The island of Molokai is the perfect choice for a Hawaii adventure slightly off the beaten path. Smaller in size and more sparsely populated than its neighboring islands, Molokai nevertheless offers visitors more than its share of breathtaking landscapes and outsize adventures. Soaring sea cliffs - the tallest in the world - border the eastern shore, while pristine white sand beaches beckon. 27 miles of coral - the largest reef system of its kind – fringes the island.
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A high percentage of the island’s inhabitants are native Hawaiians, who strive to conserve their sense of community and Aloha ʻAina, love of the land. They believe that human health directly corresponds to the well-being of the planet. Most of the island’s residents live in the central region. There are no traffic lights on this, Hawaii’s fifth largest island. Molokai still belongs to an earlier time, when paniolo, Hawaiian cowboys, rode horses through the streets.
There are more churches per capita on Molokai than on any other Hawaiian island, and the clergy played a significant role in the island’s history. The remote Kalaupapa Peninsula was once the site of a colony where St Damien, a Catholic missionary, cared for victims of Hansen’s disease, also known as leprosy. Today, the area is a sacred park, accessible only by foot or mule down a steep 1,700-foot cliff.
Another historical region is the lush Halawa Valley, where ancient Polynesians settled as early as 650 AD. You can still feel the life force, known as mana, protecting every part of this magical isle.
What To Do
Snorkel in Hawaii’s longest continuous fringing reef amid multi-colored creatures of the sea.
Visit Kaunakakai’s historic Kapuaiwa Coconut Grove, planted during King Kamehameha V’s reign in the 1860s.
Hike or ride a mule to remote Kalaupapa National Historical Park, where once banished residents inflicted with Hansen's disease lived out their days. Today, this area is a sacred park.
Hike to the magnificent Mooula Falls in lush Halawa Valley, where ancient Hawaiians were thought to have settled as far back as 650 AD.
Shop and explore the unique plantation town of Maunaloa towards the west end of the island. Stroll along the three-mile Papohaku Beach, one of the most expansive white-sand beaches in Hawaii. Listen to the sounds of the surf and of your heartbeat amid one of Hawaii’s most pristine, peaceful islands.
When to Go
Temperatures on Molokai range between a comfortable 68 F and 86 F, making it a delight to visit any time of the year.