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“A taste of undeveloped Hawaii”
Review of A Touch of Molokai

A Touch of Molokai
Ranked #2 of 4 things to do in Maunaloa
Attraction details
Reviewed October 27, 2012

This tour is really two experiences - a boat ride and a bus tour. We showed up at the Lahaina dock around 6:30 and no one had yet opened the Molokai ticket booth while the adjacent booth for Lanai was open so that was a bit confusing. The right booth opened around 6:45 and we checked in and received a plate with cut fruit and a giant muffin. I imagine many had trouble finishing it. The boat was an older diesel powered vessel with seating on top with covered seating below. The forward lower section was more comfortable and more enclosed. The morning trip took a little over two hours and was not too rough since it generally went the same direction as the ocean waves.

We were met onshore at Molokai by a 14 passenger bus, though there were no signs saying where that was or which of a couple vehicles was the one we should seek. However, there weren't a lot of alternatives and asking around got us to the right bus. We started the Saturday tour with a stop at Kaunakakai, the only significant town on the island, where a local street fair was in progress. This was definitely a local event with fruits, vegetables, a few local artists, and various odds and ends. Afterward, the tour headed up to a spectacular view of the Kalaupapa peninsula from the cliffs on the north side of the island. Took a brief hike to the Phallic Rock which might seem intimidating to some. Afterward the tour stopped at the coffee plantation for a beverage and shopping break before heading to the macadamia nut farm. Here we could walk among the trees, try cracking some of the nuts, and then purchase some baked nuts which were delicious and not fattening like the commercial nuts processed in oil. They sell for around $16 a pound and can be ordered by mail. Lunch was served back in Kaunakakai since the usual stop at a hotel restaurant had to be changed after the restaurant burned a few months ago. The tour then traversed the east side of the island stopping at a few small churches set up by Father Damien before ending at a scenic beach. This also happened to be the day that a nun who worked with him, Marianne Cope, was given sainthood. The tour then returned to the ferry dock around 4 pm. Our local guide was very informative about the issues, culture, and the landscape making for a very informative and enjoyable trip.

The return boat trip was not particularly pleasant since the Trade Winds pick up in the afternoon and create some rough water as you travel against the wind and waves. The spray from the boat flew up and over the top so few if any people remained there after a half hour. Quite a few others got seasick so a warning to anyone planning this trip is that if you are inclined to seasickness, take a patch or some medicine before getting on the return boat.

9  Thank GenoNorthridge_CA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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8 - 11 of 11 reviews

Reviewed August 31, 2012

We did the Ali'i tour; the tour itself is offered by various tour operators,but it's the same “thing” for all of them. So we decided to go for “the original”.

Don't believe your paper where it says that check-in will be at slip 3 !
Just look around and check where the Molokai Princess boat is docked , the check-in boot is nearby.

They will give you a boxed breakfast (muffin and fruit), your boarding pass and vouchers for : tour, lunch and trip back to Maui.

We were very fortunate and had a sunny day , so the ride aboard the “ferry” was smooth and pleasant ,but we suggest - if you are prone to sea sickness- to take a dramamine or to wear a patch : in the channel waters can be very rough and you will be on the ferry for almost two hours.

At Kaunakakai wharf you will find an air conditioned van waiting for you.
Our tour guide was Rudy, a very knowledgeable and professional guide, very proud to be a native of Molokai .
He really made a wonderful job explaining Molokai history, legends and stories.

We stopped at a scenic lookout towards Kalaupapa peninsula, where father Damien took care of the poor residents who were suffering from Hansen's disease (you will have to take a short hike on paved path).

Next stop was at a private coffee farm , where they produce Coffee of Hawaii : plenty of snacks and some “touristy” souvenirs.

Afterwards , we were on to Purdy's mac nuts , a working family run farm, where we could sample macadamia nuts and honey; we also learnt how to crack a fresh macadamia . Their products are 100% natural and fresh – as it used to be in the “gone by” times. Very tasty !

We were supposed to have lunch at Hula Shores restaurant ( at the Molokai hotel). Instead we stopped at Paddlers; service was fast and sandwiches ok , but no beautiful ocean view - as described in the tour brochure !

After lunch we headed toward Saint Joseph church, built by father Damien and recently renovated. The site itself , the small “painted” church and the life-size statue of father Damien were quite inspiring.
Then Rudy drove us towards Maurice point, in the eastern part of the island - from where you can see the Napili coast of Maui and Lanai.

The last stop was in the main town of Molokai, Kaunakakai. It is only two blocks long , cozy and very quiet. There are no traffic lights, a few shops and a very famous shave ice hut... We didn’t try it though, considering the two hours on the ferry back to Maui !?

The ferry to Lahaina departed very on time ; some people looked exhausted and …sick. There were also some local guys , singing and playing guitar most of the time – that added “colour” to the very beautiful day.

It was a well-organised tour and a wonderful way to see the best places of the island of Molokai: the small isle is so very different from Maui, very spiritual - as our tour guide explained.

Highly recommended

p.s. unsure why this tour is reported in Tripadvisor as "shopping attraction" and with the name "a touch of Molokai" ... the topic should be "Ali's Tour" and listed among Molokai tours

5  Thank LauraDiItaly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 30, 2012

The ferry ride was rough and not recommended for children fifteen and under, but the host was awesome. Kalani knows everything you want to know about Molokai and the Hawaiian Islands. History, tradition, music, you name it. He made a fairly boring trip extremely enjoyable. If you know nothing about Molokai but want to go there, I highly recommend this trip.

1  Thank Alyssa S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 1, 2012

Our day began before 7am at Slip 3 on Maui's wharf. If the public restroom is not open for public use, then your next best bet is to use the restroom on the MP ferry. Also be apprised that the locals use this ferry and you might see visitors with luggage.

The continental breakfast was fresh fruit slices (pineapple, grapes, cantaloupe and honey dew melons) with guava juice and banana nut muffins and blueberry muffins. Yum! Served about 30 minutes before landing in Molokai's wharf. Pick a day when the wind is not very breezy for a smoother boat ride. Also check out if any cruise lines are visiting before reserving for less confusion.

Once ashore the host, Rudy, was a nice native in capturing the highlights of Molokai. He has a system: to ask questions before moving on! Excellent! His van holds 14 people. He also tells you how much time is allotted at each sight.

Lunch was decided when reserving for this tour. Either Teriyaki beef, chicken or vegetable patty sandwiches plus your choice of beverage. It is also nice to carry some portable snack foods just in case you need. The view from the restaurant at the Molokai Shores hotel was also excellent! Bring your camera and good walking shoes. Nothing steep to walk.

Before returning to the wharf you get the chance to walk the town's main street and mail a postcard or buy a serving of ice cream. Rudy says goodbye at the wharf about 4pm.

Overview: everything was excellent--food, views, sights to see or visit on this tour, Rudy, and the cost per person. If you reserve on-line, you get a price break.

Alan 'n Myrna
December 2011

5  Thank Myrna T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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