Molokai island also referred to the belly button of Hawaii is one of the most remote and authentic islands in the Hawaiian chain. Located a mere 9 miles off the coast of Maui, Molokai is a valued member of the family of Hawaiian islands, yet it stands out amongst the rest. Having never been conquered, Molokai upholds an intense loyalty to their ancient Hawaiian heritage.
The shorelines of Molokai are not glittered with beachfront resorts, the shore breaks not lined with surfers and the sand not crowded by beach umbrellas or flocked to by migrating tourists. The allure of Molokai lies not in its attractiveness as the most visited island, but as a sacred place with a peaceful air rich in amicable and intense loyalty to tradition.
The population of Molokai is small, with less than 8,000 residents dwelling 260 square miles of protected, respected and largely undeveloped land. The customs and unwritten law is upheld and protected with a devotion that keeps the Hawaiian heritage alive and present. Visiting Molokai is not for everyone, but it is for those who desire to experience Hawaiian culture with a deep respect, understanding and peaceful atmosphere.
Molokai boasts a luscious green landscape on one-half of the island and a dryer beach landscape on the other. Each side contains unique characteristics and is valued for maintaining the two in perfect harmony, yet the heart of the island is the East side. When staying in Kaunakakai Molokai, there are two main options: Molokai shores which is the only condo complex or Hotel Molokai, which is the hub for visitors. Bearing in mind that Molokai is free of wifi and cell-phone service, Molokai is truly an island to live in the moment, find serenity and appreciate the beauty around you.
After planning where you will stay, the best way to see Molokai is without a plan. Many of the most beautiful features of the island can be discovered by wandering onto trails, looking up at the commanding mountains that surround the island and allowing yourself to wander without leaving a trace. With strict restrictions on development, buildings are scarce, and those built cannot taller than a coconut tree. On the east side through a small hidden trail towards the ocean, there’s a little patch of grass ocean side where they used a washed up boat to make small wooden huts where people go and stay and practice yoga. Surrounded by mountains and rocky shores, Halawa, Kaiwilli Bay is one of the places we visited while in Molokai where you can enjoy lounging on the clean white sand of the picturesque beaches and soak up the island sun in ultimate relaxation.
There are no Michelin-rated restaurants and only 3 total restaurants on the entire island. The traditions of respecting the land flow into the preparation and cooking of food as well. Organic and sustainable farming methods are upheld, and Molokai’s food including its ultra-sweet bananas, extremely rare truly Organic Honey and traditional authentic dishes. Staying true to traditional ways of living, eating and communing, there is a devotion and loyalty to food and sustainable, organic practices. The food on Molokai is delicious, and if you are lucky enough to be offered a home-cooked meal, take it!
Diseases and bugs are rare on this island, but birds chirp beautifully and other tropical creatures roam free. The animal life on this island is abundant, with goats, horses, and cows all grazing next to each other. We even found a baby kitten on the road along the way and befriended it for the time we stayed there, and if you spot an owl, it’s considered good luck! Overall, the spirit of Molokai is warm and inviting so long as respect is given and admiration openly expressed. When visiting Molokai, it is important to remember that no one person’s house is considered “home”, but rather, the entire island is. Expressing a deep appreciation for the hospitality is key to having an enjoyable stay and making the most out of your time in Molokai.
We also went to Puu O Hoku Ranch Organic and sustainable farming methods and were taught about the hard-working farmers who make their livelihood off of the land. A friendly local with a Plumeria farm invited us to enjoy his Plumerias; natives of Molokai are passionate about their life, amicable to open-minded visitors and eager to share with those who desire to partake. There is even a Lei making class for a fun activity to enjoy.
The people in Molokai are friendly and inviting. Without the modern use of cell phones and wifi, amicable communication is extremely important. Hawaiian cowboys, also called “Paniolo” are the skilled cowboys who are trained to rope and ride, they have been riding and training others long before their American counterparts in the “Wild West”. Father Damien and Mother Marianne are both respected Saints of the island. Anakala is the name used to refer to an uncle in Molokai. Understanding and respecting the people is as imperative as respecting the island itself.
Visiting Molokai is a privilege and a rare experience not many people have the chance to have in their lifetime. If you’re lucky enough to pursue a trip to Molokai, take it, just don’t book a trip to Molokai without a deep interest, admiration, and Aloha (love) for the island.
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