When Hansen's disease (leprosy) was first discovered in the Hawaiian Islands in 1835, King Kamehameha V decreed that all those afflicted be sent to the isolated Kalaupapa peninsula.
In 1864, Joseph De Veuster arrived in Honolulu, was ordained as a priest, and nine years later — known as Father Damien — went to Kalaupapa to care for the Hansen’s disease patients.
After 16 years, he, too, contracted the disease and died there.
Today, the Kalaupapa National Historical Park is a place of preservation and education.
You can meet the few surviving Hansen’s disease patients who remain and see what it’s like to live in this unique place.
Most folks visit through Kalaupapa Mule Tours, but you can also prearrange your visit with Damien Tours. Visitors must be at least 16 years old.