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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!

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!