Molokaʻi is the fifth largest of the main Hawaii Islands.
Molokaʻi was first settled around 650AD by peoples most likely from the Marquesas Islands. Later migrants likely came from Tahiti and other south Pacific islands. Although Captain James Cook sighted Molokaʻi in 1778, the first European sailor to visit the island was Captain George Dixon in 1786. The first significant European influence came in 1832 when a Protestant mission was established at Kalua'aha on the East End of the island by Reverend Harvey Hitchcock. In the late 1800s, King Kamehameha V built a vacation home in Kaunakakai and was responsible for the planting of over 1,000 coconut trees in Kapuaiwa Coconut Grove.
Kalaupapa, located on an isolated peninsula on the northern side of Molokaʻi, was the site of a leper settlement from 1866 to 1969. Thousands of men, women and children living throughout the Hawaiian islands diagnosed with Leprosy (also known as Hansen's Disease) were forcibly exiled to the colony by the Hawaiian government and legally declared dead. They were not allowed to leave the settlement or have visitors and were forced to live out their days in this isolated settlement. There are no active cases of leprosy on the island, but there are some patients who chose to continue to live in the settlement after its closure.
, is a small but the largest town on the island, one of two small ports on the island. Sometimes it is considered to be the "capital" of Molokai, but officially the whole island is in the County of Maui.
Molokaʻi is distinguished as the longtime residence of Father Damien de Veuster, a Belgian priest of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, and Mother Marianne Cope of the Sisters of Saint Francis of Syracuse, New York, both of whom have been canonized Roman Catholic Saints for their treatment and care given during the 19th century to sufferers of leprosy in Kalaupapa.
phone: +1 808 567-9660The airport has two runways that accommodate commuter/air taxi and general aviation activities, as well as some military flights. There are multiple daily flights from Honolulu on Pacific Wings for $29 each way or on IslandAir. Pacific Air's primary aircraft is a 9 passenger, 1 engine Cessna Caravan. Seats on Island Air range from $30 on up. The airport is .
Island Airphone: +1-800-652-6541All islands
Mokulele Airlinesphone: +1 808 426-7070All islands
Pacific Wingsphone: +1-888-575-4546Maui, Kalaupapa & Oahu only.
Paragon Airphone: +1-800-428-1231Maui & Oahu only.
By boatThere used to be a ferry between Molokaʻi and Maui, but it stopped service October 27, 2016.
Daily from Lahaina to Kaunakakai, Molokai. $85 round trip.
Many of the sights and beaches are spread out across the island so a car or tour bus is the best way to get around.
address: Molokaʻi Airport (MKK)Car rental rates and information. Discount rental rates for fully equipped current model cars on Molokaʻi. MKK Airport location.
address: Bldg #2 Airport Loop, Hoolehua, HI 96729MKK Airport location.
For shorter distances, mules and horses are another option.
Kalaupapa Lookoutaddress: Pala'au State ParkStriking views of the north shore of Molokai, the world's highest sea cliffs reaching 1,700 feet - and the Kalaupapa Peninsula. Informational plaques about Father Damien and the Kalaupapa Leper Colony.
Kalaupapa National Historical ParkSite of forced isolation from 1866 until 1969 of people from Hawai'i afflicted with Hansen's disease (leprosy), a disease shrouded in fear and ignorance for centuries. Public access to this community is very limited because of regulations safeguarding privacy. State law requires all individuals to secure a permit to enter. You can hike, ride, or fly down to Kalaupapa.
- Kalaupapa Guided Mule Tour offers fly-in tours from Oahu and Molokai, hiking permits and guided mule tours.
Father Damien Tours offers one-day tours from Oahu with Waikiki hotel pickup and round-trip flight
Molokaʻi Museum and Cultural Center
Phallic Rock200 yards from the Kalaupapa Lookout, at the base of Nananhoa Hill, is the six-foot high Phallic Rock. Throughout the ages, barren women would bring offerings and spend the night at this site in hopes of conceiving a child. Women still come here with their offerings and pray for fertility. A beautiful ironwood forest surrounds this area, coating the ground with its long needles and creating a mood of peace and spirtuality.
Papohaku BeachHawaii's longest white sand beach. Three miles long and you'll rarely see anyone else on it. Very dangerous rip currents and shore breaks. Do not swim here unless the ocean is absolutely, positively, flat & calm. Beach Park has restrooms, showers and fresh water.
Kapukahehu Beach - aka Dixie Maru BeachCresent beach in a small cove. Favorite of residents & visitors. Safe swimming almost always. However, large winter surf can create dangerous shore break. No facilities.
Kephui BeachA very nice beach that is a favorite surfing spot. Dangerous when winter surf is up, usually safe for swimming in the summer. No facilities.
Pohaku Mauliuli Beach - aka Make HorseA great spot for a summer get-away. Dangerous when winter surf is up, usually safe for swimming in the summer. The Keawe trees near the beach provide comfortable shade. No facilities.
Hale O Lono Harbor & BeachesSeveral beaches on the west side of the harbor; Hale o Lono Beach, Kanalukaha Beach, Kapukuwahine Beach, Kahalepohaku Beach and there is Halena Beach on the east side. Dangerous when winter surf is up, usually safe for swimming in the summer unless there is a south swell running. Exercise caution year-round. No facilities.
One Ali'i Beach ParkLong, flat beach, nice sand. Safe wading anytime. Great for small children. Restrooms and showers, Pavilion and fresh water.
Kakahai'a Beach ParkA roadside picnic area with narrow beach. Safe wading year round. No facilities.
Kamalo Wharf BeachNice beach at the old Kamalo Wharf site. Usually safe for wading/swimming year round. No facilities.
Puko'o BeachShort, flat beach about 50 yards long. Safe swimming when ocean is calm or no south swell. No facilities.
Kumimi Beach - aka Murphy BeachMolokai's favorite snorkel spot, a lovely point of golden sand and calm water. No facilities.
Sandy BeachSmall, white sand, cresent shaped beach. No facilities.
Kawili Beach - at Halawa BayA fairly long curved beach with nice sand. Restrooms in the Halawa Park.
- Mule rides
phone: +1 808 567-6000A historic 9-hole plantation-style course on the lush hillsides of cool and tranquil Kalae in central Molokai. Uneven fairways, small greens, towering eucalyptus trees, and dramatic elevation changes make Ironwood Hills as challenging as it is beautiful.
phone: +1 808 553-5926Activities including scuba, reef snorkel, ocean kayak, whale watch and sport fishing adventures.
Waterfall hikesMoaula and Hipuapua Falls are located on private land above Halawa Valley. The path is not well marked and you will need a guide to obtain permission and lead you to the falls. Both falls can, however, be viewed from multiple lookouts along Highway 450. Moaula Falls is a double-tiered fall which drops a total of 250 feet into a pool at the bottom. Native flowers, mangoes, ginger, ha'u trees and ancient taro patches line the hike.
Halawa Falls Cultural HikeHike to Halawa Valley's spectacular 250-foot Moaula Falls with cultural guides and learn the ancient history of the many archaeological sites you see along the way.
Waterfall Adventuresphone: +1 808 558-8464Guided tours through trails once used by ancient Hawaiians. Spectacular views of waterfalls, rivers, and an ecological arboretum. Trails for advanced, moderate or light hikers and backpackers.
Kalele Bookstore & Divine Expressionsphone: +1 808 553-5112address: 64 Ala Malama, KaunakakaiThere is free coffee, maps, information & Wi-Fi readibly available.
Purdy's Nut Farmphone: +1 808 567-6601address: Lihi Pali DrLearn how macadamia nuts are grown and crack your own.
address: Kualapu'uSandwiches & baked goods.
Kualapu'u Cookhousephone: +1 808 567-9655address: Farrington Rd & Uwao StreetCountry cafe - full menu, nightly dinner specials.
Kanemitsu's Bakeryphone: +1 808 553-5855address: 79 Ala Malama Ave, KaunakakaiServing breakfast only.
phone: +1 808 553-5256address: KaunakakaiRestaurant & bar - full menu.
phone: +1 808 553-5347address: 1300 Kamehameha V Hwy, KaunakakaiFeatures open-air, oceanfront bungalows located on Kamiloloa Beach. Pet friendly suites are available. Amenities offered include a swimming pool, an oceanfront restaurant and on-site spa facilities.
- Private beach houses and bungalows are available on the west end and along the fringing reef of Molokaʻi east end.
CampingThere are two state parks on this island which allow camping. Both have showers and bathrooms.
Papohaku Beach Park
One Ali'i Beach Park
phone: +1 612 392-8136address: 241 Papapa Place Maunaloa