3 Recipes for a Memorable Vacation in Kauai: Relax, Explore, Discover

The state advertises a vacation in Kauai as the “Island of Discovery”. When I came here just a little over three years ago, I couldn’t be more thrilled. A colleague referred it to it as “heaven on earth” and numerous film shoots established it as one of the most beautiful places on the planet. My impressions of the island affirmed all that and more.

Kauai, just like any other island in Hawaii, is composed of breathtaking beauty, but what makes it unique is its diversified landscape. The north shore is made up of jagged sea cliffs and a canyon so deep, it is labeled the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific”. The south shore has the majority of sandy beaches and deep blue waters. To the east lie dense forests and an abundance of vegetation. And because the island is small enough, experiencing all of it is possible in just 48 hours.

Morning hike on Shipwreck Beach
Morning hike on Shipwreck Beach

So how do you get the best out of Kauai? What I found through my experience was to have a balanced itinerary. Hike one or two of the island’s many trails, learn about its cultural heritage, but also take a moment to simply experience its natural beauty.


Relaxation is most definitely a requirement while vacationing in Kauai. One is expected to lie on a sandy beach, read books, or lounge around your cottage overlooking the ocean while drinking freshly brewed local coffee or a Mai Tai. Rent a car and take a drive on the North Shore. If you go during winter, be on the lookout for humpback whales. Experience the calm waters of Hanalei Bay during sunrise. Build sand castles on Poipu beach or catch the water pressure released by the Sprouting Horn. Dine al fresco at the Beach House and watch the sunset with your friends or love one. Breathe in the fresh air and the salty sea.

The South Shore beaches
Beaches on the South Shore


Kauai offers numerous places for exploration. On the western part of the island is Waimea Canyon: a unique natural wonder. It is often referred to as “The Grand Canyon of the Pacific” because its beauty rivals that of its mainland cousin. The canyon has plenty of hiking trails for all levels and Hawaii State Road 550 provides paved road access with numerous lookout sights.  On the opposite side lies the Wailua River, one of the island’s navigable rivers. Explore the river via kayak, canoe or through one of the guided riverboat tours and see for yourself why Kauai is referred to as the greenest of all the Hawaiian Islands.

The Waimea River cutting through the canyon
The Waimea River


The Pacific Ocean is particularly menacing during the winter season with its high seas and rough currents but out there is where you will get the most spectacular views of the Na Pali Coast, a must see attraction in all of Hawaii. Na Pali literally means “the cliffs” and it describes the jagged rock formation on the northwest part of the island. Its location is so remote that the only way to reach it by land is through a strenuous 11-mile hike. Kauai also has a rich cultural history. Visit one of its many plantations and learn about the part it played molding the heritage of the island. Parts of Old Koloa Town used to be the location of the island’s oldest sugar plantation. Wonder around the history center and view the artifacts that provide us pictures of what Hawaiian life was like in the late 1800s. Check out the boutique shops that sell local products and try some of the best poke (raw fish salad) in the island at Koloa Fish Market.

Old Koloa Town
Old Koloa Town

Relax, explore, and discover for yourself, the splendor that is Kauai.

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About Iris A

Website: http://www.travelingwithiris.com

Born in the Philippines, but grew up in Texas, Iris has been traveling and writing about her experiences for well over a decade. Her work has been published on well-known travel sites like Hipmunk (#hipmunkcitylove) and D Magazine Online Travel Club. She has been all over Europe, the US, and has recently started exploring Latin America. She loves trying local cuisine and visiting UNESCO deemed World Heritage sites. Her favourite city is New York, with London, following a close 2nd. You can follow her on Twitter @sundeeiris or through her travel blog, Traveling With Iris.

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