Archive for the ‘Around The Island’ Category
Sunday, July 13th, 2014
One of the best ways to see Kauai is from above. In fact, about 90% of the island’s waterfalls can only be seen by embarking on a helicopter adventure. Those who have enjoyed the privilege of flying over all of the Hawaiian Islands say that the Garden Isle cannot be surpassed when it comes to which has the most spectacular beauty to fly over. Experiencing the magnitude of the Na Pali Coast and its jagged cliffs that drop down to the edge of turquoise waters by air is something that can never be forgotten, even in an entire lifetime.
Mid-morning may be the best time to fly with optimal lighting and generally the least cloud cover, remember that Kauai is the wettest island and Mt. Waiale’ale is the very wettest place on the entire planet, which is why the Garden Isle is so lush and has so many waterfalls.
A helicopter tour is ideal for vacationers of all types, from honeymooners and those celebrating an anniversary seeking a romantic adventure to families with small children and everyone in between.
Blue Hawaiian Helicopters
Blue Hawaiian offers the latest and greatest when it comes to helicopter adventures. They fly the Eco-Star, a luxury helicopter that’s considered the “Cadillac” of Kauai touring helicopters with lots of room, comfortable seating and large windows to take in sweeping views.
The journey begins with a flight to Hanapepe Valley, a fertile river valley that once housed a community of taro farmers. It continues to Mana Waiapuna, also known as “Jurassic Park Falls,” and up to Olokele Canyon and the magnificent colorful Waimea Canyon, famed as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific” and the home of many hidden waterfalls. Along the Na Pali Coast, you’ll see the Bali Hai Cliffs and the vivid blue waters of Hanalei Bay. If the weather allows, a visit to Mt. Waialeale and the heart of an ancient volcano will also be on the itinerary.
If you visit between December and April, you might just spot humpback whales in the sea below. The pilot may even bring you down for a closer look. Visitors who have joined Blue Hawaiian have often stated that joining this adventure was “the best decision” made during their vacation and it was “well worth the splurge” to see the most picturesque views of Kauai.
Island Helicopters offers a unique waterfall landing tour where you’ll have the chance to land at the internationally known “Jurassic Park Falls,” which was made famous by the Steven Spielberg film. This once in a lifetime experience is a 75 to 85 minute tour available only through Island Helicopters.
Visitors can actually feel the power of these incredible falls, landing just 400 feet from its base. The pilot will then guide you along a jungle path near a stream at the base of the falls where you can take pictures and learn about the interesting history of the area and amazing geologic formations.
The waterfall tour also includes a circle of the island with highlights that include Waimea Canyon, the Mt. Waialeale Crater, the Na Pali Coast, and more. Those who have embarked on this journey have commented, “It was so beautiful and amazing I was moved to tears,” and “an experience that will last in our minds forever… worth every dime.”
Sunday, June 1st, 2014
Golfing on Kauai
The Garden Isle offers a spectacular paradise for all types of vacationers, including honeymooners, families, and golf enthusiasts. While it’s a fairly small island, there is no shortage of places to get lost among breathtaking scenery that includes picturesque beaches and turquoise waters, tropical rainforests and some of the most scenic golf courses on the planet.
A wide diversity of courses is offered on Kauai, designed by some of the most well-known architects, including Jack Nicklaus. Some feature all of the best the island has to offer, including towering waterfalls, emerald colored mountains, dense jungle and rugged ocean cliffs.
The Prince Golf Course
The Prince Golf Course at Hanalei in Princeville is often rated by Golf Digest as the number one course in Hawaii. It also ranks as a top-100 course in the entire nation with the chance to play 18 holes among lush jungle, tropical streams and cascading falls, as well as take in magnificent views of the ocean coastline from 300 feet above.
Designed by Robert Trent Jones, it’s not the incredible scenery that has earned it so many accolades, but the design he created, turning rolling terrain into a links-style golf course that challenges like no other. The par-72 course climbs slopes and twists down hills, requiring only the very best shots.
Princeville Makai Golf Course
An 18-hole round can be played on two of the three 9-hole courses, the Ocean, Lakes and Woods with each offering exceptional views. It was recently renovated by Robert Trent Jones to negotiate the beautiful combination of ocean front bluffs, woodlands and lakes.
Poipu Bay Golf Course
This championship course on the southern end of Kauai offers an idyllic location between the spectacular coastline and emerald mountains, sprawling across 210 acres of tropical flowers and vegetation. The site was originally the home of an ancient Hawaiian village, with its remnants incorporated into the course. Countless golf legends, including Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, have competed here enjoying commanding views of the Pacific as well as Mahualepu, a distant rock formation that appears to be a relaxing giant Hawaiian god, completely submerged, other than his pointed nose.
Puakea Golf Course
Puakea is a local’s favorite and often referred to as one of Hawaii’s best kept golf secrets. It originally opened in 1997 as a 10-hole golf course, hailed as a top ten course in America by Sports Illustrated. Designed by Robin Nelson, today it’s been expanded to 18 holes, taking advantage of the spectacular backdrop of the Ha’upu Mountain Range, famed as the setting for much of the film, “Jurassic Park.”
Pukea offers a fun experience for recreational golfers, while still challenging enough for more advanced players.
Wailua Municipal Golf Course
Known as one of the finest municipal golf courses you’ll find anywhere, this course is also popular with local residents, offering great rates along with Pacific Ocean and mountain views. This 18-hole seaside course includes historic coconut groves and pine trees that can be found throughout the property.
Kukuiolono, or Kuks as the locals call it, offers the very best bargain when it comes to golfing on Kauai. The nine-hole course perched on a hillside can be played for less than $10 a round and offers amazing views of the island’s south and west shores. This is a great course for beginners, originally built as the personal course for sugar king Walter McBride.
Kauai Lagoons Golf Club
This course features the longest stretch of oceanfront golf courses in all of Hawaii. A recent renovation was undertaken with the direction of famed architect and legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus, with the terrain lending itself so well to his vision that he was said to have made just one change to his original design. Kauai Lagoons has received numerous accolades as one of the finest courses throughout the Pacific, now featuring three unique nines for 27 holes of golf on the island’s east shore.
Sunday, May 18th, 2014
Bird Watching on Kauai
The Garden Isle is home to a wide variety of birds with over 80 different species found here, making it a bird lover’s paradise. Many of the species on Kauai are rare and endangered, found nowhere else on the entire planet.
If you’d like to view some of the island’s beautiful birds, here are some of the best spots to do just that.
Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge
The once endangered Nene, or Hawaiian Goose and the state bird of Hawaii, can frequently be seen at Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge on the northernmost point of the island. The Kilauea Lighthouse is also part of this 203-acre refuge which includes spectacular views of the rugged coastline, a seabird sanctuary and a National Marine Life Sanctuary. This is where you’ll find the biggest colony of seabirds across all of the main islands throughout the Hawaiian archipelago.
The protected refuge is a nesting area for many native Hawaiian bird species and is the best place to see numerous seabirds like Great Frigatebirds, Red-footed Boobies and the Laysan Albatross. The magnificent Laysans frequently soar by at eye level, with this refuge one of the few places in the world where one of these glorious birds can be witnesed. Migratory shorebirds like the kōlea can also be seen from August through May.
Kokee State Park
Most of the native forest birds are found above an elevation of 3,000 feet within native forest habitats such as those found at Kokee State Park on the island’s west side, 15 miles north of Kekaha. To see some of the rarest forest birds on earth, hike along the Pihea trail through Alakai Swamp, watching for the crimson colored i’iwi, also known as the Scarlet Hawaiian Honeycreeper. Typically, this area will reveal at least 6 of the 8 endemic bird species including the i’iwi, moa and apapane.
There are miles and miles of hiking trails in the park to explore and watch for rare Hawaiian birds. By stopping in at the Kokee Natural History Museum you can find out more about the local flora and fauna.
Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge
The Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge on the north side of the island was created under the Endangered Species Act to protect five endangered native Hawaiian birds including the Hawaiian goose, the stilt, coot, moorhen and the Hawaiian duck. At least 45 other bird species can also be seen here, including 18 non-native species.
The Nene can often be seen on the grassy areas between the taro patches along the banks of the river. The bird gets its name for the sound, “ney, ney,” that it makes. You might also glimpse the black-crowned night heron, white coots, moorhens, stilts and koloa ducks near the river. The stilt is usually easy to spot with long pink legs that allow it to wade through the taro ponds.
The Hawaiian Moorhen also stands out with its bright red forehead known as the frontal shield. Its neck and head are black, with feathers varying from bluish-black to slate-gray with white under-tail feathers. The Moorhen is a critically endangered species, numbering less than 1,000 birds, living mostly on Kauai and Oahu, including the taro patches of Hanalei where they are frequently seen.
Last Chance to Enter
All good things must come to an end. Our sweepstakes for a free one week stay in our Beachcomber at Hideaway Cove Poipu Beach ends the end of this month. So, if you don’t want to miss out, now is the time to enter. You’ll win a $1260 credit, which can be applied to the accommodation of your choice. So come with a friend or bring several friends and stay in one of our two or three bedrooms. We hope to see you soon at Hideaway. Good luck to everyone.
Friday, May 2nd, 2014
Snorkeling is not only easy to learn, many visitors say that seeing the incredible marine life is the highlight of their vacation on Kauai. The Garden Isle offers numerous snorkeling spots with many located off some of the nicest beaches on the island. From rare species of brilliant colored fish to green sea turtles, squids, rays and more, you’re bound to be entertained for hours in these spectacular waters.
Guests of Hideaway Cove have access to snorkel gear available to rent, including a mask, snorkel, fins, “no fog goop,” and a card that identifies local fish.
If you’ve never been snorkeling before, it’s very simple to learn, but you might feel more comfortable joining a tour with guides that can help you learn the proper technique as well as point out the myriad of marine life that you’ll find below the water’s surface.
For those who go out on their own, keep in mind that where and when you snorkel will make a big difference in the experience. You’ll want to look for calm waters without waves that are protected by reefs. Tropical reefs and corals are where you’ll find the fish. Kauai offers many protected snorkeling areas that are ideal with the reef areas offering an abundance of diverse fish populations. Keep in mind that the water is typically calmer at low tide and in the morning.
Some of the best spots on Kauai to snorkel include:
Snorkeling at Ke’e Beach is like being inside a giant aquarium with the ocean lagoon protected by a reef where a great diversity of fish and other marine life can be seen. This is the last beach accessible by car on the north shore and best utilized during the summer with calmer ocean conditions. It is a popular spot that can get pretty crowded, so you may want to arrive early for a better experience.
Tunnels Beach offers a little more privacy while still teeming with marine life. It’s known as one of the best snorkeling spots on the island due to the undersea rock formations that include a labyrinth of underwater lava tubes. The cove has a shallow inner reef that is ideal for beginners and children, while the more adventurous can swim out further to the outer reef. Either way, snorkelers are practically ensured of spotting dozens and dozens of tropical fish and occasionally even a sea turtle.
The beach itself is very picturesque, and the surrounding area was the setting for the 1958 film, “South Pacific.” It’s best to snorkel here in the summer, as the currents can be quite strong here during the winter, even when the water appears to be safe.
Poipu Beach is a great place for children and beginning snorkelers to learn with its protected, shallow area. The best snorkeling can be found just to the west of the tombolo, a narrow strip of sand running out to Nukumoi Point. This is the only beach on Kauai’s south shore that has lifeguards seven days a week.
Lydgate Beach, located on Kauai’s east shore between Wailua and Lihue is another good spot for novices to learn to snorkel as it includes a lava rock wall that encloses a small lagoon where fish can be seen. There are lots of activities for kids here as well, including an amazing community-built playground.
Salt Pond Beach
Salt Pond Beach on the west shore near Hanapepe offers a crescent shaped cove protected from the waves by an offshore reef. The rock outcropping near the salt ponds are filled with lots of marine life.
Sunday, April 20th, 2014
Kauai is known for its spectacular sights on land that include brilliant gardens and cascading falls, but there is no shortage when it comes to magnificent underwater sights that can be explored by beginning and experienced scuba divers alike.
Just a few of the wonders found in the warm waters of the Garden Isle include reef creatures, arches, pinnacles, caverns and an abundance of tropical fish, with more than 25% of the species occurring nowhere else on the entire planet. You’ll also likely encounter Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles, prolific here as their main food source, algae, is plentiful in the area with Kauai being one of the wettest places in the world.
Most dive operators offer introductory dives for beginners who are not certified. The maximum depth that non-certified divers are allowed to dive is 40 feet, with no more than four non-certified divers for each instructor.
You can get certified while you’re on vacation in Kauai, but you may want to do all of the pool work in addition to learning basic skills, reading the PADI, taking quizzes and tests, etc. at home first so that when you arrive, all you need is your open water dives to complete the certification. Otherwise, you’ll spend a lot of your precious vacation time studying.
If you’re working through the PADI Open Water Diver course online, once you’ve completed all of the segments you can just print the eLearning record and bring it in to Seasport Divers in Koloa, starting your underwater adventure there.
Diving with Seasport Divers
Seasport Divers offers two boat trips off Kauai’s South Shore every day of the year. Boat dives are led by highly trained, experienced guides who take small groups of a maximum of seven certified divers per guide on guided tours. High quality equipment rentals and dive computers are used for all certified divers who are diving from the boat with a video of each dive shot during the excursion.
Morning trips, catered to more experienced divers, meet at 7:30 a.m. in the Poipu shop. These are meant for divers who are totally comfortable in the water and with diving. The afternoon trips meet at 12:45 p.m., also at the Poipu shop, and are for new divers, those who aren’t certified, or divers who are a bit rusty. The pace is slower and the dive sites are more shallow.
One of the popular dive sites here includes Sheraton Caverns which is considered a must for Kauai divers with its ancient lava tubes made up of beautiful archways and overhangs as the home of many Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles as well as large whitemouth moray eels, conger eels and a wide variety of Hawaiian reef fish. Divers also are treated to Brennecke’s Ledge, a lava shelf that extends for several miles parallel to the South Shore with large branches of black coral where you’ll find all types of marine life, including turtles, cowry, octopus as well as an abundance of tropical fish and even a resident white tip reef shark.
Shore diving tours are also available from Koloa Landing which was voted one of the best shore dives throughout the Pacific by Scuba Diving magazine. The site features lots of interesting coral formations and nearly every fish that can be found on a Hawaii fish cart. Hire an experienced dive guide for a tour of Koloa Landing, or get a briefing on the site as well as equipment rentals at the Seasport Divers Poipu shop.
Sunday, April 6th, 2014
When it comes to things to do on Kauai, there are practically an endless number of options, including kid-friendly activities. You’ll have no worries about the kids getting bored on this island paradise that is known for family fun with its easily accessible beaches, paved bike trails and small size that makes it easy to navigate.
Swimming and snorkeling beaches
There are several beaches that offer access to calm waters and are ideal for kids to swim or snorkel, including Poipu Beach Park on the South Shore with its natural ocean wading pool, a shallow bay for swimming and an area for snorkeling. On the North Shore, Anini Beach and Hanalei Bay Beach Park are good options, while Salt Pond Beach Park on the west coast, Lydgate State Park, Kalapaki Beach and Anahola Beach Park on the east coast all offer the opportunity for kids to safely take a dip as well.
Fern Grotto River Boat Tour
The Fern Grotto Boat Tour is a favorite with children and adults. This cruise takes guests through Hawaii’s only navigable river, the Wailua. The waterway winds its way through dense tropical jungle, past rich historic sights and brilliant flora with guides sharing fascinating legends of the river. The final destination is Fern Grotto, a lava rock grotto covered with ferns where performers demonstrate the near perfect acoustics of the cave with their beautiful singing voices.
Luaus are fun for all, even families with young children can enjoy them with dancing and music that can keep everyone entertained for hours. Smith’s Tropical Paradise Luau at the Wailua River on the east coast is especially popular with families, offering the opportunity to start the evening with a tram ride and a tour of the garden.
Other top luaus include the Grand Hyatt Kauai Luau on the oceanfront at Poipu Beach, the Sheraton Kauai Resort’s Surf to Sunset Oceanfront Luau and the Luau Kalamaku at Kilohana Plantation.
Na Aina Kai Botanical Gardens
These beautiful gardens include a children’s garden that features a tropical jungle gym, tree house, maze, Jack and the Bean Stalk Giant and a train ride. There are many beautiful spots to take family pictures too, such as the Wild Forest Garden or the Shower Tree Park and Ka’ula Lagoon.
These gardens lead to picturesque Kaluakai Beach where visitors can relax at the edge of the surf or meet some of the island’s indigenous and exotic birds.
Zipline tours are offered throughout the island, with Outfitters Kauai in Koloa offering several different types, including tours that are suitable for younger children; kids as young as seven years old are able to zip. Their Safari tour includes a two mile kayak trip as well as the chance to take a dip in a pristine, freshwater pool and zip across the forest canopy, taking in the breathtaking views.
Ride the Kauai Coastal Path
The Kauai Coastal Path is a great place for a family bike ride, running along the island’s magnificent shoreline with beautiful views of the ocean. Bike rentals are available at several shops and include a variety of sizes for children aged six through 12; for those with smaller children, trailers that attach to an adult bike can also be rented.
The path is fairly flat and stretches for miles along the coast with humpback whales sometimes seen putting on a show from December through April. Dolphins and turtles often spotted year round, primarily at Kapaa Point.
Of course, this is just a short list of the many activities available for families; horseback riding, dolphin watching, surfing and boogie-board lessons and hiking are just some of the other possibilities.
Wednesday, March 12th, 2014
If you want to enhance your vacation in Kauai, one of the best ways to do so is to get to know the true Aloha spirit by becoming familiar with common customs and proper etiquette in order to connect better with locals. While each of the islands offers a unique beauty of their own, they share the same Aloha spirit which is quite evident when visiting Kauai.
Using the words “aloha” and “mahalo”
Two of the most important words to learn before you travel to Kauai are “aloha” and “mahalo,” which should be used with sincerity. You will hear these words spoken often, and locals appreciate travelers who use them too. Aloha is pronounced “ah lo hah,” and has several meanings. Most visitors will use it to say hello and goodbye. Mahalo is pronounced “muh hah lo,” and means thank you. Use it often!
Respect the environment
Kauai is filled with incredible beauty, and the surrounding waters as well as the land should always be treated with the utmost respect. Never litter and respect all private property by not crossing anyone’s yard to reach the beach. When in the water, do not approach whales, seals or sea turtles as they have no immune system that will protect them against human-transmitted bacteria. By law, visitors are required to keep a 100-yard distance from whales and 15 feet from turtles.
The lei greeting
The lei greeting is a time honored Hawaiian tradition that is also a part of celebrations such as a wedding or graduation. It’s important to avoid removing the lei in front of the person who has given it to you, and it should never be refused. To wear it properly, drape it evenly over the shoulders, across the front and back.
Throughout Hawaii, flip-flops are frequently worn, but here they are referred to as slippers. No matter what type of shoes you wear, always remove them before entering the home of a local resident. To avoid standing out as a poorly dressed tourist, never ever wear black shoes with black socks and shorts.
One of the easiest ways to spot a tourist is the sound of their voice. Natives are usually fairly soft-spoken while visitors tend to be loud which can be viewed as rude and self-centered. If you’d like to connect more with locals, it’s important to avoid asking direct personal questions such as what someone does for a living. Instead, just listen and take time to develop a friendship by getting to know them.
Never honk your horn while driving unless an emergency is imminent. The state even has a law against using it as a greeting or as a way to encourage someone to move who hasn’t reacted fast enough for your liking – this is considered extremely rude. Tourists often speed through residential areas while driving well below the speed limit on roads where there is beautiful scenery. Watch your speed in towns and neighborhoods, and if you’re driving less than the speed limit through scenic routes, allow others to pass.
Immersing yourself in Hawaiian customs and being aware of proper etiquette can help ensure that you’ll experience the ultimate getaway that dreams are made of, and perhaps allow you to make a lifelong friend or two.
Saturday, January 25th, 2014
Experience the Music Scene on Kauai
The Garden Isle may be more laid back as compared to some of the other islands, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to go out and enjoy some great live music. In fact, on Kauai you’ll find a live music scene with a wide range of entertainment that includes everything from traditional and contemporary Hawaiian tunes to jazz and much more.
There are also several different music venues throughout our beautiful island, including restaurants, bars, hotels and resorts, festivals and concert halls.
In Poipu, the Bamboo Bar at Keoki’s Paradise features live contemporary Hawaiian music every night, while Stevenson’s Library at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort offers nightly music at 8 p.m. with the chance to listen to Hawaiian and jazz.
The Point at Sheraton Kauai Resort features everything from rock ‘n roll to more traditional island tunes each night as well as a torch lighting ceremony and a “Surf to Sunset” Luau at beachfront on Friday evenings.
Ilima Terrace at the Grand Hyatt features a variety of different music from slack key guitar to keiki hula. Come before sunset and watch the torch lighting ceremony then stay for the music.
Stevenson’s Bar at the Grand Hyatt has live music many nights. Call the front desk and ask what’s playing that night. The bar also features pool tables and a sushi bar.
Tortilla Republic at Kuku’iula in Poipu has live music many nights of the week and great mexican food. There’s a lively bar downstairs and more subdued dining upstairs.
Every Wednesday evening there is a gourmet farmers market at the Shops at Kuku’iula. What makes this one unique is the wine and beer garden with live music. At five p.m, one of the local chefs does a cooking demonstration, complete with recipes and samples that’s not to be missed.
The Kalaheo Steak House in, you guessed it, Kalaheo features live music on the weekends. Also a great place to dine.
If you venture to the eastside, you’ll find live music seven nights a week at Shutters at the Kauai Beach Resort in Lihue in a beautiful open-air lounge setting that also provides for views of the spectacular island sunsets. Duke’s Barefoot Bar on the sand at the Kauai Marriott in Lihue frequently has local performers entertain guests on the weekend and during happy hour with fantastic Hawaiian music.
Dukes Restaurant, owned by the same company that owns Keokis, is right on the water in Kalapaki Bay and features live music most nights. Try the bar menu downstairs for a quick snack.
In Kapaa, on the first Saturday of every month the Aloha Beach Hotel features “Hot Latin Nights” with live music from 9 p.m. to midnight. Trees Lounge, also in Kapaa, has live entertainment with a variety of various artists as well as open mic nights starting at 7 p.m. every evening.
Up on the North Shore, the St. Regis Princeville Resort offers easy listening piano and guitar music at the St. Regis Bar from 6:30 to 9 p.m., while the Tahiti Nui Restaurant and Lounge in Hanalei features live Hawaiian music, often accompanied by hula from around 6 to 9 p.m. in a cozy, romantic setting. From 9:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., guests can dance to rock ‘n roll. Tahiti Nui was featured in the movie “The Descendants”.
The Mediterranean Gourmet in the Hanalei Colony Resort, not only serves a wide variety of cuisine, but it also frequently serves as a venue for fantastic live music. They’ve featured artists like musician and singer Anjela Rose, who is known for her haunting voice and soft guitar, Kauai Music Festival award winner Sara Thompson, a passionate jazz vocalist.
Of course, Friday nights in the old plantation community of Hanapepe, the Hanapepe Art Night is something that is not-to-be-missed. The town comes alive from 6 to 9 p.m. with a fun and festive atmosphere featuring local works of art, live music and entertainment with local performers, as well as a wide range of delicious cuisine.
For musical entertainment, you might find slack key guitar, solo ukulele, string trios, or something completely different such as Westside Smitty and his rockabilly tunes.
There is no shortage of musical entertainment to enjoy during your Kauai vacation.
Sunday, January 19th, 2014
How an Escape to Kauai Can Improve Your Health
Did you know that just the thought of an upcoming vacation can be beneficial to your health? Picturing a gentle tropical breeze and the sights and sounds of dazzling turquoise waters can instantly bring a smile to anyone’s face, reduce stress and lower blood pressure.
The opportunity to slow down and get away from the chaos of everyday life is likely to leave you feeling refreshed and reenergized and ready to face the world when it’s time to go home. Kauai is known as the best of the best when it comes to an idyllic spot for relaxing, yet you’ll also find outstanding opportunities for hiking and other physical activities to help improve both your physical and emotional health.
Kauai offers a much slower pace of life as compared to the mainland, while here many visitors rediscover what’s really important in life, and bring a more relaxed attitude back home.
Getting away from a fast paced life has the power to melt away stress and fatigue. If you’re feeling frantic and frazzled, take time to de-stress with a holiday on Kauai.
When was the last time you sat back and watched a spectacular sunset, without a care or worry in the world? On the Garden Isle, you can take time to feel the sand between your toes, take in the magnificent scenery and remember what truly living life is all about.
Spending time outdoors in a beautiful place offers a wide range of stress reducing benefits that can support heart health, reduce anxiety and lift away clouds of depression.
By visiting one of the many outstanding spas on the island, you can enhance relaxation even more with a massage or a variety of healing treatments.
Of course with the wide range of opportunities for activities here, Kauai also provides an incredible setting in which to spark inspiration for getting physically fit, or to improve current fitness levels. There are numerous hiking trails that wind throughout the island, with treks suitable for just about every level of fitness. Here, the reward for the effort is often unsurpassed when it comes to breathtaking views.
There is an twelve foot wide oceanside path on the west side of the island (Kapaa), that continues to expand its reach each year. You can walk or bike the mostly flat path, that includes covered picnic pavilions with breath taking views of the ocean. You’ll want to rent a bike with a basket to bring along your picnic lunch and several bike rental shops are located along the path.
Other land activities include bike riding, horseback riding and even yoga on the beach. Of course, taking advantage of the warm waters that surround Kauai is practically a must. There are numerous fun activities that also promote fitness, including kayaking, canoeing, stand-up paddling, surfing, windsurfing, snorkeling, diving and more.
Delicious, nutritious foods
You don’t have to worry about blowing your diet here; there are many delicious and healthy food options on Kauai. Of course you’ll find an abundance of fresh seafood, as well as heavenly fresh fruits like mangos, sugarloaf white pineapples, sunrise and strawberry papaya, rose and mountain apples, rambutan, mangosteens, litchis, guava and more. You’ll also find a number of markets and cafés that specialize in healthy, organic foods. You’ll also find many of these fruits at the farmers markets located around the island
Papaya’s Natural Foods is a family-owned store in Kapaa with a large natural selection. It features an organic salad bar as well as hot entrees, including vegan dishes. Living Foods Market in Poipu offers an expansive selection of organic, sustainable and locally grown produce as well as specialty gourmet foods and organic wine.
Who knew that a vacation could be so good for you?
Sunday, January 5th, 2014
Top 5 Hikes on Kauai
Nearly nine-tenths of the Garden Isle is inaccessible by road, which means getting out and hiking is practically a must for Kauai visitors. The island is filled with natural wonders just waiting to be explored, from the rainforest of Kokee to the hanging valleys of the Na Pali Coast. There are trails to suit just about every age and ability.
The Kalalau Trail is one of the most challenging hikes on Kauai, but also one of the most spectacular. It can be hiked in several different ways. It’s best accomplished early in the day to avoid bumping elbows with others as well as the intense mid-afternoon heat. The trail follows the footsteps of ancient Hawaiians along an 11-mile stretch of coast, originally used by Hawaiians who lived in Kalalau Valley and the surrounding valleys on the Na Pali coast.
The first two miles of the trail of the Kalalau end at Hanakapi’ai Beach. This four mile round trip hike is considered moderate. Do not go in the water at this beach as it is not safe and there have been many drownings. Also, after a period of heavy rain, crossing the stream just prior to the beach should not be attempted. Hikers have been swept out to sea under these conditions. When the stream is calm, hikers can cross and go off the Kalalau an additional two miles to Hanakapi’ai falls. The falls top 100 feet and are breath taking.
If you plan to hike this additional two miles, take a picnic lunch and take a swim in the pool below the falls. These additional two miles are much more difficult than the first two miles of the trail, making the eight mile hike to the falls challenging.
The entire eleven miles of the Kalalau can be done in a day but be prepared. The Sierra Club gives this hike its most difficult rating. You will also need to camp overnight, as there are not many that will be able to do the 22 miles round trip in one day. Camping requires a permit and the campsite is checked by rangers, so be sure and apply for a permit before coming to Kauai.
It is also possible to arrange for a rubber raft to drop you off at the beach at the end of this eleven mile hike. Then you can either have the raft pick you up in a couple of days, or when the raft comes back, gie them your gear and then hike out the eleven miles back to the trail head.
The trail provides the only land access to this breathtaking part of the wild coast. It traverses five valleys, ultimately ending at Kalalau Beach; the trail is almost never level, crossing towering sea cliffs and through lush valleys, dropping to sea level at the beaches of Kalalau and Hanakapi’ai.
Nounou East Sleeping Giant Trail
The Nounou East Trail is often referred to as the Sleeping Giant trail as the shape of the mountain has a profile that appears to be a giant lying down. This 3 ½ mile round trip hike is fairly easy, although it does have a rapid elevation gain of 1,000 feet. The trail ascends through forested mountains and gorgeous views, including of Kapa’a and Waipouli. This is a great hike on a warm, sunny day as the trail is shaded throughout much of the trek.
This trail located in Kokee State Park, is a moderate 8-mile round trip hike that is also known as the Alakai Swamp trail, crossing over bogs on a wooden boardwalk along the swamp. Shortly after the trail begins, hikers are rewarded with incredible inland views that stretch to Mount Waialeale from atop a land bridge that straddles 4,000 feet above the Kalauau Valley and the Alakai Swamp.
The swamp is the highest in the world, with its location susceptible to quick moving weather. On a rare, clear day Wainiha Valley, Hanalei Bay and even the Kilauea Lighthouse can be seen.
Canyon Trail to Waipoo Falls
Kauai is blessed with activities that reap great rewards with just a small effort, and this is one of those. The Waipoo Falls Trail, also in Kokee State Park, is an easy 3.6 mile roundtrip hike that culminates at this magnificent 800-foot waterfall, featuring panoramic views of the canyon and the fragrant scent of an Awapuhi Ginger-lined stream.
The trek also includes views of the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific.” The awe-inspiring canyon features an ever-changing array of colors that are illuminated at sunset. Along the trail you’ll enjoy breathtaking views into the 3,000-foot deep chasm. Be aware that the cliffs along the way have extreme drop-offs, if you’re afraid of heights you may want to rethink this one. Be sure to wear good hiking shoes with lots of traction as the trail can get quite muddy and slippery.
This meandering two mile trail (four miles round trip) gets its name from the many berry bushes along the way. Although there is an easy uphill climb at the beginning, the majority of the trail is level. You’ll also pass through a grove of Sugi Pine trees, which were brought to Kauai forty years ago and planted here.
The Kokee Museum is the place to go for a trail map, that will include Berry Flats. A private non-profit funs the museum, so be sure and make a small donation when you go in. They’re supported entirely by donations and volunteer efforts.