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From Sarah: Travel Agent Finds Perfect Destination in Hana, HI

HI photo-SarahI started using a travel agent in 2007 when my husband and I wanted to take a trip to Mexico and wanted help choosing a destination and accommodation on short notice. I know these days it’s pretty easy to find a great place to stay using online tools such as TripAdvisor, but we have had such good luck with this agent that we continue to use his services when we are planning longer vacations.

I have never even met Jon (he lives near Boston) yet he has gotten to know our travel style over the years very well. He absolutely outdid himself last week.

When we travel, we prefer to have our own unit/house/cottage, to be in a low-populated area, and to have a chance to meet some locals and experience their culture. Hana, Maui, absolutely fit that bill.

We stayed at Sandi and Dan’s oceanfront cottage in Hamoa Village just south of Hana and right across the street from Hamoa Beach. Hana is a town of about 1200 and has one hotel and two traditional restaurants (both run by the hotel). Outside of an art gallery and a couple of souvenir stores, there is virtually no shopping. Some day- or overnight tourists venture over from West Maui, but few stay the week in Hana like we did. Perhaps the two-hour drive from the airport along an extremely twisty, narrow road with many one-lane bridges is part of the reason. If Hana is your home base, you’re probably not running all over the rest of the island each day,

The people of Hana are striving to keep life in Hawaii as it traditionally has been. They are friendly to visitors and eager to share their heritage.

Life moves at a slow pace in Hana and doesn’t happen on a strict schedule. The best places to find breakfast and lunch are at Koki Beach and at trucks along the roadside, which may or may not be open each day, and are closed whenever the food runs out. On several occasions we missed out on “the best Thai food outside Thailand” because we didn’t get there in time or because she just wasn’t cooking that day. Visitors may want to consider embracing this uncertainty.

Much natural beauty surrounds Hana, and we took advantage of many opportunities for hiking and spending time at the beaches. Above all we found ourselves slowing down to “Hana Time”—abandoning our list of things to do and places to see in exchange for enjoying simply sitting on our porch reading, watching for whales and surfers, and taking in the gorgeous views.

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