The Island of Molokai, shimmering in the distance off Maui’s shores, is a world apart from Maui. Everything slows down on Molokai. It’s rural, rugged and full of friendly people who love to talk. Its large Hawaiian population and sparsely developed landscape call to mind an earlier Hawaii, a time when people lived off the land and sea and seldom left the shores of their homes. A day on Molokai will be an adventure, even more so if you choose to get there aboard one of the vessels in the Maui Princess fleet.
The Molokai Princess, owned by The Lahaina Cruise Company, has been extensively rebuilt and refitted for Hawaiian interisland cruising. The Princess is a 100-foot yacht that cruises at more than 20 miles an hour, which means the jaunt between Maui and Molokai will take about an hour and 15 minutes. Once there, the company will arrange a tour package for you or you can explore on your own.
The guided tour includes a stop at the Kalaupapa Overlook and visits to a coffee plantation and macadamia nut farm. You can also play 18 holes of golf at the recently reopened Kaluakoi Golf Course. Or hike 1,700 feet down a rugged sea cliff to the Kaulapapa National Historical Park. The hike ends in a former leprosy colony where tour guides will relate the stories of people banished to Molokai after contracting the once incurable disease. It takes about an hour to hike down the 2.9-mile trail, and 90 minutes to climp back up.
Lahaina Cruise Company also offers daily ferry service to Molokai.