Updated July 25, 2020.
Molokai is called the “Most Hawaiian Island,” and a visit to this beautiful place will help you understand why. Much of the island is untouched by technology, and the slower pace all but forces you to slow down and settle into the spirit of aloha. We spent our fifth anniversary on Molokai, so when the opportunity arose for me to go back as a guest of the Maui Visitors’ Bureau, I had to say yes! So with no further ado, here is your ultimate Molokai bucket list!
1. Visit the Kalaupapa Peninsula
These items are in no particular order, but a visit to the Kalaupapa Peninsula and former leper colony here is at the top of this list for a reason: It’s 100% unique. The peninsula is totally flat, jutting out from the world’s tallest sea cliffs. Its isolated location is absolutely stunning, with views you can only get from the peninsula. Unfortunately, however, the isolation also made it the perfect spot for a leper colony at a time when native Hawaiians were seemingly more susceptible to the illness and when we didn’t know much about the disease. Learning about the colony’s history and just how far we’ve come since its beginning will both confound and amaze you. The close-knit community and the missionaries who helped them over the years will surely inspire you.
You must visit with a tour group, since about a dozen cured residents still live here full time, and children 14 and under are not permitted to visit at all. The only way to visit at the time of this writing is by small aircraft, as the Pali trail that has formerly been traversed on foot or by mule is currently being repaired due to a massive landslide in December 2018. We cannot recommend this experience enough!
Read more: Visiting Kalaupapa Peninsula
2. Make Your Own Leis
This was such a fun (and romantic!) activity! This beautiful plumeria orchard is larger than you might expect, and you can tour, pick your own plumerias, and make your own leis here! We were the only people on our tour, and it was such a laid back experience. I’m not even crafty, and yet I made a beautiful lei!
Read more: Lei Making on Molokai
3. Mail a Coconut
It’s true! You can mail a coconut from Molokai! You can use one of their pre-inspected blank coconuts and decorate it as you like, or you can make a small donation to a local artist and use one that they have decorated! I chose the later, since my art never turns out as well in real life as it does in my head! Definitely a fun, unique bucket list activity from your trip to Molokai. Postage is calculated by weight, so each coconut will be a little different.
Find out all the details: How to Mail a Coconut in Hawaii
4. Have the Beach All to Yourself
How many beaches in Hawaii can you pretty much always have to yourself? Not many! But it’s possible on Molokai. We had many beaches all to ourselves all around the island. Talk about a piece of paradise!
More here: 5 Things You Forgot to Pack for Hawaii
5. See the Island from a Tiny Plane
You will have to take a tiny plane to get to Molokai, and if you visit Kalaupapa, you’ll get a second opportunity to fly over the island as well! The views from the window seats are unparalleled, and tiny flights are even more fun because they’re so much more laid back than regular flights! All of our tiny plane pilots were amazing, and we always felt safe!
6. Visit the Macadamia Nut Farm
Purdy’s Macadamia Nut Farm has to go on your list! Getting the full experience of the tour, cracking your own macs, and eating what you just opened up is amazing! We bought some to being home with us and enjoyed them in salads, on cereal, and in cookies!
Still hungry? What to Eat on the Hawaiian Islands
7. Eat at Kanemitsu’s Bakery
A quick Google search of things to do or things to eat on Molokai will give you a zillion Kanemitsu hits! From their purple taro pancakes and donuts to their hot breads to their breakfast extravaganzas, you will not leave hungry! Make sure to have at least one meal here while you’re on the island.
Chow Down: What to Eat on Molokai
8. Take a Hiking Tour of the Halawa Valley
Halawa Valley is home to the last remaining ancient Hawaiian family. They still live farm-to-table and hunt for their own meat and fish, and they kindly offer tours so you can learn and experience their ancient Hawaiian culture. You’ll hike to a beautiful and secluded waterfall, and you will never forget the trip there!
Read on: Hiking Halawa Valley
9. Marvel at the Tallest Sea Cliffs in the World
“Marvel” is the only word that can possibly convey the feeling of looking at these majestic sea cliffs. You’ll just be in complete awe at what you’re seeing and you’ll wonder how anything could possibly be so beautiful and massive and real. I’ll let the picture to the talking:
More Adventure: Helicopter Tour over Maui and Molokai
10. Eat All the Fresh Food
The key word is fresh! We were not expecting much in the way of tasty food on such a small island where so much has to be shipped in, but in five days, we had five days’ worth of excellent meals! Everything was fresh and made to order. It was incredible, and definitely deserves a spot on your bucket list!
More here: Where to Eat on Each Hawaiian Island
Want more Molokai and Hawaii tips, recommendations, and tales? Check out my Pacific Islands Page!
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