For Finding the “Old Hawaii”
Love the climate? Love the gentle breeze from the trade winds? Hate the high rises and freeways of Waikiki? Pack your camping gear, or book a room at the classic Hotel Molokai (now the island’s only hotel, though condo rentals are available). Book well in advance if you wish to visit Kalaupapa National Historical Park, where the Belgian priest Father Damien ministered to victims of Hansen’s disease (leprosy) and ultimately died from the disease. Choices to get to this sad but scenic site include riding a mule down and back up a 2.9-mile trail, with 26 switchbacks, along the world’s highest sea cliffs; hiking down; or flying in aboard a six-seat plane.
However you get there, Damien Tours’ excellent guides tell the rich story of this spectacularly beautiful and bitterly poignant place. In winter, hoards of humpback whales pass by the island. Whale-watching trips are available, but the giant mammals also glide right past Hotel Molokai. Shop for the locally grown (and really strong) coffee at Molokai Coffee Company on the Farrington Highway, and go back on Saturday evening to enjoy some live jazz.