Work and Play in a Visitor's Paradise - Kauai
The island of Kuaui seems to be one of rainbows and unceasing other-worldly colors.
One of the many colorful features of Kuaui is what many call the "Grand Canyon of Hawaii": Walmea Canyon, which has been voted by readers of StoodThere.com as the 13th Greatest Place to Stand in America for photos, especially selfies.
Kauai Island and County, Hawaii
Walmea Canyon lies on the western shore of Kauai, where it was formed long ago by a collapsing volcano and subsequent erosion.
The oldest of all the Hawaiian Islands that all sit atop volcanoes, Kauai features a range of red soils in the canyon, adding to the colorful vegetation set off by the sunlight.
On the southern shore of Kauai is Poipu Beach, perhaps the most entertaining and visitor-friendly part of the island shoreline. While Hawaiian vacations can run into sizable expense, many free activities are found in Poipu. These include
- Tahitian Dance Shows at the Poipu Shopping Village. These are a twice-weekly free production with a variety of dances and colorful costume changes, with friendly dancers. The dancers are also willing to pose for photographs. The shopping center is a popular meeting place and toruist attraction, with friendly staff in all the shops. Many visitors return to Poipu Beach every year.
- The industry of Hawaiian coffee growing, processing, and grading is interesting - and tasty, producing a number of fine, rich coffee blends used in restaurants, coffee shops, and at home. The Kauai Coffee Company in Poipu provides free self-guided tours of their coffee tree estate and free Coffee Tastings in their cafe. Their museum is a treat to visit and a gift shop and coffee store provide a number of fine coffees, snacks, and gift items seven days a week. The company also offers a Coffee of the Month Club for pre-ordering and delivery of several types of coffees.
- Trained volunteers on the beach at Poipu help protect the endangered Hawaiian Monk Seals that live in the waters and on the shore. Yearly, a number of seal pups are born that are especially protected by these well trained volunteers. Visitors can photograph from the beach, but regularly held seminars about the seals are offered at a nearby beachfront hotel.
- National Tropical Botanical Gardens - This is a system of five large gardens in the islands, with one located far away in Florida. Two of the lush gardens are on the south shore of Kauai in or near Poipu and one is on the more rugged north shore. The gardens are operated by an organization that accepts donations and visitors are welcomed.
- Free hiking trails are available in abundance in Poipu and around all the shorelines of the Isaladn of Kuaui. In the northwest sector, hiking is one of the only ways to access that area, including the beach and the State Park. In Pouipu, bikes and cars are permitted.
- Pa'U a Laka (Moir Gardens) in Poipu is an intriguing plantation home that has become a visitor's attraction and local offices. It is built of lava rock, as are the irrigation trenches around the estate that have become pools and flowing water scenes. Koi fish and succulent plants live among the lava rock features.
Koloa Heritage Trail in Poipu
The Poipu area offers enough attractions sites to cover two weeks of vacationtime very easily.
Th Koloa Heritage Trail alone offers the sites of 14 different monuments and can be traveled on foot, by bicycle, or by automobile for its 10-mile length. The trail is free to use, fun for families, and its information and maps are available at 1-888-744-0888.
This trail includes a few of the sights listed above, but also a Sugar Monument, sugar cane being a major crop in Kauai history and kauaui being the site of the first commercial sugar plantation in Hawaii; a temple; the birthplace of a prince; and several other landmarks.
To the North: Na `Aina Kai Botanical Gardens
Kauai is home to more botanial gardens than visitors can count. This one is a set of 13 well maintained gardens in the northern area of the island in Kilauea. The 240 acres are billed as a one-of-a-kind meeting place of native plans, animals, and geography.
A hardwood plantation is a surprise among tropical plants. A canyon is draped with moss and ferns. A grassy green space leads visitors to the beach at the shoreline, and a collection of 70 bronze sculptures create an outdoor art museum. Mazes made from local shrubs and bushes are beautiful.
Na Pali Coast
The western and southern shores of Kauai are not alone in their natural splendor and range of colors. To the northwest is Na Pali Coast State Park with its Kalalau Beach. The northwest coast, however, is much more rugged than the other shorelines of Kauai.
Inside the state park is the lush Kalalau Valley with mountain cliffs along its rim approximately four city blocks high. Below the overlooks is a strip of valley land two miles long and about half a mile wide, making a natural habitat for native plants and animals, with room for hikers along the Kalalau Trail. However, the only access to the craggy coastal area and the valley floor is via small boat, kayak, hiking, or helicopter.
In the last century, Native Hawaiians still lived in the Kalalau Valley and grew taro, the major crop, via terrace farming; but in the latter part of the 20th century, the land became a part of the state park, requiring residents to move. It is an attraction now for native and non-native residents and visitors alike.
Several other "sides" of the island of Kauai offer additional attractions and one you visit the island, you may not want to leave.
Economy on Kauai
Top 10 High Demand Jobs
Agriculture/agronomy is the leading industry on the island when it comes to advertising jobs and needing workers. The leading company in this field is Pioneer Hi-Bred, involved in advanced plant genetics and farm-use seed development. This is hybrid plant development and not the heritage or heirloom seed resource that home gardeners prefer.
- Research Assistants and Associates at Pioneer Hi-Bred (agriculture/food)
- Travel Nurses
- Registered Nurse: Licensed RNs for Clinical Duties
- AT&T Retail Sales Consultants; Salepeople in many companies
- Clinical Assistants
- Registered Nurses (RNs) for the Operating and Emergency Rooms
- Research Assistants in Agronomy
- Financial Advisors
- Shift Supervisors
- Appliance Repair Technicians
Frequently Hiring Companies
- Alaka'ina Foundation Family of Companies: Alaskan Native-owned businesses
- Pioneer Hi-Bred International: This company develops farm crop seeds for 90 countries.
- Hyatt Hotels and Resorts; Marriott Hotels
- Core Medical Group
- Hawaii Pacific Health
- St. Regis Princeville Resort
- Wilcox Memorial Hospital
- Hawaii Behavioral Health
- PPR Travel Nursing
A Local Taro Desert Recipe of Kauai
Hawaiian Taro-Coconut Cake
- 2 cups freshly cooked, peeled, mashed taro
- 2 whole eggs, beaten
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- 1/4 tsp of ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon, or to taste
- 1 cup shredded coconut (fresh grated is best)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 cup Whole or 2% milk
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Confectioners sugar (powdered sugar)
- Preheat the oven to 350° F.
- Cooking spray an 8-inch square or round cake pan.
- In a large bowl, mix mashed taro and melted butter, mashing additionally.
- Pour in the coconut, sugar and beaten eggs. Mix.
- Add cinnamon, nutmeg, milk, and vanilla. Beat well.
- Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 to 60 minutes or until firm to the touch.
- Remove from oven. Cool on a cooling rack.
- Sift confectioners sugar over the top and serve. As an alternative, cooks sometimes prefer to make a cream cheese frosting.
© 2011 Patty Inglish MS