One of the first things I read about when I started researching what to do on the islands was the Road to Hana. I knew I didn’t want to rent a car, because that would mean Jim was driving while I enjoyed myself! We settled on NCL’s Road to Hana Deluxe and it was a great choice.
We were fortunate to have a clear, sunny day for most of our tour. Hana — and the road to Hana — are on the wet side of the island, and rainy/foggy/cloudy days are common. Even on our tour the mist set in about 3:00, so an early start on the Road to Hana tour is preferable.
We had a group of 8 in a van with comfortable Captain’s Chairs. Temptation Tours was the tour operator, and Gail was our driver. She was excellent…her stories and knowledge of Maui were a real asset during the tour.
We made many stops during the day. For the most part I’m going to let my pictures do the talking.
Our first stop was at the Ke’Anae Peninsula for dramatic views of the rugged coast composed of huge lava rocks.
Our next stop was “Halfway to Hana” for some overpriced but delicious banana bread and smoothies.
There were waterfalls everywhere, but our first waterfall stop was at the Pua’a Kaa State Wayside.
Along the way we saw beautiful Rainbow Eucalyptus trees and other spectacular vegetation.
Hana is a quiet little village at the eastern tip of Maui. In the late 1800s-early 1900s the main industry was sugar cane plantations. There were 7 of them! In 1946 much of the town was destroyed by a tsunami, so what you see today is mostly post-tsunami construction that is built on higher ground than the destroyed homes and structures.
Hana and the surrounding secluded areas are favored by travelers who value luxury and privacy.
Lunch was at Wai’anapanapa State Park. Bet you can’t pronounce it…I couldn’t either! Gail provided a wonderful array of wraps, fruit, salads, and sweet treats in an idyllic setting.
Wai’anapanapa is also the home of Paiola, Maui’s black sand beach. On the day we visited the beach was being enjoyed by quite a few people and one Hawaiian Monk Seal!
We made a couple other stops on the way back to the ship, but in my opinion the Crown Jewels of the day were the Ke’Anae Peninsula and Wai’anapanapa State Park.
The weather had started turning and fog/rain/mist set in for the rest of the day.
Gail did a great job getting us to the major sites on the Road to Hana before the weather turned. We learned it rains on that end of the island more often than not, so we were fortunate to see some of the views with clear sunny skies.
The rain is both a blessing and a curse…all the rain is the reason for the lush tropical vegetation and waterfalls.
It’s truly a rainforest, and the inland part of the drive is enhanced in the rain. Unfortunately the rain does nothing for the ocean views.
We got back to the ship about 4:00. It was a long day, but a great one and we were glad we made the trip.
Dinner was at Cagney’s, and our evening entertainment was trying not to fall asleep in our food!
We were hopeful for a repeat of Sunday’s weather for our Monday trip to the Haleakala National Park and the volcano summit, but it wasn’t meant to be. I know the people who made the sunrise trip did actually see sunrise before the fog and rain set in, but I don’t think the visibility window lasted too long.
We took a private tour with Gus from Holo Holo Maui Tours. He was fantastic and really worked with us to salvage something of our day, but I’m getting ahead of myself…
When we left port at 8:30 the weather wasn’t too bad. We had a mix of sun and clouds and it had been raining, but it didn’t look like a total washout. You couldn’t see the top of Haleakala, but Gus was hopeful the clouds would lift, so off we went.
We saw many variations of vegetation and scenery as we climbed Haleakala.
Unfortunately the higher we climbed the worse it got.
We got to the summit and walked around for a while, but there wasn’t a lot to see. It was foggy, rainy, and COLD!
We ended up stopping at the trailhead for a snack, but it was raining hard by this time so no volcano walk for us!
Instead of our volcano hike Gus took us down to Paia Town where we walked around and did a little shopping. All was not lost, because we found our Christmas ornament for the trip.
If we had the day to plan over again I would make sure we had back-up plans in case of weather. We had a great time because of Gus, but there really wasn’t much to see because of the weather. Since it was a private tour I think we could have/should have gone over to Lahaina and Ka’anapali Beach where it hardly ever rains!
My consolation prize is that we by pure luck picked the good day for Road to Hana. It rained out there ALL DAY Monday, so the people who chose that really didn’t see a lot.
We got back about 1:30ish, and then what I thought would be a leisurely afternoon turned into frenzied activity because of an e-mail. Our guide for Kauai, Noah (Noah’s Ark Kauai) had to cancel because he tested positive for Covid. He sent several contacts and I reached out to all of them, but of course looking on Monday for a tour on Thursday is an exercise in futility. I reached out to the concierge who gave me a name that worked. We played phone tag for a while and I reached out to the other people on the tour, and finally just as we sat down for dinner at LaCucina everything was set. So much for relaxing!
We had an excellent dinner at LaCucina as we set sail for two days in Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii!