Kauai: Hawaii’s Garden Island [Travel Guide]
I would like to start off by saying this was one of my favorite trips and this is definitely my favorite between Kauai and Oahu. The Island is as pretty as the pictures! Kauai is the Garden Island because majority of the island is untouched. This is apparent as soon as you leave the airport and start driving. It is easy to obey the slow speed limits while you are looking at the beautiful green scenery. There are so many things to do and see on the garden island.
Arriving in Kauai (LIH)
Let’s start at the airport (LIH). It is a tiny airport with a super laid back feeling. Security is even seemingly relaxed… We got our rental car and even got an upgrade! We ended up rolling off the lot with a new convertible Mustang. And then we saw it… the slowest speed limit signs ever. I believe that the top speed limit on the island is either 50 or 55 miles per hour with most roads being only 30 or 35 mph. I guess that it is appropriate for the laid back lifestyle that comes with Hawaii!
The AMAZING Koloa Landing Resort!
After a 25 minute drive to our Koloa Landing resort, we checked in and got settled into our Luxury Villa. The place was absolutely beautiful! It had everything we needed and more. If you go to Kauai, take this resort into consideration. Oh, and the resort had a huge pool. If getting in the ocean is not your thing, then you will love this. There is a spa and delicious (and a little expensive) dining at the resort as well.
Beaches In Walking Distance
Next stop was the beach. The resort is super close to the ocean, however, it is a 10 minute walk to the beach. There are parking spots near the beach, but i did not want to dirty the car with sand so I walked. There is a good variety of beaches within close distance to one another. The first beach was Kiahuna beach and it was very relaxing and laid back. This beach is good for adults and kids. The next beach down is the Poipu Beach Park. This is the most popular beach in the area because it offers a lot. It has received many Top 5 Beach awards nationally and worldwide. I loved this beach because there is a sandbar splitting the beach in half which provided calm areas for those trying to relax and with kids on the west side, and areas for snorkeling, swimming, and surfing on the east side. There was also a small area with a rip current that is well marked, so you do not have to worry about not knowing where it is. We snorkeled at the beach, but I would not recommend snorkeling in the rip current as it can be difficult to control yourself. Be cautious in this area because people have died (mostly drunk but not all).
Views Of The Garden Island From A Helicopter
The best thing about Kauai was all of the activities other than the beaches. But I must say that the #1 thing that you can do in Kauai is to take a helicopter ride over the Na Pali coastline. Seriously. We bought tickets with Blue Hawaiian Helicopter Tours and it could not have been any better. We took a 50 minute helicopter ride around the Island seeing everything from the Waimea Canyon (I talk about this later) to the Na Pali Coast. Almost all of Kauai is untouched and it could not be more apparent as you are flying over nothing but trees, waterfalls, and canyons. It is truly beautiful. Then you get to the Na Pali coast and you are easily convinced that you have never seen anything so beautiful.
Hiking Waimea Canyon
After the helicopter tour, we decided to hike through the Waimea Canyon. We took the Canyon trail which is a total of 4 miles and it took about 2.5 hours. It is a moderately difficult trail that results in a beautiful view over the canyon.
After the canyon view, there is a waterfall that drops 800 feet. And I was brave (stupid) enough to video myself standing on the ledge holding on to nothing but a tree two inches in diameter. I sadly do not have a picture of it to upload here. The trail was a lot of fun, but I was exhausted by the end.
Rafting 40 Miles To Isolated Beaches and Caves
The next day we took a boat ride to the Na Pali coast. It is only accessible by boat and… a 22 mile round trip hike. Forgive me, but I did not hike that. However, it is regarded as the best hike in all of America. The boat ride was nothing short of amazing. There are two options: a huge Catamaran or a small dual-motored raft. We took the small raft with a company called Blue Dolphin Kauai. If you take the small raft, HANG ON. You sit on the side of the raft hanging on to some handles while your feet are tucked under a black rope. You will feel every single wave for a total of nearly 40 miles(worth it). The benefit of taking this raft is the ability to enter sea caves that the Catamaran cannot reach. Half way through the ride, we stopped at a beach to take a swim and get something to eat. The tour guide took us on a walk for a while and gave us a history lesson on the tribe that used to inhabit that small area. It was quite interesting. On the way back, the tour guide pointed out an island in the distance called Niihau. It is “The forbidden island” and nobody can go there.
Kayaking To The Wailua Waterfall
On our last day before leaving, we went kayaking to the Wailua Waterfall with a company called… Wailua Waterfall Kayaking. We ended up kayaking for a total of 60-90 minutes and hiking for a total of two miles. Half way was the treasure of the trip: the Wailua Waterfall. This is where you rest, eat some sandwiches, and swim under the waterfall. This trip is a great workout for your total body, so be ready. Bring sun screen and bug spray!
Bye Bye, Kauai
Then the sad reality sunk in: We had to go back home. I will be returning to Kauai as soon as possible. I would recommend this to anyone that loves nature and outdoor activities. It is paradise, but it does not have to break the bank. Find out how to find when the cheapest flights are here. Have you been to Kauai? If so, let me know about your experience and what you did while you were there!
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P.s. There are a few scenic areas where you can pull off on the side of the road during the drive to the Waimea Canyon!
Ty : MyTravelResource.com
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