DALLAS, December 4, 2012 - There are a number of roads that will lead you to quite a few different experiences on one of Hawaii’s most popular islands, but the sojourn to Hana on the “other side of the island” is where it all begins.
It is an interesting three-hour drive from the airport or any of the touristy stops in Maui and when I arrived in Hana I immediately checked in at the Travaasa Hana and felt right at home.
Hana is where the celebrities live on Maui since it is less crowded and basically, ultra bohemian. It’s the kind of area where if you don’t want to be found, you won’t be found.
The drive is remarkable and worth the three hours as the landscape changes from rocky to tropical to in between with stunning ocean views high on cliffs. The incredible vistas threaten to make your trip even longer as you get out to take photographs at every turn.
Hana is, in a word, eco-friendly, but before it was cool.
At the Travaasa Hana I stayed in what was called a Sea Ranch Cottage and opted for the Total Travaasa Package, that meant a spa treatment as well as dinner in the Ka’uiki Dining Room, both equally remarkable.
Complimentary activities at Travaasa Hana include bicycles, croquet, tennis, golf and even cultural activities like Hula lessons, Ukulele lessons or Le Making Lessons.
While at the spa I had a reflexology treatment on my feet. The therapist was just a bit intuitive and began to tell me all sorts of things about my life that she was getting from just reading my feet (sort of like reading palms) so the treatment was about as unique as any I have ever experienced.
Normally, reflexology is about stimulating points along the meridian paths of the feet and hands and is meant to be soothing. If that’s not your thing there are also treatments like Pohaku Wela Hot Stone or the always popular Hawaiian Lomilomi massage using a local healing tradition. Translated lomilomi means “break apart,” as in to remove all that stress you are carrying.
Before going anywhere else in Hana, there is one place that must be visited called Kahuna Gardens. It is a place that is hard to describe, but in a word, magical. There are a number of eco-systems found at the Gardens, which are located in the only tropical zone in the United States. With 2000 acres of gardens and preserves the plants flourish abundantly on a daily basis and many unusual plants can be found here.
It is here too that you will find the world’s largest collection of breadfruit trees and significant ethnobotanical plants that were brought to the island by ancient voyaging canoes. You can still feel that ancient civilization in the air and while tours are available in the gardens, I walked through alone to discover some of that ancient culture. There is the Pi’ilanihale, which is a lava-rock structure that is said to be the largest ancient place of worship. Called a “heiau” in Polynesia it is also a National Historic Landmark.
The gardens also offered me one of the most spectacular views I had during my trip of the ocean from a cliff high above the water.
Sure surfing and snorkeling and all the Maui “things to do” are on the list, but more so are the things that are not so tourist-friendly, that’s what I was looking for and found in Hana. Besides, Hana is a community wrapped up by the mists of ancient Polynesia anyway, so much so in fact, that it was not until the 1920s that the little community was even accessible by any means other than the sea.
Now it’s accessible by car and definitely worth a sneak peek next time you want some Hawaii time plus alone time in paradise.
For more information about visit Maui.
Rita Cook is a writer/editor with has over 1000 articles to her credit in the past 13-plus years. She is a frequent auto and travel contributor on a radio show in Los Angeles called Insider Mag Radio at KPRO 1570 am on from midnight to 12:30 a.m. Monday mornings.
She also contributes travel and auto to the Anthony Duva show, which can be heard live from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. EST every Sunday at www.unregularradio.com.
Cook is a member of the Texas Auto Writer’s Association, writes for the Dallas Morning News Green Living Section as well as artist profiles and www.greensourceDFW and spends much of her time on the road traveling or working on books.
She recently received the 2012 Green Media Award from the North Texas Corporate Recycling Association.
Her latest book releases are both “Haunted Dallas” and “Haunted Fort Worth” from www.historypress.net. Her third book in the Haunted Series was released in October “Haunted Bartlesville, Oklahoma.” Follow Cook at Twitter at @ritacook13.
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