Getting to Lana’i –
There are a few ways to get to Lana’i. You can fly. The only commercial flight options I can find go through Honolulu on Oahu or Kahului on Maui.
The other popular way to get to Lana’i is by the Expeditions ferry in Lahaina on Maui. It is a 45 minute ferry ride. A little like a ferry ride and excursion all in one. The ferry has 2 levels and you can choose to sit on the first level in the comfy seats inside, or go to the top deck and sit in the open air. On the ride over, you may be able to spot whales and dolphins swimming about in the Auau Channel. You will also get to see the islands of Moloka’i and Kaho’olawe in the distance. It is very unlikely that you will ever step foot on Kaho’olawe unless you are a native Hawaiian. My SDH has, for a very very brief moment, but that story will have to wait for another post.
Some of the locals use the ferry as their daily commute to work. Others use it from Lana’I to come to Maui for household shopping. There are no superstores or chain stores on Lana’i, only 3 small grocery stores that I am aware of on the island. They are all 3-4 doors down from each other and although we have found several treasures in each of them, they do only have a limited supply of goods.
Expeditions ferry is very familiar with passengers bringing large items on board. We have seen everything from golf clubs (there are 2 golf courses on the island), suitcases (tourists extending their vacation from Maui to Lana’i) and rolling ice chests and boxes full of goods carried back to Lana’i from Costco. Noticing the large packages of paper goods and other large bulk items really made me realize what a different life style one would have to grow accustom to in order to live on Lana’i. Everywhere I have ever travelled, I look at the destination in terms of “could I live here?”
Once you get to Lana’i you have a few options when you get off the ferry. If you are staying at one of the hotels or plan to golf for the day, there will be a shuttle bus waiting to take you to your destination. If you are planning to rent a car and explore the back roads of the island, the shuttle bus will also drop you by the Dollar rental car station. If you plan to just go to the beach and enjoy the sun, sand and waves, it is only a very short walk from the harbor. You can bring your own towels, chairs, umbrellas, food and drinks if you choose or splurge and rent the chairs and umbrellas from the Four Season’s Manele Bay resort that has them already on the beach.
This past week when we visited Lana’i from Maui, we didn’t choose any of the above options. Instead, we were fortunate enough to have local friends on the island meet us at the harbor. We were greeted with leis, slow deliberate kisses on both cheeks, big hugs and the sweet words “welcome home neighbors!” – I have to admit, THAT brought a few tears to my eyes. Thank goodness for sunglasses.