On an island of 8,000 people and no traffic lights…what do you DO on Moloka’i? Okay. Now first allow me to explain something. Maybe you’ve been to Hawaii- like Oahu, Maui or the Big Island. You know how people talk about “island time” being slow, where things happen at their own pace? What they’re talking about sounds really really fast on Moloka’i. Moloka’i is slow and that’s why we love it. Take a breather, turn off your phone, and talk to people. Ask questions. You’ll get way better answers than maps and GPS can offer.
Okay, so you wonder: where is this gorgeous picture? It’s the ocean view of Karen’s Yoga Retreat property. I’ll tell you about it.
So here’s what I would do: (Renting a car and filling a cooler with your favorites munchies and drinks is a prerequisite to all of these, mind you. Stop at The Outpost in Kaunakakai for supplies.)
1.) Go to Halawa Valley and Beach, and hire a local to take you to the waterfalls.
And you know, take weird photo ops along the way in the rock formations along the side of the road
Two sandy crescent beaches at the bottom of a green valley make Halawa, with two giant waterfalls visible from the overlook. It’s literally at the end of the road, about 30 miles east of Kaunakakai town where you fly in, or where the ferry drops you off from Maui.
Now don’t get me wrong, there is something a little funny about Halawa. According to to-hawaii.com, “many heiaus (places of worship) were built here. Young men who dreamed of becoming kahunas (priests) came from the neighbor islands and went to the valley to learn and practice sacred spells. ” Aaaand it got hit by tsunamis (twice) and was finally abandoned, despite it’s rich soil. Now only a handful of families live here. But Anakala Pilipo Solitario still does, and he claims to be the last born and raised Hawaiian descendent who still resides in Halawa Valley. He offers tours to the waterfalls, a 1.7 mile hike into the valley. He also takes you to see Polynesian petroglyphs and tells stories of growing up in the valley, as well as Hawaiian history from his unique perspective. Find him here: http://halawavalleymolokai.com/index.html
2.) Take a yoga class from Karen on her pavilion that’s built on the river and fifty feet from the beach. Which happens to be one of the very few sandy coves on the east side of Moloka’i. There is nice swimming here. Under a coconut tree. Near an outdoor shower. Next to a tree house. Yeah it’s like that. She also offers small yoga retreats on the property, which includes lodging in one of their one-of-a-kind, hand built accommodations- like The Treehouse, the River House or the Pirate House- made from the wreckage of a recent shipwreck that floated to shore on Moloka’i. The property also has a pond with magical healing mud for mud bathing. Basically you hop on a raft docked in the mangroves, paddle out to the middle of the lake, and dive down for hand fulls of the healing mud. Rub on your body, cook in the sun while it draws toxins out of your body, and rinse. This mud is so awesome that the Grand Wailea on Maui wanted to buy it for their spa. (They said no thanks) Call Karen for availability at 808 558 8225. Here’s a taste of the property, my hands down favorite place on the island:
3.) Go Naked Surfing, hello! Or at least check out the three mile long white sand Papohaku beach. See my post here http://www.liltraveltoes.com/destinations/naked-surfing-on-molokai/
4,) Visit the Plumeria farm
Who doesn’t want to be surrounded by a gagillion sweet smelling flowers? Pick your own and take their lei-making workshop. The farm is open M-F 8-noon. http://www.govisithawaii.com/2013/10/09/visiting-molokai-plumeria-farm/
5.) Visit the sleepiest wharf in the world. In fact it’s so sleepy they don’t even spell “wharf” right. Too much work, people.
Rope swing alert!
Check out the mangroves up close, have a swing on the rope and crack open your cooler on the picnic table. You’ll be the only ones there.
6.) If you’re visiting between May and August, do a stealth visit to the abandoned mango orchard. Tons of different varieties were planted decades ago and now they’re mature and pumping out fruit. The orchard is no longer officially managed. Local protocol is you DO NOT SELL the mangoes you pick here, just take some for your ohana and don’t be greedy. Look for the low rock wall on the east end of Moloka’i, oceanside of the road, with branches dripping mangoes hanging over it. Best advice: inquire locally if it’s okay to pick, but last time I was there it was a secret community resource. Be cool, be respectful, and you’ll be fine.