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Visiting The Island of Kauai, Hawaii

Updated on April 29, 2013
Irrigation Ditch
Irrigation Ditch
Tubing/Flummin Da Ditch
Tubing/Flummin Da Ditch
Da Ditch
Da Ditch
Da Tube
Da Tube
 Da Guide
Da Guide
Our Guides, Mahalo!
Our Guides, Mahalo!
Kilauea Lighthouse, c. 1913
Kilauea Lighthouse, c. 1913
Kilauea Lighthouse
Kilauea Lighthouse
Poipu Beach
Poipu Beach
Poipu Beach
Poipu Beach
Waimea Canyon
Waimea Canyon
Opaekaa Falls
Opaekaa Falls
Na Pali Coast
Na Pali Coast
Kauai Coffee Company
Kauai Coffee Company
Great to be a coffee bean here!
Great to be a coffee bean here!
Wild Roosters
Wild Roosters

The History of Kaua'i, The "Garden Isle".

Pronounced /ˈkaʊ.aɪ/ in English and [kɔuˈwɐʔi] in Hawaiian. Kaua'i is the oldest of the main Hawaiian Islands and known as the “Garden Isle.” Kaua’i sits right in the middle of the Pacific Ocean midway between Los Angeles, California and Tokyo, Japan.

According to geologist over 5 million years ago a volcano pushed out of the sea and formed Kaua’i. The remote island was isolated for thousands of years until the first Polynesians from the Marquesas Islands arrived 1500 years ago and established an aqua/agriculture and a monarchy.

In 1778 the first European to visit Hawaii was English explorer Captain James Cook. On his third visit in 1779 Captain Cook was killed on The Big Island by the Hawaiian natives when he attempted to take Kalani’opu’u, a powerful Hawaiian chief, hostage.

In 1810 King Kamehameha conquered the Hawaiian Islands and established the Kingdom of Hawaii with himself as King. By 1835 the success of the Hawaiian sugar industry fueled immigration from places such as China, Japan, and the Philippines changing the islands culture forever. In 1848 the idea of private land ownership was established.

By 1893 Hawaii’s last monarch, Queen Lili’uokalani, was overthrown and Hawaii became a U.S. territory. In 1959 the Hawaiian Islands became the 50th State.

In the 1990’s the sugar and pineapple industry declined and tourism took its place. Today Kaua’i maintains an independent spirit and is considered the most “Hawaiian” of the entire island chain. Wild roosters run amok all over the island. The red clay earth will definitely not wash out of your clothes! Great choice for just relaxing.

Kauai is divided into four districts. North, West, South and East Kauai.

North Kauai

Highway 56, Anahola - Anahola Beach. Papaa, Moloaa Bay. Anahola Mountain, Points: Anapalau, Pohakuloa, Opana, Kahala, Kuaehu, Kepuhi.

Kilauea - Kalihiwau Beach. *Be sure to visit Kilauea Lighthouse - built in 1913.

Princeville - Anni Beach, Princeville Airport and scenic lookout. *Be sure to visit Lappert's Hawaii Ice Cream. Only in Hawaii!

Hanalei - Lumahai Beach, Hanalei Bay. Hanalei Valley Lookout, Hanalei Scenic Movie Tour

Haena - Kee Beach, Haena Beach Park.

West Kauai

Kaumualii Highway, Na Pali Coast - Whale watching in season, golf. Honapu Beach, Milolii State Park, Makaha Pt, Kalalau Lookout, Kokee Lodge and Museum. *Be sure to visit, astoundingly beautiful.

Mana - Mana Pt, Kekaha Beach State Park, Waimea Canyon Lookout, Puuka Pele Forest Reserve.

Kekaha - Kokole Pt, Kekaha Beach Park.

Waimea - Waimea Bay, Waimea Canyon, Royal Coconut Grove, Menehune Ditch, Captian Cook Monument.

Olokele - Pakala Pt.

Kaumakani - Kaumakani Pt.

Hanapepe - Hanapepe Bay, Puolo Pt, Salt Pond, *Be sure to visit Kauai Coffee Company.

Eleele - Port Allen.

South Kauai

Highway 50, Kalaheo / Lawai - Scenic Lookout,

Koloa - Koloa Landing, Makaokahai Pt, Brennecke's Beach, Tree Tunnel.

Poipu - Poipu Beach Park, Shipwreck Beach, Pao'o Pt, Nohiu Bay, National Tropical Botanical Gardens - Allerton Garden.

East Kauai

Highway 56, Puhi - Alakoko Menehune Fish Pond, Kilohana Plantation, Kauai Plantation Railway.

Lihue - Lihue Airport, Kalapaki Beach, Puakea Golf Course.

Hanamaulu - Hanamaulu Beach Park, Nukolii Beach, Fern Grotto, *Be sure to visit Tubbing/Zipline.

Wailua - Wailua Falls, Wailua River, Royal Coconut Grove, Waipouli Beach, Opaeka Falls.

Kapaa - Kealia Beach, Scenic Lookout, Paluku Pt.

Don't miss:

Flummin Da Ditch/Tubing - Hanamaulu Ditch system. Tube expedition of tunnels and ditches hand dug in 1870 for irrigation of the sugar cane and pineapple fields. Hawaiian kids started riding down the irrigation ditches on tubes and boggie boards. That caught on. This was only offered on Kauai when we visited.

Kauai Zip Line - Kauai’s interior. Some places located on private property are not open to the public other than a tour like Tubing or Zip Line. Kauai was the only island to offer tubing when we visited. You will probably have to take a private off road tour of some of the inland places. They are expensive and fill up fast.

Na Pali Coast - Spectacular!

Waimea Canyon - Gorgeous! Waimea Canyon State Park

Wailua River & Fern Grotto - Through Lihue town north to the Wailua River. Opaeka Falls, Pacific Paradise Gardens.

Helicopter - Waimea Canyon, Wailua Falls, Na Pali coastline.

Kauai Back Roads - Kilohana Crater. Old Koloa town mill, Mahaulepu Beach.

Mountain Adventures - Kalalau Valley, Kokee Forest Reserve.

Jungle Trek - Zip line Kipu Ranch, The Huleia National Wildlife Refuge, Jungle Falls, Kayak rentals, Movie sets.

Horseback Rides - Mahaulepu, Princeville area.

Luau - Kalamaku & Plantation Train – Kilohana Camp.

Kilohana Manor House - Kauai Plantation Railway. Kilohana Estate, Gaylord’s - restored manor house at Kilohana - most expensive home built on Kauai, c.1930.

Kauai Coffee Company - Lucky to be a coffee bean here!

Lapperts Hawaiian Ice Cream - Walter Lappert made his first batch of ice cream on the island of Kauai on December 21, 1983. Lapperts makes their ice cream in Hanapepe Kauai.

Huleia National Wild Refuge - Nature walks through the rain forest, Menehune Fishpond.

Snorkel, Scuba - Rent or buy snorkel gear for the week and take it with you. You will use it more than once.

Kayak -

Airfares from Southern California:

SAN - San Diego - Not all flights are non-stop. Hawaiian Airlines was the only non-stop to Honolulu from San Diego when we booked our flight. Other carriers offered connecting flights with stop-over service. Other non-stop flights are going too start so shop around.

LAX - Los Angeles - non-stop to Maui, Kauai, or the Big Island.

OC - Orange County - Continental is supposed to start non-stop flights from Orange County’s John Wayne Airport March/2010

Car Rentals:

Shop around before you go. Rent before you get there. Pick up a Kauai Drive Guide/Road map when you rent your car. There are discount coupons inside so shop around for things you want to do. The best we found:


Hawaii is 3 hours behind us in time zone. When it’s 12:00pm here on the Pacific Coast it's 9:00am in Hawaii.

Best time to go to beat the crowds: May, periods between spring break & summer and Labor Day until mid November.

Find a hotel with washer & dryer facilities. There are hefty weight and extra baggage fees so pack light, wash and dry your clothes before your return trip to avoid extra weight fees. *The red clay dirt will not wash out of your clothes.

The flight over is 5 hours non-stop, longer if you pick a flight with stop-overs. Take your head phones. You can watch movies for free if you have your own head phones or rent them on the plane for a fee. Pack small snacks as they are expensive on the plane.

Mail home your souvenirs. If you visit Oahu the Alamoana Swap Meet is the best! The post office is right by the airport.

Make reservations for things you really want to do as soon as possible.

Take binoculars and a flash light if you are going on a long cruise.

Visit The Big Island, Oahu, and Maui if you have time.

Are we there yet? What to take on a road trip:

An ice chest with food, snacks and drinks for everyone. Forget sharing.

Don't forget your chargers, headphones, earplugs, meds, and a bag for garbage

Take along your Kindle and cell phone to keep yourself and the kids occupied on long road trips. Down load any e-books and apps that will help you.

Remember to take along a great camera. We found the Sony Nex-5 to be light weight and user friendly.

Freeways, streets, and traffic jams are frustrating. Take a good GPS system with you and visit off season.


Have you visited Kauai?

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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      There are several reasons why Kauai is my favorite Hawaiian Island. One reason is because of its remoteness its the only Hawaiian Island that isn't afflicted with vog caused by the active volcano on the Big Island. The vog afflicts the Big Island Maui Oahu and Molokai but luckily Kauai is spared from it. Many movies snd TV shows were made on Kauai. One of the world's rainiest places is on Kauai and there are many miles of hiking trails. My favorites are the Wailua River State Park the Anahola River Valley Hanalei Valley Wainiha Valley and the awesome Napali coast. Kalalau Valley and Kalalau Beach are jewels with lush vegetation waterfalls fruit trees and exotic birds. The Shama the Northern Cardinal and the Indian Myna are found in Kalalau and were introduced here from other parts of the world. Guava Strawberry Guava Mountain Apple Rose Apple Papaya and Mango are some of the fruit trees. Honopu Vslley and Nualolo Valley are to the west. The Alakai Swamp and Kokee State Park are cool wet and misty and between 3600 to 4000 feet in altitude. Rare exotic birds are found here native to Hawaii. Waimea Canyon has splendid colors at different times of the year. Im interested most in the flora fauna and weather conditions for Kalalau Valley and the Anahola River Valley.

    • Kathy Atwood profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathy Atwood 

      7 years ago from California, USA

      Me tooooooooo

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      7 years ago from San Francisco

      Yay! I love Kauai! Thanks for reminding me how beautiful and lovely it is. Now I must go back!


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