Knowing about the destination before planning our travel helps to avoid pitfalls that might otherwise catch us by surprise.
If a Kauai vacation is on the cards for you, understanding the island before you even step foot on it helps develop a connection with the island and heightens the travel experience.
In this blog post, we will be going through 10 such things you should know before visiting Kauai so that you come well prepared and make the most of Hawaiian experience.
1. Kauai is the Oldest Hawaiian Island
Kauai is the oldest and the fourth largest island in the Hawaiian chain.
Polynesians were the first to arrive on the island in 400 AD, who were gradually followed by Tahitians and the Europeans.
The island ultimately joined the united Hawaiian Kingdom under King Kamehameha in the 19th century.
2. Heard of the Garden Isle?
Kauai is a small island spreading about 600 square miles in size.
One of its unique features is that over 75% of the island is uninhabitable and covered by mountains and rainforests.
This is what makes Kauai a green-island, colloquially called the Garden-Isle, making it a perfect destination for people who love to explore nature.
3. Underdeveloped Paradise
Only 3% of Kauai is developed. To protect the essence of the island, Kauai county doesn’t allow buildings to go above 4 storeys in height.
The absence of high storeyed buildings gives the island a laid back feel and gives it an edge over the other Hawaiian islands.
The people of Kauai too value nature and stand against overdevelopment of the island.
4. Beaches Everywhere
Kauai is a beach island. With over 90 miles of coastline (25 miles of which are inaccessible by car), Kauai has the highest share of beaches per mile than any other Hawaiian island (and other islands in the world.)
Beautiful white sandy beaches grace every shore of the island and there is never a dull moment here if you’re a beach lover.
(The north shore experiences strong currents during winter, which can be dangerous. The south shore is comparatively calm throughout the year.)
5. Kauai’s People and Culture
Kauai is inhabited by 70,000 people who belong to multiple origins.
The growth of trade that happened between the US and the Asian countries and the Influx of immigrants to serve the growing sugar industry, formed and shaped the Hawaiian culture we see today.
This multicultural environment can be experienced through music and arts showcased by local artists and also through local Hawaiian cuisine.
Make sure you attend Luau Kalamaku, the most famous luau on the island, and other cultural events as it’ll help you understand the roots of Kauai.
6. Hollywood’s Second Home
Kauai has been a consistent filming location for Hollywood for its lush greenery, magnificent landscapes and good infrastructure.
Popular locations like the Napali Coast, Wailua Forest Reserve and the Allerton Gardens have been featured in Popular movies like Jurassic Park and Pirates of The Caribbean series.
You can either take an Air tour of the entire island or independently visit the locations where some of your favourite movies were shot.
7. Always Be Prepared For a Shower
Ever wondered why the garden isle is covered with lush greenery? Kauai has a rainy weather but it’s not something tourists should be concerned about.
The north shore, which is the windward side, experiences the highest rainfall while the other shores are comparatively dry. The mountain areas experience heavy rains as compared to the coast which gets occasional 5 min showers that will not interfere with your vacation.
When it’s raining on one side, you can always head over to another shore as there’s a good chance that it’ll be dry.
A rental car is your best ally on the island as public transport cannot take you everywhere.
While the highways are in good shape, there are some equally bad dirt roads which might put some dents on your car. Please discuss this aspect with the car rental company before you rent a car.
To save on gas, you can fill the car up in Lihue and continue on your journey.
9. Mouth Watering Food
Food is essential for refuelling amidst an eventful day in Kauai. The blending of different cultures means that you get to taste a wide range of delicacies on the island.
Your most affordable and convenient option on the island are food trucks. Kauai has over 50 food trucks scattered across the island which offer a wide range of delicacies from talented local chefs.
When you’re heading towards restaurants, it’s better to check for tables as some restaurants do not have this option. Also, you might want to head early as some restaurants only serve breakfast and lunch until 3pm.
Poipu is the place for luxurious dining options, and offers some of the best oceanfront dining experiences on the island.
Once you’re in Kauai, you must try Lomi Lomi salmon, spam musubi, Poi, Hawaiian style plate lunch and Shave Ice as they’re Hawaii’s signature dishes.
10. Kauai is a Hiker’s Paradise
Although Kauai is a car island, the hidden interiors of the island can only be explored by taking the hiking route. You can find hundreds of hiking trails on the island, with varying levels of difficulty.
Whether you’re an experienced hiker looking for the next adrenaline filled adventure or a nature lover who just needs a short and easy hike, you have it all here. Pack a pair of hiking boots, as there’s a good chance you’ll stumble on a hiking trail on every corner of the island.
Kalalau trail on the north shore, Kuilau ridge trail on the east and Waimea Canyon trail or Waipoo falls trail are some popular trails on the island if are to name a few.
11. Don’t Miss the Napali Coast At Any Cost
Among the many scenic wonders on the island, the Napali coast is, hands down, the best thing you can see on the island.
Just the way the Jurassic Park movies have glorified it, this breathtaking 17-mile coastline on the north western shore of the island is home to beautiful valleys, intriguing sea caves, abundant marine life and traces of Hawaiian history.
The best way to access the Napali coast is via a boat tour as you’ll be accompanied by a knowledgeable crew who will take you through every nook and corner of the coast with minute attention to detail. The tour also includes a snorkeling session and Hawaiian style buffet dinner.
While most boat tours depart from Port Allen, we choose Kekaha Harbor as it offers the shortest port to coast distance and reduces your travel time. Check out our homepage for more info and exciting offers for an unforgettable Napali Coast Experience.