Archive for the ‘Kauai Travel’ Category
Sunday, November 17th, 2013
5 Must-Visit Beaches on Kauai
The Garden Isle is famous for its over 50 miles of magnificent sandy shores, more than any other Hawaiian Island. Not surprisingly, you’ll find all sorts of picturesque beaches, some practically untouched by human development.
Visitors really shouldn’t miss experiencing at least one of these five beaches while on Kauai.
Tunnels Beach, also known as Makua, is found on the north shore. It stretches for two miles from Hanalei Colony Resort to Ha’ena Beach Park, offering unsurpassed scenic beauty as well as some of the best snorkeling on the island during the summer months. A half-moon shaped reef can be found just an eighth of a mile offshore, teeming with all sorts of marine life.
In the winter time, surfers line up on the outside break. Some say the beach gets its name from the divers who have found the deep water caverns, tunnels and arches, while others believe it came from the surfers who were, and remain, impressed by waves that form a perfectly shaped tunnel.
Even if all you do is come to this beach to relax and watch the spectacular sunsets, you’ll leave happy.
Hanalei Bay Beach
Hanalei Bay Beach may be Kauai’s most well-known. It’s even been named the No. 1 beach in America due to its breathtaking beauty. Waterfall laced mountains provide the backdrop for this wide stretch of sand with picture-postcard views from every angle. Locals and tourists come here to surf, swim, walk, or just relax and take in the scene.
Poipu Beach made the list of No. 1 beaches in the U.S.A. for three consecutive years, drawing locals and tourists with its excellent swimming, opportunity to explore tide pools as well as outstanding reefs for snorkeling and diving. A lava-rock jetty protects a sandy-bottom pool, providing an ideal spot for children to swim. This is also a great spot to watch for endangered Hawaiian monk seals.
Inside Polihale State Park lies a remote 3-mile long stretch of sand that is part of Hawaii’s largest beach, the 17-mile long Barking Sands Beach. The bumpy drive down to the westernmost point of Kauai is well worth the reward, including gorgeous views and a tranquil setting that feels completely untouched by humans.
This isn’t a great spot to swim, however, as the beach is unprotected from the ocean with a severe shore break and rip currents that make swimming dangerous. Polihale is one of the best places to enjoy a walk along the sand – you can stroll for miles and miles before you have to turn around.
Kalapaki Beach is considered the best beach on Kauai’s east coast. This is the beachfront at the Kauai Marriott Resort and Beach Club, with its beautiful half-moon of golden opening out to Nawiliwili Bay and the Hoary Head Mountains.
The quarter-mile long bay is partially protected by a jetty, making it safe for swimmers. The waves are good for surfing during a winter swell; windsurfing, bodysurfing and boogie boarding are popular here while surfing lessons, catamaran cruises, kayak tours and sailboat rentals are all available nearby.
Sunday, November 10th, 2013
Have you ever tried to save money on accommodations only to realize that you ended up spending more and getting less out of the experience? Many travelers have found that the nightly rate isn’t the only thing that should be considered when comparing values.
A stay at a hotel generally means that you won’t have access to many of the comforts of home. Craving a frozen exotic drink? You’ll have to go out and find a bar to make it for you without a blender. Would you prefer toasting some bread in the morning for breakfast to get a head start on the day’s activities? You can’t do that either. There is probably no toaster or other standard kitchen appliances, so you’ll not only have to take the time to go out to eat, it’ll cost you more. Have you ever checked into your room, looking forward to enjoying a glass of that good bottle of wine you brought for the occasion? You get the picture. No corkscrew either, which means a trip to the convenience store to pay for yet another bottle opener.
But it’s not just the little things. Going out to a restaurant for every meal really adds up. Of course you’ll probably want to enjoy some of the wonderful eateries available on the island, but paying to dine out for breakfast, lunch and dinner can cost a lot more than what you’ll pay for accommodations each night.
At Hideaway Cove, guests have frequently mentioned what a pleasant surprise it is to have everything they need to make it feel as if they were in a “home away from home.” The kitchen is fully-stocked with supplies including gourmet pots, pans, water and wine glasses, plastic glasses and a water pitcher, cutlery, plates, all of your necessary kitchen gadgets, a dishwasher, detergent, and even things like sweet and low, sugar, and creamer for your coffee.
Of course bath amenities are included too. You’ll find a hairdryer, shower cap, shampoo and conditioner, body lotion, plush towels, face towels, washcloths, and even a shoe cleaning cloth. You don’t even have to go out and buy laundry detergent when it’s time to wash those dirty clothes; we’ve got you covered with Shout, bleach, and even Bounce dryer sheets too.
Guests have also commented on how much they love having free high speed wireless Internet access at no cost. Many hotels charge extra for this, which is something else you should always consider when comparing value. Hideaway Cove guests also have access to our business office 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with the combination provided to a lock box in order to enter when staff is out. A desk with supplies, computer, printer, and fax machine are all available for use.
Not only is Hideaway Cove usually a better value, but it can also significantly enhance any vacation with the ability to come back after a hard day at play on the island and completely relax in comfort. Bonus: There are no doors slamming down the hall all night either!
Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013
Visiting Kilauea Lighthouse is one of the most popular activities for travelers to Kauai. It was recently renamed the Daniel Inouye Lighthouse in honor of the late senator, so you may hear it referred to by either name. Visitors have been coming to Kilauea Point, where the lighthouse has been situated since 1913, in order to enjoy its stunning surrounding beauty and explore the light that served as an important navigational aid for ships that sailed the Orient run.
The lighthouse is part of the 203-acre Kilauea Point National Refuge which includes expansive views of the breathtaking, 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 in the Hawaiian archipelago. Just some of the brilliant and unique birds you might see include:
- Red-footed boobies
- Great frigate birds
- Laysan albatrosses
- Wedge-tailed shearwaters
By visiting Kilauea Lighthouse you’ll have access to an incredible vantage point to view the incredible marine mammals in the area including humpback whales from December to April. The dazzling surrounding waters are also home to Hawaiian monk seals and green turtles year round, while spinner dolphins can sometimes be glimpsed as well.
Explore the visitor center
The Visitor Center sits high atop the bluff above the surging swells of the Pacific at the site of the refuge. Here, travelers can learn about native ecosystems, wildlife and the history of the refuge as well as Hawaii through a number of exhibits.
At the Contact Station, you’ll find more exhibits on the history of Kilauea and Light Station and find the opportunity to view daily videos about the area.
Pick up a “Watchable Wildlife” brochure at the entrance and embark on a self-guided tour along a short ¼ mile walkway enhanced by interpretive panels on the birds as well as marine mammals, native plants and geology.
Borrow a pair of binoculars at the Visitor Center to get a better view all that the area has to offer. Visiting Kilauea Lighthouse is sure to be one of the highlights of your time on Kauai.
What you should know
- There is an entry fee of $5 per person for those 16 years of age and older.
- Pets, food and beverages other than water are prohibited.
- The Visitor Center is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, except on major federal holidays.
- To get there, turn off of the Kuhio Highway at the entrance to the town of Kilauea and follow the signs to the lighthouse.
Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013
Hula dancing is a traditional art of movement with smooth body gestures as well as vocals. The movements are extremely fluid and are said to tell a story with its chants preserving epic tales, myths, history and philosophy. Movements often represent nature, such as fish swimming through the ocean or trees blowing in the wind.
Before westerners arrived, hula was danced to tell stories as well as for social enjoyment. The dancers’ rigorous training was taken quite seriously and was paid for and supported by the ruling class. It has been a part of Hawaiian culture since ancient times, with some believing it began even before there were people living in the islands who are now called Hawaiian – the multiplicity of traditions of its origins may confirm this.
The Hawaiian Goddess Lake is prominently associated with hula and symbolized in hula school, or halau, as a block of lama wood placed on an altar and swathed in yellow kappa. She separated her dancers into two groups, including the Olapa, or Agile ones, representing the younger generation of dancers with more energy, and Ho’o-paa, or Steadfast ones, representing the elders who sang and played musical instruments.
The beginnings of hula
There are many tales that tell the mythic beginnings of hula, with one of the most common featuring Pele and her sister, Hi`iaka. In this story, the dance is born when Pele begs her sisters to dance and sing for her with only Hi`iaka stepping up to perform, dancing using movements that she had practiced with her friend Hopoe. Of course, this is just one of many tales representing the ancient people’s attempts to answer where hula came from with efforts to decide which is correct considered a waste of effort – to some degree all may be the right answer.
Hula dances originate from a series of just six traditional moves with a wide range of interpretations and different ways of using those basic movements to create unique and beautiful performances.
After Captain Cook’s arrival in 1778, several of his crew wrote about the hula performances they had seen. The expedition artist drew a male dancer wearing possibly a kupe’e made from dogs’ teeth that used a single uli uli. The english translation of kupe’e and uli uli needs to be added in parenthesis after each word.) The accounts are said to be the first and only records of hula that were made by outsiders during their first contact with Hawaiians.
In Captain Cook’s journal he wrote, “Their dances are prefaced with a slow, solemn song, in which all the party join, moving their legs, and gently striking their breasts in a manner and with attitudes that are perfectly easy and graceful.”
Missionaries attempt to eradicate hula
Unfortunately, not all foreigners appreciated the dance like Cook. When Protestant missionaries and English settlers arrived in 1820, they believed it dangerously promoted old heathen beliefs and celebrated physical enjoyment.
Hiram Bingham, the leader of the first group of missionaries to introduce Christianity to the islands wrote, “The whole arrangement and process of their old hulas were designed to promote lasciviousness, and of course the practice of them could not flourish in modest communities. They had been interwoven too with their superstitions, and made subservient to the honor of their gods, and their rulers, either living or departed or deified.
The missionaries did the best they could to eradicate hula and were even supported by some of the most powerful rulers who had converted to their religion. Traditionally, men and women wore knee level skirts made of palm leaves as well as flower leis around their arms, lower legs and heads. Prior to 1820, women wore skirts that were much shorter and men simply wore loin cloth. . With the arrival of the missionaries, they were forced to wear a less revealing wardrobe.
Ka`ahumanu, who was the wife of Kamehameha I and regent after he died, was accepted to the church; in 1830, she forbade public hula performances. After her death in 1832, some chiefs ignored the ban but the hula continued to be hidden for many years to come. Public hula performances became regulated in 1851 with a licensing system that required a steep fee for each performance.
Evolution of hula
Through the 19th and 20th centuries under Western influence, hula evolved quite dramatically. In the early 20th century it began to be featured as a tourist spectacle such as in the Kodak Hula Show as well as being seen in Hollywood films. A more traditional hula was still maintained in small circles.
A revived interest in the dance took place in the 1970s, with two main types of Hula performed today, the hula kahiko, or ancient hula, and the hula auana, or modern hula. It still remains an incredibly beautiful dance to watch and perform, with its ancient roots seen in the movements symbolizing nature and all of its contrasts.
Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013
Ziplining is an exhilarating experience that provides the rider with a bird’s eye-view of the Garden Isle and the sensation of flying at speeds of up to 35 miles an hour across the canopy of lush rainforest, streams and valleys. This is a must-do activity for adventure seekers on Kauai with the opportunity to speed down some of the world’s most magnificent courses while taking in the breathtaking scenery.
The island offers a wide range of ziplining opportunities with each outfitter offering a unique aerial perspective of the diverse terrain.
Outfitters Kauai is located in Koloa and offers several different zipline tours including the Nui Nui Loa – “Nui Loa” means big, long, and a lot, while “Nui ” (second Nui deleted) means to enlarge; this latest zipline adventure is aptly named.
The tour allows guests to soaring through jungle valleys, waterfalls and rivers found at famous Kipu Ranch featured in the film, “The Descendants.” Take the “WaterZip” and sail across a mountain stream-fed natural pool where you can let go and jump into the clear, deep waters.
The Safari tour starts with a two-mile kayak journey across the Hule’ia River while listening to tales about ancient Hawaii as well as numerous tropical birds. A hike from the riverbank to swimming holes and waterfalls culminates with a swing into a freshwater pool. Then enjoy a 90+ second zipline tour soaring a quarter of a mile above the wild forest canopy plus two additional zips.
Just Live! is just a few minutes from the airport in Lihue. Now in their tenth year, this company offers a variety of zipline tours like the Wikiwiki tour launching from atop sugar cane fields and zipping past eucalyptus and bamboo, landing in a beautiful Norfolk pine forest.
The Treetop tour was the very first tour of its kind on Kauai, allowing rides to zip from aerial platform to aerial platform like “Tarzan and Jane” and cross canopy bridges in “Raiders of the Lost Ark” style. The ultimate tour is an especially adrenaline-packed adventure combining three ziplines, two sky bridges, a 60-foot rock climbing wall, 60-foot monster swing and 100-foot rappelling tower.
Princeville Ranch in Hanalei offers the popular Zip N’ Dip tour in which you’ll fly across the interior valleys nine times, crossing a suspension bridge that spans a waterfall with the final line, “King Kong” considered one of the island’s most exciting dual lines. It concludes with the opportunity to take a dip in a deep hidden swimming hole that’s fed by a small waterfall as well as the chance to float across the water on inner tubes.
Zipline tours here can also be combined with horseback riding as well as kayaking and hiking through the serene rainforest valley.
Kauai Backcountry Adventures
Kauai Backcountry Adventures in Hanama’ulu has exclusive access to more than 17,000 acres of former plantation lands and features seven ziplines descending a mountainside allowing the rider to glide over the lush tropical forests and deep valleys.
To get there, a guide brings guests via a four-wheel drive adventure vehicle, sharing information on the island’s history and culture as well as flora and fauna. Following the zipline tour, you’ll have the opportunity to take a refreshing dip in a natural swimming pool.
Monday, September 23rd, 2013
If you’ll be traveling to the spectacular Hawaiian Islands, you probably already know that attending a luau is a must. Not only will you have the chance to try a variety of fabulous traditional dishes, but you’ll enjoy it all while taking in a show filled with Hawaiian music and dance. To appreciate the experience that much more, you may want to know a little about the history of this ancient tradition.
Ancient luau practices
The Hawaiian luau dates back to ancient times, but the first recorded Hawaiian luau was held in 1819 by King Kamehameha II and his stepmother, Queen Ka’ahumanu. This event was said to have been the catalyst for the luau that is known in Hawaii today.
In ancient Hawaii, men and women ate their meals apart due to their powerful religious beliefs that only royalty could eat certain delicacies. Women of all ranks and commoners were not allowed to indulge, so men and women ate their meals separately.
There was a fear that women could steal the men’s spirit, known as mana, while they were in the relaxed state induced by the generous feast. Women ate at what was known as the hale aina, or women’s house, while men ate at the hale mua, or men’s house.
The beginning of the modern luau
In 1819, the King enjoyed the feast with women as a symbolic act to end these religious taboos, and the modern luau was born. It is not known why he made this decision, but some feel it may have been due to his recently acquired Christian beliefs. Prior to this date, a Kauai luau, or any throughout the Hawaiian Islands, as it is held today would have been punishable by death under the ancient Hawaiian law that was governed by the kapu system.
The word for this celebration, “luau,” comes from the favorite traditional dish at these feasts. Taro leaves that are blended with chicken and baked in coconut milk are known as luau – today, this dish is called “luau chicken.”
The traditional feast was eaten on the floor where Lauhala mats were rolled out with a magnificent centerpiece made from Ti leaves, native flowers and ferns that was about 3-feet wide laid across the mat. Some of the foods included the traditional pig roasted in an underground oven, or imu, bowls filled with poi (pounded taro root ground to a consistency almost like pudding), dried fish, salted meats, sweet potatoes and a variety of fresh fruit – all put onto the Ti leaves.
Hawaiians ate all of these wonderful foods with their fingers, which is how poi got its name. Poi of various consistencies was known for the number of fingers required to eat it such as three finger, two finger, or the thickest – one finger poi.
Luaus weren’t held as part of a regular meal but as a large feast with great numbers of people invited. Royal luaus were held on a massive scale. In 1847, King Kamehameha III threw a luau that was said to have included nearly 500 large bowls of poi, thousands of taro plants, more than 2,200 coconuts, over 3,000 salt fish and almost 2,000 fresh fish as well as 271 pigs and a host of local fruits and other fine foods.
King Kalakau was known as the Merry Monarch due to his love of the celebration with over 1,500 people invited to his 50th birthday party – fed in three different shifts of 500 guests served in each.
Luaus today are not as big as they were back then, and utensils are allowed, but they are just as fun and a fantastic way to learn more about Hawaiian culture.
Sunday, September 15th, 2013
For more than 80 years, Hawaiian Airlines has stood proud as one of the oldest airlines in the world, representing the culture and spirit of Hawaii.
Hawaii’s largest airline began with its inaugural flight back on November 11, 1929 when it was known as Inter-Island Airways. This was the very first scheduled air service in Hawaii, with the initial flight taking off from John Rodgers Airport in Honolulu to Hilo making stops on Molokai and Maui.
On this fall day more than eight decades ago, there were thousands of people who attended the occasion, including Territorial Governor Lawrence M. Judd and his daughter Betty. So began the legacy of Hawaiian Airlines as the official scheduled air carrier. From its inaugural flight to Hilo and one to Kauai, it has expanded today to serve 20 domestic and international destinations in the Pacific, specializing in air transportation throughout the Hawaiian Islands as well as taking visitors to Hawaii from the Western United States and the South Pacific.
Hawaiian Airlines early years
Its fleet began with just two eight-passenger Sikorsky S-38 amphibian planes and three round trips each week between Honolulu, Maui and The Big Island. As aviation technology advanced, the airline followed suit by adding the 16-passenger Sikorsky S-43s in 1935 to keep up with increasing traffic as well as the recently authorized inter-island airmail service.
It was in 1941 that the airline became Hawaiian Airlines as well as introducing the 24-passenger DC-3 into its fleet which became the backbone of the airline for many years. It was an essential “workhorse” during World War II when all inter-island traffic came under the control of the military – it provided a much-needed lifeline to Hawaii’s Neighbor Islands during the war.
In the 1960s, commercial jet service helped to increase air traffic to and from Hawaii, with the airline growing to meet the needs of the expanding tourist industry as well as for local residents. In 1966, the McDonnell Douglas DC-9 was brought in as the first pure jet interisland aircraft, becoming a mainstay of the interisland fleet then and today.
Worldwide services began in the 1980s with scheduled service to American Samoa, Pago Pago and Nuku’alofa, Tonga followed by daily flights between the west coast of the mainland to Hawaii as well as flights to and from Western Samoa and the South Pacific.
Hawaiian Airlines today
Hawaiian Airlines is frequently rated on a number of “Top Ten Best” lists for U.S. airlines and is also considered one of the safest in the world. It continues to build an unbroken 79-year safety record, transporting over 145 million passengers to date.
It is the only airline providing single-carrier service from the western states of the mainland and the South Pacific to the Hawaiian Islands. The airline carries an average of six million passengers each year and offers nonstop service to Hawaii from more mainland U.S. cities than any other. It also provides more than 200 jet flights each day among the Hawaiian Islands as well as service to Australia, The Philippines, Tahiti, Korea and Japan.
Monday, September 9th, 2013
The warm tropical waters and ideal breaking waves that surround the Hawaiian Islands make Hawaii a true surfing paradise. This ancient sport is deeply rooted in Hawaiian culture with surfers arriving from all corners of the globe to test themselves on the large and challenging waves found throughout Hawaii.
While no one knows for sure exactly when, where and who first tried surfing, it was likely attempted first in the Society Islands but later really took hold in the Hawaiian Islands. When Captain Cook landed on Hawaii in 1778, he documented some of the earliest written records that describe surfing, although ancient Polynesians had been surfing for hundreds of years prior to his observance. Hieroglyphics on lava rocks that depict people on surfboards have been found in Hawaii dating back over 500 years – although Hawaiians were likely surfing many centuries before that.
Surfing in Hawaiian culture
Surfers today typically consider surfing to be just a sport, but to ancient Hawaiians, surfing was considered to be part sport and part religion as a significant part of Hawaiian culture.
Surfing was even part of the Kapu system of government on the islands which helped to maintain a sense of order as well as societal classes. Surfboards used were divided into classes by the type of wood utilized as well as the length of the board with the largest and heaviest dedicated only for Hawaiian royalty.
The ruling class, or ali’I, used boards that were 14 to 16 feet long and carved out of the buoyant wood of the wiliwili tree, weighing as much as 175 pounds; this massive surfboard was called an olo and used only by the most exceptional surfers.
Surfing competitions were held to settle disputes including social standing, land ownership and even “who got the girl.” In order to maintain a high standing within the community, the island chief had to be the very best surfer, constantly testing his strength and skill in the waves in order to avoid being ousted by someone better.
In the early part of the 19th century, English settlers arrived on the islands and attempted to take control over the people, prohibiting many traditional practices nearly driving surfing practically to extinction. Hawaiian people endured years of oppression until social reform began at the start of the 20th century and a group of native Hawaiians revived surfing. Its resurgence continued and visitors who arrived enjoyed watching the sport with it eventually finding its way back to the mainland.
Surfing on the mainland
One documented story, according to Santa Cruz, California historian Geoff Dunn, is that three Hawaiian princes, Jonah Kuhio Kalaniana’ole, David Kawananakoa and Edward Keliiahonui visited family friends in Santa Cruz during their summer break from St. Matthew’s Hall, a military school for boys that they attended in San Mateo, in 1885. They were said to have ordered 15-foot, 100 pound surfboards carved from local redwood and paddled out at the river mouth where a large wave was said to have historically broke.
The royal family of Hawaii boosted this claim just a few years ago when they honored the princes who first introduced surfing on the mainland by giving the city a bronze plaque commemorating the event.
Today, surfing is one of the most popular sports along the California coast, although Hawaii is considered to be the ultimate surfer’s paradise, drawing enthusiasts from all over the world to enjoy some of the best surfing the sea has to offer.
Sunday, September 1st, 2013
Hanapepe bills itself as the “biggest little town” on Kauai, and on Friday nights from 6.p.m to 9 p.m. it really comes alive with a fun and festive atmosphere featuring local works of art, live music and entertainment with local performers, as well as a wide variety of fantastic cuisine.
This charming historic town that is home to more art galleries than any other spot on Kauai was the inspiration for the Disney film, “Lilo & Stitch,” giving visitors the chance to embark on a journey into an era that is long gone in most places. On Fridays, sculptors and craftsmen keep their galleries open late and many local artists arrive to set up kiosks to display their work while local performers play Hawaiian music and other tunes in the streets.
Why should you attend Hanapepe Art Night?
There is an amazing variety of tasty and affordable food to be found on Friday nights in Hanapepe. Mele’s Kusina offers local favorites for just $7 a plate such as the Longanisa Plate with homemade vinegar pork sausage deep fried to a juicy golden brown and served with two scoops of rice and potato salad.
You’ll also find roadside truck vendors like the Monster Taco Truck and the Silver Elephant with Thai food. Little Fish Coffee not only offers coffee, but some of the best shaved ice on the island.
Many come to Hanapepe on Friday night just for the pie; the “Right Slice” offers heavenly slices of to-die-for pies. Bobbie’s is known for some of the best Hawaiian barbecue on the island and delicious plates including Korean fried chicken, kalbi short ribs, breaded mahi mahi, teriyaki beef, Spam, loco moco and much more.
The musical entertainment here features everything from string trios to solo ukulele to slack key guitar and more. Westside Smitty is a favorite, belting out rockabilly tunes with a guitar slung in front and a harmonica propped near his mouth – you can’t miss him. He plays well-known ballads as well as outstanding original songs such as “Kekaha Rooster” and can often be found in front of the Storybook Theater or the Talk Story Book Store.
Of course the main feature of Hanapepe Art Night is the art! Located across from the Monster Tacos truck and the Talk Story Bookstore, Amy-Lauren’s Gallery is a favorite of many. Her collection is considered a “must-see,” featuring some of the most unique originals that showcase local artists.
Camille Fontaine is just one of the artists with works found here; she is the daughter of the famed local artist, James Doyle as well as the half-sister of the gallery owner, Amy-Lauren Jones. Her paintings are often comprised of vibrant colors complemented by an impressionist style similar to her father’s. Gallery manager Michael Sieradzki notes her work is like “Van Gogh with a twist of Mardis Gras.”
Friday nights in Hanapepe will also give visitors the chance to meet with some of these wonderful local artists and gallery owners. Don’t miss it!
Monday, August 26th, 2013
The Koloa Heritage Trail is a self-guided 10-mile walk, bike ride or drive that will take you to some of the Poipu and Koloa region’s most significant cultural, historical and geological sites. Along the way you’ll find informative plagues describing the importance of each of the 14 spots.
This is a pleasant walk on fairly flat terrain, making it doable for most all ages and fitness levels.
Spouting Horn Park is home to the awe-inspiring Spouting Horn blowhole. This is one of the most photographed spots on the island. Here the water rushes into the narrow opening of a natural lava tube, releasing a huge spout of water as the ocean swells. The hissing and roaring sound gave birth to a Hawaiian legend of a lizard that was caught in the lava tube. It is said to be the lizard’s roar and her breath that sprays from the blowhole.
Next you’ll see the site of Prince Kuhio’s birth. Prince Kuhio Kalanianaole was the last royal heir to the throne and as a delegate to Congress he worked diligently for the rights of native Hawaiians. The foundation of his royal home remains can be found here at Prince Kuhio Birthplace & Park.
The third spot, Hanakaape Bay & Koloa Landing, was the site where as many as 60 ships were anchored each year during Hawaii’s 19th century whaling boom. At Moir Gardens you’ll see what began as a hobby garden and was transformed into one of the best in the world of its kind, featuring water lilly-filled rock ponds, orchid, a variety of cactus and more.
Just east at stop number five, the ancient temple that once stood here, Kihahouna Heiau was dedicated to several Hawaiian gods, including Kane the god of creation. The temple was 130 feet by 90feet and today, three hala-lihilihi-ula trees mark the heiau perimeter.
Poipu Beach Park is a popular attraction with the opportunity to see the endangered native Hawaiian monk seal as well as Green sea turtles. From December through April, this is also a good spot to view majestic humpback whales.
Keoneloa Bay is the home to some of the island’s oldest occupied sites, dating back to 200-600 AD. At stop number 8 you’ll come to the Makawehi & Pa’a Dunes and one that many feel is a highlight on the trail. The sand dunes are made up of fossilized bird bones, plant roots, crab claws and other substances. You’ll find many birds nesting and roosting here, especially from March to November.
Next, the Pu’uwanawana Volcanic Cone is one of the younger cones that make up the 5-million-year-old island. Number 10, Hapa Road was utilized as a supply and emergency evacuation route during World War II and there is also evidence that Hawaiians have lived in the area since 1200 AD. The Koloa Jodo Mission is a Buddhist Temple built in 1910, providing Japanese immigrants a place to worship, study their language, learn martial arts and take part in social events.
Finally, the Sugar Monument commemorates Hawaii’s first sugar mill, opened here in 1835 and just across the street is the Yammamoto Store & Koloa Hotel which was a booming establishment during the region’s sugar-plantation area. The last stop, number 14, is the Koloa Missionary Church, the first congregational church in Kauai and part of a homestead once owned by medical missionary Dr. James W. Smith.