Related: Hawaii - Why? Part One. Part Two. Part Three. Tips.
Yay! Without any further delay - lol - here's the first part of our trip to Hawaii:
So here we are in Maui! First stop: Hana
Our one-way flight landed in Maui late on Monday, so we'd booked a hotel in Kahului near the airport so we could sleep after our travels before setting up camp that next day - we'd picked up our rental car after getting off the plane, so on Tuesday morning we grabbed groceries for camp and some propane (which ended up being the wrong size and didn't fit our burners - but no biggie).
We had booked a spot at Wai'anapanapa campsite on the East side of the island close to Hana (before we left), so our first taste of Maui was the coolest beautiful twisty Hana highway - which we took straight there early in the morning.
Campsite #1 - Wai'anapanapa State Park
After we arrived, this was by far our favorite campsite of the whole trip - it's a state park, so you need to get $20/night permits online and pin them to your tent (despite what I'd read, there actually was a dude checking permits while we were there). It was nice and quiet there - well, except during the day when busloads of tourists come to see the Black Sand Beach and you kind of feel like an animal at the zoo for a bit - lol - but there were always few other campers there, too (and, really, we weren't there during the day much). Over the next few days it got busier and busier with campers, and we met a nice German couple and even a few families from around Vancouver!
Over the next 4 days we stayed at this camp, cooked and ate our food on the grill (we gathered dead wood laying around to make our fires), and explored all things in and around Hana with our lil rental car.
Here are some of the close-to-Hana highlights:
Black Sand Beach
This is actually where our campsite was located - overlooking the Black Sand Beach. Gorgeous! Our little tent was propped up on the hillside above it (right behind a really old 'cemetary', too). One morning we zipped open the tent and saw the sunrise through our toes. :) This was literally our view:
The black sand was super-cool, too! A little scratchier then usual sand, but cool nontheless. Swimming was iffy - some days the surf was really strong, but at sundown it got calmer. There were a few great trails just off the beach, too - one led out to a super-rocky old burial ground, it was gorgeous looking back:
And one led the opposite way to some blow holes and more sharp lava rocks (where I totally wiped out and ripped a hole in my knee on our second day, hiking - lol. Felt like I was five, again). Beautiful!
There was also a cute little cave right off of the beach at the bottom, and two freshwater caves with a legend on a little walk right at the campsite:
We drove into Hana to see this little gem one day, which was hidden close to the outskirts of town. You walk through a random parking lot, and then it was actually quite the treacherous little trail to get to it - first landing at this smaller (but still really beautiful) red sand beach:
And then trailing up and over sandy cliffs into the larger (super-gorgeous and worth the scary trail!) beach. It was so precarious I only snapped this one picture before I had to put the camera away before heading down:
The Seven Sacred Pools
These really aren't sacred - lol - it's just a name. They were about an hour's drive through a jungle-edged road past Hana. It was just gorgeous to drive there (and there's camspite there that we didn't know about, but would have loved to stay at!) - the pools themselves were busy & it was super hard and slimy to actually get in the water, but once you made it in the swimming was awesome! It was a welcome change from the strong ocean pelting me over when I tried to swim.
Koki and Hamoa Beaches
These two little beaches just past Hana on a little loop were our go-to's for calm beach days near the end of our time in Hana. Koki was the local kids' surfing beach (in the late afternoon, tons of cute lil kid surfers came out with their boards) - it was nice and quiet during the week. Hamoa beach was known for it's great body surfing, but I likened it to being pelted by waves over and over before finally being able to get past them and swim - the ocean is so strong. We went to Hamoa super-early Friday morning and got the best spot in the shade under a tree. Aah. It gets busy there!
Hana Lava Tube
We accidentally ran into this cave on our way out of town Saturday morning, and we're so happy we did! It's a cave that was formed from a lava flow, and you can walk through it with your flashlight and check out the stalagmites and stalactites (we saw some lil frogs, too!). It was pretty cool...
After our few days hanging out near Hana, we reluctantly headed back to the busy side of the island - taking our time on the Hana highway, this time, and stopping at some waterfalls and sites along the way. That Friday night the campsite got really busy with locals (for the Easter long weekend, I'm guessing), and the Saturday we left, the highway was super-busy, but with traffic going where we were coming from - yes! some highway sights:
Other must-stop places:
- Halfway to Hana: pick up the beef jerky, banana bread, and coconut candy
- Coconut Glen's: the best darn coconut ice cream ever!!
Notes from this leg of the trip:
- This is the only campsite with actual bathrooms. Enjoy them!!
- Hana is a must-see! It's worth the long, winding drive.
- Stop at at least one of the family-run pulled pork stands here
- Don't stay in Kahului unless you have to (Pa'ia & Lahaina are cuter options)
- If you have water shoes, bring them to the Seven Sacred Pools!
- Small propane/butane canisters are sold at Sports Authority in Kahului
There are 2 legs of our trip still-to-come!
Stay tuned - and let me know if you have any questions about anything! :)
Oh, how I love Hawaii!