Kauai Travel Guide

Kauai Travel Guide
The northern island of Kauai is the oldest of the main Hawaiian Islands. The island--all 550 square miles of it--is a lush paradise. Known as the "Garden Island," Kauai boasts an annual average rainfall of 460 inches. There's no shortage of outdoor activities on Kauai. Kauai is ideal for backpacking and camping; most of the island can only be seen on foot. The spectacular views, stunning waterfalls, lush scenery and laid-back attitude of Kauai offer an unforgettable adventure.


The island of Kauai has one main road, making only 10 percent of the island accessible by road. This island paradise is best seen on foot. Three main trails cover the island.

The Kukui Trail--a 5-mile trail--into the breathtaking Waimea Canyon takes you 2,000 feet down to the canyon floor. Waimea Canyon is 10 miles long and 1 mile wide.

The Kuilau Ridge Trail--1 mile beyond the Hawaii Agricultural Experimental Station on Route 580--is a 4.2-mile trail offering stunning views of waterfalls and island flora.

The Kalalau Trail begins at Kee Beach with a 2-mile hike to Hanakapiai Falls. Here you'll find waterfalls cascading more than 300 feet into pools below; a permit can be purchased for overnight camping at Hanakapiai Falls. Kalalau Trail leads from the falls into Kalalau Valley; awaiting you in the valley are breathtaking views of Na Pali Coast and Kee Beach. The Kalalau Trail is recommended for experienced hikers.

Kauai is a nature enthusiast's dream. Amazing hiking trails, rare plant and animal species, a breathtaking coast line, and unbelievable waterfalls--Kauai doesn't disappoint! Hiking in Kauai requires rain proof gear--everything is wet most of the time. According to Kauai County officials, a good map is needed for hiking the island. The University of Hawaii, Press Reference Map of Kauai, is available from the Hawaii Geographic Society and at bookstores on the island. For information on trails and camping permits, contact the Department of Parks and Recreation by phone at (808) 241-4460.


Water Activities

The southern shore of Kauai offers calm clear water and an abundance of sea life to explore. The clear warm water is ideal for snorkeling. Snorkeling can be enjoyed at all public beaches that allow swimming. Looking for more adventure? Try a guided tour that takes you by boat to the island's best snorkeling areas. Some tours boast whale, dolphin, and giant sea turtle sightings.

The Wailua River on Kauai is the only navigable river in Hawaii. Found on the east side of the island, Wailua River runs past waterfalls and lush jungle landscape. Enjoy this scenic river by kayak, canoe or guided boat tour.

Windsurfing on Anini Beach Park and Kalapaki Beach is a memorable adventure. Contact Anini Beach Windsurfing for more information by phone at (808) 826-9463.

Planning Your Stay

Kauai is divided into five areas. Princeville, known as the North Shore, borders the rocky cliffs of the Na Pali coast and the Na Pali Coast State Park. Kapaa, the Royal Coconut Coast, is located south east of Princeville. Kapaa offers pristine beaches, popular surfing areas and lush mountain views. Lihue is centrally located and closest to the airport. Lihue is surrounded by rocky coast a popular spot for fishing and home to some of the islands industrial areas. Poipu--the South Shore--has the best snorkeling area on the island, according to locals. Poipu has large stunning shorelines, huge mansions and beautiful water. Waimea--the west side--is charming, with plantation style towns. The Waimea Canyon borders the west area of Kauai. The Kauai Visitors Bureau can offer more information on specific places for gear, tours, and accommodations. You can contact them by phone at (800) 262-1400.


Article Written By Nadia Benavidez

In the hot desert of Arizona, Nadia Benavidez has been studying hearing instrument science since 2002. After leaving a clinical practice, Benavidez has put her talent to work writing informative articles related to health and wellness. Currently Benavidez is working on her first book.

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