No mega resorts. No five-star dining opportunities. No tourist-packed beaches. No shopping malls. If this sounds like heaven to you, head over to Molokai Island on your next Hawaiian girlfriend getaway.
The little island of Molokai, located in between Oahu and Maui, is a glimpse into the traditional Hawaiian life when living was simple and people interacted with one another as a community. It’s simple and restful vibe makes the island a great destination for a truly relaxing holiday.
Where to Stay in Molokai
On Molokai there are no fancy high-rise hotels, but there is the welcoming Aloha spirit. The one hotel, Molokai Hotel, is comfy, full of hospitality and charm, a perfect choice for your next girlfriend getaway.
There is no air conditioning but the trade winds gently blow through the rooms and there are ceiling fans…so it’s quite comfortable. The General Manager, Michael Drew, is authentic and a master at his trade interacting with guests. He knows how to welcome guests and anticipate their needs, sometimes even before they are requested.
In addition to Molokai Hotel there are condos and homes for rent. And, if you prefer to be a little more rustic there is camping available, permits are required. For camping equipment you can contact Molokai Ocean Tours and Outdoor Rentals .
Molokai’s Sad History
The natives of Molokai have fought against Mother Nature, disease, and invasion but have persevered. In the late 1860’s this island was a dumping ground for the outcast who had leprosy. On the peninsula of Kalaupapa nearly a thousand diseased people were left here to die. The peninsula is flanked by shear cliffs that were difficult to cross over. Father Damien, a Dutch priest, came to Molokai in 1873 to assist the lepers. He died sixteen years later from the disease.
Today the disease is called Hanson’s Disease and it is curable. Ninety-five percent of humans are immune to it. The colony is all but disbanded today. There are a few cured people who live there today, late in age. Tours are available to the town of Kalaupapa, one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. It can only be reached by mule or air. Many people enjoy the hair-raising mule ride down the sheer cliffs with switchbacks and vertical drop offs. Reservations are required and only a limited number of people can descend.
Editor’s Note: I just finished reading Molokai, a fascinating novel by Alan Brennert about a seven year girl banished to the leprosy colony on the island in the 1800’s. One of the most moving and enjoyable books I’ve read in a long time. Moloka’i on Amazon.com
Day Trips on Molokai Island
Tours in Molokai: Beware of the Giant Lizard!
Halawa Valley is a day trip that should not be missed. The raw nature, mountains, waterfalls, flora and fauna are breathtaking. The best way to experience this sacred ground is by guided tour. Halawa Valley Molokai has been family owned for 15 generations. The guides are family members and know the history of this land. Ancient natives lived and worked on this land passing on rituals and knowledge. It’s available to you, you just have to get there to experience it!
Before the guided hike into Halawa Valley, you will take part in a moving ceremony to ensure safe passage. The hike to the waterfalls is mesmerizing. It’s a moderate hike up and down dirt pathways, crossing streams, and scaling boulders. Once the destination is reached a cool swim in the waterfall pond will refresh you. But beware of the giant lizard in the water, as legend has it. By throwing a special leaf into the pond it will alert you to your safety. If it floats you are safe to swim. If it sinks stay clear of the pond.
Pilipo Solatorio is the patriarch of the family and was chosen to hold the secrets of the land at the age of five by the leaders of his family. The tour includes the history of the land, customs, cultural stories, rituals, and more.
Serenity and Turkeys Found at Papohaku Beach
Papohaku Beach is three miles of stunning, serene, light golden sand beach. On a clear day you can see Oahu. Here the trade winds feel as if they blow right through you into your soul. The water invites you to stick your toes in. Rarely are there more than a handful of people on the entire shoreline. Inland, just a short stroll away, are picnic benches, barbeque pits, restrooms and wild turkeys. During my visit I saw over 30 turkeys roaming the grounds. This is the essence of Molokai, pure beauty and plenty of time for reflection.
Island Hopper and Kayaking Tours
One of the best ways to get an overview of the island is to take the island hopper bus. You will be entertained throughout the day and you’re sure to find a few favorite spots to return to later during your stay. Another great way to see the island is kayaking. Molokai Outdoors is a great match. They know the island and the area. Guided tours are the best way to experience the water. Depending on your skill level they will customerize a trip for you. Hawaii’s largest barrier reef is on Molokai’s south shore.
I recommend you stay on Molokai at least four days. Spend one day orienting yourself, one day on the east side, one day on the west side, and one day North, and central. This could include a trip to Kalaupapa, the once active leper colony.
Top Things to Do in Molokai
There are several fun outings to partake in; Lei making, hula lessons, macadamia nut farm tour, coffee shop/gift shop, and the quaint downtown area for unique gifts, art and even a museum and cultural center. Any water sport is a must; snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing, wind surfing, surfing, and more. Molokai Fish & Dive is one of the most popular local outfits. Whale watching is available from December – April. Captain Tim is very personably and has plenty of great local stories. (808) 553-5926.
Every Friday at the Molokai Hotel is Aloha Friday. Authentic Hawaiian music and hula is showcased followed by a local pop band. The drinks are great and the view is one of the best from the shore!
Dine Like an Ohana (Local)
There are no five star restaurants here but the food is good. I stopped at several local establishments; Molokai Pizza Café, Mana’e Goodz & Grindz, Coffees of Hawaii, Kualapuu Cookhouse, Molokai Burger and Kanemitsu Bakery. There are also grocery stores, albeit small ones. But you can purchase food and cook for yourself using local ingredients.
On Molokai you will become part of the Ohana, or family. Time will slow down and the worries of your life will soon leave you. You may only come for a few days but you will leave with a lifetime of memories.
Sue Richter is an award-winning communications expert. She is a freelance journalist for several online and print publications. She has written for American Airlines, Frontier Airlines, TravelAge West, Travel + Expore, Comcast Magazine, San Diego Union Tribune, Business Executive Travel and many others.