I just visited Lanai for the first time. I’ve never been before and was eager to experience a more isolated island. So, I asked my buddy and tour guide Erica, what do people do on Lanai? She said they do a lot of outdoor activities and a lot of residents have backyard gardens. If you ever have a chance to visit this beautiful, untouched island you must go.
As soon as our small Hawaiian Airlines plane lands, you notice how sustainable this island is as the airport is run with solar panels. It’s eerily quiet and my Oahu-born and raised ears are in culture shock. No beeping, no sirens, there are just NO sounds at all. Strange. I start to feel so very relaxed, Erica is laughing at me as I can’t stop yawning. She agreed to show me some of the “town” in her auntie’s truck and drives a few minutes into the main city center. We eat breakfast at the Blue Ginger Café for a delicious and fresh veggie omelet and walk on over to the Coffee Works to have a fresh cup of joe. I’d also recommend Pele’s Other Garden Deli for a huge fresh veggie burrito for lunch, so yummy. We walk a few streets to see a little boutique to find my buddy new slippers. Then, we stop at the local grocery markets to check out what they’re selling. The town reminds me so much of old Ewa plantation life when I was a little kid growing up. As we drive through town, every driver will wave at us, probably recognizing auntie’s truck.
If you’re a tourist here, you’ll find lots to do to stay active. Walk around town. Take a horse-back riding lesson. Go snorkeling or fishing. Or just take a walk from the resort like we did to do a bit of exploring. We started from the Four Seasons Resort at Manele Bay and walked along the beach to a nature preserve, which has concrete steps down to a chilly tide pool to where we explored some fish.
After spending some time at the tide pools off the beach, we take a short 15-20 minute walk along the coast that goes up at an incline. When you reach the top, there is an 80-foot cliff where you can take pictures of the Sweetheart Rock, or Puu Pehe. The legend of this iconic landmark is a tragic one. A warrior from Lanai, Makakehau, was so taken by his love, a Hawaiian maiden Pehe from Lahaina, that he hid her from others in a cave at the base of Manele’s cliffs. One day a storm had him rushing back to his love but it was too late, Pehe drowned from the storm waves. He climbed the Puu Pehe rock and buried his love and committed suicide jumping off the rock into the water below. If you’re lucky you can sometimes spot spinner dolphins from this view. Just be careful not to get too close to the edge, there’s nothing to stop your fall. But, the fish are so prevalent from that high up you still can see the flashes of yellow tang below in the shallow reefy water.
All in all, it was perfect day and such beautiful scenery to explore, I can’t wait to return. Our walk around the hotel and out to Sweetheart Rock and around town was a little over a mile. Not bad for a leisure day of unwinding on this gorgeous island.