Located in the Pu'uwai of Kaunakakai, Molokai, Hawaii
64 Ala Malama Kaunakakai (808) 553-5112 Kalele@molokaispirit.com PO Box 480 Hoolehua, HI 96729
visiting our island:
1. Molokai and her people keep time differently than most. You will see the sign when you depart
the airport that says, “Welcome to Molokai, Now Slow Down”. From driving, to walking through the
town of Kaunakakai, take your time, slow down to enjoy your surroundings and realize it is better the
slower that you do it – whatever “it” is. If you are in a hurry, you are on the wrong island.
2. There are 1300 years of known history on this island, history that we are proud of and honor in
our songs, stories and families. In ancient times, this island was known as “Molokai Pule O’o”: the
place of powerful prayer, or “Molokai Nui a Hina”, the great child of Hina. We are different than the
other Hawaiian Islands and our legacy is that we feel very deeply about protecting our culture, values
and lifestyle. Much of the island is considered sacred by the Hawaiians and the appropriate respect of
the aina (land) and history of this place is appreciated as you explore our island. When you get
frustrated that the road is not paved, or that there is only one type of olive oil in our grocery stores,
remember that we like it simple here.
3. Just because it says so on the internet, does not make it true. Most of the information we find on-
line is outdated, incorrect or just irrelevant. If you are reading something on the web, check your
sources and try to make sure that it is a local that is giving you the information. If in doubt, call or
write me, I’ll do my best to give you the correct scoop. Oh, and if you are on one of the other Hawaiian
Islands and they tell you that there is nothing to do on Molokai, or that we don’t like visitors here, they
are not telling you the truth, but that is a well known secret. My buddy, Jeff Jumper, has done the best
job in putting all of the information you need to plan your stay here at www.visitmolokai.com.
4. If you are looking to dance on the tables until dawn, to wear your diamond tiara, sequins and
tuxedo, this is not the island for you. There is not one free-standing drinking establishment, only a
couple of restaurants (and their tables don’t handle the dancing so well) and really anything more than
your best pair of “Rubber Slippers” is too dressy for Molokai. Word to the wise – don’t wear white –
unless you want it shaded with some of our red dirt. Nothing stays white here.
5. Don’t take #4 to mean that we don’t have great entertainment, we do. Check the local newspaper,
bulletin boards and of course the bookstore for the happenings on the island. The great thing about
Molokai is that there is nothing slick, glossy, polished or produced here. We sing and dance and share
our stories from our hearts; entertainers are sharing more than performing. There is no staged luau for
the visitors; chances are that you might be invited to someone’s family gathering. We are delighted
when our visitors come here feeling as if they are guests and leave feeling like family.
6. Come with an open heart and an open mind. You will be amazed at the magic that happens when
you are open to it. We are also known as the “Friendly Island” and if you are not familiar with the term
“Live Aloha”, remember the golden rule – “treat others as you would like to be treated”. We wave to
others on the road, let people cross the street even if they are not in the sidewalk, address our elders as
“Auntie” or “Uncle” and often greet everyone with a hug. Please don’t misunderstand our kindness and
compassion as weakness. Locals may be a little hesitant to share openly until they get to know you
better; please understand their history and be patient until they get to trust you. The best way to sum it
up is our favorite adage; “Don’t change Molokai, Let Molokai change you”.
7. The island is thirty-eight miles long and about ten miles wide and very rural throughout. It is a
good idea to have a rental car to get around. If you are staying in a vacation rental or similar, many
include a rental car option. We do have Alamo/National on island and Island Kine is another car rental
option. Most of the roads are paved, but if you want to go exploring further, the national car agency does
have four wheel drive vehicles.
8. You can get to Molokai (MKK) from Honolulu (HNL) via Interisland Air, or Go!/Mokulele
Airlines. Both of these airlines also fly from Maui (OGG) and there is the Molokai Ferry with daily
trips from Lahaina.
9. We have a couple of restaurants, but we are not known for our fine dining options. Plan on
cooking in your vacation rental most evenings and take advantage of the great produce, fresh seafood
and local beef on island. If you are coming for a week or more, it is worth ordering the box of produce
from Waialua Permafarm (808) 558-8306. Robin comes to town on Wednesdays to distribute boxes of the
greatest organic produce you have ever tasted. I have order forms in the store or you can call before
arriving to the island. Kumu Farms and Ululani are other options for fresh foods right from the aina
and are located across the highway from the airport. We have two grocery stores in the main town of
Kaunakakai, Kualapuu Market in the center of the island, Maunaloa General Store out there on the
west end while Mana’e Goods and Grinds services the east end. Back in Kaunakakai, the Mini Mart
does a good job in stocking fun foods to eat while the liquor store is known for their selection of cheeses,
breads and great frozen cakes.
10. There are no chain stores, department stores or fast food restaurants. Kaunakakai can be window
shopped in 7 minutes, so while this is not a preferred destination for “Brand-Name, Made-In-China-
kine” shoppers, you can delight in unique and extraordinary art and local crafts. You will find little
stores like mine, that offer the best of what we got on Molokai and as we figure, “if you can’t find it on
island, well then you probably don’t need it”.
11. What you will find here is an entire island community that lives aloha daily. People are real,
without pretense and not caught up in trendy status symbols. Some folks appreciate this and others just
can’t quite delight in the freedom from designer labeled accoutrements. Up to you; I’d rather hang out at
the beach instead of fretting about a new pair of shoes – any day.
12. The best tip of all is to start your stay here in what we call the “Pu’uwai of Kaunakakai”, Kalele
Bookstore & Divine Expressions. I’m Auntie Teri and I adopt everyone who comes to town. I have free
maps and coffee, there is always extended ohana (family) around and we are always happy to welcome
you and to share our aloha of our island home with you.