The fourth largest in the Hawaiian Islands and located a 25 minute flight from Oahu, Hawaii's Garden Island has always been a bit different than the others. Kauai's 552 square miles is arranged in an almost perfect circle with Mount Waialeale at the center and highest point and resorts and residential neighborhoods scattered along the beaches and lower elevations. Those who love the tropical atmosphere will find this in abundance. The oldest of the major islands, Kauai does not have the numerous climatic zones found on the islands of Maui and the Big Island and nor does it have the nightlife, shows and bars like Oahu. Kauai is the perfect spot to spend time enjoying hiking trails, water sports and quiet restful nights.
Regions on the islands are defined in a traditional ahupua’a style that requires districts to include uplands, middle lands and shoreline line. There for, Kauai’s five districts are split like a pie and have names like Kawaihau, Koloa, Lihue, Kapaa and Waimea. The most popular district is Koloa where the islands largest collection of upscale resorts can be found along Poipu Beach. Also popular is Hanalei for the stunning beauty of the bay and mountains, while Kapaa is a popular spot for moderate priced beachfront hotels and many neighborhood conveniences.
Kauai has always been a bit different from islands. In the effort to conquer all the islands, King Kamehameha the Great and his warriors successfully defeated Kahekili of Maui at I’ao Valley, then defeated Kalanikupule at the battle of Nu’uanu Valley, but when it came time to take Kauai, Chief Kaumualii acquiesced via an agreement that Kamehameha would not have complete control of the then independent kingdom until Kaumualii died in 1824.
Today, Kauai has several distinctions including being the only island to not have the mongoose imported to kill rats, it has the only navigable river in the Hawaiian Islands, it is home of the largest coffee plantation in the United States and it is the ancestral home of the mystical Menehune.
These nocturnal mythical small people were credited for many humanitarian deeds that helped humans overcome shortcomings. Some describe them as Kauai’s original inhabitants while others refer to them as simply elves. Legends credit them to the construction of the Alekoko fishponds in Lihue district and the Menehune ditch in Waimea distinct both considered to be amazing engineering feats in ancient Hawaii.
Kauai is small compact and simple in topography and lifestyle. Those who love tropical rainforests, balmy breeze nights will fall in love with Hawaii’s Garden Island.