In the summer of 2015, I had the chance to go to Hawaii for a holiday. Unfortunately I had only 14 days, and I wanted to see as much as possible. I decided to visit 3 islands: Kauai, Maui and Oahu. I must tell you, my favourite place was Kauai.
I guess my friends and me were very lucky, as before our arrival I was talking with a local guy, Chris. Unfortunately he couldn’t host us, but he was opened to hang out with us during our travel. When we arrived to the island, we realized we couldn’t rent a car (my friend has didn’t have enough money for the deposit on her card). Eventually Chris offered us to rent a car, and he could show us almost the whole island. He had 2 free days to do that, and we needed to figure out what to do on the 3rd day.
So here is the list you must see if you visit Kauai:
1. Kalalau Trail
Kalalau Trail is the most popular trail in the Na Pali State Park. It’s 11 miles long, but after 4 miles you need to have a permission to continue the rest. Unfortunately we could take only 2 miles, because of the bad weather. During the rainy season (from around October till March) it rains a lot, therefore the trail can be closed, and the river at the 2nd mile can overfill, so it’s impossible to continue hiking. Well, this happened to us as well. Although a guy closed the trail in front of us, he told us we can go, but we need to cover the costs of rescuing in case of emergency – even we have an insurance. We took the risk, as it was a long time to arrive to the trail.
Well, yes, if you want to go to the trail, it’s better to go by car. Unfortunately on that day we didn’t have it, so we needed to take a bus to Hanalei, to the last time, and hitchhike from there. Hitchhiking is forbidden in the USA, but how would it be possible to reach Kalalau trail without a car? Fortunately to the way there we could get a guy, who took us nearby the Kalalau trail. On the way back we weren’t that lucky, we needed to walk more, but after a while we got our ride as well. (just to mention: from Hanalei the trail is about 10 kms far).
The trail starts with an intensive, rocky uphill (for about 10-15 minutes), but after you survive it, there can be no problem. However, when it’s raining, the start is not the most strenous part of the hike. The terrain is very slippery, therefore make sure to bring non-skid shoes, otherwise in a bad moment you can slip into the deep, into the ocean.
2. Kalalau Lookout
I must say that this is the most beautiful lookout in Kauai. On this point you can see the amazing Kalalau Valley and the Na Pali Coast. Don’t hesitate to go to the trees, where you can take better pictures – but be careful, it can be slippery!
3. Waimea Canyon
On the way to Kalalau Lookout, you can stop to have a visit to the Hawaiian Grand Canyon. It’s 16 kilometers long and 900 meters deep. Before the Canyon there is place where you can stop with your car and see other parts of the canyon. Don’t hesitate to cross the road, where you can find the red ground with some mini creek, which is coloured into brown thanks to the sand.
4. Queens’ Bath
Queens’ Bath is an uniqe pool nearby Princeville. After 15-20 minutes hiking down on the hill and over the rocky terrain you reach the pool, which is a sinkhole surrounded by rocks. Its water is provided by the ocean, which is right next to the pool. In winter time the area is kinda dangerous because of the high surf, but during summer, the water is calm. In the pool you can find various kind of fish as well.
5. Wailua Falls
Hawaii has many waterfalls all around its islands. In Kauai, the most known fall is probably the 26 meters high Wailua Falls. We visited only the look out, but you can go closer to the falls as well. Its pool is great for swimming.
6. Ho’opi Falls
Ho’opi Falls is a hidden waterfall in the forest. After 15 minutes easy hiking (the whole trail is flat) you reach the falls. There are almost no people there, so you can hang out freely with your friends.
After so many places let me mention the beaches as well. Our main aim wasn’t to go to the beach and hang out there, because we can do it in other places than Hawaii as well. But of course, we tried to end up in a beach after our hikes to have a quick swim, wash our sandy legs, or… to watch the sunset. In my opinion, on the East side you can find better beaches (especially in North-East), but the best sunsets are definitely in the West side.
8. Kilauea Lighthouse
This is the lighthouse you can see in the Disney movie Lilo and Stitch. Make sure to visit it on other days than Sunday and Monday and on holidays. However, even it’s close, from the parking lot you can take beautiful photos – like we did.
9. Watch out for the nice areas next to the roads
Many of us just set the next destination into our GPS and we don’t stop on our way. In Kauai, you shouldn’t doo that. On the road, there are many points where you can stop and wonder in the nature. If you’re careful enough, you can find the home of Lilo and Stitch as well.
10. Go where the chickens go
Kauai island’s icon is the Kauai chickens. They eat the venomous centipedes native to Kauai, a trait that people seem to like, but they have no natural predators besides pet cats and dogs, and the population is growing at an alarming rate. Therefore they can be found everywhere: on the streets, in the parking lots, in beaches… seriously everywhere.
I hope after this list you won’t consider going to Hawaii for laying on the beaches as well, but you’d love to see these amazing places.