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!

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

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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 rentalcars.com.  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 in Maui to Nakalele 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 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 almost 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 that 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 on 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 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 Blow Hole!

Parking at Nakalele Blow Hole

hike to nakalele Maui blow hole

There are two parking lots for the Nakalele Blow Hole.  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?

Blow Hole Hawaii

A blow hole 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

Sunrise in Hawaii

Going 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.

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

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, and so 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 blow hole 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

Hike to Nakalele Blow Hole

There are a few things you will need as you hike Nakalele 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

hiking in Maui Nakalele Blow Hole

Nakalele Blow Hole Hike 

Distance – 2 Miles total there are 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 Blow Hole is worth it and a great adventure.

Our Experience Driving in Maui And Experiencing The Nakalele Blow Hole

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 a long and treacherous!

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

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

Don’t forget to  hike on Oahu,  you will not be disappointed!


If you have ever drove on HWY 340 in Maui let us know in the comments!  

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!