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Friday, September 22, 2017

Whales: Sacred Hawaiian Symbols

Just like human vacationers, whales travel thousands of miles with their families to the tropical coasts of Hawaii. Residents are overjoyed to greet the whales each year, and Hawaiian natives celebrate their arrival with a warm welcome. The deep connections between the culture and whales has transformed the animals into powerful Hawaiian symbols.
Whales: Sacred Hawaiian Symbols with rainbow

Cultural Connection

The strong spiritual connections native Hawaiians have with all forms of life can be seen in their traditions and cultural symbols. Hawaiian creation stories describe an undeniable bond between the people and the environment in which they live.

The phrase aumakua, formed from the words for traveling (au) and ancestors (makua), refers to the ancestral spirits who watch over families and protect villages. In the Hawaiian culture, it is believed that the ancestors' spirits take the form of animals such as whales and appear to their descendants to provide spiritual guidance. These appearances form a strong connection between the physical and spiritual worlds.

Hawaiian Name for Whales

Hawaiians have a special term for whales as sacred Hawaiian symbols, Kohola, which refers to both humpback whales and the flat reefs that resemble the profile of swimming whales. From a distance, the spray of the waves on the reef and the spray from the whale’s blowhole look very similar.

Indulge in Hawaiian Culture with Whale Watching

In Kauai, whale watching is an excellent way for visitors to share the deep connection Hawaiians feel with these magnificent animals. Observers have the option to stay dry on shore or take part in an offshore excursion. Both options offer an excellent chance to witness these massive marine mammals as they swim through the warm Hawaiian waters. Popular spots in Kauai to whale watch are Poipu Beach Park and the Kilauea Point Lighthouse, which is officially designated as a humpback whale marine sanctuary.

Call Kauai Vacation Rentals to Witness the Beauty of These Hawaiian Symbols!

At Kauai Vacation Rentals, we want all of our guests to experience the natural beauty and ancient cultures of Hawaii! We can’t wait to share our love of Hawaii’s traditional food, art, music and the natural wonder of our whales returning to the island waters each year. Contact us today to book your next vacation!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Cultural Attractions on Kauai You Have to Visit!

Discover the many cultural attractions on Kauai on your next vacation! Immerse yourself in the culture and history of the island through unique attractions and historical towns found there.
A small coastal city on the coast, just one of the Cultural Attractions on Kauai.

Hanapepe Town

Flourishing as one of Kauai’s largest communities, Hanapepe Town sits on the south shore. From World War I to the early 1950s, the west side of Hanapepe was known as one of Kauai’s busiest towns and filled with soldiers.

Today, the preservation of the historical buildings and authentic feel that the town oozes resulted in inspiration for films. Disney used Hanapepe as a model for “Lilo & Stitch.”  The plantation-style buildings are home to charming shops, local eateries and more art galleries than any other spot on Kauai. In addition to spending the day in Hanapepe Town, you can satisfy your craving for Hawaiian culture with other attractions there and on Kauai. 

Celebrate the Artists of Kauai 

One well-known cultural attraction in Hanapepe Town is the Art Walk that takes place every Friday evening. During the event, guests can immerse themselves in Kauai’s artistic culture. As you roam the streets and meander through the shops, meet and have fun with local artists, musicians, photographers, painters, sculptors and craftsmen. Include this on your list of cultural attractions to experience on Kauai!

Hanapepe Swinging Bridge

This historic town includes the Hanapepe Swinging Bridge, one of its most popular attractions. Built in the early 1900s, the bridge originally became a way for residents to cross the river. Hurricane Iniki damaged the bridge requiring restoration and reinforcement. Today, this swinging bridge welcomes frequent visitors who love the adrenaline rush when it rocks. It’s especially popular with children.

Waimea Canyon

The historic seaport town of Waimea Canyon sits near where Captain James Cook, a British explorer first landed in Hawaii in 1776. Today, this local community features a variety of small shops and businesses. While visiting be sure to stop by the West Kauai Technology and Visitors Center! Its featured exhibits, programs and weekly activities reflect the diversity of Kauai’s agricultural community.

Get Ready to Experience these Cultural Attractions on Kauai!

Kauai residents treasure their island’s rich culture and history every day. When you visit you’ll discover what makes Kauai so special by visiting these attractions and learning more about our magnificent Garden Island! Book your next vacation with Kauai Vacation Rentals!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Packing Restrictions for a Trip to Hawaii

Hawaii possesses some of the world’s most beautiful scenery, including sprawling beaches, active volcanoes and mesmerizing trails. The need to protect the islands’ unique plants and animals have led to packing restrictions designed to preserve Hawaii’s fragile beauty. Before you travel to the Aloha State, make sure you review these regulations!

Hawaiian soil and agricultural management practices differ from those found on the mainland. These differences require travelers to take precautionary measures and abide by strict packing rules for a trip to Hawaii. In general, these restrictions cover fresh fruits and vegetables, specific types of flowers or plants, and animals.

Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Packing Restrictions for a Trip to Hawaii

Hawaiian Department of Agriculture agents must inspect all plant material when you arrive and depart the island. All fresh fruit and vegetables must be declared on a form, which is collected by flight attendants who then present it to the Agricultural Inspection counter. To protect the unique aspects of Hawaii, material must be free of soil, insects, pests and any signs of disease.

The island’s ecology maintains a delicate balance, and the introduction of a new pest or disease could be devastating. To prevent this, many plants and plant materials are restricted in the packing rules for a trip to Hawaii. Some examples include pineapples, radishes, turnips, coconuts, several plants in the grass family and coffee trees.

Animal Restrictions

Thanks to its strict rules, Hawaii is the only state that is rabies-free. The islands’ quarantine laws work to protect the citizens and their pets from serious health problems. Owners who want to bring their dogs and cats to the island, regardless of the animal’s age or purpose, must comply with the state’s regulations.

The law states that dogs and cats must meet specific pre- and post-arrival qualifications and usually spend up to five days in quarantine. However, visitors are encouraged to read the specific qualifications carefully, as dogs and cats could be placed in quarantine for as many as 120 days. So, make sure you understand the requirements and prepare those furry family members for the trip, too!

Book Your Visit with Kauai Vacation Rentals!

Go ahead and pack your sunscreen, sandals and swimsuits, and leave any restricted items at home! Properly preparing for your trip will allow you to say, “Aloha!” to a fun time. Call us today and book your travel with Kauai Vacation Rentals!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Lei: Hawaii’s Iconic Symbol

The symbolic lei continues to provide a warm welcome to the visitors of Hawaii! As one of the most iconic symbols for all of the Hawaiian Islands, we love to share the lei’s historical significance to our culture. Whether worn for a special occasion or simply used to say Aloha, the beauty of the lei is something to be Enjoyed.

The lei is an iconic symbol of Hawaii.

History of the Lei

The lei was first introduced to Hawaii by the early Polynesian voyagers who made the islands their home. These travelers brought the ancient tradition of wearing these floral garlands with them when they set sail from Tahiti and navigated the Pacific by the sun and stars. Traditionally, leis were gifted among ancient Hawaiians as a sign of honor and respect, given as a peace offering between opposing chiefs, and used as an adornment to express love and appreciation for nature’s beauty. 
Most often, leis are constructed of bright tropical flowers found on the islands such as plumeria, ginger and various orchids. However, it is commonplace to see leis made from a variety of other materials. Vines, shells, seeds, nuts, and feathers may all be seen in everyday leis as well as those used in formal ceremonies.

Different Types of Leis

There are many different types leis worn for a variety of occasions. Although you can Enjoy the beauty of a lei whenever you like, there are specific variations that are used throughout Hawaii.

Maile and Ilima Leis

Maile is one of the earliest materials used in leis. This long, pleasantly-scented vine is typically intertwined in an open-ended style. Oahu’s official island flower, the ilima, is often woven into the vines to enhance the lei with bright colors.

Hala Lei

The Hala lei is made of orange and yellow fruits from the Hala tree. This lei traditionally appears at funerals to honor the deceased’s passing from one world to another.

Royal Lei

The royal lei is often crafted from more long-lasting materials and is a symbol of privilege and power. Comprised of shells and feathers, this lei has its roots in the early traditions and culture of Hawaii.

Customs

During the “Boat Days” in the early 1900s, vendors lined up at piers to welcome visitors and locals. To this day, a warm welcome with a handmade lei draped around your neck is an iconic greeting in Hawaii. This symbol of Hawaii’s welcoming culture fills visitors and returning locals alike with the true spirit of Aloha. As visitors depart the islands, it is customary to throw the lei back into the water. This act symbolizes the hope of returning to the islands one day.

Etiquette

Receiving a lei is a warm and welcoming gesture with customary rules for showing respect for the Hawaiian people and culture. To ensure you are displaying the proper respect for the tradition, follow these simple guidelines:

  • Always accept a lei when it is offered
  • Drape the lei gently over the shoulders, hanging down in both the front and the back
  • Removing a lei from yourself while in the presence of the person that gave it to you is considered disrespectful

Call Kauai Vacation Rentals

We want you to Enjoy the warm welcome embodied by the Hawaiian tradition of giving and receiving leis. Contact Kauai Vacation Rentals to book your next vacation and let the Aloha spirit fill you, too!


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Favorite Foods in Kauai

Residents of the Garden Island love to indulge in and share their favorite foods whenever they can. While visiting Kauai, be sure to try out a few local favorites including poke, sashimi and shave ice. These delicious offerings display the best of Hawaii’s natural bounty as well as giving you a taste of Kauai’s multi-cultural history. 
bowl of poke, one of Kauai's favorite foods

Poke

This amazing dish put Hawaiian cuisine in the spotlight! Poke is considered a light food that is usually eaten as an appetizer. The fish of choice used in authentic poke is yellowfin tuna, known locally as ahi. However, it is common to find poke made with tako (octopus) or other species of tuna, as well as other locally caught, firm-fleshed fish. Poke is typically made with chopped onion, soy sauce, sea salt, seaweed and garlic. These seasonings add flavor to the dish while keeping it light, making poke a perfect before-meal snack!

While in Kauai, be sure to try an interesting variation of poke at The Hanalei Dolphin Restaurant. The Dolphin’s famous Tahitian Poke features a creamy coconut-lemongrass sauce and is finished with a spiced grape seed oil. Served over organic greens, this dish is sure to set your taste buds on vacation mode. After tasting this poke, it’s easy to see why it’s one of Kauai’s favorite foods!

Sashimi

Sashimi, another of Kauai’s favorite foods, is a very simple yet flavorful Hawaiian favorite of Japanese origin. Made from raw fish that is sliced and served with minimal seasoning, sashimi allows the incredible flavor of Hawaii’s bountiful seafood to shine through.

While many types of fish are served this way, salmon and tuna are the most popular. Sashimi is typically served with simple accompaniments such as daikon and shiso. Daikon, a mild member of the radish family, has a tangy taste and crisp, juicy texture that contrasts nicely with the sliced fish. Shiso, also known as Japanese basil, has a spicier and sweeter taste than its European counterpart. In Kauai cuisine, this vibrant member of the mint family is often used to accompany fish, meat and vegetables. 

Shave Ice

Many first-time visitors to Kauai confuse shave ice with its close cousin, the snow cone. However, as any shave ice aficionado can tell you, their textures are very different. Shave ice has a fluffy texture, like real snow, contrasting to snow cones that have a crunchy, coarser texture.
Once the shave ice is piled high, customers choose from a huge variety of syrups in tropical flavors which are drizzled over the top. Many combinations of flavors are finished with a splash of sweetened condensed milk as well. This sweet, creamy and frosty mix creates a frozen treat that is perfect for Enjoying on a warm, sunny day at the beach on Kauai.

Come Taste Kauai’s Favorite Foods!

Enjoying Kauai’s unique and flavorful foods is a major component of immersing yourself in Hawaiian culture! Contact Kauai Vacation Rentals today to book your next vacation. We can direct you to the best poke, sashimi and shave ice on the Garden Island!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Kauai’s Best Honeymoon Spots

Kauai is one of the best honeymoon destinations for romantic getaways in the United States. The wide array of activities and serene atmosphere offered by the island allows our guests to relax and create long-lasting memories. 

Attend a Luau

Attending a luau with your spouse is a great way to immerse yourself in Kauai’s culture, have a new experience and create a lasting memory. The Luau Kalamaku is a one-of-a-kind celebration of both ancient and contemporary Hawaiian culture. Attendees explore the historic sugar plantation grounds of the Kilohana Plantation, see the Kauai Plantation Railway and participate in authentic Hawaiian games, arts and crafts. With many different event packages available, guests may choose the experience they desire during their Hawaiian visit.
For example, the Plantation Owner’s Evening package includes a variety of perks such as a gourmet dinner under the direction of the Planation’s Chef de Cuisine. The unique four-course meal features locally sourced meats, fish, fruits and vegetables from Kilohana Plantation’s sixty-acre orchard and agricultural park. As you feast on your homegrown Kauai meal, you and your spouse are entertained by live Hawaiian music. Shortly after dinner, Enjoy premier seating for the award-winning Hawaiian Luau, complete with fireball twirlers and traditional fire knife dancing.
The second package offered is the Luau Kalamaku, featuring a luau feast filled with authentic Hawaiian cuisine served buffet style. During your meal and before the show, the sounds of Tahitian rhythms fill the atmosphere. You also have the option to indulge in Hawaiian games and local crafts.

Salt Pond Beach

Salt Pond Beach is the perfect place to watch the famous Hawaiian sunset with your beloved. Keep cool in the park under shaded pavilions while the two of you Enjoy a picnic and take in the tropical sights and sounds. Located on the west side of Hanapepe, this beach is a good spot for swimming. With protected shallow pools, clear water, a lifeguard on duty and the natural fringing reefs that keep the waters calm, Salt Pond Beach is an excellent place to spend a carefree afternoon on the beach.

Limahuli Garden and Preserve

The American Horticultural Society named Limahuli Garden and Preserve the best natural botanical garden in the United States. Its terraced gardens are filled with native plant species as well as taro and other food crops that were important to early Hawaiians. With Mount Makana and the Pacific Ocean forming a magical background, the scenery and the natural beauty of the preserve captivate every guest. Meander through the garden hand-in-hand with your spouse while taking in the gorgeous Kauai scenery.  

Contact Kauai Vacation Rentals for Your Honeymoon

The island of Kauai has an abundance of activities that will enhance any couple’s honeymoon and create memorable moments for all newlyweds. Kauai Vacation Rentals has a variety of properties perfect for your dream honeymoon. Contact us today, we can help you relax and unwind.


Friday, April 28, 2017

Discover the East Shore of Kauai

Often referred to as the “Coconut Coast” due to the plentiful coconut palm groves found throughout the region, Kauai’s eastern shore offers adventure and fun for the whole family.


The eastern shore of Kauai is home to one of Hawaii’s most easily accessed major waterfalls, an extremely popular navigable river and the family-friendly Anahola Beach. With an abundance of fun activities, beautiful landscapes and plenty of Aloha Spirit, be sure to include the eastern shore of Kauai in your vacation plans!

Opaekaa Falls

Finding Opaekaa Falls is easy due to the abundance of prominently placed road signs and paths that are safe and easy to walk, even for families with young children. One of the most easily-accessible major waterfalls in Kauai, the falls present an impressive, consistent flow of water tumbling from over 150 feet high. This happy combination of convenience and consistency allows it to be Enjoyed by families and children of all ages. If you are craving additional breath-taking vistas, a spectacular view of the Wailua River Valley is found a short distance further uphill and across the road.

Wailua River

The only navigable rivers in Hawaii are in Kauai, and Wailua is widely considered one of the best! Stretching over 20 miles long, guests have a variety of options for exploring the tropical river. Whether you choose to travel by kayak, outrigger canoe, boat tour or even driving on the road that closely follows the river, guests easily take in its amazing views. The WailuaRiver valley is also home to the Wailua Complex of Heiaus. This National Historic Landmark contains the remains of several important structures such as places of worship, places of refuge and sites related to royal births.

Anahola Beach

White sand, stunning views and a plethora of activities await guests at Anahola Beach. The reef-protected beach is enhanced with plenty of public facilities like barbeques and picnic tables for a fun-filled family day. Amazing swimming and snorkeling opportunities are found here throughout most of the year, and bodyboarding is popular at the shore break near the mouth of the Anahola River. With swaying trees fringing the back of the shoreline, lifeguards on duty during regular hours and spectacular views of the Mountains of Kalalea, you’ll want to sit back, relax and Enjoy your vacation!

Ready to Visit the Eastern Shore of Kauai?


Enjoy the ease and accessibility of Kauai’s eastern shore amenities! Contact us today and book your Kauai Vacation.