Kauai Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why is Kauai called The Garden Isle?
A: Well, Kauai is bursting with life-- from green valleys to luscious gardens and jungle hikes. It is also home to the wettest spot on Earth, Mt. Waialeale, which receives an average of 400 inches of rain per year! Kauai is also home to three of the five National Tropical Botanical Gardens- Allerton and McBryde in the south and Limahuli in the north.
Q: Where have I seen Kauai before?
A: Usually when a director wants a tropical paradise or wild, untamed jungle, the Garden Isle is on speed dial. The jaw-dropping waterfall scene from 1993's "Jurassic Park" was filmed on Kauai, as was the large wooden gate where visitors entered the park. Remnants of the gate still remain and you can take walking tours to see them. (Sorry, no dinosaurs on this tour!) Scenes from "6 Days, 7 Nights" and "Mighty Joe Young" was also filmed on the island.
Q: I thought there was only one Grand Canyon?
A: Well, it might not be quite as "grand" size-wise as the national park in Arizona, but Waimea Canyon has its own charms. Dubbed The Grand Canyon of the Pacific by American author Mark Twain, the vibrant colors and rugged landscape of Kauai's Waimea Canyon will make you forget that you are on a tropical island. At 10 miles long, Waimea is only a fraction of the Grand Canyon's size but it still offers a charm all its own. There are plenty of trails to explore and a myriad of plants and animals to admire.
Q: Will I see any volcanoes on Kauai?
A: Kauai is the oldest of the main islands at 5.1 million years old. The lava left her volcanoes long ago as the natural process of erosion took over, eating away at the island's size while at the same time creating unimaginable beauty on the NaPali coast. However, hundreds of miles to the east, the Big Island of Hawaii is home to one of the most active volcanoes in the world.
Q: What are some of the most popular activities on Kauai?
A: Hiking is especially popular on the Garden Isle because of all the lush scenery. Check out our Kauai Hiking Trails section for a good guide. Water sports such as kayaking up the only navigable river in Hawaii, the Waimea River, or snorkeling at Tunnels Beach also keep visitors occupied. What's the main activity on the island? Relaxation!
Q: Can we hike to Kalalau Beach?
A: The Kalalau Trail, which begins at Kee Beach in North Kauai, is rated a 9 out of 10 for difficulty. The 11-mile journey takes you along some of the most breathtaking coast and valley scenery on the island. However, it is clearly not a one day trip. Most hikers camp along the trail and again when they reach Kalalau Beach. Just to get a taste of what the trail has to offer, many visitors make the 2-mile one-way hike to Hanakapiai Beach.