Hawaii Solitude on Molokai

Tourist-free and Loving It
  |  Gorp.com
Page 1 of 5   |  

Somewhere on a Hawaiian island, muumuu-clad tourists are fighting for towel space on a long, sandy beach that would be pretty darn beautiful if it wasn't as crowded as an L.A. freeway at rush hour. Thankfully, I'm not one of them.

On my island, which isn't far from theirs, I can walk along the coastline for hours without seeing another human. I can pedal my mountain bike over miles of empty red-dirt trails, or paddle a kayak in total solitude. My ocean isn't any less blue than theirs. My sand isn't any less soft. The difference is that I'm on Molokai, and they are not.

Most vacationers who travel to Hawaii head straight for the isles that have megaresorts. They come in search of paradise—but what they find, especially on Oahu, is the Disneyland of island getaways, where every image is prepackaged to appeal to outsiders. Many visitors merely experience a version of the big-city madness they thought they'd left behind. Whatever the cause of their folly, the result is this: Molokai is the only tourist-accessible Hawaiian island where residents still outnumber visitors.

I see the difference from the air as I approach Molokai's tiny airport: a noticeable absence of high-rise hotels, and an airport parking lot with so few cars I think it's someone's backyard. And when my plane lands, I take a look around and realize my plane is one of only three on the ground.

This is the Hawaii I came to experience.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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