The fifth largest and least developed of the Hawaiian Islands, Molokai is only 20 minutes by air from Hawaii’s most populous islands, Maui and Oahu.
Molokai’s population, numbering less than 7,000, includes the highest percentage of people of native Hawaiian ancestry of any of the islands. Because of their friendliness to visitors, Molokai is known as, “the Friendly Isle.”

Molokai is a quiet island that offers a unique introduction to the gentle rythms of South Seas life. Many of the Hawaiians here still exist much in the fashion of their ancestors, reaping fish from the sea. Days are spent in a carefree manner, and nights pass in a relaxed mood of tranquility Kaunakakai, the main town on Molokai, is famed in song for its “Cockeyed Mayor.”

A few hotels and condominiums are scattered along the island’s south shore, and on the western coast is the 6,700-acre Kaluakoi Resort with an 18-hole championship golf course and miles of secluded white sand beach. On the west end of Molokai is the plantation village of Maunaloa.

A highpoint in any tour of the Friendly Isle is a visit to Kalaupapa, one of America’s early settlements for sufferers of Hansen’s Disease (commonly known as leprosy). The most interesting way to visit is on a mule, with the Molokai Mule Ride. Established by the Hawaiian Monarchy in 1866, the settlement lies on a peninsula jutting out from Molokai’s north coast. Father Damien de Veuster, a Belgian priest, came to Kalaupapa in 1873, planning to stay only a few weeks. Instead, he spent the rest of his life establishing order, ministering to those forgotten people, and becoming himself a victim of Hansen’s Disease. Damien’s church, St. Philomena’s, stands near the settlement’s old cemetery where a monument marks the martyr’s gravesite.
From a pleasant park along the craggy shoreline you have a stunning view of Molokai’s windward side, with the world’s highest seas cliffs and waterfalls plunging thousands of feet into the ocean. Near the park is Kaohako Crater, with ancient Hawaiian graves along its slopes.

All of Molokai is rich with old Hawaiian lore. Much of the island’s eastern end is dense wilderness, thrusting mountains deep, green valleys. The western side is a rolling fertile plain which is Molokai’s agriculture center. Winding country roads beckon sightseers via offroad tour and taxi services. You’ll find a pit where Hawaiians measured loads of fragrant sandalwood before shipping them to China, missionary churches, the walls of ancient Hawaiian fish ponds, stark stone heiau (sacrificial temples), and historic battlegrounds. Molokai’s thickly-forested back-country intrigues the huntsmen with a variety of game, while isolated and unfrequented beaches and reefs delight skindivers.

Like all of the islands, Molokai, or “the friendly isle” as it is called, has a variety of distinct climate zones, including the cool, wet rainforests of the rugged mountains and valleys of East Molokai, the sunny, arid rolling hills of West Molokai and the dry central plains region of Hoolehua. Visitors will find the island’s climate relatively uniform throughout the year. The average summer temperatures in the island’s principal town, Kaunakakai, range from 68-82 degrees F. (20.0-27.8 C), while the average winter temperature is 61-80 degrees (16.1-26.7 C).

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