Travaasa, Hana, Maui, Hawaii, 9-11th March 2017
The first time that I heard of Maui was 17 years ago in Canada. I used to work for a guy named Gary, who is a expert surfer and snowboarder and he told me that he went to Maui every year for surfing and it is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Since then, Maui has been on my bucket list. Now living in California, it is super easy to get to Hawaii (4 - 5 hours flight) and it is one of the most popular travel destinations for the people living in the western coast of the US. So we planned to go to Hawaii during the kids' spring break, for the first time!
I did plenty of research before our trip about where to go, what to eat, where to eat, and etc. I learned that the sceneries on eastern and western sides of Maui are fairly different. Most of the tourists stay on the Western side, and then drive to Hana (Eastern side) just for the day. But then I read that there is so much to see on the Hana side, and I really didn't want to miss out on anything. In the end, we decided on stay on both sides of the island during our one-week stay to make sure we see as much as we can on Maui. And this turned out to be the best decision ever! This blogpost covers our first three days of visit in Maui on the eastern coast, Hana. And for the next blogpost will talk about the western side. So stay stunned for that.
As soon as we left the airport, we headed straight to Hana, where our hotel, Travaasa Experimental Resort, is. This way from Paia to Hana (HWY 36) is the famous "Road to Hana". Many people say, road to Hana is not just a road trip, it is a journey. And they are absolutely right! The winding 50 miles of road passes taro patches, magnificent seascapes, waterfall pools, botanic gardens, rainforests, and then ends at one of the most beautiful tropical places in Hawaii. Along the way, we also passed many fruit stands, where we picked up some fresh coconut, coconut and pineapple popsicles, and banana bread (oh we love love banana breads! More on this later). I would highly recommend stop at the Twin Falls. There is a fruit stand right outside. So you can get yourself some fresh coconut water, popsicles and a loaf of banana bread, pack a towel and swimsuit, and walk in. It is only about 5 mins to the first waterfall and 10 mins to the second waterfall. And they both are gorgeous. The water is not cold, so it is perfect for quick dip before continuing on the road.
We pretty much drove through to Hana after twin falls, apart from stopped to see the rainbow eucalyptus trees, and load more supplies at the fruit stands. About 3 hours (with many stops and quick hikes) after we left the airport, we finally arrived at Travaasa at Hana.
Travaasa is everything we have expected and more. Tranquil, exquisite and serene. The resort has two parts, one right by the ocean with each bungalow facing the the sea, and other part is surrounded by beautiful botanic garden. The location of the hotel can not be any better. You walk out of your bungalow and there it is, the open water. It was so wonderful to wake up watching sunrise from the balcony, and falling asleep listening to the waves. The kids loved the pool and had such a great time swimming around. The food in Travaasa was just incredible. All the ingredients are from local and fresh. For those who love fish, they will have great choices of catch of the day.
Another reason that I loved about staying with Travaasa is that it is so close to many beautiful places on the eastern coast of Maui.
- Hamoa Beach: This beach is seriously stunning with the soft sand and beautiful shade of the ocean. It is a great place to surf and chill.
- Red Sand Beach: Just 10 mins walk from our bungalow at Travaasa, we reached the famous secret red sand beach. There are very few places in the world has red sand, so we were so happy to experience this.
- Black Sand Beach (Wai’anapanapa State Park): The striking blue ocean with the pitch dark sand beach makes this place truly special. It is definitely one of the must-see on Maui.
- Seven Sacred Pools: This is one of the most beautiful hikes we have done in our lives. Not only the waterfall and the pools are stunning, but the 1 mile bamboo forest is something you really don't want to miss.
Now we move to the topic of banana bread! Everywhere you go, you see banana bread. And seriously, they are so delicious. Through my research, I have found some best places to get the banana bread on Hana-side of Maui. Here are my recommendations:
- Aunt Sandy's Banana Bread Shop (210 Keanae Rd, Haiku, HI 96708): This is the best banana bread we have tried on Maui. If you go there in the morning around 10 am, you will get freshly baked banana bread (still warm). Then just drive 200 meters further and enjoy them by the ocean. Best breakfast ever!
- David's Banana Bread: I don't have the address for this one, but you will drive right pass him when you drive from Hana to Seven Sacred Pools. There are three stands along the road, right by a small narrow bridge. And you will see him. He is super nice and friendly.
- Travaasa Welcome Banana Bread: every room is given a loaf of banana bread at Travaasa and it is super delicious. So make sure you enjoy them on your balcony with the ocean view.
There is still so much I can tell you about Hana, but a picture says thousands words. So please let my photos show you what we have done and hope this will inspire you explore Hana as well.