Nakalele Blow Hole Maui Hawaii
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The Terrifying Nakalele Maui Blow Hole Drive

Want to visit Nakalele Maui blowhole? It is amazing! I feel like it is really important for me to share our experience and the BIG mistake we made when trying to get there. 

Driving in Maui was a crazy experience!  Most people venture on the Road to Hana but we took another road that isn’t quite as popular. I have to share our experience with you so you do not make the same mistake we did!  We will get into more of these crazy details below!

What I do not want is for you to be scared after reading our experience.  Maui is an amazing place and you are going to love it!

What I do want is for you to pay attention to one very important piece of advice for driving in Maui and visiting Nakalele Maui blowhole!

Let’s get started and I’ll explain exactly what I mean!

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Driving in Maui Warning

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Renting a Car in Maui 

Driving in Maui

Before I tell you my story, I want you to know that I encourage you to rent a car Maui is so beautiful and you will want to have the freedom to see and do more.

Renting a car in Maui was very easy.  We rented our car through Priceline.  After we landed from our flight, we headed to the car rental section of the airport.  It was very nice and easy to find.  The workers were so nice and helped us by giving directions to our hotel.

They handed us a lovely magazine and driving guide that listed all the amazing things to do in Maui.  It also included coupons and tours.

We had no trouble getting to our hotel and really we were just so excited to be in Maui!  We didn’t think driving in Maui would be a problem at all!

Driving to the Nakalele Maui Blowhole 

Google Maps recommended route.

Map of the Road of Death Maui

Driving In Maui – GPS Fail

On our first day in Maui, we were really excited to hike.  I had researched out a few amazing locations and entered one of them in our GPS.  We had decided to hike to the Nakalele Maui blowhole. 

The GPS gave us two options to drive to the trailhead.  One was about 2 minutes faster so we clicked on that and headed off.  This was our first big mistake!

The Road of Death

Because we were unfamiliar with driving in Maui we didn’t realize we had selected the road of death! (okay, our name, not the real name – HWY 340)! Everything seemed fine until we came to a road that was one lane. (Yup, one lane for both directions.)

That would be scary enough if it hadn’t been for the fact that this one-lane road was on the edge of a mountain with cliffs down to the ocean on the north side!  Not to mention it was a very curvy road with quite a few blind spots.

Luckily for us it was 6:00 am and no one else was on the road!  But that really didn’t take away the dangerous situation that we were in.  If another car was to come around the bend we could have easily been hit!

Driving in Maui Guide

I grabbed that driving guide the car rental company had given me and started looking at the map of Maui.  I was shocked to find that there are certain areas in Maui where rental cars are not allowed or insurance would be void! 

Yes! you guessed it we were on one of the restricted roads! (There are a few more of these restricted areas on the Road to Hana)

Encountering Another Car!

We knew we were in a terrible spot but there was nothing we could do!  The road was too narrow to turn around and go back.  We had to keep pressing forward.  We did encounter one car while driving on this awful road.  The man had his teeth clenched and his knuckles were white from gripping the steering wheel so tight.

My Google Map Recommendation

Directions to nakalele Blow Hole

In total this was a 1 hour and 4-minute drive from our hotel near the airport. The total miles added up to about 21.7 miles.   The alternative route was 1 hour and 6 minutes and 40.2 miles.

On a map, it doesn’t make sense because the longer route takes you completely to the other side of the island and around. But don’t be fooled!  It will save your life to avoid Maui’s road of death!

Making it to Nakalele Maui Blow Hole

Once we arrived at Nakalele Blow Hole we were so glad to get out of the car!  Our prayers were answered and we were able to take a deep sigh of relief. Now let’s learn all about the Nakalele Maui Blow Hole!

Parking at Nakalele Blow Holehike to nakalele Maui blow hole

There are two parking lots for the Nakalele Blow Hole in Maui.  One is located on the upper side and is a better option if you do not want to hike.  The parking at the other side of Nakalele is pretty limited.

This is where we went because we were really looking forward to hiking.  There are a few spots as you pull off the side of the road.  We were able to secure a spot without any problems.

What is a Blow Hole?Maui Blow Hole

A blowhole is a hole in the ground that connects to an underground ocean cave.  When the waves come in, water shoots up through the hole making a big splash!

They are extremely dangerous if you get too close.  You can get sucked in or easily get pulled out to sea.  Use caution as you observe these amazing acts of nature.

Best Time Of Day To Go To Nakalele Blow Hole in MauiSunrise in Hawaii

Going to the Nakalele Maui blowhole at high tide is the best time.  That tends to be later in the afternoon.  We didn’t think about this fact and went in the morning.  We didn’t see huge bursts from the blowhole but we still got a big show of sea life crawling all over the place.  It was pretty cool.

Tip for Nakalele Maui Blow Hole

Avoid going if it has just rained.  The rocks will be very slippery.  Also, the wind is known to rage in this area so keep that in mind when you plan to hike.

High Tide Vs. Low Tide at Nakalele Blow Hole in Maui

Nakalele Blow Hole hike

The first thing you need to do is download the app “Tides near me”.  This will help you plan accordingly.  Aim for high tide and you will not be disappointed.

We only had one day in Maui and wanted to be on the other side of the island, so the morning was our only option.   If you look at this image above you can see crabs everywhere!  This was still a thrill for us.  The blowhole did shoot out some water but it wasn’t putting on a big show!

What You Will Need to Bring to Hike Nakalele Blow Hole in Maui

Hike to Nakalele Maui Blow Hole

There are a few things you will need as you hike Nakalele Maui Blow Hole.  A good pair of hiking shoes is a must!  Some of the terrain is rough and you will want your feet to be well protected.

Sunscreen is also something to have on hand.  We also brought our running pack which included two water bottles.

Hike to Nakalele Blow Hole in Maui

hiking in Maui Nakalele Blow Hole

Nakalele Blow Hole Hike 

Distance: – 2 Miles total there and back (Although, it didn’t seem that long to us.)

Moderate – This hike has some steep parts that can be slippery.

The first part of the hike is a rough terrain that doesn’t have much of a view.  You have to be really careful and watch your steps as rock formations are everywhere.

Hiking in Maui is an adventure and I highly recommend it.  The hike to Nakalele Maui Blow Hole is worth it and a great adventure.

Our Experience Driving to the Nakalele Blow Hole in Maui

Hiking Nakalele blow Hole Maui Hawaii

Driving in Maui on HWY 340 was absolutely a nightmare.  We wouldn’t recommend anyone doing so!  It was long and treacherous!

However, we do recommend hiking to Nakalele Blow Hole.   We loved our adventure to this Maui blowhole.  The views were absolutely beautiful.  Remember to use caution when you go to the blowhole and you will have an incredible time!

See More of Hawaii

If you are thinking of island hopping be sure to take a look at my One Week Oahu Itinerary.  Also, you may be interested in going to the North Shore and seeing the Polynesian Cultural Center, the Dole Pineapple Plantation, and going on a Jurassic Adventure. These are all great things to do with kids in Oahu.  

Then head to Pearl Harbor and Hanauma Bay, and find more places to snorkel in Oahu.  

Don’t forget to  hike on Oahu,  you will not be disappointed! My Oahu family resort recommendations are also very helpful when planning your trip to Oahu.

Don’t forget your Hawaii Souvenirs

Have ever driven on HWY 340 in Maui? Let us know in the comments!  

Facebook Group

If you have any questions be sure to join my Facebook Travel Community   This great community can help answer any questions you may have about your upcoming trips. Plus, I try to add any great deals or promotions that companies send me!

 

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101 Comments

  1. What an adventure…although not a fun one! We’ve been to Maui and there were some roads not designed for a sedan (fortunately, we stuck to the main roads and only experienced those “roads of death” when with a tour guide who was doing the driving). Beautiful photos!

  2. I’ve heard the road to Hana is the same. Maui is definitely on the bucket list and I will for sure keep in mind what you’ve shared. Thank you.

  3. I get a bit nervous on those one lane roads. There’s one here up in the mountains to the road where my great-grandparents lived. And, my great great grandfather is buried. I’d like to go back, but I don’t want to drive the road on my own.

  4. Yes…. we accidentally did the same thing only we had taken the longer route, past Lahaina. We were having a great drive, checking out all of the gorgeous scenery and then we took one turn that landed us on the one lane road along the cliff. The bad thing was that there is no way to turn around. Once you make that turn, you are stuck finishing out the drive on that road and praying that no one else is coming the opposite way. A few times we had to drive our car as far to the side of the road as possible, making it seem as though we were completely on our side. I was terrified.

    But after the fact….. I have amazing memories of that drive. We won’t ever do it again, but the sights we saw along the way were unbelievable and would have been missed, had we not taken that road.

  5. Wow, what a scary drive! Thanks for warning us. I know if we were to go to Maui, we would definitely rent a car because my husband would have to have one. He hates not having a car. We even drive to some parks at Disney. Anyway, the drive was certainly worth it! I didn’t know what a blowhole was until now. Very interesting!

  6. We drove the Road to Hana and we had to come back the same way (the long way) instead of making the short loop back. Because it was one of those roads that voided our insurance. Now I’m glad we didn’t take it!

  7. Road of death? Yikes! So glad you got there safely. Maui is awesome and you certainly had quite an adventure for one day there, wow! Great tips too

  8. We very rarely rent cars outside the mainland US. We have not driven in Hawaii. We usually just arrange transportation at our destinations. I need a vacation from driving!😀

  9. Thanks for the tips! So if you had driven the other way your GPS gave you, are you saying it would have been fine and you wouldn’t have been on this death road? Or even that way do you end up on this road….?

  10. Wow driving in Maui Nakalele Blowhole is not for me. haha The photos are fab and I can hardly wait to visit one day, I just won’t be driving! 😉

  11. Thank you for the suggestion to rent a car. Some places we visit, it is best to rent a car and others it is best to use public transportation.

    1. I would rent a car again, it gives a lot of freedom to explore. In Maui there are places it is better to go on a tour instead like the road to Hana.

  12. Wow! Good advice. We rented a car in Maui and drove the Road to Hana and the long way was still scary. This is terrifying tho!! It reminds me of Pike’s Peak in CO. That scared me more. Haha Beautiful pics and detailed description. Thanks for sharing!

  13. What an adventure! I love looking at the ocean but even reading about the blow hole made me nervous – little fear of water always gets to me!

  14. I’m not sure what I would have done — how I would have stayed calm. Kudos to you for keeping your wits about you and continuing on. It looks like the destination was worth the journey. I’d so love to see Hawaii some day.

  15. Sounds like quite an adventure, I do agree with renting a car to tour areas. Although I don’t personally drive (can choose not to) lol my guy does and it’s really the only way to fully explore areas! If you head to Aruba do the same thing it’s a blast. Love your photos and story, look forward to reading more 🙂

    1. Blow holes are pretty awesome. We went to one on the Oregon Coast called Thor’s well. It was even better than this one.

  16. Thanks for sharing this info, sometimes GPS directions are not “smart”. So glad it all worked out and you got to the enjoy Nakalele Blow hole and the hike, it looks beautiful

  17. Reminded me of driving on Tortola, up steep, steep, steep grades with 90 degree turns on narrow roads. Custom called for honking your horn as you made the turns, LOL. Glad you enjoyed Nakalele!

  18. How terrifying that must have been! I’m so glad you arrived safely and were able to take a safer road back.

  19. My heart was pounding while reading this! I kept flashing back to that road while looking at your pics. Criminy!!!!

  20. I’ve never seen a blow hole in person…this looks amazing! Sounds like it was an adventure to get there.

  21. I love fascinating places of nature like this!! At the same time – I don’t think I would have survived that one lane road of death. Oh, my gosh – that had to have been terrifying!

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