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“Excellent way to spend a day on Molokai”
Review of Molokai Mule Ride

Molokai Mule Ride
Ranked #1 of 4 things to do in Kalaupapa
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: A two hour mule ride down an 1800 foot cliff to Kalaupapa Peninsula.
Reviewed March 23, 2013

Wow! What a fantastic experience! Not more than 10 people (on mules!) are escorted down 1700 feet of rugged sea cliff to the leper colony of Kalaupapa. The guides were excellent, and even in the light rain, the views were spectacular!

Once we rode into the settlement area, we were greeted by an old school bus and a great driver who drove us around the area and told us about the past and present history of the settlement and its inhabitants. A simple brown bag lunch and water were included. Lunch is at Kalawao, the original landing site before the Kalaupapa settlement was built.

For a great introduction, or to refresh your memory, you should read "Molokai" by Alan Brennert. I read it before I went and even though it's a historical fiction account of a girl's exile to Kalapaupa, it's pretty true to what really happened to people once they got there. Everyone recommended it.

We were there the week before the celebration of the cannonization of St. Marianne Cope, so it was kind of special to be a part of this, at least peripherally.

The trip is definitely worth your time and definitely worth your money. Do talk to the guides - they're young guys with a lot of good story to tell!

4  Thank Nicolle Z
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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164 - 168 of 252 reviews

Reviewed March 20, 2013

I have wanted to visit the colony for decades now, ever since reading Michener's Hawaii when I was a teenager. Well, I finally did it and it was everything I expected and more. Recently, I had read several other books on the topic, both fiction and non-fiction. I think that made it even more special for me. By the way, I am incredibly fearful of heights. This trail is nowhere near as scary as the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. There is almost always a good deal of vegetation on the drop-off side, and rarely anything even close to sheer. Everyone running the tour was friendly and helpful. I could not recommend this more!

5  Thank Pexster
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 16, 2013

After months of reading about the options to get to Kalaupapa, I gathered the great courage to sign up for the mule ride and was so happy that we did. I am a big chicken when it comes to heights and the fact that I hadn't been on a horse for more than forty years and my husband had never been on a mule, donkey or horse made me hesitant to do the ride.

After signing up before we left home (glad we did as the tour is kept small and sells out quickly), I finished reading "Molokai" by Brennart, which is good historical fiction about the settlement. After we arrived in Molokai, we viewed the area from the lookout, stopped by the ranch to see the well cared for mules and talked to people in town about the trip. "Trust the Mules" is the advice we got over and over again.

There were nine of us on the trip and three competent and friendly guides. The trip down took 1 1/2 hours after being made comfortable in the saddle. We wore long pants and running shoes. We took a light day pack with water and snacks as lunch was not served til after 1:00pm. We wore layers as it had been windy and cool in the morning. On the 1 hr trip back, I didn't wear my windbreaker. We wore hats as the sun is strong even on cloudy days. If you do not have a light pack, there are small saddle bags on the mules to hold snacks and beverages. Upon arrival, we boarded a very old school bus and Norman took us to the churches, graves and bookstore. He kindly gave us lots of information and answered our questions. Unfortunately, there were some people who had flown in and rudely talked, but others on the bus shushed them. The hikers joined the flyers and mule riders on this tour.
Lunch was fine. I was happy with the fresh assemble yourself sandwich. I doubt I would have wanted more than a sandwich, bag of chips and small sweet snack until I got topside.
Although we do a lot of hiking, our senior knees would not have been OK with the climb.
The scenery was awesome. We are happy we took the tour. The next day, we felt like we had been bike riding for the first time of the season, but that feeling only lasted a day. If you have very bad knees, hips or back, you may not want to do the mule ride.

It was a full day and the cost was fair. The mules did not have an odor.

7  Thank coast_to_coast_250
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 14, 2013

It was our first trip to Moloka'i and this was a one of a kind trip so I booked it. We woke up to rain the day of our ride so I called and was told that they ride rain or shine and we might be blessed with a rainbow. I was a little nervous about riding a mule down 2,000 foot sea cliffs with 26 switchbacks, on a possibly wet and slippery path. It was wonderful! Trust the mules - they do this every day and are very sure-footed. And there WAS a rainbow from the sea cliffs to the ocean. Kaulaupapa is beautiful and fascinating and I would suggest you learn some history about it before you go. There is a novel called "Moloka'i" that I really enjoyed. You will learn a lot on your tour but I was glad I knew some background before I went. There is also a book called "The Colony" if you want to learn a lot about rhe history of Kaualpapa and Hansen's disease.

Be prepared with good shoes for riding, a raincoat and a camera. Don't bring anything that will flop around and frighten the mules. You will not be able to stop to untie anything from the saddle and there are no restrooms on the trail :) You can buy drinks and snacks in Kaulapapa at Fuesaina's Bar (smoking area under the mango tree) and the company provides a sack lunch. We will absolutely do this again.

6  Thank Niram
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 11, 2013

The trip is well worth the money. The mules make the hike less strenuous, but more exciting because you have to trust the mule on the edge of a HUGE cliff. The tour through the village of Kalaupapa was interesting, but had less history than I expected. The mules were definitely the star of the show. Expensive activity but well worth the cash. We also hiked the trail and it was still fun and beautiful, but much more work.

Thank AmyWren
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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