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Driving & Discovering Hawaii, Your Molokai Guidebook To The Last Great Hawaiian Place.

Stunning EMPTY beaches, an unforgettable mule ride down a vertical 2000’ cliff, and one of the most fun Hawaii restaurant experiences you’ll find.

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Your online Molokai guidebook to Hawaii As It Used To Be. Slow, inconvenient, lacking in luxury and choice, Molokai has the emptiest spectacular beaches in Hawaii, the most singular beauty, the simplest of hotels and restaurants, an historic isolated leper colony, a saint to call its own, and the most authentic Hawaiian culture.

Molokai Distances and Drive Times

Big Island
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Cover Photo of Richard Sullivan, author of Reclaim Your Youth: Growing Younger After 40
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Hawaii Kilauea Volcano T shirt

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Cover of Driving and Discovering Hawaii: Maui and Molokai Photo Guide guidebook by Richard Sullivan

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Shortly after the Driving & Discovering Maui and Molokai guide book rolled off the presses, the Molokai Ranch shut down its operations, and the ever-improving lives of those in the West Molokai town in Maunaloa screeched to a halt. SADLY, the more controlling and militant inhabitants of Molokai have succeeded in driving yet ANOTHER major employer, provider of hope, and economy-booster from the island.

Molokai must decide rationally about providing a future for its children, which means establishing a self-sustaining economy independent of the current ideology of massive public assistance.

All of us in Hawaii have had to make difficult decisions that balance preservation with economic reality and a quality existence and future  for our families. Molokai must do the same. Here is a

Maui News Story with shocking photos of what it looks like now.

Molokai Ranch Kaupoa Camp tent cabin interior copyright discoveringhawaii.com


The restaurant at Kaupoa Beach; the tent cabins; The Lodge’s Great Room; a typical guest room; the bar and restaurant Lanai and swimming pool.

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Despite its continual economic ups and downs, the folks at Driving & Discovering Molokai guidebook want to remind you that Molokai remains a wondrously unspoiled and unforgettable destination for the adventurous and unflappable visitor.

The Aina Momona Farmers’ Market is located on Kamehameha V Highway right in town next to the Bank of Hawaii, and offers an island-wide selection of fresh fruit, vegetables, flowers and beef from local growers. Open Monday and Wednesday afternoons. Ninety percent of the food is organically grown and all of it comes straight from the Friendly Isle.

Hotels: Wavecrest Resort, Hotel Molokai

Restaurants:Kualapu`u Cookhouse; Hula Shores at the Hotel Molokai

Beaches: Papohaku Beach; Murphy Beach Park; Kapukuwahine Beach; Kaupoa Beach

Attractions: Molokai Mule Ride [see review to the left]

Wavecrest Resort

Travel east from Molokai's principal town of Kaunakakai along the Kamehameha Highway 450. At mile marker 13 you will encounter a sign for the low-rise condominium complex WAVECREST RESORT, an ideal base for those who want to kick back and dig in on Molokai in accommodations that have all the comforts of home. The Wavecrest is efficiently managed and offers large, very clean, individually owned and nicely furnished one bedroom units with color TV, and kitchens fully equipped for meal preparation, with dishwashers, garbage disposal and ice makers. The bathrooms have bathtubs with shower and there is easy parking close to your unit, but no in-room telephones. There is a fine swimming pool at the shoreline with gorgeous views of the mountains, the sea, and neighbor island Maui across the channel, and a pool pavilion with barbecues and an extensive library of paperbacks to get lost in. Fishermen bring their catch to the shore a few yards away and will sell you something wonderful and fresh-out-of-the-water to pop on that grill. A large and lovely palm studded common lawn area makes a great place to pull up a lounge chair and have a glass of wine as the day wanes and the lights of Maui's Ka`anapali and Kapalua Resorts twinkle to life nine miles across the channel.

Kanemitsu Bakery and Restaurant

The unspecial Kanemitsu Bakery cannot compare to the dozens of genuinely terrific bakeries that dot the Hawaiian Islands, such as Liliha in Honolulu or Komoda Store on Maui. Because it is the only bakery on Molokai, it has over the years ridden a wave of positive notices based on the dearth of choices that Molokai offers.

We were seated at this nearly empty place early one morning recently and were completely ignored for 25 minutes as locals were seated and immediately waited on. Our respectful requests for service were met with an icy diffidence. We are troubled that areas with sizable local populations on both Molokai and Maui have become increasingly unfriendly to caucasians. We recommend you not give your business to those who show undeserved hostility, whether it be in Hawaii, or anywhere for that matter. Aloha sure ain’t what it used to be.

Hawaii Molokai Hotel Hula Shores Restaurant copyright discoveringhawaii.com

WEEKENDS, as well as most weeknights, ARE A BLAST at the Hula Shores Restaurant & Bar at the totally upgraded AQUA RESORTS  HOTEL MOLOKAI located right on the water just 4 miles from town.

Good food, very friendly staff and guests, and live entertainment all come together to provide an experience like none other in Hawaii. You’ll think you’ve landed on Gilligan’s Island, with extras.

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The Molokai Mule Ride is surely the most exciting and unforgettable way to journey to Kalaupapa; the animals gingerly snake their way almost 1700 feet down the towering pali. It is absolutely one of Hawaii’s greatest adventures -ever- and worth every penny. Visit <www.muleride.com> for reservations and information, including tours departing from Honolulu with hotel pickup. Or call 1-800-567-7550. We got on a tour last minute due to a cancellation and the fact we snagged owner Buzzy Sproat’s personal cell phone number: 808-336-0802. Don’t tell him we gave it to you. This Google map can’t locate it exactly, but if you go directly to google.com/maps and enter “100 Kalae Hwy., Molokai Hawaii” it will show a detailed map. Just follow the  map’s yellow road [Hwy  470 / Kalae Hwy.] almost to its end, and the stables will be on your left...you can’t miss ‘em.

Hawaii Molokai Mule Ride Kalaupapa Leper Colony copyright discoveringhawaii.com



Paniolo Hale rental condo complex - main office area and lanai


Hawaii Molokai Ranch Kaupoa Camp tent cabins copyright discoveringhawaii.com

Here is a photo of your typical Sunday afternoon Papohaku Beach crowd.

At three miles in length, and and so wide that your legs are tired by the time you reach the water, awesome is the only word that appropriately describes it.

Notice that even though it is Sunday, the only footprints on this spectacular strand are our own, and near the shoreline, a lone horse’s. If your idea of Paradise is a beach that stretches on for miles, as wide as a football field, with not another human in sight, then head westward from the airport to Papahaku Beach Park, located on Molokai’s sunny west shore. In the 15 years we’ve been publishing the Driving & Discovering Maui and Molokai guidebook, we have come back here a dozen times or more, expecting it to be somehow changed. It never has, and we’ve never seen anyone’s footprints but our own.

The pathway leading from the parking/picnic area to the sand is seen at right.

Hawaii Molokai Ranch Kaupoa Beach Camp restaurant copyright discoveringhawaii.com

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The drive from Molokai’s main town of Kealakekua eastward brings you ultimately to Halawa Valley. But just like Maui’s Road To Hana, it’s not the destination that’s the principal attraction, but the journey, although Halawa Valley is indeed an exquisite destination.

Beginning about mile marker 8, you’ll pass placid reef-protected waters and narrow sandy beaches, historic little frame churches built by Father Damien, stunning mist-shrouded valley views, wondrous postcard-pretty Hawaiian beaches that remain unnamed on most maps, the bucolic Pu`u O Hoku Ranch, and finally, the narrow hairpin winding road that takes you past the Halawa Valley Lookout, and down to the valley itself.

Gray crescent Halawa Bay Beach is a surfing mecca, and ruins from the 1946 tsunami can be seen overgrown with tropical vegetation. You can arrange a hike to double Moaula Falls and perhaps towering Hipuapua Falls in town at Molokai Fish and Dive. The trek takes less than an hour with remains of Hawaiian settlements and beautiful botanicals visible all along the way.



Kamalo Wharf


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In its Sunday, October 23, 2011 issue, the Los Angeles Times published an article  so empty and generic —about one of the most astonishingly beautiful places on earth— that it leads us to believe the author never set foot here.

This insipid and completely uninspired piece of recycled tourist brochure drivel is exactly one of the reasons why the LA Times has lost so many subscribers in recent years.

We were appalled by the publication of this highly visible feature about Molokai’s Kalaupapa settlement that reads to us like a compilation of gathered references, rather than any sort of first hand report. Just getting to Kalaupapa is so mind-boggling beautiful, challenging, and adventurous, that for any writer to completely neglect to even mention the heart-thumping journey it takes to reach it is beyond preposterous.

We have serious doubts that this writer even visited Kalaupapa at all, and not just because the “sandy white beach” she describes isn’t at all white. There is so much breathtaking beauty and majesty at Kalaupapa, all of it absolutely and inexplicably ignored by her, that an injustice to the awesome spectacle and wonder, as well as the history of the place, has been committed by the Times.

The Times’ companion pieces on Disney’s Aulani debacle, a hideous architectural blight upon leeward Oahu, and Kauai’s far-more-interesting-than-reported movie industry are just as poorly presented. The Times has squandered priceless space that could have greatly benefitted our Hawaii economy. Hawaii, not to mention Los Angeles Times’ readers, deserve far better than this.

Molokai: The Los Angeles Times’ Authenticity In Question

True Paradise: