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Review of A Touch of Molokai

A Touch of Molokai
Ranked #2 of 4 things to do in Maunaloa
Attraction details
Reviewed 15 September 2014

Found this little store at the Kaluakoi Hotel while we were exploring beautiful Kepuhi Beach. It was great to be able to get some sodas and snacks at this remote west side beach!

1  Thank Rob M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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3 - 7 of 11 reviews

Reviewed 6 September 2014

Last week I did the Alii van tour of Molokai and was very pleased. I don't usually like guided tours as they are limiting, but the only alternative via ferry - getting a rental car and touring on your own - has time constraints and the worry of getting back to the ferry on time, as you have to get to and from the airport for the rental car.

There were only myself and a senior couple on this tour with Hans (seems the winter is the busy season), so we got a pretty personalized tour. As a longtime resident, Hans knows everyone and every thing on the island. He's quite a talker, but it added local color. Molokai is a beautiful, laid back island. The stop at the Kalaupapa Lookout was all too brief and didn't offer a great sense or view of the giant sea cliffs, but alas, it was a tour. The stop of Coffees of Hawaii was more for us to have a Mocha Momma (which I recommend) and relax. The visit to the Macadamia Nut Farm was interesting and informative, not as self-promotional as I feared. And his prices are very reasonable for the nuts. We had lunch at Paddlers which was quite adequate. After the Mocha Momma, tasting the nuts and coconut, I wasn't exactly starved. You'd think that since the Molokai Hotel kitchen burned two years ago, they would take lunch there off the itinerary. Hans was very attentive to us.

The best part was a long leisurely drive east along the south coast to some of the best scenery on the island, out to the 20-mile marker. This seemed less rushed, and Hans had to show us his son's house and neighborhood. But we got to see some axis deer and a mongoose and a stop at a couple churches, including one of Father Damien's. We once hit a traffic jam: 3 vehicles on the road at the same time! We had an adequate 30-35 minutes to shop in Kaunakaikai, the main town. No traffic lights, no McDonalds, Subway or Home Depot. Old Hawaii, and it's pleasant.

I feel I got a good sense of Molokai and life there, more than if I had gone on my own in a few brief hours. I do recommend this tour and hope to come back to stay severals days, maybe even take the mule ride, some day.

The ferry ride over in the morning was smooth and very pleasant. On the way back, as others commented, it's rough and choppy. If you sit up top (which I still recommend), expect to get sprayed, but enjoy the adventure. (I did check to make sure the name of the boat wasn't the Minnow.) All 3 of us braved it the whole way. Considering the cost of the ferry ride alone was about 40% of what I paid inclusively for the tour, and it included a continental breakfast tray in Lahaina and lunch on Molokai, I'd say it was worth it.

5  Thank Gaypenguin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 February 2014

I'm not sure why there aren't more commentaries on this tour. It's a beautiful way to learn about the locals, their culture and history. My husband & I are active tourists in general, but we decided to to end our last day on Maui by taking a more sedate, yet informative tour of Molokai. We were surprised by the reaction of Maui personnel, when we told them we were going to Molokai. Most had never been or wondered why we wanted to go there. If you're looking for an authentic cultural, informative tour of island life, this is the tour for you. The day started with the late ferry which put us one hour behind schedule. Rudy, our tour guide, made it clear that he was going to try to bring us up to schedule as much as possible. By the time we arrived at our 3rd stop we were on schedule. He is was extremely thorough, informative, personal yet professional. I loved the fact that he loves Molokai and that he is a native of the island. His culture and personal experience bring passion to his presentation. The tour included a stop at the local Sat. market, which has beautiful artisan items sold by the locals. They were more reasonably priced than what you find on Maui. Among the other stops included in the tour, I especially enjoyed the macadamia farm. We bought naturally roasted nuts, & oils to take home. Our hostess was native and, like Rudy, friendly and welcoming. We had a continental breakfast provided for the ferry ride and an amazing lunch that tasted fresh. (None of that heavily salted preservative food you find in many restaurants). Yet, some really good fries from real potatoes! They expected us and had our order promptly planned with little waiting. The downside was the late ferry and the ride itself. We had rough waters which made for a "focus on the horizon" type of ride. That of course is not the fault of the tour company. We will definitely return to take the mule ride tour down the steep mountain to the leper colony, or to bike the island. With the one traffic light and few cars, it makes for a pleasant ride. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that Molokai has the longest white sand beach access in Hawaii. Three miles long and you'll rarely see anyone else on it. I commend this company for hiring local guides to inform tourists of the history of Molokai. This experience was exactly what we needed to bring our stimulating and action packed trip down to a calm island retreat.

6  Thank CindyS613
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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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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.

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

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