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Aloha! This is Lana'i

the sixth largest of the Hawaiian Islands

hawaii-lanai-sunset

The size of Lana'i, is 364km². The island paradise is 29 km long and 21 km wide. The highest point is the Lana’ihale in the east of Lana'i., which is 1030 m high. In earlier times, Lana'i, was considered to be the largest pineapple plantation in the world and even today, one-fifth of the island is cultivated with pineapples. This is why the island paradise sometimes gets the name "Pineapple Island" .

Out of all the Hawaiian islands, Lana'i, is the smallest island that is accessible to the public. It is also the least inhabited island of the archipelago with about 3000 inhabitants. From the neighbouring island Maui you can reach the island by ferry with the Expedition Maui-Lanai Ferry. The trip takes only 45 minutes. You can also fly to Lana'i, by plane from three neighbouring islands: From the Honolulu Airport (HNL) on O’ahu, from the Kahului-Airport (OGG) on Maui and from the Kapalua-Airport (JHM) on Moloka'iFrom O'ahu and Maui it takes roughly 45 minutes by ferry but from Moloka'i, you will arrive after 20 minutes already. Lana‘i Airport (LNY) is the only airport on the island. 

Even though there are no traffic lights on Lana'i., just like on the island Moloka'i, there is luxury offered on Lana'i, And there are even two luxury resorts where visitors can relax while on vacation. These are the two 5-star hotels - Four Seasons Resort Lana’i on the South coast directly by the sea and the Sensei Lana’i Four Seasons Resort, also known as The Lodge of Ko‘ele, located in Lana’i City,. Ko‘ele is Hawaiian and basically means small land. The region is notorious for dark rain clouds that often move from Kaiholenaand the Mount Lana‘ihale above Ko’ele . 

In addition to the two luxury resorts by Four Seasons, there is also a 3-star resort called Hotel Lana’i, which is also located in Lana’i City, The approximately 3200 inhabitants of Lanai‘s live from tourism, work in the luxury resorts and on the ferry that runs five times a day from Lahaina on the neighbouring island Maui The only city on the island is Lana‘i City. 

Those who travel to Lana'i, would like to enjoy either the luxury in the resorts or travel as a hiker to explore the island on foot or by mountain bike. A mix of both is also possible of course. On Lana'i, no wishes remain unfulfilled. There are enough trails to explore for all hikers and outdoor enthusiasts. 

In 2012, the pacific island was bought by the founder of the software company Oracle and only 2% still belong to the state of Hawaii.

Lanai history

Hawaii taro plant and tuber
Hawaii taro plant and tuber

Lana'i. was controlled by Maui,even before the beginning of historical records. The first inhabitants probably settled on the volcanic island paradise in the 15th century. The first migrants who came to Lana'i. likely came from Maui and Moloka'i. They established fishing villages along the coast and moved inland later on, where they planted Taro,a very starchy vegetable planted in fertile volcanic soil. During this time, the Mo’i, the monarch of Kalakaua, and his sister Lili‘uokalani from Maui ruled over Lana'i., however, they generally left the inhabitants alone. 

The life on Lana'i. was very quiet, until King Kamehameha I. took over control and had a large part of the locals murdered. So many people were killed at that time that Captain George Vancouver completely ignored the island in 1792 because it seemed as if there were no villages or inhabitants left. In the 1870s, Walter M. Gibson bought up most of the land to turn it into farmland. At the same time, the native Hawaiians were mainly occupied with providing for themselves by fishing and growing fruit and vegetables.

Kaunolu Villagea former fishing village on the south coast, was the place where King Kamehameha I. went fishing. After conquering the neighbouring islands Maui, Moloka’i and eventually Lana’i, this is where he retired.

Kaunolu Village is now considered the largest preserved ruin of a prehistoric village in the Hawaiian Islands. In Kaunolu, you can enjoy the view over the cliffs and take a look at the remains of the temple Halulu Heiau as well as look at some petroglyphs. The famous cliff Kahekili’s Leap is also located in this region.

Dole made Hawaii famous for pineapple
Dole made Hawaii famous for pineapple

In 1922, James Dole, president of the former Hawaiian Pineapple Company and later Dole Food Company, bought the island and turned much of the land into the largest pineapple plantation in the world. When Hawaii joined the U.S. in 1959, Lana'i. became part of the administrative district of Maui. In 1985, I was passed on into the hands of David H. Murdock who bought the company Castle & Cooke which used to belong to Dole. In the year 2012, however, Larry Ellison, president and founder of Oracle,bought the share of Castle & Cooke and thus secured 98% of the island. As of today, the state of Hawaii owns only 2 percent of the land. The sale price was not published but according to various sources, the negotiated value was around $500 million. Larry Ellison plans to invest up to $500 million more to improve the island's infrastructure and create an environmentally friendly agricultural industry. 

Beaches and parks on Lanai

Hulopoe Bay is one of the dream beaches on Lanai
Hulopoe Bay is one of the dream beaches on Lanai

The unspoiled beauty of Hulopoe Beach can be found on the South coast of Lana'i.. Hulopoe Bay greets its visitors with a vast expanse of pearly white sandy beaches and crystal blue waters. This sheltered cove, which is located at the front of the Four Seasons Resort Lana‘i in the Manele Bay Road, is the best spot to snorkel and swim on the island. Hulopo‘e Bay Beach Park is open to the public and offers picnic tables, barbecue areas, toilets and showers. Visitors are asked not to take stones and shells as souvenirs to leave nature untouched. 

Here on the south coast, you can watch dolphins and humpback whales often pass by in the winter months. Don't miss the 20-minute walk along the south coast, which leads to the Pu‘u Pehe,the “Sweetheart Rock”. According to legend, a broken-hearted warrior threw himself to death here because he could not bear the grief after the death of his beloved.

If you rent a 4x4 vehicle, a trip to Kaiolohia is a must-do. Kaiolohiais also known as Kaiolohia Beach. If you plan to book a rental car, you should choose an off-road vehicle. The rental car companies Lana’i Car Rental and Lana’i Cheap Jeeps are the only options of the island, so simply book in advance to explore the Shipwreck Beach .

Visitors of Lana‘i who seek to stay away from the tourist areas, can explore the secluded beaches of Polihua Beach.It is located roughly 60 miles from Lana‘i City and it is a 2-mile-long sandy beach. Hawaii's green sea turtles, the Honu,like to come here and also the humpback whales can be seen from this coast in the winter months. Due to the strong swells, you can't go swimming here but you can sunbathe on the beach and enjoy a walk or a picnic by the water. 

The Dole Park, is located in the centre of Lana‘i CityIt was built in 1922 and serves as a gathering place for families today. There is a pavilion, picnic tables and a community centre. Many tall Norfolk Island Pine Trees and Cook Island Pines reach into the sky and provide shade for its visitors in this park. Most of the shops, restaurants and playgrounds are located on the streets surrounding the park and are all within walking distance. Furthermore, there are several monuments commemorating the veterans of World War 2 and the Korean War.

Just like on the neighbouring islands of Lana'i, you can also find golf courses here, since playing golf is a popular activity. Close to the Four Seasons, in the South of the island, the Manele Golf Course is located and in Lana’i City, you can move from hole to hole at the Cavendish Golf Course to improve your tee shot.

Shopping and sightseeing on Lanai

Must see: Garden of the gods
Must see: Garden of the gods

Keahiakawelo, also Garden of the Gods, is an incredible rock garden at the end of the Polihua Road. The mysterious lunar landscape is covered with rocks and stone towers. According to a Hawaiian legend, this windswept landscape was the result of a contest between two Kahuna - priests - of Lana'i. and Moloka'i. The winner would be the one who would keep a fire burning the longest. The Kahuna Lanai‘s, Kawelo, used all the vegetation he could find to keep his fire burning - that's why the land of this area is so bare today - according to legend. The rock formations in the Garden of Gods are particularly beautiful at sunset. The setting sun bathes the rocks in beautiful shades of red and purple. There is something magical about a stay in this region at sunset. 

The rustic Munro Trail begins north of Lana‘i CityThe nearly 13-mile road offers spectacular views and passes through a rainforest filled with ironwood, eucalyptus and pine trees. The Munro Trail can be explored by car or mountain bike as well as on foot and it leads to the summit of the Lana‘ihale, which is 1030 meters high. From there, you have a great view of the island and the Pacific Ocean. Contact the team of hawaiiurlaub.de to learn more about the spectacular Munro Trail ! 

Shopping on Lana'i. is a very relaxed activity. Around the Dole Park, you can find small boutiques where you can buy everything from souvenirs to clothing. Shopping malls and large shops can't be found on Lana'i. - and that's exactly how the inhabitants like it best. Lana'i, means pure tranquillity.

The inhabitants of Lanai

The number of inhabitants is with roughly 3200 inhabitants relatively low. To compare: The population of Lana'i. is only 3 percent of the population of O‘ahu.People live here more or less in solitude. 

The low number of residents and guests of this island make Lana'i. a particularly picturesque and relaxing destination for your vacation far from mass tourism. 

According to ancient Hawaiian legends, Lana'i. was once haunted by vicious, man-killing spirits. A Hawaiian prince was sent as punishment to Lana'i. after uprooting all breadfruit trees on Maui . On Lana'i. , however, he found a way to drive away all the evil spirits from the island. As a reward, his father decided to give him the island. The prince uprooted all the breadfruit trees on Lana'i, which is why no breadfruit trees grow here, even today. 

Native Hawaiians began settling on the island in the 16th century. Many of the current inhabitants of Lana'i. are descended from former plantation workers. These workers came to Lana'i.in the 1920s, when the Dole Food Company bought the island. During this time, Lana'i. was the largest pineapple exporter in the world. When Dole eventually moved on, the workers stayed on the island and made a living as farmers, ranchers and fishermen. Today, there are many different jobs and activities on Lana'i. About half of the population are workers, while the other half consists of employees. The average income for residents of Lana‘i City aged 25 to 44 is $65,000, which is well above the national average. Fortunately, crime rates and livelihoods are below the national average. The South Sea island is known as a friendly island with a warm and welcoming population. If you come here, you are sure to have a wonderful stay - the team of hawaiiurlaub.de guarantees that!

Food and restaurants on Lanai

Typical Hawaiian food: Poi
Typical Hawaiian food: Poi

On Lana'i, there is a diverse and exciting selection of regional dishes. Many of these dishes are traditionally Hawaiian, while other dishes were influenced by American and Japanese cuisine. One of the most famous dishes on Hawaii and on Lana'i. is Poi, which will be served at home and for special occasions such as at Lu‘aus . Poi is a thick, creamy paste made from the roots of the taro plant. Fresh Poi tastes sweet but becomes very bitter after a few days; it can be eaten sweet and sour. This dish is held in high esteem in Hawaiian culture because it is reminiscent of the ancient chiefs and native Hawaiians. It is often said that you are not allowed to argue when Poi is on the table. Poke. is a popular dish on Lana'i.At the Lana‘i Ohana Poke Market, which is popular with locals and visitors alike, you can enjoy excellent Poke. Seafood has also always been a staple of Hawaiian cuisine. Fresh fish and shellfish are very popular all over Lana'i. "Fusion cuisine," which combines elements of Hawaiian, Japanese and European cuisine, is also famous on Lana'i. For an affordable meal, Lana‘i City Grill or the Blue Ginger Caféare well suited. Views at the Manele Golf Course or Nobu are also great.

Statistics, facts and figures about Lanai

On Lana'i, just under 3200 inhabitants live on an area of 364 km². The highest elevation is the Lana’ihale with an altitude of 1030 meters. One-fifth of the island is cultivated with pineapple. The temperature, depending on the season, is between 21 and 29 degrees Celsius. The climate is relatively dry, there is less than 1 meter of rainfall per year.

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