Kauai: A pocket guide

Wailea River, Kauai, Hawaii.

Often referred to as the Garden Isle, Kauai is an island of emerald valleys, ancient cliffs, waterfalls, slow running rivers, and mountain peaks. With such natural wonders to be explored, Kauai is a favorite destination of outdoor enthusiasts. Parts of the island, such as the Napali Coast in the north, can only be reached by helicopter or boat.

The East Coast

The Coconut Coast, in the east, is a natural wonderland that encompasses one of the most accessible waterfalls on the island, Opaekaa Falls, which can be reached easily from the road. From here, you can kayak along the Wailea River, the only navigable waterway in Hawaii, passing Nounou Mountain, a spectacular rocky range resembling a sleeping giant, and the romantic Fern Grotto, a lava rock blanketed in delicately suspended ferns. The east side of the island has developed over time to accommodate visitors in comfortable luxury at the many hotels and vacation rentals.

The South Coast

The south shore is home to some of the most photographed points on Kauai, such as Spouting Horn Park, a great spot to look out for humpback whales and home to the Spouting Horn blowhole, where the surf channels up into a lava tube before expelling an impressive spout of water. On the western side of Kauai, near the seaport town of Waimea, are Waimea Canyon and Kokee State Park, with 72 kilometers of Kauai’s best hiking trails dotted with awe-inspiring lookouts.