Escape to Kaua'i

Escape to Kaua`i

There’s no other place on earth like the beautiful Garden Isle, Kaua`i. About 20 minutes by air from Honolulu, it’s Hawaii’s fourth largest island, and the oldest. Time has created tropical rainforests, lush green valleys, spiky mountain cliffs, tumbling waterfalls and a large number of rivers. The northernmost of the Hawaii chain of islands boasts seven distinct microclimates—all in about 550 square miles.

From lush tropical forests and spectacular beaches (what you expect when you think of paradise) to dry desert-like areas on the west side, Kauai is different from the other Hawaiian islands. Much of the interior is uninhabited, including Waimea Canyon and the famous Mount Waialeale (elev 5,148 ft) where over 400 inches of rain fall per year. Any time of year Kauai will embrace you from the moment you step off the plane into its 80-degree warmth. Balmy trade winds will keep you comfortable as you explore, or just kick back and do nothing!

Laid-back Kauai is smaller and less populated than Oahu, Maui or the Big Island, and it’s the preferred destination for many visitors to Hawaii for that reason. This secluded getaway is also a favorite for celebrities, some of whom have homes here. Because of a local rule that nothing can be built taller than a coconut tree (about 40 feet), Kauai will remain without the huge developments that dominate some areas of the other islands.

Beyond its undeniable beauty, visitors to Kauai can enjoy many outdoor activities. Try kayaking on the Wailua River, snorkeling off Poipu Beach, hiking on the trails of Kokee State Park. The dramatic Napali Coast is accessible only by sea or air—but if you take the time and can afford the expense to check it out, you won’t be sorry. You’ve never seen views like these anywhere else on earth. Sheer cliffs drop thousands of feet onto perfect white sand beaches. Hidden caves can only be accessed by boat.

Kauai’s rich culture makes it truly timeless. Old Koloa Town is the site of its first sugar mill. Take some time to follow the Koloa Heritage Trail in Old Koloa Town and learn about Kauai’s plantation past. On the North Shore, the Waioli Mission House provides a peek at missionary life in the 19th century. Kauai Museum holds exhibits, artifacts and murals portraying the history of Kauai and its people.

Because it’s the oldest of the islands, Kauai’s history is filled with colorful legends. You’ve heard about the Menehune, a mythical race of forest-dwelling little people who were famous for their construction and engineering abilities. Legend has it they used their talents to create aqueducts and fishponds. Outside Lihue you can see Alekoko (Menehune Fishpond), supposedly built by them nearly 1,000 years ago.

Many varieties of crops are grown in Kauai’s fertile soil, including guava, papaya, mango, avocado, star fruit, kava and pineapple, as well as coffee. Visitors are always surprised at the familiar sight in Kauaʻi alongside the roads (or anywhere!) of the thousands of wild chickens! Brought in by the original Polynesian settlers as a food source, they roam freely, and since they have few natural predators, their numbers continue to increase.

Kauaʻi over the years has been a featured spot for movie-making and television shows. South Pacific, Blue Hawaii, Jurassic Park, Lilo and Stitch, Jurassic Park, Raiders of the Lost Ark and many more were filmed here.

Take a trip over and experience the wonders of Kaua`i for yourself!

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