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Kauai: Mahalo

Updated on January 29, 2014

Honu, Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle

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Hawaiian Monk Seal
Hawaiian Monk Seal | Source
Without a Care in the World, Playing at Poipo Beach
Without a Care in the World, Playing at Poipo Beach | Source

Poipo Beach

A few miles down the road from our condo is the beautiful Poipo Beach. It is an amazing place to swim with the family in a naturally protected environment. You can enjoy snorkeling in places that are only a few feet deep, allowing your younger children to hone their skills alongside of you. While we were there we saw a Honu or Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle on the beach and swimming in the reef area.

We were also able to see the endangered Monk Seal on the beach. The Monk Seal is one of the most endangered mammals in the world and is endemic to Hawaii. Today, there are known to be under 1100. A team of people is in place for the protection of these creatures and they put up a barrier that looked like crime scene tape to keep people from approaching too closely.

Prince Kuhio Monument at Prince Kuhio Park

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Prince Kuhio was the last heir to the Hawaiian royal throne. As a territorial delegate to Congress, he pushed for the rights of Native Hawaiians by helping to pass the first Hawaiian Statehood Act in 1919 and later the Hawaiian Homes act, which set aside 200,000 acres of land for Hawaiian homesteaders.

Prince Kuhio Park

Rules and Regulations
Rules and Regulations | Source
Sacred Stone at Prince Kuhio Park
Sacred Stone at Prince Kuhio Park | Source


This park borders the Prince Kuhio Resort, where we stayed. It was a pleasant place to look at birds in the morning and evening. I found Nutmeg Manikins, Brazilian Red Crested Cardinals, Pacific Golden Plovers, Shamas, Zebra Doves, Finches, Sparrows and many Chickens and Roosters. The Roosters enjoy crowing at any time of day, but particularly around 4 in the morning.

I was careful to observe the Park rules which include not sitting on the lava rock walls and touching the sacred stones.

I wasn't able to find out about this particular stone. It was on the far side of the main portion of the park in a garden area with several other stones of significance. I do know that the stones often commemorate places of birth or other special events. Sometimes they are held to have special healing powers or may be a touch point with the land where it is located.


Salt Pond Country Store, Hanapepe

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The Salt Pond at Hanapepe

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Heading West, toward the Waimea Canyon, we stopped at the Salt Ponds and the Salt Pond Country Store. It is a nice place to go for a snack before heading into the Canyon or after a day, swimming at the Salt Pond Beach Park. The marsh next door is a great place for endangered wetland birds such as the Hawaiian Duck, Coot, Stilt and Gallinule

I was fascinated by the Salt Ponds and the traditional salt making methods used there and will link you to a video that explains the process in detail. Culturally, it is not acceptable to sell the salt from the flats which only 17-26 families are allowed to process. The rights are passed down from one generation to the next. The salt may only be used by the families, given as a gift or bartered. The manager of our condo at Prince Kuhio Condos was kind enough to give me a small amount of the sea salt he had been given by friends, as well as a small amount from the forbidden island of Niihau.

Great video on Salt Processing at Hanapepe Salt Pond

The Manager and his son at Prince Kuhio Condominiums

The manager was so kind to share some salt from the Hanapepe Salt Ponds as well as the forbidden island of Niihau.
The manager was so kind to share some salt from the Hanapepe Salt Ponds as well as the forbidden island of Niihau. | Source

Waimea Canyon State Park

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Apapane, Endemic bird in Koke-e Forest, Kauai

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We continued our trip with a visit to Waimea Canyon and Koke'e State Park. It was pouring rain by the time we got to the viewing areas, thus the wikipedia and Flicker photos. Waimea Canyon is known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. It is 10 miles long and 3,000 feet deep. At the far side is the Koke'e Natural History Museum and Koke'e State Park. The Museum staff will help you with the 45 miles of trails in the Koke'e forest.


There are some beautiful hiking trails as well as some grueling trails down the Pihea Ridge and the Alaka'i swamp where you can find many of Kauai's endemic bird species. I was lucky enough to see the endemic red, black and white bird called the Apapane along the road sipping nectar from the flowering trees as well as Erckel's Francolin walking along the side of the main road.

Lighthouse at Kilauea Point Wildlife Refuge

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Kilauea Point Wildlife Refuge

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Hawaiian Goose (Nene)Sign for Kilauea LighthouseKilauea Point LighthouseNesting site for Red Footed Boobies on the cliffs across from Kilauea LighthouseNesting Hole for Wedge tailed Shearwater
Hawaiian Goose (Nene)
Hawaiian Goose (Nene) | Source
Sign for Kilauea Lighthouse
Sign for Kilauea Lighthouse | Source
Kilauea Point Lighthouse
Kilauea Point Lighthouse | Source
Nesting site for Red Footed Boobies on the cliffs across from Kilauea Lighthouse
Nesting site for Red Footed Boobies on the cliffs across from Kilauea Lighthouse | Source
Nesting Hole for Wedge tailed Shearwater
Nesting Hole for Wedge tailed Shearwater | Source

Seabirds of Kilauea Point Wildlife Refuge

One of the great places to view Kauai's Seabirds is at the Kilauea Point Wildlife Refuge. Thousands of Red Footed Boobies nest on the cliffs across from the lighthouse. We were also able to see the Laysan Albatross, Great Frigate birds and White Tailed Tropic Birds gliding in the currents. In the water Humpback whales jumped and spouted. On land the endangered Hawaiian Goose (NeNe) allowed some great close-up photos. The Wedge Tailed Shearwater nests on land around the refuge, making holes in the dirt for their nests.

Kiahuna Plantation Resort and Moir Gardens

Moir Gardens
Moir Gardens | Source

Moir Gardens

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Water LilliesKoi PondBrazilian Red Crested CardinalsJuvenile Black Crowned HeronHibiscusBlack Crowned Night HeronTropical Flower, Moir GardensBridal PartySmelling the orchidsHerb Garden behind Plantation Gardens Restaurant
Water Lillies
Water Lillies | Source
Koi Pond
Koi Pond | Source
Brazilian Red Crested Cardinals
Brazilian Red Crested Cardinals | Source
Juvenile Black Crowned Heron
Juvenile Black Crowned Heron | Source
Hibiscus
Hibiscus | Source
Black Crowned Night Heron
Black Crowned Night Heron | Source
Tropical Flower, Moir Gardens
Tropical Flower, Moir Gardens | Source
Bridal Party
Bridal Party | Source
Smelling the orchids
Smelling the orchids | Source
Herb Garden behind Plantation Gardens Restaurant
Herb Garden behind Plantation Gardens Restaurant | Source


The Kiahuna Plantation was the home of the manager of the first sugar plantation in Hawaii in Koloa. It was later purchased by the Moir family, who built the beautiful orchid and cactus gardens surrounding the estate. Currently the home has been restored and serves as a restaurant. The location is stunning and is often used for wedding ceremonies. We saw a bridal party the day we visited taking wedding photos.

The plantation was free to visit and satisfied my desire to see birds and my husband's desire to see orchids. There was an abundance of both. I added the Black Crowned Night Heron to my bird list and also saw a juvenile Black Crowned Night Heron. Jim Denny helped me identify the juvenile correctly. The Koi ponds and Lilly pad ponds were stunning and provided a backdrop for my Heron photos.

Poipo Shopping Village

Eating a Puka Dog, Yummy.
Eating a Puka Dog, Yummy. | Source

Eating a Puka Dog

We stopped at Poipo Shopping Village and had a Puka Dog for lunch. The first time we tried to eat there, a line had formed to the door. This time we were the first in line and four couples followed behind. A puka dog is made of a Hawaiian roll with a hole down the center. The dog or Polish sausage is placed inside. You then choose between tropical relishes like mango or pineapple, a secret sauce in mild, medium or hot and mustard. All of this is squirted into the inside with a pump. They taste terrific. There are also a variety of great shops at the village, ranging from low priced souvenirs, clothing boutiques, restaurants and top of the line jewelry.

Fresh Papaya

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Sunshine Markets

Sonshine markets are open Monday through Saturday in different areas of the island each day of the week. Vendors bring their fresh Kauai agricultural products including fruits, vegetables, nuts, honey, flowers and sometimes fish to the market. The event usually is open for about 2 hours. It is normally fresh picked in the morning. We bought some great papayas, avocados, and rambutan.

Wailua Falls
Wailua Falls | Source
The Coconut Man
The Coconut Man | Source

Wailua Falls

A visit to Kauai would not be complete without a visit to some waterfalls. There are at least seven, some of which can best be seen by a helicopter tour. We chose to visit Wailua, which can be reached easily by car. When you arrive at the first lookout you will hear some thundering in the distance and wonder what you were supposed to see, Drive a mile or so further down the road. You will be greeted by a beautiful double fall cascading into a pool. There is limited parking, so pick a day when you don't expect big crowds.

If you are there at the right time, you will also meet the Coconut Man, who makes beautiful palm frond baskets. I couldn't resist purchasing one.

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Orchid Alley

We visited Orchid Alley in Kapa'a. This is one of the only retail shops for orchids in Kauai. Fely Sams has been running the shop for about 18 years while her husband tends to growing the orchids. She was very helpful and willing to chat with us about her work. The shop has a gallery in the back with some beautiful artwork. My husband bought two plants and had them packaged to bring home on the plane. They also are able to ship them to your home.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Niihau LeiRiding the wave with the big "Cat"hunaSunrise ShellsCoral Jewelry
Niihau Lei
Niihau Lei | Source
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Riding the wave with the big "Cat"huna
Riding the wave with the big "Cat"huna | Source
Sunrise Shells
Sunrise Shells | Source
Coral Jewelry
Coral Jewelry | Source

Hawaiian Trading Shop in Koloa

Another fascinating shop was the Hawaiian Trading Shop in Koloa. It was a wonderful mix of traditional tourist items on the right and classy traditional Hawaiian cultural items on the left. I purchased from the right side and put the Niihau leis on the left on my wish list. This shop is unassuming on the outside. It has photo ops for tourists, including a surfboard and wave with a delightful shop cat that loves being a part of the action. The left side of the shop is gorgeous inside with glass cased displays that invite rather than threaten. Thank you to Liz for permission to use the photos and the employees who made us feel right at home trying on expensive jewlry. This is one store where you may buy original Niihau leis, black pearls, coral jewelry and sunrise shells.

Spouting Horn

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Spouting Horn

Spouting Horn is located in the Koloa area across from the National Tropical Botanical Gardens. The crashing waves in the area cause erosion of the lava rock creating tubes in the rock. Every time a wave crashes in, this particular tube spouts up to 50 feet in the air.

Legend has it that there was a great lizard (Mo'o) that guarded this part of the island and chased fishermen and swimmers from the area. A man named Liko challenged the Lizard to a battle. During the battle he propped the Lizard's mouth open with a large stick and jumped into the water. When the Lizard chased him, Liko swam into a Lava tube and escaped while the Lizard got stuck. That is why you hear a hissing or low moaning sound when the horn spouts.

Luau at Smith's Family Garden in Wailua

Kalua Pig and Rice Pudding roast in Imu Oven
Kalua Pig and Rice Pudding roast in Imu Oven | Source
Show featuring dances of the different ethnic groups in Hawaii.
Show featuring dances of the different ethnic groups in Hawaii. | Source
Practicing the Hula
Practicing the Hula

You can't leave Kauai without attending a Luau and the Smith family knows how to put it all together. Arrival time is 5 p.m. when you can take a tram tour or stroll around 30 acres of gardens. Buy some bird feed. The zebra doves and chickens will eat out of your hands if you are patient. Mr. Smith claims that anyone who can catch a chicken can take it home. At 6 is the Imu ceremony where the pig is taken out of the earthen oven. At 6:15 it is time for Mai Tais, beer, wine or soft drinks and Hawaiian music.The feast starts at 6:30 and the Aloha show at 8 p.m. The show includes dancing, drums, music, fire and erupting volcanoes. It is a great theatrical production with live music and a fine way to bid Aloha to the island of Kauai.

Aloha, Mahalo

Goodbye, Thank you.
Goodbye, Thank you. | Source

I would love to hear your comments regarding the beautiful island of Kauai, including any special places you have been. To comment, please scroll to the bottom of the page.

Kauai

A
Kilauea Light House and Wild Life Refuge, Hawaii ‎:
3500 Kilauea Rd, Kilauea, HI 96754

get directions

B
Koke'e Natural History Museum:
Koke'e Natural History Museum, 3600 Koke'e Road, Kekaha, HI 96752, USA

get directions

C
Hawaiian Trading Post 3425 Koloa Rd Lawai, HI 96741:
Lawai, HI, USA

get directions

D
Prince Kuhio Condominiums 5061 Lawai Rd, Koloa, HI ‎:
5061 Lawai Road, Koloa, HI 96756, USA

get directions

E
Smith's Garden Luau 3-5971 Kuhio Highway Kapaa, HI 96746:
Smith's Garden Luau, 3-5971 Kuhio Hwy, Kapaa, HI 96746

get directions

F
Wailua Falls Maalo Rd, off Hwy 580, Lihue, Kauai, HI:
Lihue, HI 96766, USA

get directions

G
Waimea Canyon, Waimea Canyon Dr, Waimea, HI 96796:
Waimea Canyon State Park, Waimea Canyon Dr, Waimea, HI 96796, USA

get directions

H
Plantation Gardens 2253 Poipu Road, Poipu, Kauai, HI 96756 (Koloa):
Plantation Gardens, 2253 Poipu Road, Koloa, HI 96756, USA

get directions

I
Salt Pond Beach Park Lokokai Road, Hanapepe, West Kauai:
Kauai, Hawaii, USA

get directions

J
Poipu Shopping Village Kiahuna Plantation Drive, 2360 Kiahuna Plantation Dr, Poipu, HI 96756:
2360 Kiahuna Plantation Drive, Poipu Shopping Village, Koloa, HI 96756, USA

get directions

Kauai

A
Prince Kuhio Park Koloa, HI 96756:
Prince Kuhio Park, Koloa, HI 96756, USA

get directions

B
4-1383 Kuhio Highway Kapa'a, HI 96746:
4-1383 Kuhio Highway, Kapaa, HI 96746, USA

get directions

Orchid Alley

C
Poipo Beach State Park, Kauai:
Poipu Beach, Hawaii 96756, USA

get directions

D
Spouting Horn Lawai Rd Koloa, HI 96756:
Spouting Horn Park, Lawai Road, HI 96756, USA

get directions

From Kaui with Love

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    • Lenzy profile imageAUTHOR

      Lenzy 

      4 years ago from Arlington, Texas

      Thanks Bill, I always look forward to hearing from you. Your comments are always positive and upbeat and I appreciate them coming from someone whose work I respect. Our time in Kauai was terrific and I'm sure that you and your family will enjoy it someday.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 

      4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Linda, beautiful tour of Kauai. While we have been to Ohau, Maui and the Big Island we have not had an opportunity to visit Kauai yet. I would love to go and your hub has just increased my desire to visit. Hopefully some day soon. Great job, have a nice weekend.

    • Lenzy profile imageAUTHOR

      Lenzy 

      4 years ago from Arlington, Texas

      Thank you so much. I particularly appreciate the comment on the water lily shot. It is one of my favorites. I took numerous shots of them and that was the one I liked the most.

    • Lenzy profile imageAUTHOR

      Lenzy 

      4 years ago from Arlington, Texas

      2besure, I am pretty certain that you meant this comment to go on another hub. However, on the off chance that it was meant to be here, I agree with you that cat's have differing personalities and I enjoy our black cat "Kitty" immensely. I do hope that you get to comment on this hub as well. Lenzy

    • profile image

      S. Johnson 

      4 years ago

      Thanks for sharing the story of your journey. I particularly like the images of the monk seal, koi and water lilies. The water lilies photo shows real attention to balance and color relationships.

    • 2besure profile image

      Pamela Lipscomb 

      4 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      Cats are a beautiful addition to any home. I have three. Each has its own personality and likes. A single cat does get lonely. They enjoy companionship, just like us. Great article about my favorite pet.

    • Lenzy profile imageAUTHOR

      Lenzy 

      4 years ago from Arlington, Texas

      Vocalcoach, I appreciate the superlatives used in describing the hub on Kauai. I loved the place and spent many hours taking photos and interacting with individuals to be able to write the hub and I'm glad that you were able to recognize the effort that was taken. It is particularly valuable to me, coming from someone who lived there. Thank you so much. Lenzy

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 

      4 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      Lenzy - I appreciate the spectacular job you've done here. Truly, a Class Hub with amazing photos. I will link this to my hub about Kauai.

      I was the pianist at the Sheraton Poipu Beach for over 2 years. I imagine there have been a few changes since I lived there. It maybe time for a visit:) Voted up, Useful, Awesome, Beautiful, Interesting and will share. Many thanks ~ Audrey

    • Lenzy profile imageAUTHOR

      Lenzy 

      4 years ago from Arlington, Texas

      Thanks Krystal. I would turn around and spend another few weeks if money were not an issue. I'm glad you were moved enough by the article to want to hop on a plane. I hope that you can go in the next few years. Poipo beach is a great place to stay with young ones that like to swim.

    • profile image

      Krystal 

      4 years ago

      What a beautiful story! It makes me want to go pack my bag and leave now!!! So beautiful!!

    • Lenzy profile imageAUTHOR

      Lenzy 

      4 years ago from Arlington, Texas

      Thank you Delena. I am so glad that you enjoyed the article and photos. I'm sure that we will return to Kauai and some of the other Hawaiian Islands in the future. I imagine that each of the islands is unique and has its own beauty and story to tell.

    • profile image

      Delena Douglas 

      4 years ago

      Wonderful...the pictures were breath taking and the information very enlightening....Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

    • Lenzy profile imageAUTHOR

      Lenzy 

      4 years ago from Arlington, Texas

      My husband and I so enjoyed your beautiful island. I was really blessed to be able to experience some of the cultural aspects and the amazing beauty of the place. Mahalo.

    • profile image

      Big Kahuna 

      4 years ago

      What an awesome Kauai vacation you and your family enjoyed Linda. Mahalo for Sharing our island's beauty and respecting the culture.

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