Discover Kauai: I am the Garden Island of Hawaii

With six million years, I am the oldest of the eight main islands of Hawaii

The green Na Pali Coast Kauai
The green Na Pali Coast Kauai

Where the richly vegetated island of Kauai lies today, the earth's plates once collided deep under the sea. The result was powerful volcanoes that erupted again and again and eventually brought me to the surface. Today, the earth under Kauai has calmed down and only former volcanoes remind us of the fiery time.

The Kawaikini is with 1598 meters the highest mountain on Kauai, followed by the Mount Waialeale with 1569 meters. The volcanic past of Hawaii has left behind a rugged landscape with many cliffs, mountains and valleys - a dream for hikers and explorers.

Here is some important information about me - a little profile: As I said before, I was born more than six million years ago. Today, my island is exactly 1456.4 square kilometers large, making it the fourth-largest island in Hawaii. Big Island, Maui and Oahu are bigger than me. About my location: In the southeast, I border Oahu and about 17 miles to the west lies the "forbidden island" Niihau. Only 200 Polynesians live here - as if time had stood still. You can admire the island by air with a helicopter.

On Kauai, it is pleasantly warm all year round. It is always the right temperature to lie on my dream beaches or to head inland for a hike. In summer, the average temperature is 26 degreesand in spring mild 22 degrees. Along my coast, it is always a bit warmer than in the mountainous areas. In Kokee State Park, which lies at an altitude of over 1000 meters, even temperatures below 0┬░ were measured in 1986. Mount Waialeale is considered to be particularly rainy, but this is why it is so wonderfully densely vegetated. At my beaches, it is usually great swimming weather.

May I introduce? These are my residents:

We'll come back to my gorgeous landscapes later, now I'd like to introduce you to the people of Kauai. In total, there are almost 70,000 peoplewho lived here in 2015 and there are more and more who don't want to leave Kauai. Every year, our population increases by hundreds to thousands of immigrants. About 10,000 Hawaiians live in Kapaa, a city on the East Coast which is the largest city on Kauai. However, the centre of business and administration is Lihue, which is located a little further south on the east coast.

The Hawaiian culture is passed on today
The Hawaiian culture is passed on today

There are tiny villages you should visit during your travels that will tell you about my history. The larger cities are located on the coast and are accessed mainly by the Highway 550 and the Routes 56 and 50 . So you can easily drive from city to city by rental carbut there are also regular buses. This may not be as convenient since you often have to walk to the sights but you will gain direct contact with locals and start interesting conversations with them. You can get a map and bus schedules on-site.

In the far north near the Hanalei Valley are the cities of Hanalei, Princeville and Kilauea. Our capital Kapaa is located on the east coast of Kauai along with smaller places like Wailua and Hanamaulu. On the southwestern side of the island, our second largest city Lihue is located. From Lihue Airport, planes departure daily to Oahu and Maui and there are direct flights to the U.S. and Canada as well. Many of my visitors come from the mainland US. Following Highway 50 on the south coast and the towns of Koloa, Kalaheo and Waimeaon the west coast, a larger city with the beautiful Polihale Beach called Mana is also located here.

Taro fields in Hanalei Valley
Taro fields in Hanalei Valley

We welcome you: Tourism is the largest economic sector on Kauai

Every year, over one million tourists visit Hawaii's Garden Island. Most of them are US American. About one-third of my population is employed in hotels, restaurants or some other sector of the tourist industry. Agriculture accounts for only three percent of my population. The soil on Kauai is very fertile and people used to take advantage of that. Many different tropical fruits still thrive here today such as guavas, mangos, avocados, pineapples and the famous coffee from Hawaii.

Tropical feelings arise at the Coconut Plantation of our island. The east coast is also called Coconut Coast because of the coconut cultivation. You can reach the plantation after a short drive from our capital Kapaa. Until the last century, we have specialized in the cultivation of sugar cane For a long time, sugar plantations dominated the entire economy of Hawaii. Instead of sugar cane, today you will find ranches, on which our farm animals feel comfortable.

Come on an adventure on Hawaii's garden island

If you ask Tommy & Jessi, they'll have a hard time deciding on the most beautiful region on Kauai. The island offers a variety of gorgeous plant life and exciting culture around the old towns. You want to experience something while on vacation and don't want to simply let the sun shine on your belly? Then Tommy will take you to the North Shore of Kauai. There is a wide range of hiking trails here - and they always come with a beautiful view of the deep blue Pacific and the fine white sandy beaches. You can find videos of the green paradise on the web.

The Kalalau Trail leads you along the Pacific Ocean for about two hours - on the one side, you see the lush green rainforest and on the other side, you have the view over the sea. It is 17.7 kilometer long. You start your hike at the Kee Beach and finally arrive at the Hanakapiai Beach. You can refresh yourself at the numerous streams over which the path leads. Beautiful waterfalls and small pools provide cooling in the tropical climate. There are only a few places in the world where you can help yourself to a ripe tropical fruit like here. Mango and guava plants all along the way.

Kauai - the perfect backdrop for Jurassic Park and other movies

Known from Jurassic Park: The Manawaiopuna Falls
Known from Jurassic Park: The Manawaiopuna Falls

Not only tourists from all over the world have discovered the Hawaiian Islands. Especially the charm of Kauai has been used by Hollywood for great movies. Did you know that many movies and TV series have been filmed in Kauai for decades? You can get information about this on a movie tour of Kauai, which takes you to the most famous movie locations. 

The Napali Coast with its high, rugged cliffs and densely overgrown escarpments is home to the Jurassic Park movies. Parts of the blockbuster have also been filmed in the Nawailiwili Harbour of Lihue as well as in the southwest of Kauai. Surely you also know Hollywood movies like Blue Hawaii or South Pacific - they are filmed to a large extent on the East Coast, for example at the Opaekaa waterfalls. Romantic comedies make use of the beaches of the scenic North Shore, such as the Bay off Hanalei. These include movies such as Honeymoon in Vegas. The next time you see the movies on TV, you'll experience them with completely different eyes!


Waimea Canyon and Kokee State Park

Breathtaking view at Waimea Canyon
Breathtaking view at Waimea Canyon

Waimea Canyon is not called "Grand Canyon of the Pacific" for nothing. The gorge is located in the southwest of the island and is about 22 kilometres long and 1.6 kilometres wide. The depth is up to 1100 meters. On your hike through this rugged landscape of Hawaii, you can hardly get enough of rocky canyons and picturesque mountain peaks. The best viewpoint is the Waimea Canyon Overlook. You can arrive comfortably by rental car. The narrow road is lined with steep slopes and red rocks. Moving downwards, you have a view of the Waimea River again and again, which flows between the rugged canyons. You can combine your visit to Waimea Canyon with the Kalalau Trail. To do so, you drive through to Kokee State Park and start the two-hour tour from here.

Kokee National Park is 17 square kilometres in size and it is located at an altitude of 975 - 1280 meters. This promises you incomparable views over the Grand Waimea Canyon and the valleys in the northwest of the island. Hikers will find their hearts beat faster in this park: In total, we offer you 73 kilometers of hiking trails. The various tours are marked on a map. Trails for beginners and the whole family are offered but also some for many experienced hikers who are looking for trails away from the hustle. Discover rare and splendidly colourful plants that you will hardly find anywhere else in the world. Also, look out for our native birds like the Apapane or the Iwi.

Information and the map for your trail are available at the Kokee Natural Museum. You can also watch a video of the park in advance. You can take beautiful pictures from the Kalalau Lookout or the Puu O Lika Lookout - with the Valley and the bright blue Pacific as a backdrop. It can get quite fresh and wet up here - so be sure to take a sweater and long pants.

Wailua River

No other of the Hawaiian Islands offers you as many rivers and streams as Kauai. The largest of them is the Wailua River with a length of 32 kilometers. It starts at the top of Mount Waialeale as two rivers: the North Folk and the South Folk Wailua River. Then it flows quietly along the East Coast. Smaller boats, kayaks and even larger vessels are allowed on the river. You won't find anything like this on any other Hawaii island.

Canoeing on Wailua River
Canoeing on Wailua River

The calm Wailua River is ideal for canoeing and kayaking. The boats can be rented on-site or you can take a tour boat across the water. The route leads along ancient temples and picturesque rainforests. You are planning a honeymoonwith your special person? Then you should inquire about a trip to the Fern Grotto by boat. This densely green grotto is made of lava rock and it is the perfect backdrop for wedding pictures. You can also see the sleeping giant from here, which is the Nounou mountain range between Kapaa and Waliua. She looks like a large person lying on her back in the sun.

Do you prefer to travel by car? The Kuamoo and the Kuhio Highway lead you along the Wailua shores. You have an advantage if you travel by car: you can stop in the small towns and visit the sacred temples of the Polynesians. On your way, you can stop at beautiful waterfalls like Opaekaa Falls and the historical remains of small towns.

From the longest beach in Hawaii to the secret cove

The paradise Makua Beach (also known as Tunnels Beach)
The paradise Makua Beach (also known as Tunnels Beach)

Picturesquely situated is the Kee Beach on the North Shore. In front of the bay lies a colourful coral reef, which you used to be able to discover while snorkelling. More and more tourists have discovered this dream beach which makes Kee Beach very crowded, especially during the high season. Bathing is only allowed up to the coral reef to protect nature. This is monitored by the beach guard on site.

Fine beaches can be found in the south of Kauai Island: Around the town of Poipu, there are well-maintained stretches of beach, such as the Marriot Waiohai Hotel or Brennekes Beach. Away from the hustle and bustle, you can also go swimming in peace on Kauai. If you're lucky, you'll have a small bay all to yourself. The bays are well hidden and your guidebook might not even tell you about them. In the south of the coast near Poipu, you can drive to the Shipwreck Beachby car. With its big waves, the beach is a paradise for surfers.

The Lumahai Beach on the North Shore near the town of Hanalei looks like a beautiful pool. The semicircular sandy beach leads shallowly into the Pacific Ocean and is bordered by dark lava rocks. You'll find it between the towns of Princeville and Haena. But pssst - only a few vacationers find their way here! Once found, there is even parking in front of the narrow path downhill available. Enjoy the peace in this bay and just switch off!

Now I'll introduce the longest beach of Kauai: the Polihale Beach is supposed to be the longest stretch of beach in all of Hawaii. Here in the west of Poipu, there are perfect weather conditions - it is almost always sunny and dry. No wonder many luxurious hotels and resorts have settled here. Especially wealthy people feel at home here: magnificent villas and noble boutiques in the shopping centre are part of the picture of Poipu.

Beaches and culture around Lihue

Hawaii's culture is alive!
Hawaii's culture is alive!

You will probably arrive by plane at Lihue Airport. You will find beautiful beaches around the economic centre of Kauai Island: Very popular is the Kalapaki Beach, both among tourists and Hawaiian locals. From the Marriot Resort or the Kauai Lagoons Golf Club, you can jump into the cool water with the best company. Also, try your luck with surfing - around Kalapaki Beach, you will find surf schools and shops for your surf equipment.

The Nawiliwili Harbour is located in Lihue as well which is an important port for vacationers and for all of Hawaii. Goods arrive here daily from overseas as well as from other Hawaiian Islands and cruise ships come for a stopover on Kauai. Since 1897, Kauai has also had a lighthouse at Ninini Beach to make sure ships arrive safely. From Lihue, you have excellent access to sightseeing and hiking trails. You can go on an exciting journey into our past: Alekoko, for example, is a small village with a more than 1000 years old fish catch basin . In Kilohana you can explore a former plantation - or head to one of the many museums, such as the Kauai Museum.

From Lihue, many campers and adventurers also set out into the rainforest. Kauai is very popular with backpackerswho discover the island on foot or by bike. Of course, part of the route may also be covered by our well-developed bus network or with a rental car. The Napali Coast is one to two hours away - and it is considered a must for Kauai vacationers. You can reach it via the Kalalau Trail, which I have already recommended to you.

Come to visit!

Come to Kauai and relax in my green rainforests! Unwind while hiking through picturesque landscapes and soak up the sun on my wide dream beaches - always with rugged cliffs in the background and the gentle sound of the waves.

Your questions, answered by us:

Kauai is an island in the Central Pacific. The island belongs to Polynesia and is about 4000 km away from the American mainland. Kauai is the northernmost island of the Hawaiian archipelago and is almost circular.

Kauai is also called "Garden Island". The island owes this name to the emerald green valleys and mountains, as well as the lush vegetation and waterfalls.

The Hawaiian language contains many vowels that are pronounced slightly differently than in German:

For example, it sounds like:

  • A like "ah
  • I sounds like "ih"
  • U sounds like "uh"

In spoken language, Kauai is pronounced as follows:

Cow wai

Kauai is the greenest of the Hawaiian archipelago and just 20% of the island is connected by roads, the rest is wild and can only be viewed by boat or helicopter.

Most of the existing roads are paved so that any car can be rented (in general: If you drive with a rental car on an unofficial road/dirt road, you will forfeit your insurance coverage. So read the conditions carefully).

Another idea is to rent a scooter, which is also a great way to explore the island.

Kauai, the Garden Island, is located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with an area of 1456.4 km┬▓.

The green island is about 53 kilometers long, 40 kilometers wide and almost circular in shape.

A journey to the "Garden Island" Kaui is only possible by plane:

From Honolulu Airport (HNL), Hawaian Airlines flies to Kauai's main airport, Lihue Airport (LIH) in the southeast of the island. The flight time is about 35-45 minutes.

Big Island
All Hawaii Islands
Overview of all islands & background info