Moloka’i is unlike all the other populated islands. With only about 7,000 residents, no major resorts, and no stoplights, it is very rural and undeveloped. It has the largest percentage of native Hawaiians of any islands other than Nihau, where only Native Hawaiians live.


Moloka’i has two very different sides, the dry, less mountainous west side and the lush east side. The east side is home to the world’s highest sea cliffs, which drop off 4000 feet into the rough seas below.


The most interesting place on Moloka’i is the Kalaupapa peninsula, home of the sanatorium for sufferer’s of Hansen’s Disease, otherwise known as the leper colony. For years, people suspected of having leprosy were rounded up from other islands and literally dumped into the ocean near this isolated peninsula. A few dozen survivors continue to choose to live there. Tourists can visit as part of an organized tour group. The trip requires navigating a muddy path down 2000 feet, with over 25 switch-backs. Other options include flying in or out, or forcing a mule to navigate the trail for you.


Moloka’i has some fantastically beautiful beaches, although none have great swimming due to either unsafe conditions or shallow coral reefs. The natural beauty and sense of being completely away from it all make it a unique place to visit.

 

Moloka’i