Any suggestions about what kind of car to rent in Maui? I heard Road to Hana is not easy to drive, so is SUV a preferred choice, or it does not really matter?
Hi Jing! This depends on how many people will be in the rental and if you plan to go to other places on Maui in addition to Hana. Although the roads are generally in good condition on the way to Hana, there are spots you may want to stop off and park on the side of the road, which can be muddy or rocky or both, depending on where you are. (A must for hot days: Coconut Glen's - located between mile markers 27 and 28 - serving organic coconut ice cream in a wide variety of quirky flavors!). For that reason, I prefer something with 4WD and a bit more rugged - like a jeep - . We took a friend's truck recently and were glad to have it for getting in and out of rocks or muddy spots.
I agree with the warnings about valuables--rentals are an easy target for thiefs. A few tips:
- ALWAYS lock your vehicle, even if only leaving it for a short time.
- Don't leave anything tempting in plain view. For example, don't leave purse or even a bag on a seat; don't leave a phone plugged into a car charger. Even if the car is locked, it is more likely to get broken into if someone can easily see there is something worth stealing. Keep valuables with you or in the trunk, out of view.
- If you get a soft top jeep just be sure to keep any valuables on you, even if you're only leaving the jeep for a few minutes.
About that "back side" of the island: Some people say there's nothing to see. I personally think the rawness of it is beautiful. But no matter if you love or hate the views there, rentals are typically prohibited from driving there. And for good reason: Rock and mudslides are possible, the road is extremely narrow and not well-maintained with lots of pot holes and sections that are unlaced, and it's difficult to get help out there if you need it. Rental car companies may or may not tell you that there are sections of the island that are "unauthorized" to drive the rental, but you should be sure to read the fine print. If you do have any trouble out there or in any "unauthorized" section that violates the rental contract, you will be responsible for the rescue and repairs.
ENJOY Maui and let us know what other questions you have - It is such a beautiful, magical place!
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I went with a Jeep and loved it. One other review mentioned lack of security of items being in the open without a trunk and i agree it was an issue. I purchased a security bag from PacSafe that allowed me to lock the back to the jeep with steal cabling and prevents someone from cutting the back open or stealing the contents. It was more a deterrent than anything else, but it did the trick. Once i didn't have to worry about that, it made the jeep the natural choice.
Aloha Jing! The road to Hana is not really a difficult road it just winds a lot and has lots of single lane bridges. There is an unwritten rule when you come up to a single lane bridge that you take turns driving the single lane bridge. Get an early start early and take you time. Plan to take the whole day to drive the road to Hana.
You really don't have to get a big car, in fact smaller cars like a Mid size car will be easier to driver on the narrow road. A jeep can be fun or a convertible just to enjoy the open air and breeze. SUV's are to big to park along the road side. Lots of stops along the way. We stopped at about 4 waterfalls and hiked up to them. A bit muddy and slippery at some so go with caution but well worth hiking up to them. Bring your bathing suit so you can swim or jump into the misty mountain pools below some of the waterfalls. After so many waterfalls, we actually got tired to going to see more waterfalls.
We did a jeep with a removable top. Was well worth it. There's a part on road to Hana that the rental companies say not to drive on. It was fine. The jeep was the way to go. My wife would stand up and film. You'll have an amazing time. Make sure to grab some lunch before hand. There's a park with black sand beaches that makes for a great lunch point.
Iv been twice, both times I rented a jeep. Was not disappoint. Plus if you continue past the road to Hana and drive the back size of the island, you will need a jeep.
The road to Hana is tight and winding so the smaller vehicle the better but we rented a jeep when we were there it's more fun and if you get into a tricky spot you've got 4 wheel drive. It's beautiful we actually rented a cottage off of the road so we drove it quite a lot the more you do it the easier it gets. You'll love it it's great fun!!!
Smaller the car the better. As mentioned the road is narrow. Soft top Jeeps are great but can't keep any valuables as they are easy to break into as ours friends found out. We always get something with a trunk. Like a Convertible Mustang.
The road is narrow and winding. The smaller the car the better. The road is in good repair. But it is narrow, and there are many areas where only one car can fit. So you wait and take turns.