“Hawaiian by nature,“ the island of Molokai remains true to its island roots. There are no traffic lights—just aloha—in the harbor town of Kaunakakai, where fisherman haul in their daily catch and farmers showcase fresh-picked produce from neighboring fields. Quiet your spirit and you’ll feel the mana (power) that protects the island, from an area near Maunaloa said to be the birthplace of hula to the indescribable beauty of Halawa Valley.
With a high percentage of Molokai’s population being of Native Hawaiian descent, it’s no wonder why Molokai is sometimes known as “the most Hawaiian Island.” A visit here is like a journey into Hawaii’s past, where historic spots can be discovered today, looking much like they did hundreds of years ago.
One of the oldest known Hawaiian settlements on Molokai was in Halawa Valley, an area you can still explore today. Hawaiian Fishponds built hundreds of years ago can still be seen along Molokai’s southern coast. Molokai is also said to be the birthplace of the hula. Legends speak of Laka, who practiced the hula at sacred Kaana near Maunaloa and spread this knowledge to the other islands. Today, the Molokai Ka Hula Piko festival held every May celebrates the art of the hula.
Molokai is separated into 3 regions: Central Molokai, the West End and the East End. 38 miles long and just ten miles wide, Molokai is in the center of the Hawaiian Island chain and is just 25 miles southeast of Oahu, eight miles away from Maui.
Two volcanoes formed Molokai: Maunaloa on the West End and Kamakou to the east. Spend some time in Maunaloa town and you’ll notice it is dryer, flatter and more arid here than in the rugged, verdant valleys of East End. Eastern Molokai features largely inaccessible mountains and sea cliffs. Mt. Kamakou is Molokai’s highest point (4,970 feet) and the sea cliffs of the North Shore Pali are the tallest in the world (3,600 to 3,900 feet). Kalaupapa Peninsula juts out from north central Molokai, home to the isolated Kalaupapa National Historical Park.
Weather in Molokai is very consistent, with only minor changes in temperature throughout the year. Year round temperatures average around 75º F (23.9º C). Temperatures at night are approximately 10º F lower than during the warmer days. At Molokai’s higher elevations, it can get a bit cooler and wetter so pack a light jacket. The West End of Molokai is dryer and more arid while the mountainous East End is wetter and greener.
Kalaupapa National Historical Park: Take a mule ride from 1,700 feet to one of Hawaii’s most remote settlements.
Kaunakakai: Molokai’s main town features historic landmarks, the state’s longest pier, and unique shops and eateries.
Halawa Valley: Sacred Hawaiian cathedral valley, blessed with beautiful vistas and two towering waterfalls.
Papohaku Beach: At three miles long, this is one of the largest white sand beaches in Hawaii.