Hana is a tiny town at the end of the road to Hana that allows you to enjoy some solitude and isolation from the more developed areas of Maui.
Hana beaches, restaurants and lodging are more laid back than in the more developed and populous areas of Maui.
If you stay overnight in Hana, the waterfalls and pools at Ohe'o Gulch (often referred to by a marketing term - Seven Sacred Pools) are a popular destination for a leisurely day.
Don't expect to find much to eat at Hana:
• Just about the only standalone restaurant in Hana is the Hana Ranch House, which is renowned for marginal food and indifferent service. When there are no competitors, what else can you expect?
• We have had simple burgers at Tutu's Snack Shop at Hana Bay, where we used the outdoor picnic tables near the beach. The burgers are ordinary, but after driving for half a day, they taste pretty good.
• Hana is such a casual place that we have even purchased items such as banana bread from food stands along the road. These food vendors - including one that offers Hawaiian mixed plate lunches on the road between Hana and Oheo Gulch - are open when they put out their signs.
• We bring our own snacks, not just because of the lack of Hana restaurants, but also to save time for the long drive back.
You can also eat (and stay overnight) at the Travaasa Hana, formerly called the Hotel Hana - Maui.
This hotel has recieved several awards (#2 - Top 10 Hotel Spas in Hawaii -Travel & Leisure, October 2006) and has a price to match - ranging from $500 to $1500 per night.
That's way over our lodging budget.
The Hana coast area also has a lot of private rental cottages for overnight stays.
Several Hana beaches offer relative solitude compared to many west Maui beaches:
• Hana Bay is a good family beach on Maui with snorkeling and light wave action. Hana Bay Beach Park includes a burger snack shack, one of the few places in Hana to eat.
• Just south of Hana Bay is Kaihalulu, a red sand beach that is a beautiful contrast to the surrounding greenery, but is difficult to get to and has marginal swimming.
• Hamoa Beach, named as the sixth best beach in America in 2007, is just a few minutes drive from Hana.
• Just north of Hana, Wai'anapanapa State Park includes the Maui black sand beach, a freshwater spring fed pool in a lava cave for swimming, and restrooms.
Hamoa Beach, rated as the 6th best beach in America in 2006, is just a few minutes drive from Hana on the southeast shore of Maui.
This beach is not a casual drive while you are vacationing on Maui. It is only practical if you decide to drive the road to Hana.
Hamoa Beach is a popular surfing and bodysurfing area. Snorkeling is good in the summer on the left side of the beach.
Hamoa beach access is not simple. You park on the shoulder of Haneo'o Road, then walk down lava rock stairs to the beach.
This is not the private beach for the Hotel Hana - Maui and Honua Spa, but it may seem that way (all Maui beaches have free public access). The Hotel Hana runs a shuttle bus to the beach for its guests, and also maintains bathrooms, umbrellas and beach chairs only for its guests.
There is a public bathroom and shower that anyone can use.
Celebrities like the solitude of the Hana area. Oprah Winfrey recently purchased six lots at Mokeo near the beach and is expected to build a single house on the 63 acre spread.
The famous author James Michener described Hamoa beach as the most beautiful beach in the Pacific:
Paradoxically, the only beach I have ever seen that looks like the South Pacific was in the North Pacific. Hamoa Beach on Maui Island in Hawaii; a beach so perfectly formed that I wonder at its comparative obscurity.
Formed into the shape of a half moon, it is rimmed by boulders of lava and guarded by tall volcanic needles. Pandanus trees line the shore, which offers a crescent of black and silver sand.
Hamoa Beach Videos
This Hamoa Beach video gives you a birds eye view of the beach from a helicopter. Click on the PLAY button in the image below to view the video.
This next short Hamoa beach video gives you an on the beach view of the beach.
Just south of Hana Bay is the Maui red sand beach Kaihalulu.
A row of jagged lava rocks (often called dragon's teeth stretch across the small bay and protect the beach from a lot of the high waves, which create a lot of spray and noise when the waves hit the lava rocks.
Beach access is not easy - you have to hike along an unmarked and rough trail that is not easy to locate.
Follow the trail starts on the South side of the Hana Community Center for about fifteen minutes along the narrow path along the steep cliff.
To view a video of the hike to get to this beach, as well as the high surf and red sand, click on the 'play' button in the image below.
Seven Sacred Pools - Oheo Gulch
If you want to continue beyond Hana to for more waterfalls and Oheo Gulch (also known as the Saven Sacred Pools), see our page Seven Sacred Pools.
Hana Maui Videos
The Hana Maui video below is a quick view of Hana town and the surrounding beaches. This birds eye perspective is provided by a helicopter tour company. Click on the PLAY button in the image below to view the video, or just scroll down to read more about Hana Maui.
If you do spend the night in Hana, you will have more time for activities like snorkeling and kayaking. The video below is long (six minutes) but it does reflect the relaxed mindset you will experience in Hana.
UPDATE: You can once again go to Ohe'o Gulch from Hana. The Paihi Bridge (built in 1911), between mile marker 44 and 45 on the Hana Highway, was closed to traffic due to damage from the October 2006 earthquake in the channel between east Maui and the Big Island. A temporary bridge has been erected to provide access while a new bridge is being built.