SECLUDED, SPIRITUAL and worn by time, the island of Kaua‘i, the northernmost and oldest of the eight Hawaiian islands, is defined by an ancient culture deeply connected to nature. Whether it’s lush rainforests, deep canyons, pristine beaches or ocean adventures, here’s a small taste of what awaits the intrepid visitor.
Reel in yellowfin or bluefin tuna aboard a fishing charter from Nawiliwili Harbor near Lihue, Kaua‘i’s capital. You may even hook a mahi mahi, the fish so nice they named it twice.
SUN AND SAND
Frolic in the waves at Kekaha Beach, where you get a superb view of nearby Ni‘ihau Island and sunsets that are hard to beat.
Mix with the locals every Friday at Hanapepe’s Art Night, when the main street is transformed into an eclectic collection of art and food vendors and street performers, and most shops stay open late. If you get the chance, try the taro chips at the Taro Ko Chips Factory on Hanapepe Road.
Learn to surf or hone your skills by the iconic Hanalei Pier at Black Pot Beach Park, where the waves cooperate more often than not, thanks to the gently sloping bay.
Some of the best snorkelling on the island is in the lagoon at Makua Beach, where a near-shore reef helps protect snorkellers from the surf.
Wind north along Highway 550 to see the spectacular Waimea Canyon, a.k.a. the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, and end the day in the bird-watching paradise of Kōke‘e State Park, where you can take in the view of Kalalau Valley and experience Mount Wai‘ale‘ale, which with more than 1,000 centimetres of rain annually is one of the wettest places on Earth.
Follow the rise and fall of colossal sea cliffs along the nearly 18-kilometre Kalalau Trail on the island’s north coast, renowned for its wet, slippery slopes, steep grades and jaw-dropping views.
Complete your circumnavigation of the island and see another side of the Nāpali coastline in luxury aboard a catamaran from Port Allen Harbor in ‘Ele‘ele. Watch for dolphins, humpback whales and sea turtles, and soak up the incomparable views of the verdant Nāpali cliffs.