Available Tuesday - Saturday
Molokai is a glimpse into the Hawaii of the past. Largely unaffected by the vast resorts of Maui or the tall high rises of Oahu, Molokai is the place to go if your idea of a vacation is laying on the beach underneath a palm tree and reading a good book. Molokai is the fifth largest of the main Hawaiian islands and has a population of about 7,000 hardy residents.
The Molokai Air Packages journeys you down to Kalaupapa and you'll get a chance to tour the peninsula and discover the beauty and history unique to the island. The stunning cliffs exhibit nature's grandeur. Kalaupapa was first inhabited from about 650 AD, and for over 1200 years the people survived by fishing the rough oceans by outrigger canoe with nets and spears. The Hawaiians also farmed the harsh volcanic soil with sweet potatoes, onions and taro. Throughout the peninsula there are low rock walls that created thousands of small lots, and historians believe they were built as pens for raising pigs, windbreaks for growing crops, and property boundaries and land divisions. Heiaus for fishing were also built to make offerings.
The island is best known because of the long time missionary service and lifelong dedication of Father Damien de Veuster, a Belgian priest. A small peninsula on Molokai's north shore called Kalaupapa was the place where those exposed to leprosy were forced into quarantine by Kamehameha V who ruled Hawaii from 1863 to 1872. Kalaupapa is surrounded on three sides by the Pacific ocean and cut off from the rest of Molokai by 1600-foot (488m) sea cliffs, so it provided the perfect isolated environment. Father Damien arrived in 1873 and he dedicated his life to serving those afflicted with Hansen's Disease (aka leprosy), and not only did he administer faith, he also built homes, churches and coffins. Father Damien also arranged for medical services and funding from Honolulu, and became a parent to his diseased wards. He contracted the disease, and after 16 years of selfless service, died in 1889. Father Damien's wish to be buried among his people at Kalawao, and a black, concrete cross marks his grave site at Kalawao. In October 2009 he was canonized as a saint. There are no longer any active cases of Hansen's Disease, and the quarentine was lifted in 1969, but there are still a few residents of Kalaupapa who were once afflicted with the disease. In the 1940s, with the advent of sulfone drugs, Hansen's disease was put in remission and the sufferers are no longer contagious. Kalaupapa is now a National Historic Site, but access is very limited. It is home to approximately 122 residents, including just a handful of former patients. There are no roads to Kalaupapa to this day; just an extremely rugged mule trail that leads down from the overlook. This overlook will likely be the highlight of your visit to the island.
Kalaupapa is an 11-thousand acre unincorporated community bordered by some of the highest sea cliffs in the world. Kalaupapa can be reached by air or by way of the trail descending the 1,600-foot-high (488m) cliffs. Along its course are 26 switchbacks that corkscrew in and out of canyons and ravines. This is four-hour guided ground tour of the Kalaupapa Peninsula includes all notable historic sites including Saint Philomena Church, the Bishop Home for Girls, lunch at the scenic Kalawao overlook, and the grave of Saint Damien. We offer 3 tours that fly you to Molokai and you choose how you'd like to descend to Kalaupapa:
Fly In Fly Out
Fly from Maui to Molokai, and experience the history and beauty of Kalaupapa. Our rate for the Fly In / Fly Out is $349.00 including tax.
Check in: 8:45am at Makani Air at Kahului Airport General Aviation
Hike Down Fly Out
If you're looking for adventure with breathtaking views, the Hike Down Fly Out option is designed for you. Please keep in mind that this is a steep, exposed trail and you share that trail with mules. It is a dramatic and rewarding hike down, but the trail is often muddy and slippery. Our rate for the Hike Down / Fly Out is $249.00 including tax.
Check in: 6:50am at Makani Air at Kahului Airport General Aviation (1 Keolani Pl, Kahului, HI 96732) and you will have to arrange to have a cab take you from the airport at Ho'olehua to Molokai Mule Ride (290 Pu'u Kapele Avenue), which is near the trail head.
Kalaupapa Tour: The total distance of your hike is approximately 3.2 miles. You should plan to be at the bottom of the trail at the mule corrals no later than 10:15 a.m. The bus tour starts there, and let the bus driver know that you are on a Hike down / Fly out package with Makani Kai Air Charter. At the end of the tour, you will stay on the bus and be dropped off at the Kalaupapa Airport.
Note: If there is inclement weather, please stop at the mule barn topside prior to starting down to check if there are any reports from Kalaupapa. It is rare, but once in a great while, bad weather will preclude you from making the hike to avoid unnecessary risks.
The mule ride is a unique way to experience Kalaupapa. You will descend and ascend on mules, and you'll be able to take in the panoramic views. Our rate for the Mule Ride / Kalaupapa experience including rount-trip air transportation from Maui is $369.00 including tax.
Check in: 6:50am at Makani Air at Kahului Airport General Aviation (1 Keolani Pl, Kahului, HI 96732) and you will have to arrange to have a cab take you from the airport at Ho'olehua to Molokai Mule Ride (290 Pu'u Kapele Avenue).
Kalaupapa Tour: The bus tour starts at the mule corrals at the bottom of the trail.
What to Bring & Wear: Closed toed shoes and long pants or long shorts are required.
Restrictions: The maximum weight for the mule ride is 250 pounds.
Note: If there is inclement weather, please stop at the mule barn topside prior to starting down to check if there are any reports from Kalaupapa. It is rare, but once in a great while, bad weather will preclude you from riding to avoid unnecessary risks.
Schedule: The tour is available from Tuesday through Saturday. No tours on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. Once you're in Kalaupapa (whether you fly in, hike down, or take the mule ride), the tour generally starts around 10am and is complete by 2pm.
Tour includes: Transportation, guided ground tour in a bus, lunch & bottled water.
Plane: Makani Kai Air uses nine-passenger turboprop Cessna Grand Caravans to fly to Kalaupapa.
Restrictions: Persons under the age of 16 are prohibited from going to Kalaupapa by the Hawaii State Department of Health.
Cancellation Policy: Cancellations require a 48-hour notice for full refund.
Cruise Ship Clients
Sorry, Molokai packages do not fit the itinerary of any of the cruise ships. The flight time is too early.
This is a great idea for people who have been to Maui before ... done most of the luaus, snorkeled at Molokini, taken a helicopter tour ... if you are looking for something different and off the beaten path, look no further than the beautiful island looming to the northwest of Maui.
One final thing ... don't confuse Molokai with Molokini. Molokini is a tiny crescent shaped island two miles off the south Maui coast and is a favorite destination for snorkel tours. Molokai is a large inhabited island northwest of the Maui.