Hawaii's Garden Island is definitely worth a visit as it offers some of the most scenic views among the archipelago. That is the reason why Kauai has provided the backdrop of some serious Hollywood adventure movies. After already writing about our stay on Oahu, I now want to tell you a bit more about our stay on the second island we visited during our Hawaii vacation this year. I know you've all been waiting for this.
When you flyto Kauai you will land on Lihue airport in Lihue at the Eastern shore of the island. I recommend using Island Air if you want to fly in between islands. They had the cheapest options for us, even though we had to pay extra for checked baggage. As the planes are really small, be aware of limited leg space if your carry on is big - meaning if it is regularly sized. The flight from Honolulu airport takes only around 40 minutes though. Plus you get yummi guava juice on the plane as well as a crash course in Kauai's history and nature. So even if it is not the most comfortable flight I still thought it was pretty enjoyable.
Kauai is the fourth largest islands of the State of Hawaii and the oldest and most Northern one, too. Around 60,000 people live on this island. We were staying in Princeville on the North Shore just out of Hanalei Bay. As the island is not very big and covered by nature for the most part you don't have many options when it comes to hotels. The resorts in Princeville however are great and you will be close to some of the most amazing highlights of the island. And with this view from your hotel room you definitely can't complain, can you?
We stayed on Kauai for three days. After arriving early in the morning, we checked into our hotel and spend the rest of the day hiking the first part of the Kalalu Trail along the coast. This area is called Na Pali Coast, which is definitely my number one highlight of the island. The rugged coast offers amazing views and so many hiking options!
On the second day we drove to Waimea Canyon, which is also called the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. It is on the south western side of Kauai in Waimea County. The canyon is around 14 miles long, one mile wide and more than 3,600 feet deep! Definitely check out the lookout which you can easily reach by car when you're there. If the scenery looks familiar - you might have seen it in one or another Jurassic Park movie.
When you get a rental car (and I would definitely recommend it - the island is quite small but it's still MUCH easier to get around), you can see a lot of the island in just a short amount of time just as we did. However, I would love to come back for a longer stay in order to hike the full Kalalu Trail and maybe for another hike in the canyon. But even in this short amount of time I really had a blast on this island!
Have you been to Kauai? What do you think about Hawaii's Garden Island and what is your favorite sight or activity on the island?
Kate recommends: Read a copy of James Michener's novel "Hawaii" when you visit the Garden Island. It is a quite ambitious beach read as the author captures the history of Hawaii through different characters who represent different cultures. The book covers a wide time span up to the 1950s when Hawaii became a U.S. state. But why not learn something about the history of one of your favorite vacation spots?