Waimea Canyon and Kokee State Park
Known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, Waimea Canyon is one of Kauai’s top attractions. The gorge is 14 miles long and 3,600 feet deep. Craggy cliffs with their reddish hue, covered with lush greenery, waterfalls and mist; the natural beauty is quite unlike anywhere else in Kauai.
Most travelers to the Waimea Canyon visit by car, though there are many trails for the avid hiker.
Part of the opening credits to “Fantasy Island”, Wailua Falls lies north of Lihue on Kauai island. Located at the south end of the Wailua River, it cascades into two streams making it a double tiered waterfall.
In the past, Hawaiian men would jump of these falls to prove their manhood, falling around 200 feet below into the plunge pool.
The Spouting Horn is part of the Koloa Heritage Trail on Kauai’s south shore. P.S. The sunset views on Poipu Beach are beautiful!
The ocean waves have eroded lava rocks along the coastline to create natural lava channels or tubes. Whenever the Poipu (crashing) surf enters these openings, the water shoots upwards and creates a hiss and a roar. The spray can shoot up to 50 feet in the air.
The hissing is the basis of ancient Hawaiian legends and it was believed that a giant lizard by the name of Kaikapu guarded this coast. The lizard would eat anyone who tried to fish or swim at sea. A young boy Liko entered the ocean and thrust a sharp stick in Kaikapu’s mouth. As the lizard tried to attack him, Liko swam under a lava shelf and escaped through a small hole to the surface. When Kaikapy tried to follow Liko, she got stuck in the lava tube. To this day, the roar of the lizard is heard and her breath sprays from the blowhole.
Also nearby is the Ke Kahua O Kaneiolouma, a cultural site containing the remnants of an ancient Kauai village. Consisting of house structures, fish ponds, taro fields, irrigation channels, shrines and idol sites, this area is an important historic landmark as well as deeply sacred to Hawaiian culture.
Opaeka’a Falls and the Wailua River Valley
Located on the Opaeka’a Stream in Wailua River State Park on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, this 151 foot waterfall flows over basalt cliffs formed over a period of millions of years from volcanic eruptions. The name Opaeka’a means “rolling shrimp” and dates back to when freshwater shrimp were seen tumbling down the falls.
The 40 foot wide double cascade falls can be viewed from the highway along with the Makeleha Mountains in the distance and the Wailua River Valley below.
Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge
Established in 1985 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Kauai, the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge stands distinct by its lighthouse. The ocean cliffs and grassy slopes of the dormant volcano provide a protected breeding ground for many Hawaiian seabirds, including the world’s rarest goose and state bird of Hawaii, Nene.
Visitors can also watch endangered Hawaiian Monk Seals, Green Sea Turtles, and Humpback Whales.
Admission: $5 (ages 16 and older)
Open Tuesday to Saturday 10:00am to 4:00pm
Extremely popular with surfers, Kealia beach is known for its strong currents and wind swell. Winter months also bring the possibility of whale watching. Restrooms and showers available.
This small town in Kauai is filled with historic places, art galleries and features ukelele concerts.
At the foot of the misty green mountains, there are fields of taro (also known as “kalo”) which are used to make the local starch staple, poi. The heart shaped plants grow in flooded patches and from the Hanalei Valley Lookout, they make for picture perfect postcards.
Kalalau Trail and the Na Pali Coast
Without a doubt Kauai’s most famous attraction, the Kalalau Trail draws hikers from all over the globe. The trail a 11 miles long trail along the Na Pali Coast. Backpacker Magazine ranked the Kalalau Trail as one of the 10 most dangerous hikes in the United States.
Don’t forget to check out the Dry and Wet Caves near Haena State Park before beginning your hike!
Town of Hanapepe
Extreme”Kauai’s Biggest Little Town” has many historic buildings which have been featured in movies like “Flight of the Intruder”. The plantation style buildings are today home to quaint shops, local eateries and art galleries.
Every Friday, between 6-9pm, Hanapepe celebrates local art with painters, sculptors and craftsmen showcasing their works. Plenty of music and food stalls.
P.S. Try walking across the Swinging Bridge. It was nighttime and too dark to see; so I didn’t make it even halfway! The picture below is the path leading to the bridge (bridge was too jittery to get any pictures)
I also tried Harmonius Roots take on Persian Food in Kauai: Organic, Vegan, Vegetarian and Gluten Free. Nutritious, tasty and so so fresh!
From top to bottom:
1. Gheymeh Bademjan: Caramelized Eggplant and Onion, Tomato Yellow Split Peas, Turmeric served with Basmati or Brown Rice
2. Bademjan Pita Pocket: Eggplant, Tahini, Caramelized Onion, Turmeric cooked and blended together as a thick spread
3. Lubia Polo: Basmati Rice, Caramelized Onion, Green Beans, Tomato, Turmeric, Cayenne, Cinnamon
All plates come with:
1. Salad Shirazi: Cucumber, Tomato, Spring Onion, Meyer Lemon Juice, Dried Mint
2. Mastoh Khiar: Greek Yoghurt, Cucumber, Dried Mint and Dill, Salt