Discover Paradise: Hawaii’s Kauai Island

While there are many breathtaking travel destinations around the world, one of the most serene is Kauai, also known as the ‘Garden Isle.’ Kauai is Hawaii’s 4th largest island, yet it remains quite remote. Most sights can only be reached by air or by boat as roads are kept minimal to preserve the island’s natural beauty.

Everyone has heard of or seen pictures of Hawaii’s picturesque islands, white sandy beaches, landscapes and people. But believe me, the island is more magnificent than you could ever imagine!

Travel to: Hawaii

Discover Paradise: Hawaii's Kauai Island

Photo credit: chris.murphy / CC BY-ND

If you are looking for a remote place to go on an adventure or simply to relax, the island of Kauai is the place to be. From secluded beaches to incredible hiking along the coastline, the island has everything one could possibly wish for and more.

Kauai’s even got something for the movie buffs! For instance, did you know that Kauai was the set location for most of the landscape scenes in Jurassic Park? If you venture into the lush jungle, you’ll be channelling your inner palaeontologist in no time. 

Hanakapiai Trail/Waterfalls

Discover Paradise: Hawaii's Kauai Island

Photo credit: paul bica / CC BY

Hanakapiai is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful trails on the island. Get an early start in the morning so you have plenty of time to enjoy and don’t have to rush. To get there, head north along the Na Pali Coast while taking in spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean. Follow the highway all the way until it ends and this is where your hiking adventure begins. The enchanting 12 km round trip hike is worth every step. The hike begins by leading you along the stunning Na Pali Coast with astounding views, until you reach Hanakapiai Beach.

If you want to cool off by going for a swim here, forget it. The rip current is so strong and even though swimming is discouraged there are still many casualties every year. People either drown or get knocked against the cliffs by waves that can reach up to 6 meters in height. There is even a warning sign that tallies unfortunate victims who wouldn’t listen so be smart and stay out of the water! There are plenty of other things to explore at the beach as you take a short break before continuing the trek up along the river.

As you move onward, the trail will take you back and forth across the river and through bamboo forests, all the way to the Hanakapiai Waterfall. Here you can take a well-deserved dip in the very refreshing water. Don’t expect it to be warm though! Just swim under the waterfall, close your eyes, and embrace the force of the water rushing down. The Hanakapiai Falls are a popular destination for engagement proposals as well. Just a thought if you’re thinking about popping the question to that special someone!

Hideaway Beach  

Discover Paradise: Hawaii's Kauai Island

Photo credit: JordanHipwell / CC BY-ND

Hideaway Beach is just one of many beautiful beaches the island has to offer, with white sand beaches, crystal clear blue waters and mangrove forests as the backdrop. Relax on the beach, go surfing or enjoy the intriguing world under the sea. Discover sea turtles, dolphins and other amazing sea creatures lurking alongside beautiful underwater rock formations.

Fern Grotto


Photo credit: Steve Corey / CC BY-ND

The fern covered lava rock grotto is located on the Wailua River on the eastern side of Kauai and is accessed by boat. This magical grotto was previously closed to the public and was only accessible to Hawaiian Royalty because it is considered to be the birthplace of the island’s Ali’i, or royalty. Now the grotto is open to the public, giving everyone the opportunity to explore its abundant flora and fauna. As you walk through the fern grotto, you can enjoy live Hawaiian music and will have plenty of photo-ops along the way.

On the boat ride back your captain will enlighten you with ancient tales of the river while enjoying more live Hawaiian music. If you’re lucky, you may even get a private hula lesson on board the spacious open-air boat.

Mermaid Cafe

To top off the Kauai experience, you have to visit Mermaid Cafe—a favourite local hot spot. The Mermaid Cafe is a little shack on the side of the road in Kapaa right on the Kuhio Highway. Here you can indulge in the best seared wasabi ahi tuna wrap you will ever have! Don’t miss out on this chance of deliciousness. Note that the cafe is very busy during lunch time so make sure to get there a bit early so you don’t have to wait in line, fearing that they might run out of ahi!

Kauai is a magical island, perfect for nature lovers and adventurers, and also for those who just need to get away from it all. It’s one of those places you really have to see to believe because Kauai isn’t just about the sights after all, it’s about the tastes, the smells, the culture and the experiences that have to be lived, not described.  See you in paradise!

Share your best Hawaii tips below!