Getting to Molokai

Getting to Molokai is a tad bit harder than getting to the other islands of Hawaii. This, after all, was once used to forcibly isolate patients of leprosy. Times have changed though, and Molokai is one of the prime destinations in the state. Getting here is worth the extra effort.

Air travel

There are no direct flights to Molokai from anywhere outside Hawaii. So, to get into the island by air, you should take an interconnecting flight from either Honolulu or Maui. There are several options for you in this respect.

You can choose to fly Hawaiian Airlines. This local airline company has flights from mainland USA to the Hawaii islands of Honolulu and Maui. From these airports, it has connecting flights to Molokai. The big plus with these flights is that the airline’s gates in the Honolulu and Maui airports are the closest ones to the commuter terminal. This means that you’ll need to walk the shortest route here to catch your flight to Molokai.

Delta Airlines also flies to Honolulu and Maui, and offers interconnecting flights to Molokai. The perk with their airlines is that they offer some of the better services and affordable rates in the market.

Northwest Airlines is, of course, always an option. They have the most mainland flights to Honolulu and Maui. From here, you can catch flights to the island.

Booking flights

These days, online is the best place to go to book flights, as there are many travel sites that offer booking services. You can also opt to go directly to the airline’s websites. However, travel websites can offer you deals across the different airline companies. You can probably find a great deal when you see all your options. Also, with travel websites, you can get packaged deals, as well as last minute deals.

Else, you can opt to call your airlines for tickets or your travel agency for package deals. Regardless of the time of the year, you can get a good deal.

Airport tips

When traveling through Hawaii airports for the first time, it pays to know the airport codes. This will hasten your looking for flights, as well as save you some hassle.

HNL obviously refers to Honolulu International Airport. However, the rest might be a little tricky. OGG is actually for the Kahului Airport in Maui. For Molokai, you might either see MKK or Ho’olehua. Ho’olehua is where the airport is and is sometimes used to refer to flights to Molokai.

Also, you are likely to find more flights to Molokai from Honolulu, rather than in Maui. When planning to go around Hawaii, it is better to get an interconnecting flight from Honolulu and just use the inter-island connections between Maui and Molokai.

Inter-island connections

There are several ferries to and from Molokai. These are good options when you want to go island-hopping. While air travel is faster, the experience in sea travel is different and worthwhile.

Here are some travel options when traveling through Hawaii, especially to Molokai:

Lahaina Ferry: This ferry company travels between Maui and Molokai. It’s a good option to take when island hopping. Trip schedules are conveniently spread throughout the day. Also, it is cheaper than flying between the islands.

By air, here are some airline companies:

Island Air (formerly Aloha Island Air) and Mokulele Airlines service all the islands of Hawaii. You can plan your trips around the Hawaiian islands using their flight schedules as reference or guide. This can give you needed tips on where to go first and how long to stay in each destination.

To fly to and from Maui and Oahu, you can opt for Pacific Wings and Paragon Air. Pacific Wings also services Kalaupapa.

Land travel

Once you’re in Molokai, you will need to know the alternatives for moving around the island. Note that there are no means of public transportation around Molokai. You will need to rent a car or schedule for taxi service.

Reliable taxi services include those of Hele Mai Taxi and Molokai Off Road Tours and Taxi. Hele Mai is known to be very friendly and can take you anywhere you need to go. Aside from taxi services, they also offer private island tours.

As for rental cars, you can head on to the Alamo Car Rental booth at the airport. Call them in advance during peak season to reserve a car for you.

When in Kaunakakai town, a good option for car rental is the Kine Auto Rental. The company rents out cars and vans, as well as trucks.

Going around Molokai

Figuring out the roads of Molokai is easy. Basically, one highway crosses through the east and west ends of the island. Smaller roads branch off this highway to lead to the different towns, and beaches. If you make a wrong turn somewhere, you can easily just go back into the highway.

The numbering of the highway may confuse you though. Even though it is just one stretch of road, the numbering (and naming) is divided into two. The label "450" is for the Kamehameha V stretch of the highway. This is the section from Kaunakakai up to Halawa. The stretch runs for about twenty-seven (27) miles. The 460 section is called the Maunaloa Highway. It runs for about seventeen (17) miles, from Kaunakakai up to the Maunaloa village.

From route 460, the popular Kaluakoi resort area is at mile 15. Highway 470 is not the major highway in Molokai and just branches off Highway 460. This is the road you need to take to get to the Kalaupapa lookout, as well as Kualapu’u and Kala’e.

If you have directions to a place, you can usually rely on the green mile marker that’s all over Molokai. These markers are good “You are here” markers for visitors to any of the places in the island, or even someone’s private home. Directions usually include a green mile marker as landmark. An example would be: A friend’s house on the Mauka side (mountain side), which is a few steps from mile 12 (green mile marker).

The speed limit in the island is 72 kph or 45 mph. Make sure to keep to this when driving through Molokai’s roads. Speed limits may vary in high traffic areas.