Kalaupapa is well known as a former leper colony. The first leprosy victims were transported to Kalaupapa in early 1866. Seven years later, a Catholic priest by the name of Father Damien arrived from Belgium.
He did more than preach the faith, he built the inhabitants homes, churches even the coffins, organised medical services and funds from Honolulu and became a father and friend to these poor folk.
Father Damien contracted the disease and succumbed to it in 1889.
You can take the trail down from topside Molokai to Kalaupapa by foot or the more adventurous can go by mule. The trail is over 3 miles (5km) long and is nearly perpendicular (not for the fainthearted) descending 1,600ft (488m) down to the peninsula. You will pass through 26 switchbacks corkscrewing in and out of canyons and ravines.
The following companies conduct guided tours to Kalaupapa.
THE KALAAUPAPA NATIONAL HISTORIC PARK AND GUIDED MULE TOUR – www.muleride.com
TOM BAREFOOT’S TOURS – www.tombarefoot.com/things-to-do.
MOLOKAI OUTDOORS – www.molokai-outdoors.com
FATHER DAMIEN TOURS – www.fatherdamientours.com