There is just something so magical, so enchanting about Kaua’i. However, you don’t have to take my word for it. It is a favorite of celebrities and many films have used Kaua’i as a backdrop: Jurrasic Park, South Pacific, Blue Hawaii and the Descendants to name a few. Since traveling to Kaua’i in 2002 and visiting three times since I thought it was about time that I shared with you my love affair with Kaua’i. Here are a few of the many reasons I LOVE the island of Kaua’i:
Did you know that Kaua’i is one of the least crowded of the Hawaiian islands? Did you also know that it is the oldest island? Kaua’i is known as the garden isle because of the lush, gorgeous greenery and beautiful landscapes. With its 50 miles of pristine beaches, you can find the perfect spot to relax. It is also the home of one of the wettest places on earth. Mount Waialeale has dozens of waterfalls that pour into a deep canyon accessible only via hike (and helicopter). The locals are laid-back, down to earth and so chill. If you hear them gibbering in a strange language you don’t understand it is pidgin (a creole language based in part on English). Da replaces “the”, Fo replaces “to” and Wen replaces “when.”
Here are a few common pidgin phrases to listen for:
Brah or Braddah-brother
Talk Stink-talking bad about someone
Haole-a white person
Local-a person who lives in Hawaii.
Moke-a muscular local guy
Uncle or Auntie-terms of affection for elder males and females
Slippahs-flip flops or sandals
Grindz-Food (you may often hear the term “Ono Grindz” which basically means ‘good food’)
A Quick Tour of the Island
The North Shore of Kaua’i includes Haena, Princeville, Hanalei, and Kilauea. You will go through the busy little towns of Wailua and Kapaa on the two-lane coastal highway before reaching the breathtaking scenery of the North Shore. The highway drive features quite a few waterfalls and beautiful sunsets over the ocean.
The highway goes as far as Kee where the Napali Coast Wilderness State Park takes over. My favorite spots on the North Shore are Tunnels Beach (this is where Bethany Hamilton lost her arm to a shark in 2003) a great spot for snorkeling and Hanalei Bay which is surrounded by mountains and has two miles of pristine beach.
From Hanalei and Tunnels, you can see ‘puff the magic dragon.’ The green hillside wraps around the bay and looks a lot like a sleeping dragon. When my husband showed it to me I thought it was so neat! The dragon’s head faces south, directly in front of the pier of Hanalei. If you want to spot a celebrity Hanalei Bay is the place to go.
The South Shore doesn’t get as much rain as the North Shore and this is why the South Shore is densely vegetated. If head to the South Shore you will drive on Route 520 and drive through the Tree Tunnel Road-this is where eucalyptus trees have grown to form a “tunnel” over the road.
I was quite surprised to learn that the South Shore of Kauai actually gets more visitors than the North Shore. This is probably because the South Shore is more convenient to get to as there are more roads in and out. Koloa which is next to Poipu has a little downtown which features restaurants and shops. Koloa is also the site of Kauai’s very first sugar mill.
The West Side of Kaua’i is very rural and consists of many differing colors. The beaches are long and the sand is a darker hue. If you wish to catch a glimpse of Niihau (a private island where only Hawaiians are allowed to reside) the west side is the best place to do it. Waimea Canyon is located here and is often referred to as the ‘Grand Canyon of the Pacific.’ It is a gorgeous site and one you will never forget. You can access the canyon by hike or by helicopter.
I highly suggest spending money on a helicopter tour of the island. The beautify is breathtaking and straight out of a calendar.
Looking for the best places to eat when visiting Kauai? Our favorite picks can be found by clicking here.
If you decide to visit, I promise you will be as mesmerized by the beauty of the garden isle as I am. I can’t wait for my next visit.