Halawa Valley Reviews
I loved this hike. The people of Molokai, more than any other island I visited, really want to preserve the traditions and the culture and not just sell the version the tourist board pushes, with... more »
5 stars for sure. First, when you book, prepare for the following: 1-1.5 bour drive to the valley depending on where you are driving from, stunning scenery along the way, 6 miles of one-lane road... more »
If you are visiting Molokai then you have already decided to visit the side of Hawaii that most tourists never see, Hawaii as it used to be. Molokai is truly the “island that time forgot”. The Halawa Valley Falls Cultural Hike should not be missed if you are visiting the Island. I lived on Molokai from 1993 to 1995 and had the opportunity to hike in the Halawa Valley to the falls several times. The property owners in the valley allowed travel across their property until litigious visitors who got injured began suing the property owners. Understandable then those owners began posting “No Trespassing” signs and started shoeing people away. At the present time you can still hike the falls if you know someone who lives there and receive the appropriate permission, or you can book a tour with the Halawa Valley Falls Cultural Hike. I did this in August of 2018 along with my wife and 2 children aged 7 and 10 years. There were also 5 others in our group, all from places around the world. This tour is owned and run by a lifelong resident of Halawa Velley, Anakala Pilipo Solatoria and his son Greg, who are wonderful hosts. We flew from Honolulu that morning on Mokulele Airlines, the only one that could get us to Molokai early enough for the hike. We arrived at the airport, picked up our rental car, and drove the 75 minute drive to the east end and the Halawa Valley, stopping briefly in Kaunakakai for breakfast at Kanemitsu Bakery. We arrived on the east end at 9:00 am and met Greg Solatorio and the handful of others in our tour group. For the hike you will want comfortable hiking clothes over a swim suit, perhaps a change of clothes and a towel, all in a backpack. Closed-toe water shoes or sturdy water sandals are needed; flip flops just will not work as you will be walking over slippery rocks, crossing streams, and hiking on paths with tree roots trying to trip you up. Don’t forget sunscreen and mosquito spray, and take some with you in your backpack because swimming at the waterfall will wash off your initial application. The hike begins by meeting Greg at the Halawa Valley Beach Park where cars are left behind. The group then walks up the valley and into the dense forest toward the family home where we met homeowner and lifelong valley resident Anakala Pilipo Solatorio. An ancient Hawaiian greeting ceremony is next to welcome visitors, and then we gathered on his porch for a discussion of the early Hawaiian ancestors in the valley and what life was like there in earlier times. There was also much discussion of how this early history is often warped and twisted to fit modern tourism interests. Greg then took our group further into the forest and up the valley for an incredible hike to Mo’oula Falls. There we swam, ate snacks, and “talked story” for about an hour before heading back down to the family home. We spent more time talking with Greg sharing many interesting stories about the valley and its history. Soon afterwards we were hiking the short trip from his home back to the cars. I was quite surprised to see that it was now 2:30 in the afternoon, and that we had been on this adventure for a full 5½ hours. We did see some other Molokai “attractions” that day, stayed overnight, ate some good food, and the next day flew back to Oahu. We spent 2 weeks in Hawaii, with only 32 hours of it on Molokai. For me it was nice to see the island again after living there so long ago. To be sure, Molokai is far different than most everywhere else in the Islands, and Molokai is not for everyone. But the Halawa Valley Falls Cultural Hike is an experience not to be missed. The valley is beautiful, remote, pristine, and the Mo’oula Falls are magnificent. To be able to hike to the falls, swim beneath it, and spend time with Greg Solatorio is something unique that has produced lifelong memories for my family. Greg and his father are warm and caring people who welcome visitors with open arms. I highly recommend this tour.
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