You will often hear it. “Every Hawaiian island is different,” they’ll say. You will hear this a thousand different times, and you will believe it. But it won’t truly sink in until you are in the middle of it all.
Also known as the Garden Isle, Kauai will enchant you with its rugged coast lines, magical beaches, jungles and intriguing landscapes, all wrapped together with perfect colorful rainbows.
This is by far my favorite Hawaiian island. And being a budget traveler with great thirst for adventure, Kauai fulfilled my every paradise dream! Below are some must-see locations on the island…
POIPU BEACH PARK
A perfect swimming area and great sunset location! I’ve also never seen so many sea turtles as I did here. But stay mindful! Please DO NOT harass the sea turtles with your camera flashes and/or selfies. Be aware that this could result in hefty fines by the state of Hawaii if you get too close. Don’t be that tourist.
KALALAU TRAIL/BEACH (11-mile trail)
If you don’t mind a challenging but absolutely rewarding hike along the world famous Na Pali Coast, this is Kauai’s most prized gem. Be sure to spend a few nights camping under the stars on the beach. Your body will probably be agonizing in pain from the hike, but your soul will thank you.
The water here is glorious! This was one of my favorite beaches. Look at this water!
Also the starting point of the 11-mile hike of the Kalalau Trail, this beach is another perfect sunset location.
If you prefer a quieter, smaller beach – this is it! Bonus points for being a perfect location for snorkeling (probably one of the few snorkeling locations on the island).
WAIMEA CANYON STATE PARK
The Grand Canyon of the Pacific will make you fall in love with its vibrant earth. You’ll watch Kauai’s landscapes change from lush, green jungles to red, red earth.
KOKE’E STATE PARK
Don’t be discouraged by the clouds. They will leave as quickly as they roll in, and the unveiling will be a magical show you’ll want to watch! Here you will find the best views of the Kalalau Valley.
Suggestion: Hike the Pihea Trail while here
Experience Kauai’s natural pools at low tide. Swim at your own risk, however. This pool is dangerous under different tidal times and seasons. Do your research, know the tidal times, and stay safe.
DRY & WET CAVES
The island has several natural caves that are worth visiting while driving around the island.
TOWN OF HANALEI
I fell in love with this little town. It has everything — shops, restaurants, rentals, and lots of shaved ice! Probably my favorite little town in Kauai, filled with travelers and hippy hearts…
TAKE A HELICOPTER RIDE!
Though I believe Kauai is best experienced by foot, a helicopter ride is another alternative to admire the island’s beautiful landscapes.
Helpful tip: Choose a time of day that will cause the least amount of glare on the windows.
We spent eight magical days on this island. Somewhere, somehow, in the waves of the crashing sea, I lost my mind and found my soul. And I have no intention to recover it. Would you?
By Denise Salgado