Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Kauai – Hawai’i Island of Discovery

Kauai has a lush, rural feel and a laid-back lifestyle all its own. After all, Kauai is Hawai’i oldest island and, as first-born, has a legacy of paradise to uphold. And what a paradise! A trip around Kauai is a feast of green, tropical forests, cascading waterfalls, golden sand beaches and the time of your life. Your circumnavigation will be interrupted by one of the world’s greatest natural wonders, the Na Pali Coast. Don’t be daunted. Take to boat or helicopter to witness its 14 miles of vertical seamounts falling into a necklace of white surf spray. Your heart will skip a beat. Kauai does that to you over and over again.
Nothing prepares you for some of its natural wonders such as the Na Pali Coast, Wailua Falls, Waimea Canyon and the 17 mile Polihale Beach. The landscapes of Kauai have served as locations for more than 50 movies over the years. Ask the friendly people of Kauai and they’ll tell you it’s because there’s no place more beautiful on earth.
Kauai has been around millions of years longer than its sister islands. Time and the elements have created Hawai’i only navigable rivers, carved a deep canyon, tended an amazing feast of flora and set out seemingly endless beaches.
A tour of Kauai might start in the county seat of Lihue, which also gives its name to the airport nearby. Also close is Kalapaki Beach, which offers the best swimming on this part of the island. Driving north along a stretch known as Coconut Coast, you come to the towns of Wailua, Kapa’a and Anahola. This area was settled first and fairly bustles with action. There are plenty of shops, restaurants, accommodations, activities and attractions including many of Kauai’s legendary waterfalls and the Wailua River.
Further up the road, you arrive at the North Shore and the towns of Kilauea, Princeville, Hanalei and Ha’ena. Here, find the world-famous Princeville Resort with its equally famous golf courses and a collection of beaches second to none. At Ha’ena State Park, the road ends at the majestic Na Pali Coast. To explore the other side of the island, turn around and retrace your route. You’re sure to discover any number of interesting things you missed on the ride up.
The drive into South Kauai takes you under a mile long, shady canopy of eucalyptus trees. You emerge into a brightness that will have you reaching for your sunglasses. Welcome to the sunny South Shore. Explore the plantation town of Koloa and the resort area of Po’ipu, with its gentle beaches and popular golf courses.
The West Side of Kauai is further up the road, physically and metaphorically. The towns get smaller, the population thins out and nature imposes in the likes of 3.500 foot deep Waimea Canyon and Koke’e State Park’s 45 miles of hiking trails. A horseback ride into the rusty, cooper canyon will reveal why Mark Twain nicknamed it the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific”. At the end of the road is the Kalalau Valley Lookout where you will be rewarded by one of the most scenic views on the island.
Kauai’s natural beauty is the setting for any vacation activity. There are lots to do, whether you’re the active type or your taste runs to the quiet and contemplative. Kauai’s 154 holes of great golf will keep you joyfully occupied.
If you’re planning a wedding or coming on your honeymoon, you’ll find the perfect marriage of fantasy and reality in one of the most romantic spots you can imagine. For families, there are lots of activities to share like hiking, horseback riding, snorkeling, kayaking, bicycling and picnicking on the beach.
And remember, Hawaii delightful melting pot of cultures serves up a variety of dining menu items that will add to your fun of discovery on Kauai.

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