Every island in Hawaii is unique and if you love nature, hiking and adventures, you should check out Kauai. People say that it’s the gardenisland of Hawaii, because it’s so green. This is amazing, although it has one disadvantage – it’s raining a lot.
An area you’ll be totally stunned about is the Napali Coast. Jurassic Park lovers will know it, because this area has been the location for those movies. Visiting the Napali Coast can be done by car, hiking, boat or helicopter. We were driving up to the very end of the Waimea Canyon to the Pu’u o Kila Lookout. From there you’re having the most fantastic view on one of the ridges. As we wanted to see the whole area, we decided to go there by helicopter and it has been one of the best things i’ve done so far. If you’re more the adventurous type of a person, you should check out the awesome hikes. We did 2 in the Napali Coast, you can read about them later in this blogpost. I would also recommend going there by boat, specially if you’re not going there by helicopter.
Waimea Canyon is a stunner and worth a visit. People describe it as the Grand Canyon of Hawaii and I think that this is pretty close, although it’s so special, I wouldn’t want to compare those two.
Waterfalls & Wailua River
Kauai has some beautiful waterfalls (Wailua Falls und Opaekaa Falls), which you can only see from a viewing point. Driving up to the waterfalls, there is a scenic point, where you can see the Wailua river. I loved this viewing area and I would have loved to go down the Wailua River by boat or canoe.
This one is the oldest lighthouse in Kauai and it has already safed some lifes. We were going there when it was raining all day, but the view was fantastic with all the huge waves and the stunning cliffs.
In winter swimming at one of the beaches in Kauai is not that easy, as the waves are too big and the currents too strong. But some of the beaches are beautiful to visit and just walk around. One of my favorites was Polihale Beach, which you can only visit by driving on a gravel road. If it’s low tide, you can go for a swim most of the time, as there’s a nice natural pool. We were also going to Anahola Beach, which is mostly used by inhabitants of the island.
Snorkling at Tunnels Beach
The currents and waves have been way too strong when we were in the area, but people recommended Tunnels Beach to me as one of the best snorkling spots on the Hawaiian islands. Here you can see a picture I shot out of the helicopter.
Something you may be able to see more often on the hawaiian islands is water that’s being blown out a hole. There is one on Kauai called Spouting Horn. It somehow reminds me of the geysirs, although it’s seawater coming out of the hole.
I’ve seen a lot of amazing pictures of a helicopterflight on Kauai on the blog of Hannah (justlikehannah) and therefore I wanted to be able to see that beautiful nature myself. This has been the most amazing thing I’ve ever done! The view is incredible, I could have never imagined seeing nature like that out of a helicopter and the pilot was explaining a lot about the culture, the nature and hiking.
After the take off in Lihue we were starting in direction of Waimea Canyon, overlooking the south-east side of the island. After having an incredible view on the waterfalls and the canyon, we continued down to the Napali Coast, spotting some dolphins and whales in the sea and getting a glimpse on one of the beaches that has been used for the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. The last we’ve seen was the crater of the volcano, which is impressive.
Taking the option to fly without doors and with a private helicopter has been the best decision ever (and it was only 30 dollars more). You have to book the tour at Mauna Loa Helicopter Tours (our tour operator) a few days in advance, otherwise they might be fully booked.
I would recommend booking the tour for lunchtime or early afternoon,as the light will be better at the Napali Coast.
Hiking is one of the best activities on Kauai. You can hike everywhere – on the eastside of the island at the Sleeping Giant, on the southwest side at the Napali Coast and also in the middlewest in Waimea Canyon. Be careful hiking after rain, it might be muddy. Don’t go on a dangerous hike on that day. I would recommend bringing some proper shoes – at least good sneakers you’re comfortable in hiking. If you’re having space for hiking boots, make sure to bring them. My most favorite hikes have been
Napali Coast – Kalalau Trail
This is the most famous hike on Kauai. If you want to do a dayhike, you can only go the first 2 out of 11 miles and maybe continue walking up another two miles to the waterfalls. There won’t be any option to get out of the hike by car, so don’t go too far and get stuck. If you want to do all 11 miles, you should be aware it should be done in more than one day and that you need a permit. I was surprised how easy the first 2 miles have been for me, specially compared to other hikes on the island and under the weather conditions I had on the way back (raining all 2 miles). Be aware of sudden rain in this area!
Napali Coast – Ridge Trails
Hannah (justlikehannah) recommended to me doing the Kalepa Ridge Trail, which is taking you to the very end of the ridge, where you’re having an amazing view on the end of the ridge and the ocean. The Kalepa ridge trail is NOT an official hiking trail, it’s a hunting trail. Be aware that you have to be safe in walking, as sometimes you’re walking on the edge of the cliffs. There are some other trails like that one too, i don’t remember the names though. We did not finish it, because it was raining two days before and the trail was wet and my boyfriend didn’t feel that safe. Better safe than sorry, so we turned around halfway.
In Waimea Canyon there are a few hikes you can take, some are easier, some more difficult. We didn’t want to do a superdifficult one, so we decided to walk down a mile or two on the Kukui trail. From there you’re having a fantastic view on the Canyon area. I liked this trail and you’re able to walk in the shadows quite a time, which is making it so much more comfortable.
Waimea Canyon – Waipo’o Falls
When we have been in the helicopter, our pilot was showing us that there are waterfalls, you can hike to. I was a bit disappointed in the end, because I was expecting to having a nice view on the big waterfall, but actually you’re standing on top of it. We did find a nice small waterfall in the end, which made it worth walking there for quite a while.
We were having our AirBnb next to Lihue, in a town called Kapa’a. In this area it’s easy to find shops, restaurants and everything else you might need.
Kauai and the rooster
Some years ago there has been a big storm, where some roosters escaped from the cage. Now they’re living on the island and making everybody crazy, including the tourists.