Some may say that the goal of the Road to Hana is to get to Hana, but for me, it became more like “The Road to the Waterfall.” Let me explain…
During this 7-day trip to Maui, I had plenty of activities planned, but the Road to Hana was more of a side activity that I didn’t fully commit to. I now realize that you need to plan ahead if you want the full experience on the Road to Hana, but spontaneity can be fun as well! My goal was to take on part of the Road to Hana and then head back. Well, my travel partner for this trip was notoriously slow moving so we got a late start to say the least (aka we didn’t hit our first destination until about noon). I had plenty of goals for this road trip, but my top priority was Twin Falls because I knew we had the potential of reaching it since it was one of the first stops. Well, I thought it was going to be our first stop…
Mama’s Fish House
I was not expecting lunch to be the first stop on the Road to Hana until I realized it was noon. I knew of a famous place I wanted to try called Mama’s Fish House while we were in Paia. This was one of my favorite meals in Maui as well as my favorite table view in my entire traveling experience. The restaurant had just opened about an hour ago and we were one of the first people there. The hostess took us right over to the cutest little table next to an open window that looked out onto the lush gardens and the bright blue ocean. The tropical breeze was gently blowing in on us and the sun was shimmering onto our soft Hawaiian patterned table cloth. Whether it was noon or not, this was the perfect spot that I was meant to be in at that very moment. When I think back to one of my favorite travel memories, that quiet table with a Hawaiian breeze is at the top of the list.
To see the full spread of all the food we ordered, check out my Maui Food Tour!
Well we didn’t have to go very far for stop 2 on the Road to Hana… it was the beach at Mama’s Fish House. I stumbled upon it on our way out of the restaurant. I originally wanted to go look at the view and once I got to the palm tree lined edge, there was a little white sand beach below with a bunch of reefs. I could see it was sheltered by a large water-level rock wall that killed the waves, making this beach completely calm and perfect for snorkeling.
Being the prepared traveler that I am, I already had my bikini on underneath my clothes and my snorkel gear in the car so I was ready to jump in. As soon as I splashed in, the water was so warm on my skin and perfectly clear. Bright corals, striped fish, and colorful shells were just some of the things my eyes first set on. This beach is perfect for beginner snorkelers because it was so calm and full of sea life, which is hard to find the best of both worlds.
It is also great for those who want a secluded quiet beach. There was one other family there and they were locals who lived down the street. I made friends with the little girl who was snorkeling next to me and she was naming all of the marine life that we were looking at. She knew so much about the ocean because she grew up with it being such a huge part of her life. Those are some of the pure moments that I travel for.
I could’ve spent the rest of the day on that private soft sand beach, but I did have a goal on the Road to Hana and I planned on achieving it; the almighty waterfall. We packed up our bags, put our clothes back on, and jumped in the car to continue our journey on the Road to Hana.
Twin Falls has multiple attractions; a cool farm stand at the entrance, a couple of waterfalls, and a little bamboo forest on the trail. We went straight for the big guns and trekked to Caveman Falls (aka Twin Falls), which is the main waterfall at this stop. The path said it was about 1 mile, but I was so excited to get there that I felt like I was walking for miles!
There are hills, large rocks, big tree trunks, and streams so you need to take caution when hiking this trail. Make sure you watch where you are walking, be prepared to exert some energy, wear tennis shoes at least, and bring a pair of water shoes. I didn’t realize we would have to cross a stream during this journey so I was only wearing tennis shoes. I took off my tennis shoes, threw them around my neck and tried to cross the stream in my bare feet… NOT a good idea. After seeing me stumble across river rocks, my travel partner had the intelligent idea to cross the stream with her tennis shoes on; clearly, we see who made the smarter decision here.
Once I crossed the stream, I could see the elusive waterfall I had yearned for all day. It was so magical and looked like a picture straight from a magazine article highlighting the nature of Hawaii. The water pool at the bottom of the waterfall was cold so we didn’t go swimming, but there were plenty of other people who were jumping in. This is a picturesque moment with the “twin falls” flowing together into the natural pool with the cave lurking behind the falling water. #worthit
By now, the sun had started to make its descent and we knew it would take us a couple of hours to get back so it was time to hit the road. On our way back down the Road to Hana we found a coconut stand off to the side and decided to make a stop. WHAT. AN. EXPERIENCE.
I got out of the car and walked up to the little make-shift stand built from palm leaves to see a Hawaiian man sitting behind a table covered in coconuts. He picked a large coconut out of the pile and pulled out a huge machete! Being two girls alone in the middle of the Hawaiian jungles made us a little apprehensive when the machete came out, but all was good! He hacked away at the coconut and finally lobbed off the top for us to put a straw in. He also told us at the end of drinking it, all of the delicious coconut meat is inside and to eat it when we were finished. Drinking straight from a fresh coconut is a must-do activity while in Hawaii. If you’re looking for more tropical Hawaiian fruit suggestions, check out my 10 Tropical Fruits to Try in Hawaii travel blog post!
Ho’ okipa Lookout
As we continued to make our way back down the Road to Hana, I discovered another spontaneous stop. There was a big sign for Ho’ okipa Lookout and at the time I didn’t know what it was, but it seemed like a good place to stop and checkout the view. I am SO glad I decided to pull over here on the Road to Hana.
This was one of the most beautiful views in Maui from the top of a mountain overlooking the entire Pacific Ocean. The large beach you can see below is Ho’ okipa Beach Park and it is a huge family friendly surfing beach. From the lookout, you can see all of the surfers swimming out to ride the waves. This was definitely a picturesque moment and I would say is a must-see on the Road to Hana. A beautiful time to hit this spot would either be sunrise or sunset depending on the time of year. We were there just before sunset and you could see how extraordinary it was going to be.
Our stomachs were calling! I didn’t have a place in mind for dinner on the Road to Hana, but I knew I couldn’t make it all the way back to the condo. As I was driving through the town of Paia on the Road to Hana, I found a pizza place that looked very cool. I got inside and saw a huge pizza oven made out of clay and bricks, which clearly meant I was in the right place.
This was one of the best pizzas of my life and definitely the best pizza in Maui, Hawaii. The Flatbread Company makes wood-fired pizzas with organic ingredients & free-range meats. You can tell when you take your first bite how fresh and handmade everything coming out of the kitchen is. This restaurant knows how to make a mean thin crust pizza so check them out on the Road to Hana!
P.S. I had the 16 inch with half Mopsy’s Kalua Pork and half Pa’ia Bay Ohana. I highly recommend both!
Last stop… Gelato! There just happened to be a delicious gelato shop calling my name right outside the Flatbread Company. I waddled down to Paia Gelato and was greeted by the pleasant smell of tropical sorbet. There were so many flavors and great local options like coconut, mango, and lilikoi, which is passion fruit. I tried almost all of them and can vouch that everything is delicious. This is a great little shop in a cute town so be sure to check it out on your Road to Hana.