Kaua’i is the oldest island in the Hawaiian chain and is known for its striking natural features- mountains, valleys and seacoast. Nicknamed “The Garden Isle”, it is home to two of the wettest spots on the planet with tropical rainforest covering much of the landscape. When choosing Kaua’i, we knew the best way to get there was via Southwest Airlines which flies from San Diego directly to Lihue Airport, which makes your exploration an easy adventure.
Where to Stay
With a population of less than 75,000, Kaua’i is a small-town island, with one main road from East to West! We decided to enjoy two different experiences, one on the North Shore and one on the South Shore. The North Shore offers waterfalls and jungle-covered mountains, and well known for exploring the Nā Pali Coast. Cascading down a cliff toward Hanalei Bay, is The Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas puts you in the heart of Kauai’s stunning North Shore. In the South Shore, we opted to stay in Poipu at for a private rental as we liked having our own kitchen and private amenities.
What to visit
Inspired to do something different, we took the opportunity to volunteer and have fun while making an impact. We enjoyed hiking the north-east corner of Kauai which offers the last pristine stretches of undeveloped coastline left in Hawaii. On our private hike with our guide Jeremiah, we picked up marine debris washed ashore from far-flung parts of the world. We saw monk seals and sea turtles sunbathing on the shoreline. By taking part in this private tour, we helped keeping the beaches clean.
There are various botanic gardens in Kauai and on the North Shore we enjoyed Limahuli Garden & Preserve which endangered plants and birds found nowhere else on earth. The beauty of the plants, singing birds, and landscape are breathtaking. On the South Shore, the Allerton Garden is a jungle paradise. A guide who took us to see the towering rainforest trees, a cut-flower garden, and tropical fruit trees. We also discovered where scenes from the movie Jurassic Park were filmed at the garden.
Where to eat
As the Pacific Ocean surrounds the island, it offers some of the freshest fish. A must to enjoy is the Ahi tuna which is used to make many dishes among them poke and fish tacos. Both the North Shore and South Shore offer various restaurants where you can enjoy Ahi tuna as well as other local island dishes. And be sure to visit JoJo’s Shave Ice in Waimea, enjoying the Haupia cream topping in a delicious blend of condensed milk, coconut cream, and fresh macadamia nut ice cream.