UNITED STATES  |  Kauai, Hawaii Travel Guide
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Kauai, Hawaii

Lumahai Beach, Kauai, Hawaii (c)


Kauai is Hawaii's "Garden of Eden," alternately known as the "Garden Isle." It is the tropical paradise people dream about, with lush valleys and towering green mountains, cascading waterfalls and freshwater lagoons, secluded beaches and wild gardens bursting forth in bushes of plumeria, hibiscus, anthuriums, orchids, ginger and birds of paradise. Kauai is also Hawaii's oldest island, steeped in history and intertwined, more than any other island, with Hawaii's mythical little people, the menehune. Besides which, the island has provided the setting for such films as South Pacific, Jurassic Park, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Elvis Presley's Blue Hawaii.

The Islands of Hawaii

Kauai Orientation

Kauai is the northernmost and fourth largest of the Hawaiian islands, encompassing 558 square miles. It is made up of a single volcanic land mass, largely centered around the 3,000-plus feet deep Wai'ale'ale crater (Mount Wai'ale'ale is also the highest point on the island, elevation 5,148 feet, and the wettest spot on earth, with an average annual rainfall of 451 inches). Like all the other Hawaiian islands, Kauai, too, has a dry, sunny side, the South Shore, and a rain-soaked, scenic one, the North Shore. In equally sharp contrast lie the island's East Side, home to Kauai's population centers of Lihue and Kapa'a, and its West Side, remote and sparsely populated.

Kauai Sights

Kauai's principal draws are the stunning Na Pali Coast along the island's northeast corner, with steep cliffs plunging into the ocean and sandy coves tucked away among them, accessible only by boat or on foot; the Waimea Canyon, spectacular in both its colors of rust and ochre as well as its chasms and maze-like formations, often referred to as the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific"; Lumahai Beach, the island's loveliest, on the North Shore, and Poipu, the island's most popular, on the South Shore; the twin Wailua Falls, featured on TV's Fantasy Island; the lush Hanalei Valley, with its green patchwork of taro; and the Wai'ale'ale crater which, however, can only be seen on a helicopter tour. A couple of plantation-era estates, Grove Homestead Farm and Kilohana, are worth visiting too. The island also has more than a 100 restaurants, and facilities for virtually all the watersports and outdoor recreational pursuits you can think of.

Kauai Location

Kauai is situated approximately 95 miles northwest of Oahu and 17 miles east-northeast of Ni'ihau. The island has a population of just over 56,000, and draws more than 1.5 million visitors annually.

© Indian Chief Travel Guides

Last updated November 12, 2013
Posted in   United States  |  Kauai
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