The Magical Island of Lana’i: 10 Fun Facts
- At just over 140 square miles, Lana’i is the sixth largest island of the Hawaiian island chain. During the 2010 census, Lana’i’s counted just 3,102 residents. Nearly all reside in the former pineapple plantation town of Lana’i City.
- One legend says that Lana’i was once inhabited by man-eating spirits until a hooligan Maui prince, Kaulua’au, was sent to the island as punishment by his father for pulling up a bread tree. The king expected his son to die on the island. Instead, the prince flourished and drove the spirits away. As a reward, he was given control of the island.
- Where the name Lana’i came from is not known. In the past, the island was often referred to by the full name “Lānaʻi o Kauluaʻau”. In a nod to the Maui prince mentioned above, the translation is “day of the conquest of Kauluaʻau,” .
- The first inhabitants of Lana’i were thought to be from Maui and Molokai. They establishing fishing villages along the coastline, but were nearly all wiped out when King Kamehameha I united the eight Hawaiian islands with his very iron fist.
- In 1921, the first pineapple was planted on Lana’i. It took just a year for Charles Dole (Dole pineapple ring a bell?) bought the island for the purpose of growing pineapple. Lana’i soon acquired the nickname the Pineapple Island. By 1930, the tiny island was exporting over 65,000 tons of pineapple a year. The final harvest of pineapple on Lana’i occurred in 1992. People still refer to it as the Pineapple Island, though.
- Lana’i officially became a part of Maui County in 1959 when Hawaii was admitted into the United States.
- There are no traffic lights on Lana’i. Lana’i High and Elementary School, which educates children from kindergarten through 12th grade, is the only school on the island. There’s also just one hospital.
- Snorkeling around Lana’i is some of the best in the entire state of Hawaii. The most affordable way to snorkel Lana’i is to take boat tour from Lahaina. These tours on Hawaii Ocean Project include breakfast, lunch, unlimited drinks, gear and professional instruction and safety. (See below for a special offer!)
- Oracle (a software company) founder and billionaire Larry Ellison owns 98% of the island, while the state owns the other 2%. Ellison also owns nearly 1/3 of all the housing (the state owns the other 2/3) and pretty much every other business on the island, including two Four Seasons hotels. He also spent millions refurbishing the island’s lone movie theater and constructing a resort-style Olympic-sized public pool. He worked with the state to update the water filtration system in Lana’i City and built a domestic violence center for women.
- While snorkeling is the main attraction on Lana’i, the island has three golf courses, two affiliated with the two Four Seasons resorts and one a free, nine hole course. Bill Gates was married on one of the Four Seasons courses.
By the way, did you know that you can now save $10/person on our Maui Princess Dinner Cruise or a Snorkel Adventure to the Island of Lanai? Well you can! Just use the promocode VIP20 after clicking on this link: Hawaii Ocean Project Adventures.