Vacation Rentals on Lanai
The "Private Island"
For the vacationer coming to Hawaii looking for a more secluded setting but still with all the amenities, Lanai is a good choice. It's very different than the other islands in both looks and it's history. It's a rather small island, about 18 miles long and 13 miles wide. It is only 8 miles to the west of Maui and nine miles south of Molokai, and being in their rain shadow it gets less rain than the other islands making it less lush and green. There are only about 3,000 residents living on Lanai, and indeed, the axis deer introduced on the island at the turn of the century now outnumber them.
With only 17 miles of paved roads on Lanai, no traffic lights, no traffic jams, and far less tourists than the other islands, this is one of the best kept secrets of Hawaii.
The main reason Lanai has remained in the background for so long is because of
it's history. It was previously known as the "Pineapple Island" because after
it was purchased it 1922 by James Dole, it was made into a huge pineapple plantation.
In fact, this tiny island once supplied 75% of the world's supply of pineapples.
Due to changing economic circumstances, the growing of pineapple here became
unprofitable, and in 1985 the new CEO of the parent company Castle & Cooke, David
Murdock, decided to shut down the pineapple production and turn towards developing
tourism. Two world class hotels were built, one upland in Lanai City and the
other at Manele Bay, but there are also now many private offerings for those
who want to experience Lanai on a budget.
What's there to see and do in Lanai?
Some people come here to relax and really "get away from it all", and others
come for the adventure of exploring an island and it's hidden features few have
seen. Whichever sort you are, you are likely not to be disappointed.
Golfing on Lanai - The thing that probably draws the most people to Lanai is
the great golfing on the two world class courses located here, one at Manele,
and the other upcountry at Koele. You'll want to play both championship courses,
as they both have unusual and unforgettable features. The Pacific Ocean is the
water hazard on three of the Manele holes, and the 8th hole at Koele is a 250
foot drop from the tee to a green bordered by lake and woods. Incredible! Maybe
first you'll want to warm up on the nine hole Cavendish Course built for plantation
workers in 1947. At $10 a round (as of this writing) it is a bargain.
Go Snorkeling and Diving - The waters around Lanai are pristine
compared to the other islands, and some of the best diving (if not THE best)
is found here. In fact, many dive operators on Maui make the long trip to the
shores of Lanai to give their customers a special treat. The snorkeling is incredible,
with crystal clear water and a myriad of tropical fish. Hulopoe Beach Park on
the south coast is probably the best snorkeling spot in all of Hawaii. The spinner
dolphins also frequent the Lanai shores, and you will no doubt be in their company
if you spend enough time in the water or go boating around the island.
Explore Lanai by Jeep or foot - On the other islands, you are
discouraged from going off the main roads at all. Not so in Lanai. Here, one
of the main attractions is renting a jeep and exploring the many miles of dirt
road that lead to miles long secluded beaches, beautiful bays, and natural wonders.
Be sure and see the area called the Garden of the Gods, which is an area of very
unique rock formations in a crimson landscape, and then continue on to Polihua
Beach, which is a beautiful broad beach from which you can look out across the
channel to Molokai. Shipwreck Beach is a great place for beachcombing along 8
miles of secluded beach with the backdrop of a reefed ship. At Kaunolu Bay, an
ancient fishing village, you can see splendid Hawaiian petroglyphs. You can hike
or drive to the summit of Lana'ihale, which at 3,370 feet is the highest point
on Lanai where you will get a splendid view of nearly every Hawaiian Island.
If hiking, you'll follow the Munro Trail, a fairly strenuous 8 mile hike through
the pines and fields leading up to the mountain top.
Wander around Lanai City - This Hawaiian town has it's own personality,
quite different than any other in Hawaii. The huge stands of tall Cook and Norfolk
Pines surround the "downtown" area which consists of two streets separated by
Dole Park. The residences are plantation style housing mostly left over from
the pineapple days, and there are several very nice small shops and restaurants
in which you can buy local handicrafts and eat local food. The entire area has
a restful park-like atmosphere.
Horseback riding on Lanai - There are stables at Koele where you can saddle up and ride the trails through the old Lanai Ranch.
Explore the resorts - The resort at Manele Bay is fun to wander
through, and they have several restaurants if you want to eat out in style. There
are some nice trails which wander along the sea cliffs, affording nice views
all along the way. There is another trail leading down to the Bay, at which there
is a splendid beach and the small boat harbor, which is where you will arrive
if taking the ferry from Maui. This area has excellent snorkeling.
The luxury Lodge at Koele is designed with a look, both inside and out, that you might expect to find in the mountains of Montana rather than Hawaii. The rooms are spread out in separate cottages with high wooden ceilings and open fireplaces. The grounds surrounding the Lodge are very interesting to wander through, with a varied collection of both native and non native plants. Be sure and visit the orchid house, it is a delight to the eyes. The big draw here is the world class golf course, designed by Ted Robinson.
And Much more - This is only a small idea of what you can do once you are on Lanai. Most people however prefer to do as little as possible.