Archive for the ‘Kauai Travel’ Category

The Most Visited Attraction on Kauai

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.
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The History of the Hula in Hawaii

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.

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Ziplining on Kauai: Top Outfitters on the Island for this Thrilling Activity

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

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!

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

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.

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History of the Luau

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.

en57The 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 feast

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.

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Hawaiian Airlines – Hawaii’s Own

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.

en55Hawaiian 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.

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The History of Surfing in Hawaii

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.

en51Surfing 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.

Near extinction

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.

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Top 3 Reasons Attending Hanapepe Art Night is a Must While Visiting Kauai

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?

en46The Food

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 Music

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.

The Art

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!

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Koloa Heritage Trail: More than Just an Oceanside Walk

Monday, August 26th, 2013

en45The 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.

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The Unique “Royalty” Three Bedroom, Three Bath With Two Master Suites

Monday, August 26th, 2013

en42It’s not often that you see a three bedroom, three bath accommodation with two master suites.  The Royalty at Hideaway Cove Poipu Beach is one of those times.  Not only does each master suite have its own Jacuzzi tub, one of the master suites has a kitchenette and own private entrance.  This is an ideal location for three couples traveling together.  Or how about bring mom and dad (they stay in the master suite with the private entrance) the kids (if you have more than two we’ll provide an aero bed) are in the second bedroom and mom and dad are in the other master suite with the huge Jacuzzi tub for two.  Enjoy a fifty inch HDTV in the living room and HDTVs in all three bedrooms.  The dining table seats eight or enjoy your meals alfresco on the outdoor dining table with umbrella.  This is a single story accommodation, so there is no one above or below you.  Enjoy the solitude!

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5 Reasons to Choose Kauai over the Other Hawaiian Islands

Sunday, August 18th, 2013

If you’re planning a trip to the Hawaiian Islands for the first time, you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed as to which island, or islands, to vacation on.  Consider that the Garden Isle has a habit of stealing travelers from other islands once they’ve discovered it.

With 97 percent of Kauai undeveloped, it’s filled with incredible scenic beauty sans the skyscrapers. The island has frequently been named the very best in the world to visit, including Travel and Leisure magazine with “World’s Best” recognitions chosen by their readers.

Here are just five of the reasons to choose Kauai over the other islands to help make that decision a little easier.

The only island with a navigable river

The Garden isle is the only one of the Hawaiian Islands with a navigable river. Join experienced guides who bring paddlers by canoe or kayak on the Wailua River that meanders through lush, tropical jungle filled with waterfalls and large rocks with ancient petroglyph carvings.

en40Surfing

Many travelers visit the islands expecting to try their hand at surfing, forgetting that the surf throughout Hawaii can be rough. In Kauai, beginners will find Kalapaki Beach at the Nawiliwili Harbor ideal with its shallow left and right sandbar break.

Experienced surfers can also find a great spot with the challenging waves at Hanalei Bay or Lawai Beach, depending on the time of year.

The most beaches

Choose Kauai for its over 50 miles of picturesque sandy shores, more than any other Hawaiian Island. It’s also home to a beach that was named the best in the entire nation, Hanalei Bay Beach Park. With a long, crescent-shaped beach that is remote, pristine and left untouched by development, many refer to it as “heaven on earth.”

Hiking the Na Pali Coast and Waimea Canyon

Another reason to choose Kauai is the incredible opportunities for hiking. Na Pali coast can only be accessed by hiking, sea or air tours, decreasing the odds for bumping elbows with others on its 45 miles of trails. Wander through rainforests, past scenic falls and up to mountain peaks.

Trails bring hikers to 4,000-foot cliffs towering over the Pacific as well as into Waimea Canyon via the Waipoo Falls Trail. Visiting this “Grand Canyon of the Pacific” is only possible on Kauai. The magnificent canyon features an ever-changing array of colors that are illuminated at sunset.

Botanical Gardens

Choose Kauai for its botanical gardens with three of four botanical gardens in Hawaii found here. Stroll through a brilliant landscape of flowers and lush vegetation, featuring an unparalleled diversity of native and exotic plants.

Discover towering palm trees skyrocketing 60 feet in the sky as well as bronze sculptures and tropical flora at Na Aina Kai with its fairy-tale book-like setting or walk through Allerton Gardens with its expansive ocean views and stunning landscape that includes the giant Moreton Figs made famous in the film “Jurassic Park.” Hollywood chose the location to film several scenes in “Pirates of the Caribbean on Stranger Tides.”

It’s no wonder that so many choose Kauai. Are you ready to pack your bags?

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