The “Friendly Island” of Molokai is not a place where you rush. By nature, its pace is laid back. The mood is to take one's time and not be in a hurry. A lot of visitors really love that about the island, but others, unfortunately, cannot spare the time. Below are some suggestions on how to experience Molokai in a day or three for those whose visits must be brief.
The Maui/Molokai ferry (662-3355) can take you to the island and bring you back the same day if you choose. You won't have a lot of time, however. The voyage takes about 90 minutes each way leaving Lahaina, Maui, at 6:30 A.M., and leaves the island at 2:30 P.M. You can, of course, also fly in and out.
If you want to see much in one day, you'd better get a car and start driving! Alternatively, the Maui/Molokai ferry people can arrange for a guide and vehicle to make sure your short visit is efficient and informative. From the main town of Kaunakakai, you can head in essentially three directions: east along the south coast toward Halawa Valley (Route 450), north to the area of Kalaupapa (Route 470), or west toward Maunaloa (Route 460) and beyond. Most visitors will want to at least look down upon the famed leper colony from the Kalaupapa lookout, so that should be a priority. Whether one chooses to explore the west or the east will depend upon one's return schedule.
Day One: Arrive in Molokai and visit the town of Kaunakakai.
Take a drive down the southwest coast with its ancient fishponds and historic churches, including St. Joseph's and Our Lady of Sorrows, built by Father Damien. Proceed down into Halawa Valley if you like and return to your hotel for a typical, quiet Molokai evening.
Day Two: Make a dramatic visit to Kalaupapa by mule or trail. (Remember that visitors to that area must be at least sixteen years old.) The local guides from Damien Tours (567-6088) will show you around. Head back up the hillside and return to your hotel to relax and review the day.
Day Three: Make your way on up to central Molokai. Visit the town of Maunaloa. Perhaps the Molokai Museum and Cultural Center (567-9241). Head west and take a stroll on the long, white sandy stretch known as Papohaku Beach. Spend the rest of the day the Molokai way.