Molokai Guide

Molokai is a well preserved monument to the old ways of Hawaii.

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• General: Educational • General: History

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Guide Series: Guide To Hawaii
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The Hawaiian Islands are the most remote island chain in the world. Molokai is a place that will remind you of that. It's quiet and beautiful, but in a way different from the other islands. The west side of Molokai is dry ranch territory. It has a vast expanse of dry arid land, almost as if you were in a western movie. The area was primarily managed by the Molokai Ranch until 2008, but has since closed its operations due to local resistance and expensive development.


My favorite beach on Molokai is Papohaku Beach Park / Three Mile Beach. This is one of the longest beaches in Hawaii. It is 300 feet wide. It is not uncommon to walk on this beach and not see another person. The beach is known to have huge waves during the winter, but during the summer it can be spectacularly calm.


Camping is allowed, but you'll need to get a permit from the Maui County department of parks and recreation. There is very little shade because because it's so wide. Very fine sand can get in your eyes because it's so windy. It's also not safe for swimming due to inconsistent currents and deceptively safe.


Kepuhi Beach is also located on the west side. It's another one of Molokai's amazing beaches. The isolated sand dunes of Mo'omomi Beach are often windy. This is a protected beach by the Nature Conservancy of Hawaii. The area is preserved because it is of archaeological and geological importance.


Molokai at night is wonderful. There are no streetlights that create a haze when looking at the sky. You can view the Milky Way with amazing clarity.

Molokai is a rural place, and the people like to keep it that way. Although it's referred to as "The Friendly Isle", locals are not enthused about outside development encroaching on their homeland or Aina. This has kept tourism to a minimum, but there aren't a lot of jobs for the locals so Molokai has the highest unemployment rate in the state of Hawaii.


Kalaupapa National Historical Park is located on the north coast below 2000 ft sea cliffs. The only way to get to Kalaupapa is on a mule trail, see Kalaupapa Guided Mule Tour. Kalaupapa is most famous for the isolation leper settlement that was established by King Kamehameha V until and was enforced until 1969 when it was finally repealed. Residents who lived there previously are allowed to stay in Kalaupapa for the rest of their lives. To this day, 14 former sufferers of leprosy still live there.


Molokai has a high percentage of residents who are of native Hawaiian ancestry. There is a strong movement to preserve their cultural identity.

Post A Nut at Hoolehua Post Office is a unique shop in Hoolehua that will mail a coconut to anywhere in the United States and most other countries. You choose the coconut from a bin, write a letter on it, and add postage for delivery. The coconuts are free, but you have to pay for the postage which can range between $9 and $18. A hollow coconut will cost a lot less then one that is full of milk. This is a novelty to do if you have a little extra time on your hands while visiting Molokai.


The Pali Coast has some of the tallest sea cliffs in the world. The Pali Coast extends 14 miles along the north coast of Molokai. The video shows just how big these poly cliffs are. The Kalaupapa is at sea level below the Pali Sea cliffs. It's majestic and not to be missed. The hike to Kalaupapa is beautiful, with a seemingly unending amount of switchbacks and stairs. You can take a mule ride down to the bottom as well.


Saint Philomena Church is one of the original churches that father Damien help to build on Molokai. This church stands in tribute to father Damien and the compassion he had for those who suffered from leprosy and were exiled to Molokai. You can only see the insides of the church by tour which can be reserved through father Damien tours.

Dixie Maru Cove (Kapukahehu Beach) can be found at the end of Pohakuloa Road and is a half moon shaped protected cove. It makes for a great place to swim and snorkel. Like many beaches on Molokai, there won't be many people here.


Halawa Valley is located about 20 miles from Kaunakakai. A twisty and winding, but beautiful, drive to a lush beach on the east side of Molokai. Drive slow because you're right next to the seal cliffs on a single lane road with no guard rail at times.


Moa'ula waterfall is picturesque, but the hiking trail is no longer open to the public without a paid guide. There are several local guides, some better than others, who will share the stories and history of the area on your hike. The guided hikes usually cost about $75 per couple. The hike is not difficult and has many interesting petroglyphs and there is a Heiau temple. If you care about time, see if you can go with a small group as larger groups will slow you way down. Bring bug spray. Bring a swimsuit if you want to swim by the falls (weather permitting).

Explore Molokai

For more information try one of these links:

Molokai Home Page


Molokai Beaches


Molokai Activities / Things To Do


Molokai Hotels / Resorts


Molokai Restaurants / Bars


Molokai Shops / Services


Molokai Information


Or head over to our Guide To Hawaii for an overview on the Hawaiian Islands.

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