A place of breath-taking grandeur and the home of Molokai’s first residents. During the 7th century, settlers from the Marquesas Islands in southern Polynesia, arrived by canoe and began the settlement of Halawa Valley.
For over 1200 years the valley was a center of taro lo’i (patches), heiau (spiritual temples) and a thriving population. In 1836, one of the first missionaries on Molokai reported a population of about 500 Hawaiians farming more than a thousand lo’i and other types of produce in the valley.
However, in 1946 and again in 1957, tsunamis (tidal waves) with waves as tall as 45 feet swept up the valley and destroyed nearly all the homes, the taro lo’i and devastated the area.
Today the area is primarily a destination for fishing, surfing, picnicking and beach walks. In recent years, a few dedicated residents have begun to reclaim the valley from 60 years of overgrowth by re-establishing taro lo’i and farming tropical flowers.
Halawa Stream is the largest of all the streams on Molokai and where it enters the ocean, it divides two beaches; Kama’alaea on the north side and Kawili on the south. The source of this stream is a pair of huge waterfalls at the back of this cathedral valley.
Hipuapua Falls is the highest of the two and cascades about 500 feet. The 250′ Moa’ula Falls is the lower and is the perfect example of a Hawaiian waterfall. It ends in a large pool at its base that invites visitors for a cooling swim. Caution is advised however, because legend tells of a huge mo’o (lizard) who reside at the pool’s bottom. Before entering the pool, one must ask permission of the mo’o by floating a single ti leaf on the water. If the leaf floats the mo’o will allow you to share his pool, if the leaf sinks, he is not in the mood for company so you should not enter.
IMPORTANT – Because the trail to the falls is across private land and because some outsiders seem to be overly law-suit happy, access to the falls has been for many years, restricted. Visitors may only hike to the falls with a guide on a paid cultural tour. Rates for the 4-5 hour hike and cultural tour vary from $50-75 per person with lesser rates for kids. Most visitors mark a trip to the falls as a vacation on Molokai highlight. You can acquire information and tour reservations from the tour desk at Hotel Molokai.