Kauai, the fourth largest island of Hawaii, called “Garden Isle”, is the oldest and most northern of the archipelago. Green valleys, peaked mountains, tropical rainforests, rivers and waterfalls cover this gorgeous volcanic island.
In 1778, the British explorer Captain James Cook discovered Kauai and introduced Hawaii to the world. He arrived on the west side of the island at Waimea, one of the many villages on Kauai.
On the north side there are some of the best white sandy beaches (Lumahai, Anini Beach and Kee beach) and spectacular sea cliffs (Napali coast). One of the best spots for whale watching is the old beacon “Daniel K. Inouye Kilauea Point Lighthouse”. From December to May it’s one of the island’s most frequented attractions, when whales come to Hawaii to enjoy the warm water. Also on this side of the island, is Hanalei, an interesting village, full of colorful shops, restaurants and art galleries.
On the south shore of Kauai tourists can visit two botanical gardens (McBryde Garden and Allerton Garden) with a large assembly of tropical plants or go surfing and swimming in crystal clear water at Poipu Beach park. Lihue, a village to the east, is the government center, location of the main airport and the commercial shipping port of Kauai.
The east cost is popular for kayaking and boat tours on the long Wailua river, with accessible waterfalls and a natural lava rock cave known as the Fern Grotto. Visitors can also enjoy scenic hiking trail though the Nounou Mountains. Kapaa is a great shopping town, where to find eclectic antique shops, jewelry and art boutiques.
Hanapepe, one of the busy towns on the west shore ofKauai, has historic buildings, charming shops and art galleries. Local artists, artisans and craftsmen open their galleries and studios every Friday night for the “Art Night”.
The “Garden Isle” and its beautiful bays are perfect for snorkeling and scuba diving to explore the reefs and its wildlife.
Photo credit: ©Kauai Visitors Bureau – ©Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) – ©Tor Johnson Photography