Few visitors to Hawaii ever make it to Molokai, and that is really part of its charm! Still considered the most-Hawaiian island, Molokai preserves a self-sufficient way of life. The ancient Hawaiians called Molokai the navel, and sometimes the stomach, of the islands because of its rich agriculture and its productive fishponds. Today, it remains an important cultural and ecological anchor in the islands as the world around is constantly changing.
For years, Molokai was isolated because of the stigma attached to Kalaupapa. The island’s north shore peninsula became, starting in the 1860s, a colony for victim’s of Hansen’s disease, then known as leprosy. The site was made famous by the work of Father Damien, the Belgian priest whom the Pope declared a saint in 2010. Today, few patients remain on Kalaupapa, but visitors to Molokai can tour the area and learn more of its sad but fascinating history.