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Rental homes on Kaua'i provide a variety of vacation accommodation levels with everything you need that you would have at home -- Internet, full kitchen, TV/VCR/DVD, etc. You could also enjoy special perks such as personal concierge, Jacuzzi, private chef, massages, teak furnishings and floors, luxury linens, and so much more -- not to mention that you would be on an island with glorious views of the mountains and the sea. You can choose a rental home with big windows, wrap around lanais, and hardwood floors, with ocean or mountain backdrops.

Guest houses, cottages, oceanfront homes, and mountain cabins are a few kinds of rental homes available on Kaua'i-- from budget to luxury accommodations in views, sizes, and price ranges. Every visitor has several reasonable choices with rental homes available for as little as $700 a week to $2,000 or more.

Depending on your length of stay and personal preferences, rental homes are a wonderful option to visit Kauai and enjoy all it has to offer while also pampering yourself for those special nights in, or when you just want to relax and enjoy your immediate surroundings.

Any visit to Kauai from late November through early May is peak time for whale watching. While you can see whales from shore, it is a much more intimate experience when you take a boat tour -- you're much closer and in the whale's own habitat.

The Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge, the Kalalau Trail on the North Shore, Kukui O Lono Park at Kalaheo, and Poipu Beach are all favorite locations for spotting whales. Make sure you bring your binoculars for this spectacular event.

Kayaking on Kauaican be a peaceful experience or an enthralling adventure. For gentler adventures, try the Wailua River to the famed Fern Grotto, or Huleia River from Nawiliwili Harbor to the Menehune Fishpond and beyond. The Hanalei River is the longest, as you kayak peacefully through plains; and Kalihiwai offers its own its exquisite scenery.

Ocean kayaking is also a great island activity. Try the Poipu to Port Allen course with a stop in Lawai Bay. Ocean kayaking can be a memorable, once-in-a-lifetime experience, and we recommend hiring a guide, especially if you are considering kayaking the Na Pali coast. "National Geographic" deemed it the second best adventure in the country.

Hikers love Kauai's trails for a few reasons: they're abundant, range from easy to challenging, and offer magnificent views. Since 90% of Kauai is inaccessible by road, hiking is a great way to see the island's natural splendor first-hand.

Waimea Canyon and Kokee State Parks offer vistas of all kinds -- coastal, canyon, and forest. Notable trails in other regions of the island include Kuilau, Moalepe, Kalalau (11 miles), and Powerline. Always hike safely and make sure to take advantage of all the safety tips and guidelines. Maps are available through the Department of Land and Natural Resources and the Division of State Parks.

The mystical quality of the infinite ocean, particularly around an island, makes traveling by sea a glorious experience. Cruising and sailing on Kauai leads to more opportunities.

Travel in equipment ranging from a rubber raft where you'll be up close and personal with the sea, to sailing luxuriously in a catamaran with all its modern-day conveniences. Your journey to the Na Pali Coast is guaranteed to be one of the highlights of your vacation.

Kauai offers a great deal of campsites for those that want to immerse themselves in the island's the maximum nature experience. You can drive or hike or boat to your campsite, depending on your final destination. RV camping is also permitted (Kokee and Polihale State Parks and Haena and Hanamaulu County Parks). All the campgrounds (excluding state parks along Na Pali Coast and forest reserve campsites along Waimea Canyon) include grills, pavilions (some with electricity), picnic tables, toilets, cold water showers, and drinking water.

Camping permits are required and illegal camping is strictly prohibited, so prepare beforehand by contacting the appropriate state, county, or forest reserve site agencies: Division of Parks and Recreation, Department of Land and Natural Resources, or the Division of Forestry and Wildlife.

Camping Permit Information:

State of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources: (808) 274-3444
Kaua'iDivision of Parks and Recreation: (808) 241-4463

State of Hawaii Division of Forestry and Wildlife
(808) 274-3433

Kaua'ioffers many kinds of shopping throughout the island, from small shops to malls. Stores offer many unique items to take home and enjoy, beyond souvenirs: apparel including aloha shirts, jewelry, home and personal accessories, and art.

On the North Shore, explore specialty shops that carry unique gifts and vintage used clothing. Perusing antiques from exotic lands such as Tibet and India, jewelry, Oriental rugs, pearl bracelets, and other fine gifts can be much fun. You can even find the only soap and candle factory in Hawaii. More interesting shops in Hanalei, Princeville, and throughout the North Shore are nothing short of a shopper's paradise.

On the East Side, Kapaa Town and Kinipopo Shopping Village offer a variety of fun shops and eateries. Aloha shirts, vintage maps, fine art, and jewelry are all available in the area. Wailua Shopping Plaza houses several restaurants and an eclectic antique shop. The Coconut Marketplace is home to more than 70 shops in which you'll find precious Hawaiian mementos, fine artwork, antiques, jewelry, craft items, and so much more.

Lihue and the Kalapaki area offer country stores, funky and fine art shops, nifty gift nooks, and farmers' markets (on Kauai, they're called Sunshine Markets). Authentic Kauai crafts are a treat to shop for after a tour through the Kaua'I Museum -- Niihau shell leis, woodwork, lauhala weavings, coconut products, and more. Beyond the Kauai Museum, you'll find many more notable mementos to take home including soaps, paintings, clothing, coffee, Kukui guava jams, fabrics, and many other collectible items.

The South Shore has the Poipu Shopping Village with a selection of shops, services, and eating establishments. The medley of gift choices here is incredible. Pillows, Hawaiian handmade paper, unique jewelry, children's items, formal and fun apparel (including silk dresses), swimwear, candles, soaps, sterling silver items, and enough to keep you browsing for a day or more. The numerous surf shops offers surfwear, swimwear, and watersports equipment. Nearby Old Koloa Town is another stop worth making, with its funky island apparel, Kauai-artist-only crafts, coveted Niihau shell leis, a variety of dining and snacking establishments, local grocery store, candles, soaps, and more.

Eleele Shopping Center on the West Side is where you'll find a handful of stores, conveniences, and tour boat company offices; it's a great place to mix with locals. Hanapepe is known for its artists and you'll love browsing amongst the smattering of wooden furniture, handmade soaps, pillows, plates, and cups -- all with tropical motifs; antique prints of Hawaii, limited-edition graphics, and several other Kauaispecialty products. Taro chips in numerous flavors make great gifts to take home. Friday night is Art Night with its block party atmosphere, as art galleries open up for viewing and occasional demonstrations, live music, and light refreshments. Port Allen, where red dirt shirts originated, is also a fun stop for souvenirs, yummy chocolates, and boat tours.

Whether it's deep sea or freshwater fishing, Kauai delivers. Fish from shore, piers, boats, even when snorkeling or scuba diving (and there's nighttime torch fishing for the adventurous). Catch trout, catfish, ono, bass, ahi, marlin, and more.

Deep-sea fishing charters are available primarily from Nawiliwili Harbor, and some from the North Shore and Kekeha. You only need a fishing license if you choose to freshwater fish (good for one year, available from the State Division of Aquatic Resources).

Snorkeling is often the highlight of many people's vacation -- and Kauaioffers a wide range of locations, from beginner to expert. The reefs off Kee Beach and Haena Beach Park make for great shoreline snorkeling. Tunnels Beach in Haena has a wide reef area with a lot of variety. Check ocean conditions prior to your drive there -- you don't want to go if the surf is up or if there's a strong current.

Anini Beach is perfect for beginners, with a safe, shallow area for snorkeling. Poipu Beach Park has some good snorkeling to the right side of Nukumoi Point, the tombolo area (narrow strip of sand dividing the ocean). Salt Pond Beach Park, near Hanapepe, has good snorkeling with bountiful marine life in a protected cove.

Helicopter tours anywhere are a luxury, but on Kauai, you truly get the maximum value for your venture. The island's dramatic landscape -- with the crater of Mt. Waialeale, the gorge that is Waimea Canyon, and the spectacularly rugged Na Pali Coast, not to mention the millions of shades of blues and greens you'll see in the waters lapping against the shores will thrill your senses.

An advantage to air tours on Kauai is that you will not miss out on the intimate secrets of the island, the inaccessible, or at least the areas that perhaps you prefer not to travel into if they involve activity beyond your interest or comfort level. Almost all the helicopter companies operate from Lihue, with a few from Hanapepe and Princeville. How else can you see the full spectrum of this beautiful rainbow known as Kauai?

Traditional hula shows, luaus, live Hawaiian music and other performances and cultural events are all worthy of your precious time on Kauai. It's significant part of island culture and will leave you with many unforgettable memories.

Island fare is creative, tasty, and a genuine culinary adventure. Ingredients fresh from Kauai's Sunshine Markets (farmers' markets) -- macadamia nuts, coconuts, taro, poi, malasadas, lilikoi chiffon treats, and other delicacies -- are part of the lengthy list of treats to taste. Sample the variety of fresh fish too: ahi, mahimahi, ono, wahoo, and opakapaka -- just to name a few. Even fish and chips taste better on Kauai!

Any visit to Kauai from late November through early May is peak time for whale watching. While you can see whales from shore, it is a much more intimate experience when you take a boat tour -- you're much closer and in the whale's own habitat.

The Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge, the Kalalau Trail on the North Shore, Kukui O Lono Park at Kalaheo, and Poipu Beach are all favorite locations for spotting whales. Make sure you bring your binoculars for this spectacular event.

Water sports on Kauai are very popular and surfing is one of them. One of the best aspects of surfing is that you can participate or watch -- either way, everyone has a great time. Kauai's four regions, North, South, East, and West, all offer incredible surfing experiences. Favorite spots for surfing on Kaua'iinclude Salt Pond, Allerton's, Kukuiula Harbor, Davidsons at Kekaha, Pakalas, Poipu Beach, Lawai Beach (also called P.K.s, Centers, and Acid Drop), Shipwrecks Beach, Nawiliwili Harbor, Hanalei Bay, Tunnels Beach, and Cannons.

Whether watching the waves from the shore or riding them, surfing on Kauai is a memorable experience. Surfers love the exhilaration as powerful waves provide the greatest of thrills. Always check for a report on weather and tide conditions -- make water safety your first priority and you're ensured a grand time. If you'd like to learn to surf, check out the surf schools on the island to find the right teacher for you.

The island's opportunities are bountiful if you want to see, taste, experience, and genuinely discover your own Kauai. Attractions set against a postcard backdrop are grand, unique, historic, and unforgettable.

The museums in the various areas of Kauai are rich in knowledge of the island's heritage, but also informational and interactive. They too are located throughout Kauai in rustic, scenic, incredible venues. Distinctive signature gardens fling a kaleidoscope of colors and kinds of flora and fauna into your memories; Kauai is known not only as the island of discovery, but equally significantly as the Garden Isle.

Consider your interests and that will help a little when making the difficult decision of which Kauai beaches to visit, unless you're fortunate to have the time to visit them all! The island's beaches are idyllic for walking, sailing, surfing, sunbathing, fishing, picnicking, hiking, snorkeling, people-watching, swimming or snoozing -- and the list continues, as you will quickly discover.

While the many beaches offer their own distinct advantages, it is important when visiting Kauai to adhere to safety guidelines whenever you go to the beach. Kauai's central Pacific location provides some of the largest waves on the planet breaking on her shores, so extra caution is warranted even for the most experienced swimmers. The beaches that have lifeguards on duty are Hanalei Beach Park, Waioli, Anahola, Wailua, Lydgate, Poipu, Salt Pond, and Kekaha. A great advantage to Kauai's beaches is that all of them are public; some hotels may have private areas that include some beach facilities for guests, but as long as you walk along the public access walkways, you are free to explore all of these special beaches.

Some of the fun choices you'll need to ask yourself are whether you want transparent or sapphire waters, rocky reefs or quiet sands, foamy waves or patient seas; regardless, you'll bask in glorious sunshine, fresh air, nearby mountain cliffs in some areas, and happy times.

Visiting Kauai gives you the opportunity to communicate with others in English, but you also get a glimpse into the Hawaiian language. Just as different parts of the U.S. mainland have their own regionalism -- deep Southern accents, pronunciations of English words in Boston, Texas' famous drawl, and so forth -- Hawaii also has unique vocal character. You'll enjoy the melodic sounds of the Hawaiian language, and you may even start using a few during your visit to the island. Most of us know aloha and mahalo, but you'll quickly add some new words to your list. Hawaiian pidgin is also fun to hear -- it's very rhythmic and colorful.

Hawaiian music adds another laid-back element to your visit to the island. You'll hear the traditional slack-key guitar and ukulele, but also Hawaiian reggae, hip hop, and some more modern beats. Alongside the music it's fun to watch, and even try, the hula. More than just a swaying island dance in grass skirts, the hula began as a means of worship and storytelling through chants (mele). Hula is for everyone -- women (softer, gentler), men (more active), and children (sweet and charming). Kauai was once the sight of the most prestigious hula school in all of the islands and people would travel from all of Hawaii to Kauai to learn hula. Watch the swaying hips synchronized with flowing hand movements when you watch the hula at an island luau.

The Hawaiian culture is a friendly one, rich in the spirit of aloha, and the cultural tradition of the lei is an added enticement. Colorful, fragrant garlands, leis come in a variet -- wide and flat, thick and round, single or many strands. Long ago, hula dancers placed lei of scented green maile leaves at the altars of the goddess of hula, Laka, for inspiration. Today, lei are made of carnation, plumeria, ilima (rich hues and velvety texture, this fragile flower is cherished and associated with royalty), and many others. Lovely anise-scented mokihana lei are very special since they are made of the berries found only on Kauai.

Learn The Hawaiian Language

English and Hawaiian are Hawaii's two official languages. Until the arrival of American missionaries in the early 1800s, the Hawaiian language was an oral tradition. These missionaries helped create a written form of the language. It consists of five vowels and seven consonants: a, e, i, o. u, h, k, l, m, n, p and w.

Pronunciation Key, Stressed vowels
a (ah, as in far) ex: hale
e (a, as in way) ex: nene
i (ee, as in see) ex: pali
o (oh, as in no) ex: taro
u (oo, as in moon) ex: kapu

Pronunciation Key, Unstressed Vowels
a (a, as in again) ex: kapu
e (eh, as in get) ex: hale

Consonants sound the same as English. Note: Sometimes the "W" is pronounced the same as "V."

Common Hawaiian Words and definitions:

ae (yes)
ahupuaa (division of land stretching from mountains to sea)
aina (land, earth)
alii (Hawaiian royalty)
aloha (a fond greeting or farewell , the spirit of Kauai)
a hui hou (until we meet again)
aole (no)
ewa (westward)
halau (house for hula training; hula troupe)
hale (house or building)
hana (work; bay)
haole (foreigner, Caucasian)
hapa (half, person of mixed ancestry)
heiau (ancient Hawaiian religious temple)
huhu (angry, agitated)
hui (group organization)
hula (uniquely Hawaiian form of dance, communication, often through stories)
imu (underground pit oven used in luau)
kahiko (traditional, old)
Kohala (humpback whale)
kahuna (priest, expert in a field)
kai (ocean, ocean water)
kalo, taro (a broad-leafed plant that produces starchy roots)
kamaaina (local or long-time resident)
kane (man)
kapu (tax, forbidden)
keiki (child; offspring)
kipuka (oasis of undisturbed land within a lava field)
koa (largest of native trees)
kokua (help, cooperation)
kona (leeward, leeward wind)
koolau (windward side of island)
kupuna (grandparent)
lanai (porch veranda)
lae (cape, point)
lei (garland of flowers, leaves or shells)
lolo (feeble minded)
luakini (temple for human sacrifice)
luau (feast)
mahalo (thank you)
mahimahi (dolfinfish)
makaainana (commoner)
makahiki (celebration held annually with sports and religious festivities)
makai (towards the ocean)
malihini (newcomer, visitor)
mana (spiritual power)
mauka (inland, towards the mountains)
mauna (mountain)
menehune (legendary little people who inhabited islands before Polynesians)
moku (island)
moana (ocean, sea)
moo (lizard, reptile, dragon, water spirit)
muumuu (long and loose fitting dress)
nani (beautiful)
nene (rare native goose)
ohana (family)
ono (delicious, also a fish)
pahoehoe (smooth lava)
pali (cliff, precipice)
paniolo (cowboy)
pohaku (stone, rock)
poi (pounded taro root)
puka (hole, shell)
pupu (appetizer, snack)
puu (hill, cinder cone)
puuhonua (place of refuge)
ukulele (stringed instrument, small guitar)
wahine (woman)
wikiwiki (quickly)

Kauai is the shape of an almost perfect circle, with a magnificent beauty emanating from each one of its 553 square miles. The island's location is a strategic and fortunate one for visitors because the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean keep the island at perfect temperature year-round.

Kauai's beaches make up almost half of its shoreline, which is an obvious perk for visitors. Kauai, Hawaii's fourth largest island, also shares its mountains with its guests. A hike along the Kalalau Trail, or a helicopter ride past 5,148-ft Mount Waialeale, the center of Kauai rewards visitors with amazing memories and photographs. The deeply weathered mountainous region tells a story as does Kauai's Waimea Canyon, fondly dubbed the Grand Canyon of the Pacific by Mark Twain. Waimea Canyon offers extravagant views and hiking trails throughout its 4,000-foot elevation.

A nonstop drive around the island of Kauai is almost achievable, but not quite. Visitors can travel in a variety of directions to experience Kauai uniquely at each turn; a car will take you to Kee Beach, the furthest possible on the north shore, while Polihale Beach State Park or the top of Waimea Canyon Road is as far as you can get on the west side.

Kauai's Napali Coast, which rivals any in the world for the grandest coastline, can only be seen via the sea, or the air, or by hiking (you have an excellent view of the whole coast from Kee Beach). The Napali Coast's 17-mile coastline took its sweet time to form -- millions of years of wind and water erosion -- but the result was worth the wait to enjoy the 4,000-foot cliffs, complete with lush green valleys, free-flowing waterfalls, and secret sea caves.

Ground transportation on Kauai includes rental cars, hotel shuttles, and taxis. Several companies provide guided tours aboard motor-coaches, mini-buses, vans, four-wheel drive vehicles, and limousines. Every major rental car company is represented and with the number of them, it keeps prices competitive.

Kauai also has limited bus service, but most travelers rent a car to enable them to see all the sights on their schedule. Kauai is a circular island and one major highway nearly circles it, beginning in Lihue and going north, Kuhio Highway (Hwy. 56) goes to Kee Beach past Hanalei. Going west, Kaumualii Highway (Hwy. 50) travels past Kekaha nearly to Polihale State Park.

All passengers in a vehicle must wear a seatbelt and all infants must be strapped into car seats. Pedestrians always have the right of way, even if they're not in the crosswalk.

Kauai has only the number of traffic lights necessary and to maintain this, everyone follows "aloha" traffic customs. Just remember to drive slow, yield to others, and no tailgating. Make the most of your time on the island by immersing in the local style of driving when on one-lane bridges. Yield to oncoming traffic when you arrive at a one-lane bridge. If you are the oncoming traffic and there is a line waiting on the other side, stop and let your neighbors cross. It's much more laid-back than driving on the mainland, so enjoy the scenery and drive safely.

United Airlines offers direct service to Kauai (Lihue Airport LIH) from Los Angeles and San Francisco and American Airlines offers a non-stop, daily flight from Los Angeles. SunTrips offers a charter from San Francisco/Oakland International Airport (OAK) once a week. United, American, Delta, Northwest, TWA, Hawaiian, Aloha, and Continental serve Honolulu International Airport (HNL). Primarily used by private planes, Princeville Airport (HPV) is on the North Shore and just 10 minutes from Hanalei.

Traveling to Kaua'ifrom Honolulu is a quick "island hop" of just 25 minutes on either Aloha Airlines, Hawaiian, or Island Air. Visitors will enjoy the brief journey's quite dramatic arrival with an aerial view of Hauupu Ridge, Nawiliwili Bay, and Kilohana Crater, impressive first images of the island. Landing and experiencing that first balmy breeze and a 360 degree vision of the island as you take it all in is unforgettable.

Lihue Airport is just three miles east of the town of Lihue and a Visitor Information Booth is located outside each baggage claim area. Each baggage claim area has restrooms, public telephones, and free tourist information. Flying time is approximately 10 hours from New York, eight hours from Chicago, five hours from Los Angeles, and 15 hours from London, not including layovers.

Kauai's heritage is one of fascinating folklore steeped in rich history. Fire that had erupted deep in the heart of the Pacific Ocean ravaged high above to create many atolls (fringing coral reef) and islands, among them, Kauai. It is believed that from destruction comes serenity and beauty, and Kauai's birth is a true example.

Kauai's first settlers appeared on the scene in approximately fourth or fifth century A.D. to be among the privileged few to set eyes on the earliest of the Hawaiian islands in its most untouched form. The adventurous settlers brought basic food items, among them taro, which is used to make poi and is today considered a highlight at Hawaiian luaus.

Centuries passed before Captain James Cook found Kauai on his voyage to Alaska. He first landed in Waimea and even visited the private island, Niihau, which is part of Kaua'I County. Kauai's proud history continues as it was the only island not conquered by force by King Kamehameha I, who conquered all the other Hawaiian islands. Eventually, Kauai's King Kaumualii peacefully offered Kauai to Kamehameha to avoid more bloodshed.

One of Kauai's most enthralling legends is that of the Menehune, a mythical race of small people talented in construction and engineering who created incredible structures, such as aqueducts and fishponds, often in a single night. They were believed to have lived in the woods and were shunned by the Hawaiians. Today, the Menehune are blamed when things go awry (misplaced keys and so forth) and the cherished myth of the Menehune continues to live in Kauai.

You would expect that the Garden Isle would offer a cornucopia of flora and fauna. You would also anticipate the opportunity to see a variety of unique and distinctive animals and birds on a tropical island. Kauai delivers on both counts and easily surpasses expectations.

Kauai's glorious weather provides the just right amount of sun and rain to nurture kiawe trees, blackberries, java plum, guava, eucalyptus, bamboo, sandalwood, pineapple, and sugarcane, to name just a few. One of Kauai's specialties is the indigenous mokihana vine and berry, found only on the island. Other great finds include orchids, coconut palms, plumeria, hibiscus and other tropical plants throughout the island, with its arid to lush climate enhancing the beauty and fragrance of Kauai's flowers and vegetation.

Native birds include the iwi and the State bird, the nene goose; other birds on the island are doves, cardinals, egrets, and numerous others. You will also see the occasional rooster along the way.

Marine life is incredible -- dolphins, monk seals, sea turtles, reef fish, coral reefs, whales, and so much more. Reef fish you may see are the bandit angelfish, knifejaw, and the whiskered armorhead -- and the nearly impossible to pronounce humuhumunukunukuapuaa.

For the current Kaua'iweather forecast, visit the National Weather Service web site.

It seems almost irrelevant to think of weather when you visit a beautiful island in the Tropics. In Kauai every day is a great day with warm temperatures during the day dropping just enough later, making for pleasant evenings. The water temperatures are extremely inviting as well. Another benefit to visitors is that any time of year is ideal -- unlike many destinations when a little strategic planning is required, Kauai's weather is glorious year-round.

The island offers "micro-climates," with lush spots as well as dry, arid areas. The subject of rain is a common one and the misunderstanding, when clarified, actually works in guests' favor. Mount Waialeale (elevation 5,148 ft) is at the heart of Kauai's interior and is the quintessential lush rainforest with over 400 inches of rain per year; however, while it is raining here, elsewhere on Kauai are warm breezes and sunny skies. Areas around Mt. Waialeale are generally not affected by the rain that falls at the mountain's peak, and the coastal parts of the island get far less rain than the central spots (as little as 18 inches a year in leeward Kauai). Much of Kauai's rainfall is a nightly occurrence, and the rain showers that do occur are almost always brief. When you do see the rain, it's a beautiful and brief blessing usually followed by glorious rainbows.

The trade winds in Kauai are another factor providing great weather for visitors. The winds are generally light and help blow away much of the humidity and are, for the most part, kindly absent in the winter.

Because of its age, Kaua'i was the first of the five major islands to develop the lush forests and vegetation, which the world has come to associate with Hawaii. Erosion has created some of the most dramatic landscapes in the islands while reducing what was once a truly massive volcano (Waialeale) to a height of about 5,000 feet at its summit.

The first major sugar plantation in Hawaii was located here in the 1830's, near Kohala; around 1840, it became part of the first major financial scandal in the young nation's history.

Mostly, though, Kauai is known for its sheer splendor. It is not heavily populated or developed, and its resort areas are concentrated in only a few locations around the island.

Among the natural attractions of Kauai's Waimea Canyon, known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. Waimea Canyon is a huge, lush rift a few miles inland from the Na Pali Coast on the leeward side of the island. Ten miles long and 2-3,000 feet deep, the canyon offers breathtaking views, spectacular waterfalls and some of the densest rainforest in Hawaii.

Further inland from Waimea Canyon is what may be the wettest spot in the world, on the northeast slopes of Waialeale. This area receives in excess of 450 inches of rain annually. Millenia of runoff from the mountain has carved out many of the rugged Windward valleys and canyons, which help to make Kaua'i one of the most beautiful places on the planet.

Although Kauai is less developed than the other large islands, it is dependent upon tourism for a large part of its income, with agriculture accounting for the other major share. Hurricane Iniki, which struck in 1992, wreaked havoc upon both economies, destroying or damaging most of the island's hotels and ruining crops and orchards everywhere. The island is still recovering, and visible signs of the storm's passage are still to be found almost anywhere you look.

Kauai has become something of a tourism battleground in the wake of Iniki. Tourism brings desperately needed jobs and tax dollars, but few people want Kaua'i to suffer the sort of raging development afflicting Oahu and, more recently, some parts of Maui.

Eco-tourism is seen by many as the ideal solution, and Kaua'i offers more low-impact tourism opportunities -- regulated hiking, bicycling and other nature-oriented activities --than the other islands. Traditional resort developments are still thriving, though, and it remains to be seen whether a kinder, gentler sort of tourism can thrive here, or can attract visitors in numbers sufficient to satisfy the needs of the economy and the people who most control it.


The ochre-colored Waimea Canyon is called the "Grand Canyon of Hawaii," and stretches 10 miles from Captain Cook's landing site to Koke'e State Park.

Hiking trails in the park offer unparalleled views of the canyon and Kauai's rare upland forest environment. The canyon itself is also accessible for hiking, fishing and camping. Pig and goat hunting is offered. For information about fishing and hunting, call the district office 808-274-3344.

Kokee Natural History Museum offers exhibits about the natural history of Kauai

Agricultural Inspections
(808) 245-2831

Camping Permits
State: (808) 274-3444
County: (808) 241-4463

Fishing Licenses
(808) 274-3344

(808) 241-6410

Lihue Airport Information
(808) 246-1448

Marine Forcast
(808) 245-3564

Police, Fire, Ambulance

State of Hawaii Division of Forestry and Wildlife
(808) 274-3433

Time of Day
(808) 245-0212

Weather Forecast
(808) 245-6001

Wilcox Memorial Hospital
(808) 245-1100

For more information or availability of this unit, please contact:
or NaNa at (808) 822-5754 or 1-800-569-3063 (toll free)

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