Island of Kauai
Also Know as "The Garden Isle"
Kauai is the oldest and most north westerly of these islands. Seventy miles northwest of Oahu across a storm-wracked channel, Kauai’s varied landscapes across its 33 miles form the garden spot of the Hawaiian chain.
On the eastern, southern and southwest rim of the Garden Isle, sugarcane fields and rich tropical life merge with many of Hawaii’s most beautiful, unpopulated and also deceptively treacherous beaches. The Garden Isle’s perimeter of beaches is unsurpassed in the South Pacific: from Kee Beach on the north past Hanalei Town to Poipu in the south and Polihale State Park beach in the west.
Sitting in the center of this roughly circular island is the wettest spot on earth – Mt. Waialeale (5,148 ft) – which annually distributes about 500 inches of rain to Kauai’s multitude of rivers, streams and waterfalls, including the Wailua River, Hawaii’s only navigable river. Wind-and-rain-sculpted valleys running from craggy peaks and towering cliffs 2,700 ft. to the boiling surf below, form the unforgettable beauty of Kauai’s Na Pali Coast. Rest to the west of the razor-sharp green spires and flower-choked gorges of the Na Pali Coast, the barren landscapes of 3,600-ft deep Waimea Canyon, the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, fall steeply to the coastline. It was here, in 1778 that captain James Cook became the first westerner to set foot in Hawaii.
Kauai is full of marvelous contrasts and surprises like, intensely green Mt. Walaleale, which adjoins a spectacular desert canyon. Many beaches of the Garden Isle are hidden gems that have to be ferreted out of deeply indented shorelines at the end of nameless din roads. Still a collection of small towns strung in a narrow band along three coastlines and the lush backdrop of stunning mountains is never far from view.
Discovered only recently as arguably the most beautiful Hawaiian Island, Kauai offers only a few comparatively small concentrations of resort developments. Furthermore, these resorts are not very visible unless you look for them.
The Westin Kauai, an enormous and grandiose fantasy resort, is hidden from view in an unlikely location on Nawiliwili Bay behind Lihue, the budget accommodation and restaurant haven of Hawaii. A new Hyatt fantasy resort was built near the once remote Shipwreck Beach adjoining Poipu, which still sits unperturbed in a sunny enclave under clear skies. Poipu’s usual serenity was broken only momentarily by 1982’s hurricane Iwa and an accompanying tidal wave.