Just about every place in Hawaii boasts of beautiful beaches and natural beauty, but the lush green and untouched tropical panorama seen on Hana tours is something else again. It is a magical world, hard to reach and precariously located on the very edge of the island’s eastern tip. The tropical jungle, waterfalls and jagged cliffs overlooking the ocean waves crashing into the rocks may be seen in tourist brochures, but not very often in reality.
The usual point of entry into this area is through Kahului Airport. The tourist experience begins almost immediately, once the tour bus is clear of Kahului and heads out on the HI-360 towards Hana. This 52 mile trip is among the most popular things to do in Hawaii.
For the driver, the next few hours will be a treacherous time that requires extreme skill and concentration to get past the 59 bridges and 620 curves. A lot of these hairpin curves and old bridges are made all that much harder and time-consuming because they can accommodate only one lane of vehicles. For the passengers, it is an immersion into a beautiful and untouched paradise.
The air-conditioned tour buses used on this route come with wide windows that allow passengers to soak in the view. The road goes by several points of interest along the way. The bus will stop many times and let people disembark to get an up-close look at the waterfalls, scenery and historic attractions.
One of these stops is at Puohokamoa Falls, tumbling down 130 feet and into the ocean below. The Ohe’o Gulch Pools (Seven Sacred Pools) are a great spot to lay back and take a swim. Black Sand Beach at Waianapanapa State Park is another popular stop on this route just before the bus reaches the town.
Yet another place for a relaxing break is the Tedeschi Winery. Passengers can get off the bus, explore the winery and get a taste of some of their wines. Keanae Peninsula is also a popular attraction, created by lava flowing out of the Haleakala Crater. The never-ending and momentous battle between the jagged lava stones and the ocean waves offers clear evidence that man has no control over the elements in this part of the world.
Visitors still reeling from the impact of all this enter the town and are confronted by the majestic Hana Bay. Other historic attractions seen on the tour include Hasegawa General Store and Pi’ilanihale Heiau, a 13th century temple in the Kahanu Garden Botanical Gardens. Apart from Hana beach Park, the tour may also include a stop at Hamoa Beach.
Since the return back to modernity requires another journey on the HI-360, Hana tours have more in store for passengers. Most buses make their way back along the same route, but it’s also possible to continue forward on HI-360 and make it a round trip of the island. Charles Lindbergh’s grave is just a short drive ahead of the town, in the Palapala Ho’omau Church. The tour continues onwards past the church towards the opposite coast and then follows the road as it heads inland and through central Maui towards Kahului
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