Known as the most Hawaiian of the islands – thanks to nearly half of its population being of native ancestry – Molokai has been able to preserve its rural lifestyle thanks to its love of the land, or aloha ‘aina.
If you’re an outdoorsman, this is the place for you. However, after you’ve mountain biked, snorkeled, sportfished, kayaked, and ridden both mule and horse, take a break and join in with the locals in Kaunakakai to relax. Even on an island with no stoplights, there’s no need to be on the go all the time.
For such a tiny island, Moloka’i boasts some awe-inspiring natural attractions. The rainforest-clad mountainous eastern part of Moloka‘i has a series of deep valleys and the tallest sea cliffs in the world, towering 3,000 feet. Hawaii’s highest waterfalls cascade into the valleys here while the Kamakou Preserve is a mountain forest which is home to several species of endangered native plants and birds. Some of Hawaii’s largest and best beaches are found on the west coast, including three- mile-long Papohaku Beach. Huge waves roll onto the beach from the ocean, particularly during winter, making swimming here dangerous but stunning to watch. Further along the west coast of the island is the sheltered Dixie Maru Beach which offers swimming and snorkelling, depending on weather conditions.
Moloka’i is the most undeveloped and least touristy of all Hawaii’s islands. No buildings are taller than a coconut tree and there is no public transport. To get around you will need a car, a four-wheel-drive for the more adventurous. One of the highlights of a visit to Moloka’i is the picturesque and isolated peninsula of Kalaupapa in the north of the island, but you can’t actually get there by car. Now designated a National Historic Park, it is where Belgian priest Father Damien established Hawaii’s famed leper colony a century ago, devoting his life to the treatment of sufferers of Hansen’s disease. The three mile trail down the cliff side can only be reached either by foot, air or by the famously thrilling mule ride.
- Molokai, Hawaii’s fifth-largest island, is only 38 miles long and 10 miles wide at its widest point. - Molokai’s snorkeling spots are protected by the island’s 32 miles of barrier reef – including one of the state’s longest white sand beaches, Papohaku. - The island’s southeast coast has Hawaii’s largest concentration of ancient fishponds. - The largest sea cliffs in the world can be found on Molokai’s north side. - The island is the legendary birthplace of hula. The annual Molokai Ka Hula Piko draws the state’s premier hula troupes.
Floating above the shallow reef, you feel wonderfully weightless. And it’s not just the crystal blue waters of Kaupoa Beach that have given you buoyancy. It’s knowing that on Molokai, the burdens from home have finally been lifted – and you’ve truly left everything behind. It’s easy to let it all go here, where people come to take a vacation from their vacation. Check into a cozy bed and breakfast on the island’s west end and sleep in, lounge on the sprawling white sands of Papohaku Beach, or get an early tee time at either of the island’s two golf courses. There’s no nightlife on Molokai. But here it’s not the beat of the latest music that relaxes you. It’s the sun beating on your back as you drift over to the next rocky coral nook to check out yet another amazing school of fish. Suspended above the reef, more than just your burden has been lifted. Your spirit has been lifted as well.
©2009 HAWAII VISITORS AND CONVENTION BUREAU
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