With no building taller than a coconut tree and little traffic, life on Moloka‘i moves at a slower pace than on the larger islands. A 25-minute flight from Honolulu, the unspoiled island has 45km of spectacular reef, the world’s largest sea cliffs and one of the Hawaiian Islands’ most beautiful white-sand beaches, Pāpōhaku. A high percentage of the population are of Native Hawaiian ancestry, continuing to preserve their lifestyle thanks to their love of the land. Most of the island’s attractions are in or near Kaunakakai, the island’s main town. Visit the Moloka‘i Farmers Market on Saturday morning, explore Hālawa Valley and east of Kaunakakai along the scenic coast, and hike through Pāla‘au State Park.
There aren’t any major resorts on Moloka‘i – instead it has more rustic accommodation centred around the town of Kaunakakai and the village of Maunaloa in the West End. Hotel Moloka’i is located on Kamiloloa Beach and has a Polynesian-style village of bungalows with kitchenettes and Wi-Fi. Moloka‘i Shores on the South Shore has a range of one- and two-bedroom suites with ceiling fans, balconies and kitchens. Dunbar Beachfront Cottages offers charming accommodation on a secluded beach on the East End of the island.
Molokai is smaller and less developed than some of the other islands, so it’s a great place to seek out fresh island food, local Hawaiian favourites and friendly beachside spots rather than luxurious restaurants. Grab a pizza at Moloka‘i Pizza Cafe, and try authentic cuisine at Hiro’s ‘Ohana Grill. Paddlers Restaurant and Bar at Kaunakakai has a full bar, with live music and dancing most nights. Make sure you visit Kanemitsu Bakery to try its famous, preservative-free hot bread.