Kauai Island Hawaii, where on the world map and description

Kaua’i Island

The Golden Island of Kauai is one of the islands of the Hawaiian archipelago, the fourth largest and the oldest of the archipelago.

One of the most beautiful islands in Hawaii, if you want to enjoy tropical landscapes you are welcome to Kauai, this is where all the movies were filmed: King Kong, Jurassic Park and the famous TV series “Lost in Action.

The island is quite mountainous, with two volcanic peaks, Kawaikini and Vaileale, occupying most of the area, making Kaua’i unusable by car.

There are two equipped tourist areas on the island, Princeville on the northern tip and Poipu on the southern tip. Both areas have excellent sandy beaches and numerous waterfalls.

The waterfalls owe their origin to one interesting feature of the island’s weather: the humidity there is higher than in the rest of the archipelago, and the annual rainfall is also higher.

Once it rained for 247 days. Thus formed the tropical rivers and waterfalls running from the mountains.

Because of the rain, it is recommended to come to the island in the summer, from November to February begins the rainy season.

Along the coast of Na Pali stretches a day trip to the Kalalau Valley with visits to villages, there is a route through the national park of Kokia, and nearby is a sugar plantation. On the island, near the main town of Lihue, there is a coconut beach and a coconut plantation.

The island’s famous Waimea Canyon offers a panoramic view of the Pacific landscape. It is the second largest canyon in the United States, formed after the Waimea River overflow in an area where hardened lava once formed rocky basalt rocks. Over time, the hills of Waimea have changed color from black to bright red, making the landscape of the park unusual.

Another place to visit is the northern tip of the island, Honolei Bay. Because of its beautiful seascapes, this particular bay was the location of the 1958 Pacific Ocean movie. Honolei inspired Haruki Murakami’s story titled after it. However, it’s not the only beautiful bay on the island, there are helicopter tours along the coast of Napali, Hawaii’s most beautiful coastline.

If you decide to explore it by boat, you can see the coastal caves and sea creatures: sea turtles, dolphins, whales or rare monk seals, protected by the state.

And if you want to experience the local color and culture, you can do it in the towns of Hanapepe, Coloa or Waimea, or just visit the Museum of Island History in Lihua.

At any time of the city you can catch the next festival held on the island: in July there is a small festival in the town of Koloa, in September the festival Mokihana in honor of the traditional dance “hula”, in October they hold a festival Alakai in the national park in Kokia. Hula dancers from all over the world also gather there. In the same month, a ukulele contest is held in Hanalei Town.

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Exotic attractions on Kauai include a Hindu monastery, open to the public, and the Leyva International Center, home to 88 Buddhist miniature stone and wood statues symbolizing the similar 88 shrines of Japan. This center, with a temple on the grounds, was built by Japanese immigrants.

Overall, Kauai offers recreation for all tastes, from active hiking trails to relaxed resort and beach vacations. The laid-back vibe and rich cultural life, the undeniable charm of the valleys and mountains and sea sunsets make Kauai an ideal place where locals say they’ll never want to leave.

Hawaii. The Island of Kauai: Canyons, Mountains, Waterfalls (Hawaii, Kauai)

Kauai is our favorite island in Hawaii. It’s small, cozy, sparsely populated, very green, and yet the nature is very diverse: there are canyons, waterfalls, mountains and beaches.

Here we flew a cessna over the island, saw unreal beautiful nature and walked a piece of the Kalalau Trail.

Many movies have been shot on Kauai, including the acclaimed Avatar, King Kong, and Jurassic Park.

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Things to do on Kauai

Fly over the island

We flew over Kauai in a small Cessna airplane. It had two seats for pilots and two for passengers.

Taking pictures before the flight.

Kauai Island

From the plane we could see things you can’t see from the ground from any track, we loved it!

Just took off. View of the cruise terminal.

Kauai island

Flying over the coast.

kauai hawaii

Jurassic Island

Approaching the mountains.

Wimea Canyon.

hawaii kauai

Na Pali Coast – Just breathtaking! These mountains are incredible! Of course, no photo can not convey all their spectacularness:) You can see it on the very first photo.

hawaii island of kauai

North shore of Kauai and the beginning of Kalalau Trail.

hawaii island of kauai

kauai hawaii u.s.

Kauai usa

Opaekaa Falls.

island of kauai waterfalls

From the ground it’s like a single one!

hawaii island of kauai photo

The finish (we were given headphones for the time of the flight, so we could listen to the pilot’s story and ask him questions).

Kauai photos

All flights of this kind take off near Lihue airport. They fly Cessna’s, vintage biplanes and helicopters.

Important: When you buy a flight check passenger seating: the main thing is to sit on the right side, because the plane or helicopter circles over the island in a clockwise direction. I’ve seen helicopters where some of the passengers sit in the middle – they won’t see much either. Better to pay a little extra and have a 100% unforgettable experience :)

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We flew with Wings Over Kauaui – it’s a small family business (father and son pilots, daughter at the front desk, mother on hand, two huge dogs for the niceties))), everything is super friendly. The tour for two was $270 and lasted just over an hour. In case of inclement weather, they reschedule the tour to a free time convenient to customers or cancel it for free. They also have a bigger cessna.

Kokee National Park.

Kokee National Park is the Wimea Road with adjacent overlooks, tracks, a campground, and a hotel with a restaurant.

There is a fairly smooth, wide serpentine uphill, which is easy to drive in by any car. There is parking at each lookout. If there is no parking, then 99.99999%, there is nothing to see there ;)

Kauai island photo

hawaii islands

Hawaiian island

hawaii places of interest

Kauai Island

There is red-brown soil everywhere due to excess iron.

Kauai Island

The Wimea Canyon Lookout is the coolest place ever! We looked and just couldn’t tear ourselves away!

This is the Grand Canyon of Hawaii.

Kauai Island

Kauai Island

Kauai Island

Kauai Island

Kalalau Lookout

Kauai Island

There is a track leading from it, and we followed it, hoping to skip over the ridge, which is on the right in the photo and look at the other valleys. It turned out that it didn’t go over the ridge, there was nothing to see from it, you could only climb on the mud (I was wearing sandals and miraculously didn’t fall down there).

Kauai Island

Went to the track Awaawapuhi (in general, it is combined with the track Nualolo, and gets a circular route, but Nualolo was closed because of a landslide).

The trek is boring because it goes through the forest, but at the end there are great views of the Na Pali Coast.

Kauai Island

Kauai Island

Kauai Island

Kauai Island

Kauai Island

Kauai Island

Kauai Island

Kauai Island

Kauai Island

Kauai Island

That’s the fellow we were baiting to take pictures of. And in general, there are a lot of them out there.

hawaii animals

Hawaii has many endemic plants and animals, such as the nene goose (nene).

hawaii bird nene

But it is Kauai – it’s a paradise for chickens :) They are not allowed to be hunted unless they wander onto private property on their own. Chickens and roosters are everywhere (did you notice the rooster in the first photo of Waimea Canyon?), chickens lead or hatch their young, roosters fight all the time.

hawaii birds

hawaii nature

Kauai Island

Even if it’s sunny and there’s not a cloud in the sky, jackets are better to bring, because the walk back and forth is 4 hours, and the track is near one of the wettest places on earth, and it rains almost every day :)

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kauai attractions

We were just “happy” to spend two nights camping there. This is typical “sunny Hawaii” – we found a table with a roof, dressed warmer and cook dinner on a burner (the green pipe is a karemat for windshields), and it rains at the same time.

By the way, it’s popular in Hawaii, as on the U.S. mainland, to rent campervans – motor homes – and combine comfort with proximity to nature.

The flat part of Kauai

The flat part of the island of Kauai is also interesting, and it rains much less often and in lesser amounts. We got around all of this without a rush in one day, you can stretch it into two.

Spouting Horn – a hole in the rock through which the waves push water, like a geyser.

Kauai interesting places

Kauai what to see

Poipu Beach is one of the few swimmable beaches on the island. There are changing rooms, toilets, tables with and without awnings, showers, garbage cans, lifeguards and of course a lot of people.

island of kauai beaches

Warning. Some beaches in Hawaii are not suitable for swimming! There are either big waves, or dangerous currents, or sea urchins, or jellyfish, or a combination of the above.

For example, we were told about one beautiful wild beach, where a strong current carries people into a nearby cave. It’s good if somebody saw it and called the rescuers, and they swam tethered to the boat and pulled you out, but otherwise you can stay in that cave :(

Then we went to the waterfalls: the already mentioned Opaekaa Falls and another one Wailua Falls (24 m).

island of kauai waterfalls

Kilauea Lighthouse (Kilauea Lughthouse) is in a picturesque place. The observation deck further away from the lighthouse is open all the time, closer to the lighthouse only on Tues-Sat from 10 to 16.

In the parking lot we met a couple on scooters and asked about their prices. The prices turned out to be more than renting a car – 45cc for $60/day each!

what to do on Kauai

Kalalau Trail.

The Kalalau Trail is considered one of the most beautiful hiking trails in the world, so everyone wants to get there.

To keep the crowds there, the state has limited the number of passes-permits (permits) to only 60 per day, and you can take it up to 5 days in a row (which is what some smart people take advantage of, even if they’re only going to spend 1-2 nights on the trail).

Even if you don’t go camping, but go there by kayak, in the summer (from mid-May to early September) you can’t go ashore without a permit, or there’s a fine, etc., etc.! In general, a complete idiocy.

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Now they let in without permissions only the first 2 miles (3.2 km), before they let in 6 miles (10 km). We found out about the uninteresting after we passed that section ;) There was barely one cute view.

Kauai Island

Since we had planned 2-3 weeks in advance and they sell out the passes 2-3 months in advance, we of course didn’t get them, but we saw that part of Kauai from the plane and from the track, so we weren’t too disappointed.

Locals say that they check the permits maybe once or twice a year, and that some people just live there and no one fines them, but we didn’t check, especially since we had already booked no time for the two-day 11 mile (18 km) one-way trek. They wrote that those first two miles were terribly difficult, but if you’ve hiked at least once, there’s nothing extraordinary for you there ;)

Important: Regular policies do not cover mountain hikes of any difficulty category. You need a separate sports insurance. The best option – is to buy for active days of insurance from Worldnomads – it’s an international insurance, takes out online, even if you’re already on the trip, and covers hiking up to 6,000 meters.

Unfortunately, for Ukrainians and Belarusians Worldnomads is not sold (but you can buy if you are a resident of another country that is on their list).

For Ukraine there is a site with different insurance – you can pick up a policy with a sports option there. Just do not take Providna and insurance companies with Balt Assistance – we had a very bad experience with them!

Close to the Kalalau trail there’s a nice beach Kee Beach with the sandy bottom, protected from the waves by the reef. But it’s not more than 1 meter deep :)

kauai sea

Other places of interest on Kauai

1. Beaches :

  • For swimming: Poipu, Ke’e, Salt Pond, Kalapaki, Anini, Pali Ke Kua (Hideaways), Lumaha’i.
  • Snorkeling: Tunnels Beach.
  • Surfing: Kalihiwai, Waioli.

2. The famous Honopu Beach with its arch. You can get here only by boat.

honopu beach kauai hawaii

In New Zealand, there is a similar place – Cathedral Cove on the North Island.

3. Glass Beach Eleele: Instead of sand there are just small round glass pieces. In our opinion this place is not so good, but if you are going to come here you should come 1-2 hours before low tide – this is the time when the glass is the biggest.

4. Diving at Ni’ihau . They say it is very cool, but also very expensive. One day with three dives can easily be more expensive than $300. Coolness, as is often the case in diving, is determined by luck: you can get on a lot of wildlife, you can not catch anything interesting. The season from April to September (the rest of the time big waves).

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5. Cycling along the sea to the north of Kapaa village. There is no elevation difference, the path is concrete, rather wide, goes along the sea for some kilometers. Actually, it was built so that the ambulance and firemen could bypass traffic jams, but everyone thinks it’s just for bikes :)

Excursions

  • flying over the island,
  • snorkeling, kayaking, rafting, surfing, yachting,
  • hiking, jeep and bike rides,
  • ziplines, yoga, photo shoots, and more.

Where to stay on Kauai

Hotels, Inns, and Apartments

The best place to settle on the coast: it often rains in the mountains, and there may not be a single cloud on the coast.

To see all the sights without driving an extra mile, it’s best to book lodging in the south or southeast of Kauai. Considering the prices of food in U.S. restaurants, look for kitchen options.

The best hotels on the island of Kauai according to tourist reviews:

Campgrounds on Kauai

When we arrived, we took the rented car and went to book the campsites, but it turned out that the office had moved and they were only open Mon-Fri from 1 to 4 p.m. And it was already 3:40! Barely had time. Good thing it was a weekday, too!

There are free cockfights at the campsites (no schedule, it all depends on what the wild roosters want ;) ).

There is a separate article about Hawaii’s campgrounds, with a detailed review of the places we slept in, prices, where to book, etc, etc.

How to get there

The island has one airport, Lihue (IATA code: LIH). Flights from other Hawaiian islands and some mainland U.S. cities fly here.

How to find the cheapest flights to Kauai from any country

To find cheap airfare, I usually compare prices using aggregators. They all have the same principle – they look for tickets from the databases of hundreds of airlines, but their databases may vary, so the price will be better in one or the other – check everything at once.

    – unrealistically flexible search, and there is a guarantee of a connection, even if you fly low-cost airlines and the first flight was delayed! – the best ticket prices from Russia and Kazakhstan, and a convenient low-fare calendar.

Lowest Airfare Calendar:

Sign up and stay up to date! :)

Read more about USA:

Read about other interesting islands:

Still have questions? Any clarifications or additions? Leave a comment!

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