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“Molokai Ali'i Tour with Lahaina Cruise Co.”
Review of A Touch of Molokai

A Touch of Molokai
Ranked #2 of 4 things to do in Maunaloa
Attraction details
Reviewed 11 December 2013

We have wanted to see Molokai on previous visits and today we took the leap. It starts early as we showed up at the dock in Lahaina at 6.45 for a departure at 7.30. After a somewhat bumpy and wet ride for 1.30 hours to Kaunakakai Wharf in Molokai we met our tour van and guide.

We first journeyed to Kalaupapa Lookout for a light trail hike through ironwood forest where we had a fantastic view of Kalaupapa Peninsula. In the 1880's when Hansen's disease, formerly known as leprosy, swept through the Islands the worst cases were sent to this isolated peninsula. In 1873 Father Damien arrived and was revered for his infinite love for the residents of Kalaupapa. Also there is another walk down a trail where it is important to pay attention as there are many roots from the trees to the phallic rock, symbol of fertility and it is said that every one visiting this spiritual place became pregnant.

Our next stop is the Coffees of Hawaii to visit the largest and most unique private coffee farm with an estate of 500 acres producing Arabica beans. The best keep secret is the group of locals playing Ukuleles, signing and some Hawaiian hula dancing. We tried the Mocha Moma a frozen coffee drink and its the best.

Moving on to Purdy's Macadamia Nut farm and a one man show educating us in growing, drying and roasting (no oils) these fantastic nuts. Once you try the samples its a must to take home, including the Mac Honey, and mustard.

Lunch is at a local restaurant with a choice of hamburgers, turkey burgers or fish burgers with fries of course.

Leaving the restaurant its off to St Joseph Church and to Kumimi. The church built by Father Damien in 1873 was renovated 100 years later to commemorate its 100 anniversary. The Bishop Museum along with members of the Catholic Church helped to prepare the church for the special occasion. The cemetery along side the church are members. This church represents all the churches built by Father Damien as they are similar. After St Josephs it is off to Kumimi, and Maurice point. You can see the Napili coast of Maui and Lanai as well as a area which was used for a fish farm.

Last is a little shopping in Kunakakai's small town, not your tourist shops, all local. There are some local vendors, farmers market, ice cream shop, etc.. As we departed we left behind the best part of the tour, our guide. His knowledge of the island, people, history along with a little singing, jokes and such where priceless.

4  Thank jbeyer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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6 - 10 of 11 reviews

Reviewed 30 November 2013

My husband & I returned from a 9 day vacation in Maui last week. While there we decided to go on the Ali'i Van Tour of Molokai which was booked for us by Aloha Tours. After booking I read some of the reviews on this site and became a little nervous because this truly is an expensive day. We caught the boat at the dock in Lahaina. The boat was about 30 minutes late. It was a smaller vessel then usual because the other was being painted. We enjoyed a continental breakfast and sat on the top. It was a beautiful day and we were lucky to see some whale pods, (it's early for their season). Our air conditioned van was waiting for us and there we met Rudy our tour guide. We were lucky enough to sit up front near Rudy. Rudy had lots of stories of history and also the spiritual side of the island. There was so much information but we both sat totally engaged in his stories. We are explorers by nature and even enjoyed seeing how life on the island is now. We heard about the schools and the small football team. We got the whole experience. One of the several highlights of our tour was the view at Kalaupapa onto the peninsula where Father Damian cared for the residents with Hanson's Disease, (formerly known as Leprosy). Another highlight was our visit to the all natural Macadamia Nut Farm. There we experienced everything from picking the nuts, roasting them, cracking them open and the best part of all eating them! There were about 50 trees in this 90 year old grove. What a treat! There were several other things on the tour but Rudy actually made the whole experience memorable for us. If we had rented our own car we never would have learned any of the "back stories" of the history, etc of this beautiful island. I'm so glad we tried this in spite of some of the reviews here. We will always remember Rudy and our day trip to Molokai.

5  Thank WendyFederalWay_WA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 October 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
Reviewed 1 September 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 30 June 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

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