Nicknamed "The Grand Canyon of the Pacific",
Waimea Canyon is indeed reminiscent of the Grand Canyon. Waimea
is smaller but beautiful all the same, with its sides made of
layers in vivid colors representing different eruptions and
lava flows. The canyon measures 10 miles long, 1 mile wide, and
more than 3,500-feet deep. To get there take Waimea Canyon Road
which begins in Waimea. The road travels through the canyon area
and ends at Pu'u o Kila Lookout. Stop at the Waimea Canyon Lookout
for a great vista.
Hanalei Lookout offers a great view of Hanalei
Valley tiled with a patchwork of green rectangles which are in
fact taro fields. The cliffs in the background and the Hanalei
River running through the valley add beauty to this picture
perfect site. This spot is definitely worth a stop. Address: As you
leave Princeville on the North Shore.
If you are not adventurous you'll stop to
admire the falls at Opaeka'a Falls Lookout on the Kuamo'o Road.
The lookout offers a nice view of the falls. If you want adventure
you can do like us and take the trail down to the bottom of
the falls. The trail is unmarked and not maintained and since we
were there in December it was quite muddy and slippery. We had to
cross a stream which was knee-deep and then do a number of stunts
to get to the bottom. If the path is muddy I would not recommend
it (unless you like falls and bruises).
Kalalau Valley Lookout
This was in my opinion the most beautiful
sight on Kauai. Following the Waimea Canyon Road stop at Kalalau
Lookout or go further at Pu'u o Kila Lookout to experience an
amazing view of the Kalalau Valley, a green, rugged canyon that
opens onto the Pacific. Kalalau Valley is the largest on Na Pali
and it was inhabited until 1919. Sometimes you can see rainbows
over the valley (it happened when we were there; you can see it
in the picture if you look closely). There's is no trail down
from this spot, but you can hike the 11-mile Kalalau trail to
get to the beach at the bottom of the valley.
Beautiful waterfall accesible from
Highway 583 or Ma'alo Road which branches off Highway
56 around Lihu'e. In ancient times brave men would leap from
the top of the falls to prove their bravery. There's an
easier way to the bottom of the falls by taking the trail
which starts 3/10 of a mile down the road. Not that easy still
because the trail is steep and can be very slippery (as it
was when we visited). The brave can nowadays splash about
into the cold pool of water at the bottom of the falls.
Kilauea Lighhouse is another postcard
perfect view of Kauai. It was built in 1913 and the lens
is the largest of its type ever made. It has been in service
until 1976. Nowadays the attraction is the large population
of birds that nest around the cliff. The view from the
cliff is amazing; there is a small island directly offshore.
One thing I remember is that some birds were nesting in
underground tunnels very close to the lighthouse. Because
their nests were so fragile (if someone stepped on the
ground their nests would be crashed and the birds would be
buried) they had put up a sign saying "Only birds beyond
this point". We found this very funny, like they were
assuring the birds that they are allowed there.
The lighthouse is only opened Monday - Friday 10 am - 4 pm,
and it's closed Saturdays, Sundays - first time we got there
after 4 and we had to come back another day.
Polihale Beach is located on the western
shore of Kauai. It's difficult to get there; from the end
of Highway 50 make a right and then take the first dirt road.
The dirt road is in pretty bad shape but it's only 4 miles
to the beach. The beach is really beautiful and it's worth
going through the pain to get there. We were there on a
weekday and we were the only people on the beach. Since
it's on the western part of Kauai is very dry and it rains
rarely. It can be really hot in the summer. This is where
Na Pali coast starts so you can't go father north (not by
The Spouting Horn is a lava tube that
opens into the sea. When the waves hit the shore, they cause
water to squirt out the narrow tunnel. The funny thing about
it is that there is a second hole that blows only air. Right
before the wave hits the tube and water is blown into the air
the second hole makes a noise, like a loud gasp. The shore
around the horn is also very beautiful.
One thing that I found amazing is how
varied the island's landscape is. After all Kauai is a
small island and still it has beach, mountain, rain forest,
plains and even rivers - four of them and a number of streams.
Wailua is one of them and it's a good spot for kayak trips.
It's very scenic, and together with the little kayaks you
can see large boats that are taking people to see the Fern
Grotto. The Fern Grotto is a natural amphitheater filled with
ferns and is worth taking a visit there even though I read
somewhere that the 1982 hurricane Iwa ripped many of the
Hiking the Kalalau Trail
This is probably the most famous hike in
Kauai. The trail goes for 11 miles and leads you to Na Pali
Coast; the views along the way are simply beautiful. One
needs a permit to go past the first 2 miles (it is assumed
that you'll be camping if you go farther). At the end of the
trail lies Kalalau Beach and above it the beautiful valley
that you can see from the top of Waimea Canyon Drive at the