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The central region of Molokaʻi is also the center of local life on the island. If you arrive by air, you’ll fly into Molokaʻi Airport in Hoʻolehua, which is also where you can try a fresh macadamia nut straight from the branch at Purdy’s Macadamia Nut Farm. (Hawaiʻi grows the majority of the world’s macadamias.) Sample another famous Hawaiian export at Coffees of Hawaiʻi, a 100-acre coffee farm plantation in nearby Kualapuʻu.
Head south to Molokaʻi’s biggest town of Kaunakakai, where the tallest point is the church steeple. Grab a tasty fresh-baked treat at Kanemitsu’s Bakery and check out the local shops on the island’s only main street. Take a fishing or boating adventure from Kaunakakai harbor, stroll down the state’s longest pier, or explore the nearby landmarks, including historic Hawaiian Fishponds used for aquaculture in the 13th century and one of Hawaiʻi’s last royal coconut groves at Kapuāiwa Coconut Beach Park.
Along the north coast of Central Molokaʻi is the isolated Kalaupapa Peninsula, home to historic Kalaupapa National Historical Park, where victims of Hansen’s disease (commonly known as leprosy) were exiled in the 1800s. St. Damien came to the remote colony in 1873 to care for the residents, and eventually succumbed to the disease himself after 16 years. Today, you can learn about the pain and resilience of Kalaupapa’s residents on a tour of the site, which is only accessible by hike or mule ride along the 1,700-foot sheer cliffs.
Before you depart Central Molokaʻi, stop by the Hoʻolehua Post Office for a fun, only-in-Hawaii experience: Mail home a free coconut from the Post-a-Nut counter—far more exciting than a postcard and you just provide the postage.