Cool Travel Zone

Hawaii’s Oldest Island: Kauai

By: Michael Russell

One of the Hawaiian Islands, Kauai, is sometimes referred to as “Hawaii’s Island Of Discovery”. That’s because Kauai is Hawaii’s oldest island, yet it’s constantly changing to enlighten and satisfy all the many visitors who go there.

One can find shops and restaurants bustling with activity alongside the many vendors working the highways and by-ways to sell flowers, a variety of fish and lots of fruit.

On Kauai’s west side on the beach on Kekaha, an old sugar camp house sat for years awaiting restoration. Finally, this facility along with an historic 5-bedroom house, has now joined Waimea Plantation Cottages as a restored plantation- style home bringing the cottage count now to 50.

Heading east to Kalaheo, two houses have been added as rentals for vacationers. Although both sites are away from any beaches (and are more residential than resort-style), the accommodations are affordable, clean and comfortable. Plus, guests do not need to be concerned with minimum stays or cleaning fees.

Vacationers here can even enjoy more perks like a hot tub, free tennis court usage, beach gear, boogie boards and snorkel equipment.

On the south side, reconstruction of a hotel (Waiohai Hotel), damaged by Hurricane Iniki in 1992, has been completed. This property was converted into timeshares—200 2-bedroom accommodations in nine buildings.

Catering to the upscale market, 22 units in the Poipu Kai Resort were added measuring 1,700 to 2,000 square feet. These condos have air conditioning, featuring walk-in showers made of glass block, complete with designer furnishings. Oh and for kitchen lovers, there’s Corian countertops throughout. Visitors here will agree this place is a pleasant, nicely-manicured resort, complete with pool and ocean-front units.

Also in the Poipu area, roughly a block from the ocean, is a quiet setting with restored former residential rentals featuring hardwood floors, hot tubs and walk-in showers. Here one finds a feeling of seclusion in this lovely place called Hideaway Love Villas.

For those visitors wishing to be pampered while staying at Poipu, there is another setting of three 2,600 square-foot units: two at ocean front; one with an ocean view. Here, at Kauai Cottages at Poipu Beach, a guest gets elegant furnishings, high-speed Internet access—complimented with tennis and honeymoon packages. The honeymoon packages come with a cold bottle of champagne upon arrival PLUS a chef will even prepare a delicious meal! So, be assured to find a lot of romance when staying in these private, beautifully- landscaped cottages.

As the continual proliferation of vacation rentals marches on, the south side of Kauai will doubtless feel some growing pains. More commercial development will need to keep pace—town squares, shops, restaurants and grocery stores will blanket the landscape.

Approaching Lihue, one finds what used to be one of the “off limits” in Kauai—until a 3,000 acre ranch owner opened his property to small tours. This was a former sugar plantation now managed by Kipu Ranch Adventures. Here, a visitor can enjoy the land as it sprawls from hilly terrain to coastal beaches. These beaches offer common sites of turtles, seals and yes, even dolphins!

Should visitors have a passion for Polynesian dancing, attending a three-day Kauai Polynesian Festival event is an absolute treat. Located at the Kukui Grove Park and Pavilion on Highway 50, guests are entertained by local Hula troupes, dancers from Somoa, Tahiti and as far away as New Zealand. The festival usually held in late May, boasts international craft displays, interesting booths and an abundance of local cuisine.

While in Lihue, check out the fascinating yet unusual museum known as the Kauai Veterans’ Center Military Museum. Here, the die-hard war-buff can view displays of weaponry donated by local soldiers of Hawaii who fought in World War II and in Vietnam. There are even archives from combat units dating back to the Spanish American War.

Making your way on Kauai’s east side north of Lihue, visitors discover the little community of Kapaa. Here you find the Kauai Children’s Discovery Museum specializing in the developmental needs of kids under five years in age. Parents are welcome to gather information about community resources and services as well as on child development. One will be very impressed with the numerous special toys and playground equipment—all designed for the stimulation of kids’ brains and muscles.

As you leave Kapaa and continue northward on Highway 56, prepare yourself for all the congestion due to a construction boom. Surprisingly, an oasis appears revealing the Na Aina Kai Botanical Gardens and Sculpture Park. Guests are permitted to tour the grounds where gardens feature exotic vegetation, hardwood trees, even dozens of statues made of bronze. Two of the most recently added statues depict a young Hawaiian with his father planting a mahogany tree; and the other was installed adjacent to the ponds along the garden’s bird walk, called “Still Life” which is a likeness of a blue heron.

For the hiking enthusiasts, Princeville Ranch has a fantastic hiking tour lasting five hours over ranch land hosting some awe-inspiring viewpoints. This tour even features an exciting area where you must swing on a chain to advance off a small cliff. At the end of the hiking is Kalihwai Falls, providing the visitor/hiker with a refreshing dip and a fulfilling lunch.

There is a place on Kauai debated to be the most remote place on the island: Hanalei Colony Resort. There are no phones and no televisions. Renovations are underway upgrading these condos from one bath to one and a half baths. Workers minimize their building efforts, however, to focus on the most important detail: Don’t Disrupt the Quiet-Seeking Patrons! As remote and quiet as this resort remains, wedding, honeymoon and small meeting groups are always welcome.

Yes, Kauai is continually offering its visitors something pristine and glorious. It’s an adventure into Paradise not soon forgotten.

— About —

Michael Russell – Your Independent guide to Hawaii

Source:  Cool Travel Zone

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply