Thomas J. Story
Upon reaching Hana, typically after driving three hours on the most picturesque road in the world, many visitors are already calculating how long it will take to whiz back out. The problem is you need a few days, not a few hours, to start experiencing this remote and breathtakingly beautiful onetime domain of the Maui ali'i (chiefs). Here are our suggestions:
GETTING TO HANA
For Hana information, contact the Maui Visitors Bureau (800/525-6284). Another source, especially for vacation rentals, is www.hanamaui.com. Note: An October earthquake affected some of Hana Highway as well as other island roads. For an update on road conditions, call 808/986-1200.
WHERE TO STAY
Hana Kai-Maui Resort. Condo-style units, some with Hana Bay views. From $167; www.hanakaimaui.com or 800/346-2772.
Hotel Hana-Maui and Honua Spa. Relaxed and private, it's a Hawaii classic, with cottages built in the local plantation style. From $475; www.hotelhanamaui.com or 800/321-4262.
WHERE TO EAT
Hana Ranch Restaurant. Burgers and plate lunches. $$$; 808/248-8255.
Ka'uiki. Hotel Hana-Maui's main dining room spotlights local produce and seafood. $$$$; 808/248-8211.
Paniolo Lounge. Music four nights a week and menu with bar appetizers and light fare. $$; at Hotel Hana-Maui.
WHAT TO DO
Haleakala National Park. Its Pipiwai Trail is an easy 4-mile round-trip hike through scrubland and a bamboo forest to waterfalls. $10 per vehicle; off Hana Hwy.; www.nps.gov/hale or 808/572-4400.
Hamoa Beach. Hana's best beach is a few miles south of town. Off Haneo'o Rd.
Hana Coast Gallery. Leading gallery for Hawaiian artists and craftspeople. At Hotel Hana-Maui; www.hanacoast.com or 808/248-8636.
Holoholo Excursion Tours. Offers a three- to four-hour Hana tour. Times and prices vary; call 808/270-5258 for information and reservations.
Kahanu Garden. Grand heiau and a focus on ethnobotany. Closed Sat-Sun; $10; off Hana Hwy. at milepost 31; www.ntbg.org or 808/248-8912.
Ono Organic Farms. Tours with tastings from Hana's cornucopia. Tours 2:30 Mon and Thu (reservations required); $25; www.onofarms.com or 808/248-7779.
Palapala Ho'omau Church. Constructed from limestone coral, the 1857 church with its tidy steeple has a graceful simplicity that embodies Hana. Aviator Charles Lindbergh is buried here beneath a Java plum tree. Off Hana Hwy. at milepost 41, 8 miles south of Hana in Kipahulu.
Wai'anapanapa State Park. Easy coastal trails, a black-sand beach, and grottolike caves. Off Hana Hwy. on Honokalani Rd.; 808/248-4843.