, we’re closed! but maybe on the way back!


one-lane bridge


We did run into a small little fruit stand where we bought a fresh coconut to share. They were nice enough to shuck it after we drank it and give us just the meat in a Ziploc bag. We used the port a potty stand there as well, which unfortunately was not very clean. But on the RTH, I guess its hard to find a public restroom in general so any place will do.

this fruit stand was open, so we got a coconut!


We made a few pit stops. Keanae Peninsula was soooo gorgeous. The scenery there was amazing and I snapped a few wonderful pics.

so lush and gorgeous



I was very proud that I “framed” this picture with the palm trees


what do you mean this isn’t a postcard?


just us…having a ball

We stopped at Up in Smoke BBQ for a quick how to buy lamisil bite. There are a few other food stalls there and a small gift shop. However, I wanted to try breadfruit so we ordered from Up in Smoke. The kalua pork was pretty good, served with rice and doused with hot sauce. The breadfruit was kinda like a yam crossed with a potato. It’s not very flavorful but you can douse it with butter and hot sauce and it’s not bad, but that’s because I like butter and hot sauce.

kalua pork with rice and breadfruit

3 Bears falls was really cute.

papa, mama, and baby falls

Right before Hana we went to Black Sand Beach at Wainapanapa State Park. It was fantastic! I have never been to a black sand beach before and I thought it was amazing. The “sand” is actually very smooth polished lava stones. Very pretty with the bright blue water. We got our feet wet, though not much in terms of swimming as the waves were pretty rough.

approaching the black sand beach


how come the water is still so blue even with the black sand?


smooth black pebble-y sand

When we got to Hana, we stopped to take a quick look. Hana itself was not very exciting. We drove around and got a feel of the place. The Hotel Hana looked really nice, but otherwise not too much to see.

Hotel Hana…now known as the Travasaa Hana


one of the Hana beaches


Wailua falls…just past Hana

We continued on for a few miles until we got to Ohe’o Gulch, or Seven Sacred Pools. It’s a short hike to the pools, but it’s definitely worth it. The scenery is amazing. The pools are really cold though so be prepared if you came to swim. We kind of waded around. There is a waterfall and also another pool above the waterfall that you can hike to and swim in too. We just stayed at the bottom pools. The hike is pretty slippery and I’m not really good on my feet. 😛

hiking from the parking lot to seven sacred pools


picturesque hike


we made it!


it was worth the short walk

For all my pictures at the Gulch I used a Panasonic Lumix TS1 which is waterproof so I didn’t mind it getting wet.

After Oheo Gulch we headed back to our car and drove the long road back by the way we came. Now I am on the passenger side of the car, and when you’re driving back the passenger side is Really Really scary!!! Lots of steep cliffs with no guard rail, no barriers, nothing. A few times I thought we were going to fall to our deaths! I guess that’s what people find exhilarating about the RTH. Going there, I wasn’t scared at all but coming back is pretty frightening, especially in a convertible. Going back was definitely more crowded, lots more cars we had to let pass.

On the way back, we stopped in Paia. It’s such a cute town, with colorful boutiques and restaurants. It’s not very big, but I like how it had a very upscale yet bohemian vibe. We stopped to eat dinner at the Paia Fish Market. You go in , and order from the counter and the seating is communal. We got the fish n chips with mahi mahi and the seafood salad platter with Ono. Both were delicious. I loved the salad dressing and I later found out it was Poppy Seed dressing which became my new favorite dressing! Fish was extremely fresh and prepared well. Everything was pretty casual and lots of people wearing beach gear.

counter at Paia Fish Market


ono is ONO!


fish and chips

We also went to Aloha Shave Ice. I got my usual combo I like to call the triple L: Lillikoi, Li Hing mui (Chinese salty sweet preserved plum) and Lychee. Got it with adzuki beans, and vanilla ice cream. My first shave ice of the trip and I loved it! A bit pricey for shave ice, but I loved every bite. Maybe it’s because it’s my first one of the vacation?

aloha shave ice – lillikoi, li hing, and lychee syrups

After shave ice, we walked around Paia for a bit and then got back to the car and drove back to the Maui Coast hotel and passed out. It was a looong but fun day!

Paia town

I’m really glad we did the RTH, although I wasn’t sure I would do it again on a subsequent trip…it really is quite exhausting, but as I write this blog, the pictures remind me of how beautiful it was…so we’ll probably do it again!

Next up, Day 3!

Click to read more of our Maui November 2009 adventure.

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *