How to Get to Molokai: Your Ultimate Guide to Paradise

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Your Ultimate Guide to Paradise

The experience of Molokai is unlike any other on the Hawaiian islands. It’s a small island, only 10 miles wide and 38 miles long, and there are no luxury hotels or condos dotting the beaches. The pace of life is much slower, and the native Hawaiians, who make up a majority of the population, seek to live off the land in accordance with the lifestyle of their ancestors.

Molokai is a place of uncompromising beauty, white sand beaches, the longest fringing coral reef in the world, and the highest sea cliffs on Earth.

Can You Travel to Molokai?

If you’re worried about how to travel to Molokai, don’t fret! It’s just a more involved process than getting to the other islands of Hawaii, but the reward is worth it.

How to Get to Molokai

Can you take a boat to Molokai? Despite some older posts on the internet mentioning the Molokai Princess ferry, there is no ferry to Molokai anymore. The ferry took passengers from Molokai to Lahaina Harbor in Maui, but operations ceased in 2016. There is also no Molokai cruise ship route, though there are boat tours around the island, such as Molokai Ocean Tours and Molokai Day Tours.

However, there are flights to Molokai Airport in Hoolehua. You can book flights through Hawaiian Airlines, which has direct flights from Honolulu in Oahu and Kahului in Maui. You can also book a flight through Mokulele Airlines, which offers flights from Kahului, Kapalua, and Hana in Maui, as well as Kona and Waimea on the Big Island.

The flights are incredibly short, only around 25 minutes or so. And you won’t be on a Boeing 737. Instead, you’ll most likely be flying on turboprop planes that only carry around 50 passengers. These planes can make for truly memorable experiences if you get a window seat view, which is how to fly to Molokai in style.

What You Need to Know to Visit Molokai

When you arrive in Molokai, there are a few things you should keep in mind as you explore the area:

Lack of Infrastructure

Don’t expect much public transportation, although there are shuttle buses run by Maui Economic Opportunity, Inc. that cater to rural residents and travel to a few key areas.

Limited Phone Service

Cell towers in the area are few and far between, so you will have less cell reception as you travel.

How to Get Around

Once you travel to Molokai, your best bet is to get a rental car. It will afford you the freedom you need to see all the island offers. You can drive on spectacularly scenic roads such as Kalae Highway, Kamehameha Highway, Kaluakoi Road, and many others.

You can take a taxi, but you must arrange it 24 to 48 hours in advance. That’s just another great reason to opt for a comfortable rental car.

Driving on Molokai

Not every road is paved, so you may want to opt for an SUV car rental if you plan on more adventurous excursions. There are no traffic lights, and speed limits are almost always under 45 mph and, in some cases, as low as 10 mph. There are no four-lane mega-highways either, just two-lane roads. You may also encounter animals on the road.
Route 450/460 is the main road traveling from east to west. Highway 450 begins in Kaunakakai, lasts 27 miles, and ends in Halawa. You’ll notice green mile posts, which are essential for navigating. If you get directions to drive somewhere, those mileposts will factor into them. For example, you might be instructed to turn off 100 feet past mile 21.
If you want to understand driving on Molokai, a sign near the airport reads, “Slow Down, You’re In Molokai.” Don’t think you’ll be moving at a fast pace; plan on taking 10 minutes to drive 10 miles. Everything takes longer, but the journey is worth it.
Want to drive from Maunaloa to Kaunakakai? It’s 17 miles but will take you 25 minutes. Need to drive from Kaunakakai to the airport? It’s only eight miles but will take you 20 minutes. Also, keep in mind that gas is quite expensive in Hawaii.

Where to Stay

After you plan out how to get to Molokai, you’ll need accommodations once you arrive. There are many charming B&Bs on the island, such as Ka Hale Mala in Kaunakakai, which features country fresh breakfasts every morning, or Pu'u O Hoku Ranch, which is an operating farm that features 1930s-era Hawaiian ranch-style cottages.
You can also enjoy Ke Nani Kai Resort in Maunaloa, Hotel Molokai in Kaunakakai, and The Blue Goose B&B in Maunaloa. Again, there are no big condos and rentals — everything will be small, charming, and locally run. Expect hospitality and personal attention from friendly staff and locals.

What to Do

From Maui, you can take helicopter tours to view both Maui and Molokai, which gives a fantastic scenic display of Molokai’s cliffs. The picturesque Papohaku Beach Park and serene Halawa Falls require a solid hike, but the sights are certainly worth it. For some history, you can see Kalaupapa National Historical Park, the site of a leper colony in the 1930s.
Kamakou Preserve is an extraordinary rainforest preserve that should be at the top of any nature lover’s list. If you want to go snorkeling and observe the vibrant and varied sea life, you’ll want to head to Murphy’s Beach, where you can see coral up close.

Plan Your Hawaiian Adventure Today

Don’t let rentals slip through your fingers. When booking your Molokai vacation, remember to reach out to Discount Hawaii Car Rental to line up your ride.

Molokai car rentals can go quickly, so contact us to rent a car right away. For more information, check out our website and contact us today!