Hawaii Guide


Kaunakakai, Molokai "Capital" City


Kaunakakai (said as cow nah cock eye) maybe Molokai's main city, but it is by no means a bustling metropolis. Only twenty minutes from the airport the city is conveniently serviced by highways 460 and 450, and is where you will find the majority of the island's shopping and business centres.

This modest town started out as a simple landing site for ancient canoes, and only really expanded when pineapples and sugar became Molokai's bread and butter. Stepping in to the city today, visitors will feel as though they are on an old western film set complete with the characteristic main street (Ala Malama) lined with all the main shops and stores. Kaunakakai is also graced with a post office, a library and drugstore.

The city can be summed up in single word "charming." A calm air seems to reside over its residents, and despite there only being one or two restaurants and a few simple shops, people are never at a loss for things to do. The city's close proximity to the Pacific Ocean and the abundance of outdoor island activities makes sure of this. If you are thinking of staying in Molokai's Kaunakakai then your obvious choice when it comes to accommodation is Hotel Molokai. An added bonus about this hotel is that it is the headquarters of "Molokai Outdoor Activities", who hire out kayaks, mountain bikes and even cars. Another accommodation option in the area is Molokai Shores Suites. There are also a number of cottages and private lodgings.

Walking down the dusty roads you will eventually find your way onto Wharf Road which is home to Molokai Wharf. Think of it as this little island's version of the Statue of Liberty, as it was often the first thing to be seen by workers who sailed into work the plantations. Even today it is the port of call for many ships and deep sea fishing vessels, including the Maui Molokai Ferry which runs a daily service between Kaunakakai and Lahaina on Maui.

For those of you who are thinking about doing a bit of camping or maybe just hopping between vacation rentals, then you will need a few supplies. Unfortunately the other towns and villages on Molokai might not have everything you need, so we strongly recommend making Kaunakakai your first port of call to stock up on any necessary provisions.