Escape to Lana'i
by Dava Della, spring '03 Lifestyles editor
If you're looking to escape the pressures of the outside world
in exchange for some absolute peace and quiet, Lana‘i
may be the place for you. Lana‘i offers award-winning
golf, white sand beaches, and a wide variety of outdoor adventures
and water sports. Only 25 minutes by air from Honolulu, more
than 100 flights land on Lana‘i every week.
Click on image for
Lana‘i (pronounced la-nah-ee) is the fourth- youngest
and sixth-largest island in the Hawaiian chain. It was formed
about 1.5 million years ago by the floor of the single shield
volcano Palawai. The Palawai Basin is a prominent caldera
filled with alluvium, or freshly eroded rock particles that
have come off the hillside and been carried by streams. Under
the alluvium is a large mass of lava flows, the type associated
with a caldera.
Lana'i is 141 square miles. Uniquely, it is the only location
in Hawa'i from which five other Hawaiian Islands--Mau‘i,
O‘ahu, Moloka‘i, Kaho‘olawe, and the Big
Island--can be seen.
Alternately known as
Exclusive Island" and for nearly 70 years as "The Pineapple
Island," Lana‘i hosted the world’s largest
pineapple plantation of the 20th century. Under the ownership
Dole from 1922 until 1961, the island supplied 75 percent of
the world's pineapples. One-fifth of the area was used for
Today, fewer than 100 acres of the island are used for growing
the fruit. Castle & Cooke, Inc. is now Dole’s corporate
successor, and 98 percent of the land is owned by the Lana‘i
Company, Inc., a local development firm.
Many still associate Lana‘i with the pineapple, but most
of the pineapples grown there today are consumed by island
residents and hotel guests.
The island of Lana‘i is one of the least visited of the
main Hawaiian Islands. Approximately 100,000 visitors come to
Lana'i each year. According to the Hawai'i Department of Business,
Economic Development, and Tourism, only 84,000 visited Lana‘i
in 2001. This is compared to more than four million who visited
O'ahu and two million who visited Maui that same year.
Those who do visit Lana‘i
tend to be mainlanders who are wealthier than the average visitor
to the other islands. In fact, on Jan. 1, 1994, Microsoft Chairman
Bill Gates, held his wedding on Lana‘i, effectively closing
the island for a day. He booked every hotel room on the island
so no reporters could take any pictures of the wedding.
Lana‘i is highly dependent on the tourism industry for
its survival. The island's two world-class resorts, The Lodge
at Ko‘ele and The Manele Bay Hotel, have succeeded in
attracting visitors, reviving the island's economy, and providing
job opportunities in farming and hotel ventures for island residents.
|A handful of the residents--3,200--live
mostly in Lana‘i City, an upper-elevation town (approximately
1,700 feet above sea level) with one bank, one police station,
several general stores, a small theater, and an art gallery.
Built in 1924 to be the focal point of the pineapple industry,
Lana‘i City residents live in colorful plantation cottages
with tin roofs.
|Lana‘i has no public
transit system. Car rentals are available for $50 per day and
the hotels provide free shuttle service to and from the airport.
But since many of Lana‘i’s breathtaking activities
are found at the end of rugged red dirt roads (Lana‘i has
no stoplights and there are only 30 miles of paved roads), visitors
and residents alike are recommended to rent a four-wheel drive,
for about $130 per day.
For those who are adventurous,
recreational activities include snorkeling, sailing, oceaning,
kayaking, horseback riding, hiking, and mountain biking.
One of the most popular ways to get to Lana'i is to take the
Expeditions Ferry from Lahaina Harbor. For more information
on daily rates and special deals, call 1-800-695-2624.
If you have a wild sense of adventure or simply need a place
to relax and unwind, then Lana‘i is the place for you.
From mountain biking and hiking to great beaches and championship
golf courses, Lana‘i is one of the best kept secrets in
Official color: Yellow
Official flower: Kauna‘oa (a yellow and orange air plant)
Lana'i translates to "hump," which is the shape of
the island when viewed from Lahaina, Maui.
Lana'i is located 8 miles to the west of Maui and 9 miles south
Average temperatures range from 66 degrees Fahrenheit to 73
degrees Fahrenheit. Because Lana'i is in the rain-shadow of its
neighbor island Maui, it is one of the most driest islands. Rainfall
is limited to 1-3 inches per month in the summer to 3-6 inches
in the winter.
From Lana'ihale, the island's highest point at 3,360 feet, five
of the major Hawaiian Islands--Maui, O'ahu, Moloka'i, Kaho'olawe,
and the Big Island--can all be seen, weather permitting.
Largely uninhabited until the 1500s, Lana‘i, has no separate
municipal government and is a part of Maui County, boasts a multi-cultural
society with immigration from:
700 A.D. Polynesia
1820 United States
1900 Puerto Rico