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Piilani hwy southern route back from Hana

Carp, Canada
2 posts
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Piilani hwy southern route back from Hana

I have read conflicting reviews about taking the southern route back from Hana and the perils of doing so, bad road, etc. We have rented a jeep and I am comfortable driving poor roads providing the weather is decent with little recent rain. Does anyone have any personal experience with the route?

Nanaimo, Canada
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23,421 posts
82 reviews
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1. Re: Piilani hwy southern route back from Hana

If you rent your jeep from Kihei Rent a car they allow you on this route. Any other major car rental agencies would prefer you don't take their vehicles on this route.

http://www.kiheirentacar.com/

Welcome to Trip Advisor too!

Kapaa, Hawaii
Destination Expert
for Maui, Hana, Oahu
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43,540 posts
3 reviews
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2. Re: Piilani hwy southern route back from Hana

Yes, I do, did it a couple of times in my own car. Unless you rented the jeep from a certain dealer in Kihei, (sorry don't recall the name) you will more than likely be breaking your rental agreement. They are the only one's who let you take their jeeps past Kipahulu. Whether you honor your car rental agreement is totally up to you.

hudson valley
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2,422 posts
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3. Re: Piilani hwy southern route back from Hana

Several miles are unpaved, which definitely violates the rental contract with most companies, but so does using an unpaved parking lot at a beach. Ironically, the unpaved section is mostly smoother than some of the paved portion where it has been patched over and over without getting a new paving job.

There are a handful of short sections that are quite narrow, but you'll generally find wider spots where traffic can pass within 100 yards or so. There are also a couple of blind bends that are very sharp. Nobody sane will be coming the other way at more than 5mph, and there are signs advising you to blow your horn - keep your window down and listen. Some people who are afraid of heights might not care for the view in a few places where there's only a few feet between the road and a steep drop to the shore, but there are no places where you could drive off the road without being severely incompetent. Other than the sharp bends you can often see oncoming traffic in plenty of time to wait at a wide spot, and the worst case scenario is that you might met oncoming traffic at the most inopportune time and somebody will have to back up 100 yards. Based on what I saw when I drove it, there will be a fair amount of afternoon traffic coming back that way, but very little oncoming traffic. If you're right in front of or behind another car you can probably safely consider that it will be the lone car coming the other way that has to back up on the off chance you do encounter somebody at the worst time.

You can see the entire route on Google Maps using the satellite and street views. Here's a good example of the worst you'll find:

http://goo.gl/maps/64b7Q

We really enjoyed the scenery along the southern route. If you decide not to do the entire loop I'd suggest coming from the other direction and going at least a far as Kaupo Gap.

Chicago, IL
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40 posts
9 reviews
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4. Re: Piilani hwy southern route back from Hana

Done it, loved it, recommend it!

California
Destination Expert
for Oahu
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42,947 posts
19 reviews
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5. Re: Piilani hwy southern route back from Hana

It's not designed for tourists. It's not safe for tons of drivers who are unfamiliar with their cars and the lay of the land. No guardrails in some places. One-way in some places. Potholes. Unpaved/severely damaged pavement.

Some people do it for the thrill - for kicks. If you run into trouble medically or mechanically - you'll have a long wait on your hands - and a bill ($$). The rental car companies wash their hands of it. You're on your own.

And there the deal - it is not a short-cut. You end up right back in Kahului! Maybe shave 10 minutes off your trip to Kahului at that!

Hawaii isn't Disneyland - and warning are warnings for a reason.

Remember - you may think you are a good driver ... but they guy next to you may not be. Not a lot of room for error.

lwj
Norcal
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2,278 posts
333 reviews
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6. Re: Piilani hwy southern route back from Hana

I have seen small tour buses and vans on this road.... and they were not 4 wheel drive vehicles.

If you do decide to drive this road, make sure that the vehicle is running well, has good tires, that your fuel is at least half full and be careful. Driving clockwise (from Kaupo towards Kula) would keep your vehicle further away from the side where the road sometimes drops off towards the ocean....

Maui
Destination Expert
for Ka'anapali, Haleakala National Park, Maui
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47,009 posts
18 reviews
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7. Re: Piilani hwy southern route back from Hana

"I have seen small tour buses and vans on this road.... and they were not 4 wheel drive vehicles."

They OWN those vehicles, you don't own the rental car.

This is always a mixed up topic, and grows wearisome. Just know that the rains this winter and spring have rutted the road considerably and you may well damage the undercarriage of the rental.

Following contracts and agreements seems to be totally passe these days for so many. Sigh........

California
Destination Expert
for Oahu
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42,947 posts
19 reviews
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8. Re: Piilani hwy southern route back from Hana

<<This is always a mixed up topic, and grows wearisome. Just know that the rains this winter and spring have rutted the road considerably and you may well damage the undercarriage of the rental.>> And watch for falling boulders!

Those commercial vans have their own communications systems as well.

Denver, Colorado
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334 posts
4 reviews
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9. Re: Piilani hwy southern route back from Hana

Violating your car rental agreement may void your insurance. It depends on the insurer. So get into an accident and you're in really big trouble.

The potholes in one section are really bad. It's not a pleasant drive for that portion. A jeep won't make a difference, you're going to have your internals rattled.

I think if you visit Hana, and then return, the total driving time is much less than continuing on all the way around. Of course there are also nice sites past Hana but there only so many hours in a day..

New England
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1,243 posts
172 reviews
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10. Re: Piilani hwy southern route back from Hana

Welcome to TA. We were in Maui last month (sigh) We had checked with our rental car company and they did tell us the car was not allowed on that section of the road. We made several calls to a the jeep rental place in Kihei. They were very patient answering all our questions. http://www.kiheirentacar.com/

We picked up the jeep the night before as we were setting out early. We found that section of the road scenic. However, some of those curves............ honk your horn and proceed slowly. There was less traffic on this section of the road. Another note~~ there wasn't any rain the week before we went. I am glad we did it, but I think everyone has to make their own decision. We only did a one day rental and really wanted to linger longer, but we felt rushed towards the end to make it back before they closed.

While we were eating burgers at a road side stand we chatted with another customer and he had done that section in his rental knowing he was breaking the contract. Not for me, I was glad we had the jeep.

Just my two cents and I am a newbie to Hawaii so take it for what it is worth.