Experience The Best Of Moloka‘IMaui
Twenty-five miles southeast of O‘ahu—and 8 miles across the Pailolo Channel from Maui—lies an island like no other in the Hawaiian chain. Best described as 100 percent natural, MOLOKA‘I is a glimpse into a simpler time in Hawai‘i.
There are no traffic lights, no buildings taller than the palm trees, no shopping malls, no crowds, no rush. Moloka‘i, in fact, is the only major Hawaiian island without an 18-hole golf course. There is a laidback, nine-hole course that, like everything else on the island, signals its low-key approach to tourism.
Folks who are lucky enough to call Moloka‘i home (nearly 40 PERCENT CLAIM NATIVE HAWAIIAN DESCENT) describe it as a place where aloha is not just a word, but also a way of life.
Arriving in 1977 with a small resort, tourism came late to this island, which remains vigilant of its rural lifestyle. It is home to Hawai‘i’s LONGEST BEACH, the world’s HIGHEST SEA CLIFFS, the LARGEST REEF SYSTEM found anywhere in the United States, and the state’s HIGHEST WATERFALL, which cascades over a mesmerizing 1,750 feet.
The island claims the largest number of undisturbed ANCIENT SITES, among these a 700-year-old heiau (ancient Hawaiian temple).
It is the legendary birthplace of the goddess of hula and the site of a former Hansen’s disease (leprosy) colony, which for more than a century was home to people exiled with the disease. Located at the isolated KALAUPAPA settlement, that colony once was home to Hawai‘i’s two saints and now is part of the NATIONAL PARK SYSTEM.
If you’re drawn to simple pleasures, Moloka‘i is happy to oblige. OUTDOOR ADVENTURES include hiking, biking, camping, fishing, diving, sailing and stargazing. Nightlife may be slim to nonexistent, but the island’s UNFILTERED VIEW OF THE STARS more than compensates. Don’t expect to find lodging in a large hotel. Choose from condominiums, beach houses, vacation rentals and bed and breakfasts.
Or try CAMPING under that magnificent starry sky. Upcountry camping is available at PALA‘AU STATE PARK and just outside KAMAKOU PRESERVE (for permits, contact the State Department of Land and Natural Resources, (808) 587-0300, or log on to www.hawaiistateparks.org/ camping). Oceanside camping can be found on the island’s west and south shores (contact the County of Maui, (808) 553-3204, for permits).