For the second portion of our trip, we took a short flight from Kona to Lihue on the island of Kauai. Known as the Garden Island, Kauai is the 4th most visited of the Hawaiian Islands, behind Oahu, Maui and Hawaii. However, you could say it “punches above its weight” when it comes to natural beauty and dramatic landscapes.
We stationed ourselves in the southern part of the island around Poipu Beach and the town of Koloa. Unfortunately, by this point in our trip, a couple of people in our group had contracted Covid which caused a little disruption to our activities. No one suffered any serious illness, but ultimately almost everyone became infected.
On our first day, we took a mountain tubing adventure tour which took us to Mount Wai’ale’ale which is one of the wettest places in the world, averaging over 400 inches of rainfall per year. We floated down a waterway and system of tunnels that was once used to irrigate sugar plantations and transport the sugar cane.
The next day, we took a snorkeling boat tour which took us around to the western coastline which is the very dramatic Napali Coast. Spanning 17 miles, the Napali Coast consists of emerald-hued cliffs with razor sharp ridges that tower above the Pacific Ocean. From land, the coast is only accessible via a difficult backpacking trail that travels from one end to the other. We had a spectacularly beautiful day for this 5 hour outing. As a bonus, we encountered a pod of bottlenose dolphin.
Next we took some time to explore beautiful Waimea Canyon, the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific”. Geographically, this sits between Mt. Wai’ale’ale and the Napali Coast. It is 10 miles long and runs up to 3,500 feet deep. On our final day, we drove around the east side of the island, known as the coconut coast, to reach beautiful Hanalei Bay and its huge crescent shaped beach.