There are plenty of obvious rules about driving, hiking and swimming around Hana, Maui, but as someone born and raised here on Maui, there are few rules for Hana trips that might not be so obvious. These rules will keep you safe from a personal safety standpoint, as well as general embarrassment. I won't sugarcoat too much, so let's get to to the details!
Waterfalls: You can’t enjoy a day in Hana without stopping at a waterfall, as its a main reason anyone makes the journey. You're now thinking I'm going to tell you all about checking the landing zone of where you are about to jump from. Yes, that’s very important as sticks, trees and rocks move into landing zones of popular jump often, so best to only jump in the exact spot of where fellow jumpers have chosen before you. But! Your footing is everything! Ive seen so many people botch their footing as they jump. Most jumping zones are wet, mossy or muddy. If you don’t have a solid place to jump from, don’t do it. Also, never hold hands with anyone when jumping from any height. One of the two people involved could jump at the wrong time and send the other back towards the wall if they are holding hands.
Driving: Very simple. If there is car behind you on the road to Hana that doesn’t look like a rental car, please pull over and let them pass. Please don’t let any pride get in the way of letting people pass you. I tend to be a slow driver myself and have been to Hana countless times since I was a child and I've pulled over and let visitors and Hana locals pass me. There's no shame at all, and everyone has their own comfortable pace. Please don’t make all other visitors and locals go at your pace.
Driving ‘Backside’: Unlike the ‘Frontside' that has two lanes in most areas, the ‘backside’ has plenty of dirt road and one lane areas to keep you on your toes. Additionally, it can washout if there is a big enough rainstorm, so keep track of the forecast and road closures.
Be respectful of the Hana locals: They are the absolute nicest community of people. Please give them the respect they deserve, as they must deal with thousands of visitors each week, and it's difficult to deal with when even a very small percentage of those visitors have little respect or understanding for the local culture. Sadly its often the bad apples that stand out even though 99.9% of visitors are amazing! Some simple rules: Assume everywhere you stop is sacred. Pickup after yourself. Don’t be loud. Keep your radio volume down. Drive carefully.
Weather: Unlike the West and South Maui, Hana receives hundreds of inches of rain each year. So, there may be no clouds in the sky when you wakeup on one side of the island, while the other side is already been pounded by 4 inches of rain since you went to sleep. Point being, you always want to prepare for rain when you go to Hana as you will almost certainly get some rain, as it is a beautiful rainforest.
Theft: Twin Falls and many other popular waterfalls are hotspots for theft. I have a personal rule for Twin Falls. If I can’t park next to the fruit stand parking area, I don’t go. There are break-ins very often as you go past 50 yards of the Twin Falls fruit stand parking area. No matter where you park, always hide your valuables, or take them with you.
Motion Sickness: If you or someone in the group gets motion sickness, they will likely be setoff quickly with the hundred dips and turns along the way to Hana. Take frequent stops, bring ginger ale, motion sickness pills (better to take motion sickness pills and fall asleep for the whole drive than be sick and awake), and take the turns slowly. Better yet, make the person with the weak stomach drive if they are named on your rental cars additionally insured.
Crossing Streams: If its raining hard, be very cautious when crossing a stream. What inspired me to write this blog, was that fact that I was sadly present for a birthday party when I was in high school when a father and son were swept down a strong running stream at Pools of Oheo and sadly the father didn’t survive. Completely preventable, and was one of the saddest days I can recall as we stood there on shore with the wife while we waited for the helicopter to pickup her deceased husband.
In a way, I do want to scare you a bit with this article, but Hana is a Maui must see! Thus, I don’t want to scare you away from going to Hana, but want to make sure you are hearing some rules I live by when I'm there.
Have an amazing amazing trip, and feel free to add any further tips in the comment section below!