Beauty on the Hawaiian Island Kauai
The oldest and fourth largest, northernmost point in Hawaii is Kaua'i. Located in the Central Pacific, part of the Hawaiian archipelago. The island was formed about five million years ago, and offers more sandy beaches per mile of coastline than any of the other islands.
Kaua'i has had more time to erode away the old volcanic terrain and create long golden sand beaches, and natural wonders such as the deeply carved Waimea Canyon and the furrowed cliffs and pinnacles of the Na Pali Coast.
Nicknamed "the Garden Isle" due to its lush landscape. Kauai's popular gem is the Na Pali Coast. Draped in emerald valleys and jagged cliffs aged by time and the elements. This natural wonder served as a backdrop for major Hollywood films, while 10-mile-long Waimea Canyon and the Nounou Trails traversing the Sleeping Giant mountain ridge are a hiking destination.
Kaua'i is a relatively small island and only about 550 square miles in all. The highest point on Kauai is 5,242 feet above sea level at the the top of Mt. Kawaikini. Nearby is the equally impressive Mt. Waialeale, said to be the “wettest spot on Earth” due to the abundant rainfall there.
The Unconquered Island
Kaua'i island history is unique as well. It was the last island to come under control of the powerful Hawaiian warrior King Kamehameha. King Kaumualiʻi, Kauai’s ruler finally gave up power to King Kamehameha in 1810 when defeat against Kamehameha’s powerful army and armada of ships was unavoidable. Kamehameha attempted to invade Kauai twice prior, but were unsuccessful, and thus Kauai is known as the “unconquered” island.
The island of Kauai's population today is about 68,000, with more than one million visitors arriving each year to enjoy a vacation on the Garden Isle. Kauai’s major resort areas include Princeville on the north shore, the Coconut Coast of Kapaa and Lihue on the east side, and “sunny Poipu” on the south shore. Vacation homes are available all around Kauai and the Allure Kauai Concierge can help you find the perfect accommodations to meet your needs whether it is for a romantic honeymoon or a family vacation.
Some of Kauai’s many festive annual celebrations and events include: Waimea Town Celebration (February), Prince Kuhio Celebration of the Arts (March), Banana Poka Festival (May), Kauai Hula Exhibition (June), Koloa Plantation Days (July), Polynesian Festival (Aug.), Kauai Marathon (September), Mokihana Festival (Sept.), Eoe Emmalani I Alakai Festival (Oct.), and the Kauai Taro Festival (Oct.).
About Kauai's towns
Ha'ena is a small community on Kauai’s north shore along one of the most picturesque stretches of coastline in all of Hawaii. Located near the end of the road where the famed Na Pali Coast begins, Ha'ena is known for its lush and tropical surroundings including steep-walled mountains lined with waterfalls, pristine white-sand beaches, and an abundance of rainbows! One of the several fine Haena beaches is Tunnels Beach, also called Makua, where an offshore coral reef forms a protected ocean lagoon. This is among one of Kauai’s best snorkeling and scuba diving (ocean conditions permitting only) sites due to the many underwater caverns and ledges inhabited by colorful fish and other marine species. Its population was 550 as of the 2020 census. The community is located on the north side of the island along Hawaii Route 560.
Hanalei is a small, quaint town on the north shore of Kauai, in Hawaii. Its crescent-shaped beach on Hanalei Bay features the Pine Trees surf area at Waioli Beach Park. Forested hills back nearby Lumahai Beach, a location in the movie “South Pacific.” East of town, the Hanalei Valley Lookout offers views of mountains and abundant taro fields. Within the valley, Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge is a haven for rare water birds. Famous for being the home of Puff the Magic Dragon, Hanalei is well known for its long stretch of beach and great surf, too. A pristine beach is the perfect place to relax, catch some rays, and read a book. For those looking for adventure, Hanalei Bay is a great spot to learn to surf at the Hanalei Pier. The beginning of the one-lane bridge phenomenon.
Princeville is a tropical resort community. Known for its stunning natural beauty, dramatic cliffsides with views of the Pacific, and master-planned community of upscale homes. Princeville became one of the premier resort areas in the world. It is now home to world class hotels (The One Hotel coming soon), condos, timeshares, restaurants, and golf courses, all of which are easily accessible from Allure Kauai Vacation Rentals. From the Hanalei lookout, just across the highway from Princeville, you can still glimpse the past as the river meanders through flooded taro fields with the ever-present mountains standing guard. The Hanalei National Refuge View Point is underway.
Kilauea is a quaint, charming town located on the gorgeous North Shore of the Garden Isle. This humble community is the ethnically diverse, thriving place it has become due to its beginnings as a sugar cane plantation. The Kilauea Sugar Plantation developed in the late-1800s; the town grew along with its operations and workers migrated from countries as far as Portugal and Japan. The gateway to the Kilauea Lighthouse Refuge.
There are still many buildings that exist in Kilauea that were constructed during this period such as the Kong Lung Historic Market Center which now serves as the site of several local businesses like Island Soap and Candle Works, Kilauea Bakery, Aloha Exchange, and food establishments including the Lighthouse Bistro. Kilauea is a local community with the new Ahuimanu Shopping Center located behind the historic stone building. Some of Kauai's most elite residences are perched above Kaupea Beach, also known as Secret Beach.
Kapa'a is a charming town, known for its colorful, eclectic storefronts and rolling golden sand beaches. Located on the southeast shore of the island, Kapaa is only about 9 miles from the Lihue Airport and takes roughly 20 minutes to reach by car. Once a part of Kauai’s plantation past, this bustling, historic town still has plenty to offer, from the picturesque Wailua River to eateries offering ono local island grinds to French-inspired breakfasts and food trucks, shave ice with local fruit syrups and quaint boutiques. The beautiful Kealia coastal boardwalk meanders for miles through much of Kapa'a.
Lihu'e is the main hub of the island as well as a cultural and historical area. The most traveled town on Kaua'i since it is home to Kauai’s main airport (the Lihue Airport) and Nawiliwili Harbor, the island's major commercial shipping center and cruise ship port. Explore a variety of natural wonders. Kalapaki Beach is the home of the Kauai Marriott Resort and Beach Club and the Hokuala Golf Resort. Bodysurfing, SUP, surfing and swimming make Kalapaki a popular destination. Ninini Beach is home to an automated lighthouse, in operation since 1897. And just north of Lihue, don’t forget to stop at the Wailua Falls lookout for an amazing waterfall view.
Po'ipu is located on the sunny south shore of Kaua'i. Home of beautiful beaches, cultural sites, and breathtaking trails. Enjoy the scenic 30-minute drive from the Lihue airport to Poipu experiencing the “Tunnel of Trees”, known as the gateway to the South Shore, and ultimately landing at Old Koloa Town, home to Hawaii’s first sugar mill.
The island’s finest collection of hotels, resorts, vacation rentals and residential homes provide the ideal base camp for residents and visitors on Kauai. The local markets and restaurants offer fresh seafood and organic produce. Providing healthy and delicious options. Centrally located on the island, Poipu provides easy access to the neighboring communities of Kalaheo, Hanapepe, Waimea and Koke’e and makes for simple day trips to the north shore.
Waimea is located on the west end of the island. The Waimea Canyon is one of Kauai's famous attractions, and a spectacular destination for its scenic beauty. Also known as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific”, it offers multiple drive-up lookouts, vantage points, hikes, and waterfalls. Waimea Canyon is one of Hawaiʻi's most remarkable geological formations.This historic seaport town is a stone’s throw from where British discoverer Captain James Cook first landed in Hawaii in 1778. A statue of Captain Cook can be found in the center of town, a replica of the original statue found in Whitby, England. Rich in paniolo history (Hawaiian cowboys), this charming town is home to a variety of small shops and businesses as well as a growing number of tech companies.
Drive up to Koke'e National Park about a hour drive from Waimea town. Beautiful scenic trails and views overlooking Kalalau Valley.
This historic seaport town is a stone’s throw from where British discoverer Captain James Cook first landed in Hawaii in 1778. A statue of Captain Cook can be found in the center of town, a replica of the original statue found in Whitby, England. Rich in paniolo history (Hawaiian cowboys), this charming town is home to a variety of small shops and businesses as well as a growing number of tech companies. While you’re in Waimea Town, stop by the West Kauai Technology & Visitor Center, a great place to learn more about Kauai’s past. The center features exhibits, programs and weekly activities that reflect the diversity of Kauai’s agricultural community. Call for more information (registration is required for some events and programs). Along with Hanapepe, Waimea Town is an off-the-beaten-path discovery that’s a great place to stop as you explore Kauai’s West Side.