Hana, Hawaii Guide

Hana, Hawaii Guide
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Address , Hana, HI 96713
Complete guide to the city of Hana, Maui, Hawaii.

• General: Educational • General: Guide • General: History

Guide Series: Hawaii City Guides
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Hana Location

Hana is a city located on the east (windward) coast of Maui, and is as far east as you can go on the island. On one side is the ocean and on the other is the Hana Forest Preserve and Haleakala National Park (which isn't accessible by car from the Hana area).

Getting to Hana isn't difficult but takes longer than most people think since the only option is to take the infamous Road To Hana. The 50 mile (roughly) trip to Hana from a place like Kihei can take as little as 2 hours if traffic wasn't an issue but it often takes around 3 hours each way. In reality, a trip to Hana is an all day event because there is so much to see and do in, near, and on the way to Hana. Read more about that in our Road To Hana guide.

Hana History

It's thought that Hana was first settled somewhere between 500 AD and 800 AD by the Polynesian people. From 1759 to 1779 the area was captured and ruled by Kalani'opu'u of the Big Island. Kalani'opu'u was finally surrounded and forced to retreat by West Maui chief Kahekili and later defeated by Kahekili.

The first plantation in this areas was started by George Wilfong in 1849. By 1883 there were six plantations here as Sugar in Hawaii became a big deal. Sugar had a good run but by 1946 all of the plantations here would be closed. At the same time, the Ka-'uiki Inn (which today is the Travaasa Hotel Hana) opened and helped the area bring in tourism money.

In 1926, the original Hana Highway (Road To Hana) was completed and was nothing more than a single lane road paved with gravel. It provided the first land vehicle access to Hana. In 1944, Paul Fagan turned the Ka'eleku sugar plantation lands into a cattle ranch.

Shortly after, in 1946, a massive Tsunami hit the area and killed 12-14 people. The disaster left 550 people homeless, completely destroyed 77 homes, and damaged another 156 homes. The Pacific Tsunami Museum has quite a bit of information and photos on this deadly event.

Charles Lindbergh had fallen in love with the area and people and returned to Hana in 1974 to live out his final days (due to terminal cancer of the lymphatic system). He was quoted as saying, "I would rather spend one day on Maui than 30 days in the hospital." Today you can visit Charles Lindbergh's Grave.

Hana Attractions

There are so many amazing sites to see both in Hana and on the way here so be sure to also read our Road To Hana guide. One of the most popular places to see is Wai'anapanapa State Park which is home to the amazing Wai'anapanapa Black Sand Beach. If you only see one thing in the area, it should be this! Just remember, don't take any Lava Rock & Sand Souvenirs or else you may experience the wrath of Pele - The Volcano Goddess.

Other area beaches include Hana Bay / Hana Beach Park, Honomanu Bay, Hamoa Beach, Koki Beach Park, and an actual red sand beach called Kaihalulu (Red Sand) Beach.

You'll also want to check out Pi'ilanihale Heiau / Kahanu Garden which was constructed in the 15th century and is the largest known ancient Hawaiian temple in all of the Hawaiian islands. It's a massive structure that's impressive to see in person and a fun area to walk around and take photos. And the "Watch For Falling Coconuts" sign is not joke and just one of the Crazy Signs That Can Only Be Found In Hawaii. In fact, those warnings are what inspired our own Caution - Falling Coconuts sign.

If you plan to stay overnight in Hana, the only hotel in the area is the lovely Travaasa Hotel Hana. Even if you're not staying here, it's worth checking out for a future trip. The staff here are incredibly friendly and will be happy to show you the property.

Check out the Hana Lava Tube if you'd like to do a little spelunking or the Kahanu Garden - National Tropical Botanical Garden if you've got a green thumb. If you'd like to learn more about the history and culture of the area stop at the Hana Cultural Center And Museum, Charles Lindbergh's Grave, and Pacific Tsunami Museum.

Nature lovers and hikers will enjoy the Pipiwai Trail and Ke Ala Loa O Maui / Piilani Trail as well as the famous Seven Sacred Pools / Ohe'o Gulch (which are technically in Kula). When you get hungry, just remember that the area isn't full of food options. There are some Hana area restaurants but bringing some food with you is a good idea in case restaurants are closed.

View all that Hana has to offer here.

Hana Fun Facts

In 1768 Queen Ka'ahumanu, who later became the wife of King Kamehameha, was born here in a cave at Ka'uiki Hill. And you though modern childbirth was rough! It's said that the queen was Kamehameha's favorite wife and she eventually played a large part in abolishing the Kapu System (the ancient Hawaiian code of conduct that often meant a death sentence if laws were broken).