A January 2003 trip
to Hana by lcampbell
Quote: For those who want to recreate in their swimming suits, Hana has diverse options for getting wet. Swim in the ocean, jump into a waterfall pool, or relax on sand of black, red, or gold!
Hana Bay: Great place for families. Safe place for swimming and kayaking. Kayak rentals available. Food available at snack stand. Shower, restroom, picnic area. Walking distance to other activities and amenities in Hana.
Red Sands: Clothing optional beach. Short hike to this hidden spot. Has high red cliffs and red rocky beach. Safe swimming and snorkeling. Good tidepools along the trail. No food or water – bring your own everything.
Waianapanapa State Park: Beautiful bland sand beach. Great park has lots to offer: trails, caves, tidepools, historical spot, sea arch, blowhole, camping, cabins, picnic area, restrooms, showers. No food. Swimming sometimes dangerous.
Hamoa Beach: Usually safe swimming, but occasional big waves. Good boogie boarding, with rentals available. Public restroom and shower/footwash. No food unless fruitstand on road is open. Good place for families.
Blue pool: Very small freshwater pool under a small waterfall near the ocean. COLD water! No amenities.
Kuloa Point Trail at Kipahulu: Offers ocean views while swimming in waterfall pools. Half mile loop hike, no amenities.
Koki Beach (near Hamoa Beach): This is where the more talented local surfers go. Often dangerous swimming.
First, for the best lounging, you need to have a mat or towel to lay on. All over Hawaii, stores sell cheap bamboo mats that roll up. They usually cost or . I prefer the kind that folds in thirds before rolling, because it fits inside my backpack. These kind cost or .
Only one of the beaches in Hana has food regularly available, so you will need to bring your own. Stop at one of the local fruit stands for apple-bananas (WAY better than regular bananas), papaya (cut in half and squeeze lime onto it!). Takeout available in town. Bring lots of water to drink.
Bring a book! A great read for a Hawaii trip is Hotel Honolulu by Paul Theroux.
Bring your water toys (boogie board, surf board, kayak) or rental are available at a few of the beaches.
SUNSCREEN, SUNSCREEN, SUNSCREEN! A wide-brim hat is also great.
My biggest suggestion is to make sure to stay in Hana long enough to check out all of the great beaches and freshwater pools!
If you want to fly to Hana, the only commercial airline to service the VERY small airport is Pacific Wings. Dollar is the only company that has rental vehicles in Hana. They have a limited number of vehicles, so call early.
Although, if you are staying at the Hotel Hana-Maui, they have a shuttle that will pick you up at the airport or take you see the at local sights. Most of Hana is accessible by foot, and hitchhiking is legal on Maui (and usually easy to do).
If you only have a day to see Hana and want to sit back and let someone else do the driving, there are numerous companies that offer day trips from West Maui by van. Some even combine their ground tours with a helicopter tour that leaves from Hana airport. I know that Polynesian and Temptation do day trips to Hana.
When I am at Hamoa, it seems all of my senses are at ease. As I look around, my eyes take everything in. Below me is shining golden sand, clean and beautiful. Above me, there is nothing but blue sky. I try to focus on the waves in front of me, but they are ever-moving and ever-changing. Blue, then greenish, a spot of gray, then blue again. White tops on some of them, round ripples on others. In the water are specks of brightly colored surfboards, boogieboards, and swimming suits. To my right and left, black lava rock arms with bright green trees on top reach out to the ocean. Behind me, white lounge chairs with big green umbrellas are provided by the Hotel Hana-Maui for their guests who are brought over during the day by van. There is also an equipment rental window.
At first when I listen, the sound of the waves seems to dominate Hamoa Beach. But when I fine-tune my ears, I hear so much more. I hear laughter – of children playing in the sand, and also of my friend BIB (Bad Idea Bessie) as she tries to teach one of our friends to play "Monkey on my Back" which is a game she just made up in order to get a ride with him on the one boogie board that we all share. Her laugh makes me laugh.
I close my eyes and breath in deeply the ocean air. I smell the sweet salty air and relax even more. I also smell kiwi – oh! that is my sunscreen – a MUST when spending time at the beach. One thing I don’t smell is food cooking. There is no snack counter at Hamoa, so bring your own lunch and beverages. But I am itching to taste something other than my stale pretzels. If I am lucky, the fruit stand at the road is open, and sometimes they even have Shave Ice! My taste buds shiver in anticipation!
After devouring my fruity treat, I sink back down into the hot soft sand. I feel the sun on my back and the breeze on my neck, and I snooze to the comforting sounds and smells. When I wake, I stand up and run and jump into the water! The temperature is perfect – not too hot or too cold. I bob over some waves, and duck under others. I beg a turn on our boogie board. Afterward, I use the public shower (there is also a public restroom) – I have sand in places I didn’t know that I had! – before heading home.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 10, 2003
Attraction | "Red Sands Beach - Tidepools, Whales, Naked Hippies"
My first trip started with the adventure of actually finding out how the heck to get there. Here is what I can tell you after trial and error. I think the best place to park is at Hana Beach Park. Then walk uphill on Uakea Rd. Just after the ballpark on the right, you will see the Hana Community Center on the left. Just past the Community Center, you will see a closed gate on the left. Walk around the gate and across the grass for about 40 or 50 feet, until you see a small trail on the right. Follow this trail, staying right at the fork (do not go into the Japanese cemetery) down a hill, then turn left and follow the water’s edge until you reach the beautiful rocky bay. Just ignore the Private Property, No Trespassing Signs… everyone does….ahem….
The beach itself is more gravel than sand, so it can be rough on the body parts. But for scenery it can’t be beat! The cove is very small and cozy, with high red cliffs on all sides. There is a narrow band of volcanic rock jutting up out of the ocean which goes all the way across the bay, forming a natural barrier and calm waters for swimming and snorkeling.
Once, my friend and I were on the trail on the way to the beach and we paused at a rocky point to admire the view. All of a sudden, a huge spray of water appeared a few hundred yards offshore. "It’s a whale!" I said. We settled in to wait for it to happen again. Before too long, we were rewarded with quite a show. There were at least two whales, and one of them was being extremely playful. We repeatedly saw his tail come up out of the water and SLAP down on the water. We clapped our hands and squealed "Do it again! Do it again!" like a couple of little kids. Not only did he do it again, but he breached, his whole body coming up out of the water vertically, and then splashing down on his side. We cheered! And then sadly, the whales disappeared around the point toward Hana Beach.
On another trip in, my roommate and I decided to check out the tidepools below the trail that we had passed so many times before. We had no idea what we had been missing. These are the best tidepools that I have found in Hana, with lots of fish, coral, sea urchins, and sea cucumbers to look at.
Finally, Red Sand Beach is a clothing optional beach, just so you aren't surprised!
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 10, 2003
Red Sands Beach
Attraction | "Waianapanapa State Park"
The parking area looks down to Pailoa Bay, complete with high black lava cliffs, a scenic sea arch in the bay, and a fine black sand beach. I have never had a trouble swimming there, but there can be big waves and strong currents. On the north side of the beach starts a one-mile section of the King’s Highway Coast Trail. This is a nice short hike on top of a sea cliff – beautiful!
Back up at the parking area, a paved trail heads southeast past the picnic/camping area first, then on to greater things. After ¼ mile, a prominent point features view back to the bay and a small blowhole. Another ¼ on is my favorite area, the tidepools. While there isn’t anything terribly interesting living in these tidepools, it is a fun place to hang out and watch the waves crash up and splash directly at you. There is a small heiau (sacred spot) about another ½ on the trail – please do not disturb the heiau. This trail goes on, eventually all the way to Hana. This is the longer section of the King’s Highway Coastal Trail (see my separate entry in my Heavenly Hana journal).
Finally, back at the parking lot again, there is a short loop trail to the north that leads to a small lava tube and pool with a rich history:
Rita Ariyoshi writes in her book Maui on My Mind:
"At Waianapanapa, there is a pool that seasonally turns blood red. Scientists claim the phenomenon is caused by the appearance of thousands of tiny red shrimp. The Hawaiians offer another love story. Kaakea, one of Hana’s many notoriously cruel chiefs, was jealous of the affection he thought existed between his wife and her brother. Afraid of her husband, the wife ran away and hid in a cave. When Kaakea found her hiding place by sighting her reflection in a pool at the cave’s entrance, he brutally murdered her. The pool turned bright red with her blood, as it does once a year to this day."
I have heard from others that it is possible to take an underwater flashlight and swim under a ledge at the cave pool to come up in other cave rooms. I would definitely not try this unless you are with someone who has done it before and knows the way to the rooms.
Waianapanapa State Park is located just north of Hana town near mile marker 32 (turn left about ½ mile after sign for Hana Airport). Camping at Waianapanapa is free, and there are nice-looking cabins for $50 per night (book well in advance). For more information, contact:
Division of State Parks
54 S. High Street
Wailuku, HI 96793
Waianapanapa/Wai'anapanapa State Park
Attraction | "Hana Beach Park"
"According to legend, Kauiki Head, the landmark at the right end of Hana Bay, is named for an adopted son of the Menehune, the "little people" of Hawaiian lore. Kauiki had come to the Menehune on a wave, as a gift of the ocean. He grew to be a fine young man, who unfortunately fell in love with Noenoe, the daughter of the demigod Maui. Maui forbade the union, and when the lovers defied him, he turned Kauiki into the hill, and Noenoe into the mist that comes to caress the hill each day."
Fortunately, the atmosphere at Hana Beach is happy and playful despite this forlorn love story.
This beach is definitely one for families. Hana Bay is protected from the majority of waves, which makes for the calmest and safest swimming in the area. There is plenty of soft sand for playing and lounging, as well as a large flat grassy area for running around.
Picnic tables are plentiful, and there are some grills available and pavilions in case it rains. If you don’t feel like bringing or cooking your own food, Hana Beach Park is also the location of Tutu’s, a snack window with hamburgers, french fries, ice cream, and other fast food. But at $3 for a hamburger, the prices at Tutu’s are some of the best in town, and you don’t even have to leave the beach!
Other amenities include public restrooms, showers and foot washes, plenty of parking, and kayak rentals provided by the Hotel Hana-Maui. As I spent more time in Hana, I discovered that Hana Beach Park is also a meeting place for some community activities. The Hana Canoe Club meets on Sundays at 10am, and Monday-Wednesday-Friday at 4:30pm. The Club has six-person outrigger canoes that they paddle as far as the big island! Members would be happy to answer questions and they may even invite you to take a paddle if you happen to see them!
Recently, Hana was lucky enough to get a free concert played for them in the community room at Hana Beach Park. The musicians were Terrance Simien and his zydeco band. The evening started with a cajun dinner ($7 plate dinner to benefit the senior center) and then the dancing started! There was such a great turnout (live music is rare in Hana) that the dancefloor was jam packed – all those Hana hips were shaking, shaking, shaking to those cajun rhythms!
Finally, another great thing about Hana Beach Park is that is within easy walking distance to many other Hana destinations: Hana Ranch Store, Hasegawas, post office, bank, Hotel Hana-Maui, Red Sand Beach, and Hana Cultural Center, just to name a few. Enjoy all of Hana from one central location!
Lower down on the "finger" of land, there is a ranger station, restrooms, a campground (free!), and two trails open to the public.
The 2 mile Pipiwai Trail is on the north side of the road and goes uphill into Oheo Gulch. Here you will find a series of waterfalls, including Makahiku Falls and 400-foot Waimoku Falls. The trail goes through a large bamboo forest that is also very cool.
South of the road is a half-mile loop trail, called Kuloa Point, leading to an archeological site and numerous small waterfalls and deep swimming holes. This area is also sometimes referred to as the Seven Sacred Pools, although there are more than seven pools, none of them considered sacred. These waterfalls are small, but are on a series of terraces. The terraces are just above the ocean coast, and also just below a beautiful historic bridge, making it especially scenic.
This is a really fun place to swim in some fresh mountain water, cool and refreshing. There are many to choose from, but I thought that the two pools up closest to the bridge were the best.
After the first shock of the cold water, it felt so great! How powerful to just swim up to a waterfall and feel it splash you! I saw one guy jump off a rocky cliff about 40 feet down into the water. I swam over to check it out. I took a deep breath near where he jumped, and tried to swim to the bottom. I couldn’t find it!. So, after researching my own safety, of course I had to jump!
The pools are a fantastic place to go near Hana to get wet. But make sure to go early, because it gets really crowded.
One word of caution: the pools are dangerous after it rains. There can be a sudden rise in the water level, and tourists have been washed out to sea. If you notice a rise in water lever, get out of the water quick.
To reach Kipahulu, drive south out of Hana on Highway 31. You will have to endure 9 or 10 miles of narrow windy roads (should sound familiar if you have already driven the Hana Highway!) taking about 45 minutes to reach the parking area.
For more information on the Pipiwai Trail, see my separate entry in my Heavenly Hana journal. For more information on Haleakala National Park, see my separate entry in my West Maui Ocean Fun and Hiking Adventures journal.
Kipahulu - Kuloa Point Trail
Kipahulu area, Haleakala National Park
At one time, Blue Pool was known only to the local folks. Now it is written up in all the guidebooks, and is quite a busy place. Busy isn’t necessarily bad, but Blue Pool is just that – a pool. Small. I recommend that if you want to visit Blue Pool, try to go early in the morning to beat the crowds and catch the sun at the best angle.
I enjoyed my visits to Blue Pool, but if you are needing to choose activities for a limited visit to the Hana area, I advise to put Blue Pool as a low priority. In addition to the crowds I mentioned above, the drive and parking situation are not the best.
Blue Pool is located at the very end of Ulaino Road (about ½ mile west of airport road). Ulaino Road is 3 miles long, and is wide and paved for about a mile, then becomes narrow and dirt. There is one spot near Kahanu Gardens where a small creek flows across the road. Most passenger cars should be able to drive through the water, but if you don’t feel comfortable with that, then you will have to park here and walk the remaining 1.5 miles. After this creek crossing, the road has many potholes and is rough. The last ½ mile is a tight squeeze, which is another reason to go in the morning before the masses arrive.
There is a small parking area at the end of the road, with parking enough for about 6 cars. Good luck turning around if the parking area is full! Just next to the parking area is a large stillwater area of a creek. This is NOT Blue Pool (a common mistake). To get to Blue Pool, walk down to the ocean. Head northwest across the shallow creekbed, and rockhop across the rocky "beach." After about 5 minutes, you should see the small waterfall tucked into the boulders.
If it hasn’t rained in a while, the pool sometimes gets floating leaves, etc. It is much nicer when a good rain cleans it all out.
Blue Pool is not a grand waterfall, like so many depicted on Hawaii postcards. It is small, not much more than a trickle. Not that it isn’t nice – it is! Even though it is small, there is a lovely curtain of water that comes down, and the whole area has hanging flowers and plants. It is a pretty, non-traditional waterfall and pool which is a great diversion on a hot day!
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 10, 2003
205 Ulaino Road
Hana, Hawaii 96713
Port Angeles, Washington