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Monday, May 7, 2018

Canyon Trail on Kauai Offers Stunning Views of Waimea Canyon, Waipoo Falls

The Canyon Trail allows hikers to soak up the outdoor beauty found on the lush island of Kauai. Consistently ranked among the best hiking trails in Hawaii, it treats its visitors to jaw-dropping views of Waimea Canyon. About 10 miles long and more than 3,000-feet deep, famous American writer Mark Twain described what he saw as “the Grand Canyon of the Pacific.” The trail rewards hikers even more by ending up at the unique two-tier Waipoo Falls, which plunges nearly 800-feet into a gorge. On your next vacation to Kauai, put this trail in Kokee State Park on your list of things you must do!

Canyon Trail on Kauai Provides Striking Views

People who visit Kauai often ask us where can they can see the world-famous Waimea Canyon from the best viewpoint. There are numerous lookouts on Highway 550 on the island’s western side if you’re wanting to stay close to your car. We invite you to experience this phenomenal canyon created by Mother Nature by hiking Canyon Trail.

The relatively easy 3.4-mile roundtrip trail offers more close up angles and views of the vast Waimea Canyon that the main overlooks simply can’t provide. Plus, it takes you right to the top of Waipoo Falls. This popular two to three-hour trek is a favorite among hikers, including families with children.

Make your way to the Puu Hinahina lookout and park there. A spur leads to the nearby trailhead. You can also park in a gravel lot near mile marker 14 on Highway 550. From the lookout there’s a nearby canopy of trees that will provide relaxing shade.

Highlights of Canyon Trail

Once you start your hike you’ll almost immediately come across Cliff Trail. Take this short tenth of a mile offshoot to see an even more stunning view. The detour, which features handrails, pays off with sweeping views of Waimea Canyon’s vibrant red, and brown layers and lush green patches. Don’t be surprised if you see some goats along the way – they like hanging out in this area too.

Back on the Canyon Trail expect to view a unique combination of both tropical and desert environments. Few trails match the diversity of this spectacular trail. It is spotted with native plants, such as the iliau with long stalks and yellow flowers, pamakani with white buds and other native plants with delicate yellow, orange and pink flowers.

You eventually emerge from the tropical forest into a clearing where you can bask in the beauty of Waimea Canyon and its steep cliffs. On a clear day you may even see the ocean in the distance.

At the end of the trail, you will find yourself on the very top of Waipoo Falls. You can walk down a short distance and safely experience the power of Waipoo’s rushing waters that split into two cascading falls. While relaxing at the waterfall, you’ll be able to take in even more one-of-a-kind canyon sights.

Book with Our Kauai Vacation Rentals Team and Hike the Canyon Trail!

Ready to leave the stress of everyday life behind and vacation on our beautiful island of Kauai? Reach out to Kauai Vacation Rentals toll free or visit our website and we can provide a relaxing place to stay in one of our numerous homes or condos across the island. Check our blog for highlights of the island that will help you get the most out of your trip here, such as hiking the Canyon Trail and the incredible sights of Waimea Canyon and Waipoo Falls.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Visit Ha’ena State Park and Limahuli Garden and Preserve for Unique Experiences

Want to experience some of the most spectacular sights on Kauai? Visit Ha’ena State Park and the surrounding area. This unique place exists at the “end of the road” or at the dead end of Kuhio Highway/560. Here you have a plethora of magnificent options for sightseeing, The park offers sunbathing, swimming and snorkeling at a large, colorful coral reef. Additionally, you can visit the lush Limahuli Garden and Preserve nearby. Be sure to visit this extraordinary place while on Kauai! 

Visit Ha’ena State Park Today!

Ha’ena State Park attracts many visitors to Ke’e Beach. It takes roughly an hour and a half to drive from Lihue to the beach on the north side of Kauai along the coast. This narrow, winding road includes many scenic sights along the way.

Once you arrive, you will spot the beautiful Ke’e Beach. Many consider it one of the most breathtaking on earth. Ke’e Beach boasts a unique reef lagoon. This allows visitors to swim and snorkel in calm waters. July and August are advertised as the preferred times for snorkeling. Visitors and locals have been known to bask on the beach year-round.

Additionally, lifeguards watch over the swimmers at the beach. Safety in and around the water is of upmost importance.

Visit Ha’ena State Park for the experience of a lifetime.

Tour the Limahuli Garden and Preserve 

Additionally, right before you enter Ha’ena State Park, visitors can take a tour of the Limahuli Garden and Preserve. This unique 17-acre botanical garden supports why the lush Kauai island earned the nickname the “Garden Isle.”

It is one of five gardens in the United States — three of which exist on Kauai — overseen by the non-profit National Tropical Botanical Garden. This fragile eco-system exists in the Limahuli Valley, the second most biodiverse valley in Hawaii.

Dozens of endangered plants and birds, which you can only find here, make their home in the Limahuli Garden and Preserve.

The garden showcases about 250 species of plants, many brought by ancient Polynesians. In the Hawaiian language, lima huli means “turned hand.” Preserved here among its rich diversity includes breadfruit cultivars or trees that produce fruit.

Among the 160 species of birds recorded on Kauai, you may glimpse rare species, such as the Hawaiian Honeycreepers, one of seven endemic forest birds on the island.

Visitors can take self-guided or guided tours on a three-quarter-mile loop trail. Besides native plants and birds, the botanical garden offers magnificent views of the ocean and Makana Mountain’s twin peaks. The breathtaking Makana Mountain ridge inspired the Bali Hai song in the 1958 hit movie, "South Pacific." One of the last pristine streams in Hawaii, the Limahuli Stream, also cuts through the garden.

Today, Limahuli has the distinction of being one of the last easily accessible valleys. You can even encounter many descendants of the valley’s original inhabitants who live here. These native Hawaiians have managed the valley and its garden for more than 1,000 years.

Come to Ha’ena State Park on Kauai Today! 

Take one of your most memorable vacations by coming to Kauai. Make sure to visit Ha’ena State Park and Limahuli Garden and Preserve, during your trip. This area on the North Shore of Kauai ranks among the top natural beauties the Hawaiian islands have to offer. Call Kauai Vacation Rentals today and let’s book your next vacation!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Humpback Whale Watching in Waters Off Kauai During Peak Season

How often do you get the chance to watch a once nearly extinct animal frolic in the wild? Come to Kauai, Hawaii this winter for the thrilling experience of Humpback whale watching. These mysterious and majestic creatures migrate 6,000 miles annually from the icy Alaskan waters to mate and give birth in the warmer Hawaiian waters. Take advantage of a one-of-a-kind opportunity to glimpse them up close by vacationing on Kauai during the peak whale watching season that spans January to March. 
Photo Courtesy of Captain Andy's

Humpback Whale Watching in Kauai

Every winter, visitors to Kauai have a special opportunity. Humpback whales migrate to Hawaii’s warm sea to play, mate, give birth and nurture their young.

Called Kohola in Hawaiian, these whales occupy a special place in Hawaiian culture. We almost lost them forever when whaling brought Humpbacks to the brink of extinction. Their population plummeted below 1,000 in 1965. Strict moratoriums on hunting them in 1966 allowed the massive mammals to rebound to about 80,000 today. Pre-whaling, they numbered an estimated 125,000.

The U.S. Congress protected these endangered mammals even further in 1992. One of the designated areas important to the nearly 6,000 Humpbacks is the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary.

Few sights on Kauai rival viewing these mammoth creatures, which grow between 43 to 52 feet and tip the scales at as much as 79,000 pounds. You can spot them by their distinguishing features — long pectoral fins and bumpy heads.

Best Humpback Whale Watching on Ocean 

If you ask us, the best place for whale watching exists at sea level. We recommend Captain Andy’s whose captains are very knowledgeable about Humpbacks and keep track of all the whales’ hot spots off Kauai. Captain Andy’s, created in 1980, provides excursions on 65-foot yachts, catamarans and rafts.

Captain Andy’s 24-foot-rigid-hull inflatable rafts offer the best viewing. These fast rafts sit low on the water giving you what seems like a front-row seat to the whales.

Humpbacks are known to approach boats and even swim under them. However, Hawaii does have a “100-yard minimum” law to ensure boats steer clear of these endangered species.

In addition to Humpback whale watching, all of Captain Andy’s vessels allow for Humpback whale listening. Equipped with hydrophones, passengers can hear the whales’ songs that often last 20 minutes and carry 20 miles. Because males often end up wrestling, many now think these amazing sea animals are screaming threats, not singing love songs.

Book Your Humpback Whale Watching Vacation to Kauai Today! 

This special species of baleen whale only stay in the Kauai area six to eight weeks. Don’t miss your once-in-a-lifetime chance to see one. Call us at Kauai Vacation Rentals and book your trip here today!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Sleeping Giant on Kauai Offers Much for Tourists to Explore

The Sleeping Giant on Kauai and the native Hawaiian legends surrounding it have become famous. Known as Nounou Mountain several stories have developed about the mountain ridge that resembles someone sleeping on their back. Variations of the tale relate how the giant ate too much poi or worked hard collecting firewood and laid down to rest. The Sleeping Giant continues its slumber today. Visit this major landmark on Kauai and climb to the 1,200-foot high plateau to soak up once-in-a-lifetime views. 

Legends of Sleeping Giant on Kauai

Several versions of the native Hawaiian legend of the Sleeping Giant on Kauai have developed. In one retold by the “Life on Kauai” blog, a fisherman caught a fish that cried like a baby. Sensing an ancestral spirit, he invites it to the village. They feed their guest poi. The fish grows and grows and transforms into a giant boy. However, it would bawl if they stopped feeding him poi. Eventually, the villagers run out of poi trying to satisfy the giant boy’s appetite. To try and comfort him, they give him a name, Nounou. This makes him so happy he finally stops eating and takes a nap. For hundreds of years, he has slept soundly. In case he wakes up some day, villagers reportedly continue to plant taro. Mashed taro roots and water makes up poi, a traditional Hawaiian dish.

Other websites retell the legend of the Sleeping Giant on Kauai with a different twist at the end. They say the villagers tricked the giant. They loaded up the poi with rocks. Sleepy from eating such a big meal, the giant lay down on his back and has stayed asleep ever since.

Another popular Sleeping Giant tale, related by “Life on Kauai,” reports that a giant named Puni gathered firewood in the forests for the Menehune people in Wailua, a town on the east coast of Kauai. He became so tired after working hard that he fell asleep upon his return. While sleeping, an Oahu army attacked. The Menehune tried to rouse the giant. They started throwing rocks at him. The rocks ricocheted  off the giant and landed in the sea near the approaching Oahu army and they retreated. Once again the Menehune tried to wake up the giant to celebrate their victory but learned he died. The rocks lodged in his mouth and nose and suffocated him.

Hiking Trails on Nounou Mountain 

The interesting Hawaiian legends are not the only thing to explore. There’s hiking, too! The Nounou Mountain ridge provides breathtaking trails. Located in the Nounou Forest Reserve, tourists visiting this iconic landmark on Kauai have three scenic hiking trails to choose from. They can make the 1,000-foot climb on either the two-mile Nounou Mountain East Trail, the 1.5-mile Nounou Mountain West Trail or the two-mile Kuamoo-Nounou Trail.

All three trails end at a sheltered picnic area on the summit, or the hulking “Giant’s Chest.” From there, you have a spectacular lookout. You can see the entire Wailua River Valley.

Many consider the Nounou Mountain East Trail, also known as the Sleeping Giant Trail, the most scenic. It provides fantastic views of the ocean, Kalepa Ridge, Wailua Bay and the Hoary Head Mountains.

The Nounou Mountain West Trail is the steepest way up the mountain and features beautiful wild flowers and a shady forest. Picturesque sights of Mount Waialeale, Kawaikini and the Makaleha Mountains can be seen.

Meanwhile, the Kuamoo-Nounou Trail takes you over the Opaekaa Stream across a wooden bridge and through a cathedral forest of Norfolk Island and Cook pine trees planted by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. It rewards hikers with breathtaking scenic lookouts, including views of Kalepa Ridge.

Book Your Kauai Vacation with Us Today! 

Visit Kauai and see if you can wake up this Sleeping Giant, one of the Hawaii island’s most iconic landmarks. Contact Kauai Vacation Rentals today, so you can further explore the native Hawaiian legends and once-in-a-lifetime views on Nounou Mountain!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Unwind with a Relaxing Kauai Vacation

Let Hawaii’s most stunning natural gardens and scenic views found on Kauai transport you far, far away from your hectic life. Take refuge in its tropical rainforests, deep gorges and unique plant life only found here. Plan your relaxing Kauai vacation today!

Reflect in Some of Hawaii’s Most Beautiful Botanical Gardens

Called “The Garden Isle” for its tropical rainforests, gorges and unique plant life, Kauai showcases three of the nation’s five National Tropical Botanical Gardens. Soak up these rare, stunning gardens where you will find havens for refuge and relaxation on your Kauai vacation.

Limahuli Garden and Preserve

LimahuliGarden offers 17 acres of endangered native plants, taro-filled agricultural terraces and beautiful views of Kauai’s north shore. The garden ranks as one of the most biodiverse valleys in the Hawaiian Islands. Its diversity includes dozens of endangered plants and birds. Often described as a place of refuge or “pu'uhonua,” indigenous traditions live on today in the conservation of this rare ecological wonder. 

Allerton Garden

Allerton Garden features amazing landscaping and the famous Moreton Fig Trees. These trees have long, curvy roots on top of the ground that resemble octopus arms. Its unique appearance earned a spot in the original “Jurassic Park” movie. As you tour this south shore garden you will witness the breathtaking, towering rainforest trees, glimpse a flower garden and tropical fruit trees and listen to the soothing sounds of a grove of golden bamboo swaying in gentle winds.

McBryde Garden

McBryde Garden showcases the largest collection of native Hawaiian flora in the world. Nestled within the picturesque and historic Lawa’i Valley, you will find a botanical ark of tropical plants in the garden. Its sweeping collection of palms, flowering trees, rubiaceae, heliconias and orchids creates a tranquil vibe.

Therapeutic Scenic Views

Take in peaceful, one-of-a kind scenic views during your Kauai vacation. Both Waimea Canyon and the Na Pali Coast are great additions to your Kauai vacation.

Waimea Canyon

Often described as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, few sites match Waimea Canyon’s unique landscape. The canyon runs 14 miles long and plummets more than 3,600-feet deep. Visit this work of art by nature and take a panoramic look at the crested buttes, rugged crags and deep valley gorges.

Na Pali Coast

The famous NaPali Coast on the north shore of Kauai nourishes your soul. It features emerald green pinnacles towering along the shoreline for 17 miles. Take in the awe-inspiring views of the vast Pacific Ocean, velvet green cliffs and cascading waterfalls.

Call Kauai Vacation Rentals to Book Your Relaxing Kauai Vacation

Kauai’s stunning gardens and unique scenery provide a refuge where you can rejuvenate your soul. Book your next vacation with Kauai Vacation Rentals and relax in the island’s rare beauty!