Driving the Highway to Hana vs. flying: Which Maui choice is best for you?

The Highway to Hana is likely one of the hottest — and a few would say treacherous — vacationer actions on the island of Maui in Hawaii.

Having pushed it myself, I can inform you it is not for the faint of coronary heart (or those that recurrently take care of movement illness). I would at all times wished to go to Hana however failed once I tried to drive there alone again in 2021. After an hour of driving on one-way roads and taking hairpin flip after hairpin flip, it began pouring rain. With no ocean views to be seen, I made a decision to show again, giving up about three-quarters of the best way to Hana.

The Highway to Hana had gained that spherical, however whereas I used to be dissatisfied, I hadn’t given up on it without end.

That is why I jumped at a possibility to take a brief flight to Hana whereas on a current journey to Maui. It isn’t daily you get to fly a small airplane into the tiny hamlet, and it supplied an opportunity for a do-over of kinds on the Highway to Hana.


Here is what it was like flying versus driving to Hana and why the trek is definitely worth the journey — particularly now because the island recovers from the devastating Maui wildfires of 2023 — irrespective of which mode of transportation you select.

Associated: Get monetary savings: How one can ebook flights to Hawaii utilizing factors and miles

Driving the Highway to Hana

A cease on the Hookipa lookout on the Highway to Hana. CLINT HENDERSON/THE POINTS GUY

The Highway to Hana connects the town of Kahului to the city of Hana on the japanese facet of Maui. In line with Google Maps, the drive ought to take roughly two hours from Maui’s Kahului Airport (OGG) to the city of Hana, however you may wish to construct in plenty of additional time for stops … and site visitors.

The Highway to Hana runs from Kahului to Hana on the island of Maui. GOOGLE MAPS

It is a twisty, curvy street that goes up and down steep hills, sometimes turning right into a one-lane street with single-lane bridges in a number of spots.

Alongside the best way, you may be competing for the street not solely with oncoming site visitors however with native residents who do not at all times love the gradual tempo of vacationers. You may must cease and even pull over for site visitors coming from the opposite route at some factors through the journey.

Each day E-newsletter

Reward your inbox with the TPG Each day publication

Be a part of over 700,000 readers for breaking information, in-depth guides and unique offers from TPG’s specialists


Frankly, the street will be terrifying. After I tried to do it solo a number of years in the past, I gave up as soon as it began pouring rain.

There are additionally plenty of no-trespassing indicators put up by residents who aren’t amused the native transportation system will get slowed down with vacationers.


This entire expertise might not sound like enjoyable to most drivers, however the reward of spectacular views could make it definitely worth the effort. You may see unimaginable vistas from the oceanside components of the street, together with gorgeous tropical foliage. There are additionally fruit stands and different locations to cease alongside the best way, together with waterfalls galore.

Throughout my newest journey, my brother drove whereas I performed the a part of a chauffeured cameraman. We had a Jeep rental from the Hana-Maui Resort and deliberate a leisurely day driving to see among the websites on the Highway to Hana which can be closest to the little city.


My brother and I spent a while at Waianapanapa State Park, which has epic waterfalls and spectacular ocean views, together with a number of climbing trails. I would suggest making entry reservations, although the day we arrived, we lucked out and did not find yourself needing them. It value $30 for me and my brother to park our Jeep and enter.

Flying to Hana

Whereas there are methods to make driving the Highway to Hana extra fulfilling by having the best particular person within the driver seat, the best automobile and the correct quantity of time, there may be one other strategy to get there.


Having now accomplished it myself, I can confidently say that flying to Hana is a wholly totally different expertise. The quick flight from Maui’s airport to Hana was on a 10-seat Cessna airplane courtesy of the Hana-Maui Resort.

The flights go away from a separate terminal at Kahului Airport in central Maui.

Our pilot met us on the commuter air terminal and walked us to our Cessna. After just some minutes of getting settled, we had been off.

On the journey, my brother and I bought to see sea cliffs, waterfalls, rainforests and extra. The entire flight time was nearly 14 minutes, however we had been ready to soak up some fairly epic sights and create lifelong reminiscences alongside the best way.

As soon as we arrived on the tiny Hana Airport (HNM), a shuttle from the Hana-Maui Resort picked us up for the quick drive to the resort.

On the best way dwelling, we bought an up-close and private take a look at Haleakala, a large lively volcano that covers the vast majority of Maui. It was such a magical strategy to see Hawaii.


It’s possible you’ll suppose the journey is just for the rich (or fortunate journey writers), however among the longer resort packages at Hana-Maui Resort embrace personal airplane transportation.

For instance, the resort provides a Aircraft to Paradise Bundle for bookings lasting at the least 4 nights. It contains round-trip service from Kahului Airport (OGG), Honolulu’s Daniel Ok. Inouye Worldwide Airport (HNL) or Lahaina’s Kapalua Airport (JHM) with no baggage charges, plus a resort credit score and a Jeep rental. Costs rely on room charges however begin at round $900 per evening.

The Hana-Maui Resort can also be an awesome vacation spot in its personal proper. There are gorgeous views of the Pacific Ocean, and with simply 66 rooms and suites, it at all times looks like you’ve got the place to your self. Our room had an epic view of the shoreline, and the sound of the waves lulled us to sleep at evening. The resort can also be a part of the World of Hyatt program, so you’ll be able to even earn and use Hyatt factors.

Regional provider Mokulele Airways additionally provides common service to Hana on one among its Cessna 208B Grand Caravan EX planes that begins at simply $110 round-trip. The airline additionally flies to Hana from cities like Honolulu with a connection on the primary Maui airport.

Reserving web page for Mokulele Airways for a visit to Hana on Maui. MOKULELE AIRLINES

That is a tremendous worth I would fortunately pay for a sightseeing journey, not to mention a getaway to this distant paradise.

Backside line

Flying from Kahului Airport to Hana takes lower than 20 minutes, but it is among the many most spectacular flights I’ve taken. Better of all, it is fairly priced, so everybody from aviation geeks to on a regular basis vacationers excited by seeing Maui from an entire new vantage level can benefit from the expertise, whether or not they have ample money or are on a good finances.


Hana itself is likely one of the most alluring locations that I’ve ever visited. It has an undiscovered high quality about it that makes it tremendous compelling and fulfilling, maybe attributable to how exhausting it’s to get to. I am unable to suggest spending a number of days right here sufficient, particularly as Lahaina continues to rebuild after the devastating fires of 2023.

In case you are contemplating a visit to Maui, take a break from the favored Kaanapali and Wailea areas and check out Hana. Whether or not you drive the Highway to Hana otherwise you fly, it is a phenomenal expertise you may always remember. I am unable to wait to return now that I’ve discovered a extra fulfilling strategy to the top.

Associated studying:

Related Articles

Back to top button