Of all the Hawaiian Islands, Kauai is the most untamed. It’s lush green foliage is everywhere making it a great vacation spot. In addition to the typical beach vacation, you can find hiking, surfing, scuba diving, and helicopter rides. There are an unlimited number of things to do or you can choose to be leisurely and enjoy the beautiful beaches. To find out about some of Kaui’s hidden secrets, invest in The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook: Kauai Revealed.
Kauai has beautiful accommodations at all price ranges scattered throughout the island. For private vacation rentals click here for over 2600 properties. Or you can rent direct from owners, which is often a very good deal and offers individual vacation homes with all of the amenities of home. The South side near Po’ipu is the driest place on the island, home to several major resorts and is close to the airport and popular with many visitors. The East side offers a mix of large and small resorts and the North side has resorts at Princeville and the charming town of Hanalei.
Kauai was the only Hawaiian Island that wasn’t conquered by King Kamehameha. As a result, it retains its own customs. It rains much of the year, and nearly every day. The island is sun-kissed and rain-drenched contributing to the lushness of the landscape. Huge mountains and extinct volcanoes occupy the island, and much of the island is inaccessible except by hiking.
Mount Wai’ale’ale towering over the gorgeous Waimea Canyon is the rainiest spot on the Island, receiving 440 inches of rain per year, but the beaches receive much less rain, 20 to 85 inches. The rugged cliffs hugging the Na Pali Coast are beautiful and foreboding. Many movies and television programs have been filmed on location in Kauai. In fact, a “Movie Tour” is offered to show where programs were filmed including Gilligan’s Island, Jurassic Park, Fantasy Island and the one that put the island on the map, South Pacific.
Helicopter Tours are a fabulous way to understand the overall layout of the island, since most is remote and inaccessible by car or on foot. After researching the many companies offering tours, We chose Inter-Island because they offer unobstructed views flying with the doors off and are the only company to land at a private waterfall for swimming and lunch. They also have a perfect safety record and fly all of the island’s search and rescue missions.
This is the only way to see the entire island and enjoy the volcanic canyons. The pilot is an “Ace” and not only flies into the canyon, but up close to the canyon face. Not many people get to experience Waimea Canyon against the canyon wall; most people have to drive up the windy road to the lookout point. We fly by a series of five waterfalls, called the Five Sisters, and close to the Jurassic Park waterfall featured in the opening scenes for the movie.
This is also the only tour to visit a private waterfall, offering lunch and a chance to swim in the inviting pool. We enjoy a deli lunch with Hawaiian juices and then it’s off for the completion of the exhilarating two hour tour. We fly over taro plantations, coffee plantations, into canyons, along the coastlines of the famed North and South shores. The entire flight goes by so quickly; this is definitely a vacation highlight.
There are two Botanical Gardens located on the North Shore of the island. The Limahuli Gardens are part of the National Tropical Botanical Gardens offering guided and self-guided tours of a dramatic ancient terrace system featuring a plethora of plants, flowers and fruits, with beautiful ocean views and views of the Hanalei Valley. The Na ‘Aina Kai , meaning lands by the sea, spans 240 acres. This garden features a hardwood plantation, moss and fern covered canyons, and a sandy beach. On the South Shore are the National Tropical Botanical Gardens consisting of the Lawa’i and Alberton Gardens a lush garden with native plants and flowers. They possess the largest collection of rare and endangered plants. This is a fun outing, one which can hold everyone’s interest. Once you have experienced Kauai you will be back for more of the island vibe.
Enjoy this article? Click subscribe above to receive email alerts for new SF Romance Travel articles.
Click here to read more articles by this author.