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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.


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.


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


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, 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.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Enjoy the South Shore of Kauai

The south shore of Kauai is home to the historic Old Koloa Town, the famous Poipu Bay Golf Course and the spectacular Spouting Horn. Discover why we recommend visiting Kauai’s south shore during your vacation! 

Old Koloa Town

Old Koloa Town is known for founding its first sugar mill in 1835. The success of this mill quickly led to a boom of commercial sugar production across the islands. This in turn opened the door to a wave of immigration that helped to form the basis of Hawaii’s modern multicultural population. With charming, old-fashioned storefronts and the Koloa History Center, the town immerses visitors in local heritage and customs.

Visitors experience a step back in time as they explore the Koloa Heritage Trail, which leads them through 14 cultural, historic and geological sites. If you’re visiting Old Koloa Town during the end of July, you’ll be treated to the famous KoloaPlantation Days Celebration. This annual summer event celebrates Kauai’s past with a wide variety of activities including a rodeo, parades, historic exhibits and lots of family-friendlyfun.

Poipu Bay Golf Course

For golfers visiting the southern shore of Kauai, the gorgeous Poipu Bay Golf Course offers an incredible day on the links. Known world-wide as the home of the PGA Grand Slam of Golf from 1994 to 2006, the commanding views of the Pacific Ocean from holes 15 and 16 are especially memorable. This challenging course meanders across 210 acres of gently rolling hills, perfectly situated between the pounding ocean surf and breath-taking mountain views.

The main characteristics of this course are consistently blowing trade winds, firm fairways and open fronts. Even experienced golfers are challenged by this Robert Trent Jones, Jr.-designed course that features over 80 bunkers and five water hazards.

Spouting Horn

Spouting Horn is one of the most photographed spots on Kauai—and with good reason! As the Pacific surf breaks on the southern shore of Kauai at Poipu, a natural lava tube channels the water inland. The resulting sea spray is released high into the air as a spout that is especially impressive during large swells.

The view is spectacularly luminous during Hawaii’s famous sunsets as the sky lights up with vivid color. From December through May, Spouting Horn also offers a great vantage point to observe visiting humpbackwhales frolicking in the Pacific. Convenient access and ample parking make this a must-see on the south shore for Kauai vacationers.

Visit the South Shore of Kauai

Visit the south shore of Kauai and immerse yourself in the history of Old Koloa Town, play on the famous Poipu Bay golf course and spend time watching Spouting Horn on your next vacation! Contact us today and plan your perfect Hawaiian getaway.

See our recommendations for visiting Kauai’s northern shore, too!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Come Explore Kauai's North Shore

The North Shore of Kauai is home to distinguished historical sites, unique artistry, and relaxing beaches. The diversity of attractions and activities offered by this region provides entertainment for all ages.
View of Kilauea Point Lighthouse on Kauai's North Shore

Kauai’s shores offer ample opportunities for guests to tour spectacular sites and engage in diverse activities. When visiting Kauai’s North Shore, be sure to visit the charming town of Hanalei, check out the Daniel K. Inouye Kilauea Point Lighthouse, and relax on tranquil Anini Beach.

Daniel K. Inouye Kilauea Point Lighthouse

Standing 52 feet tall, the Daniel K. Inouye Kilauea Point Lighthouse was built in 1913 to light the way for traveling ships. Located on the rugged northern coastline, the deep blue Pacific Ocean is the perfect backdrop for commemorating your visit to this landmark with striking photos. The elevated, coastal location also offers the chance to see humpback whales breaking through the waves during the winter months. Guests who are feeling adventurous may tour the lighthouse by climbing up the stairs as far as the watch room.

This breathtaking spot is also home to the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge. As a sanctuary for seabirds, guests can see a huge variety of species soar in the skies above the refuge or land on the small island nearby. Signage found throughout the property helps visitors to identify the bird species commonly found in the refuge.

Hanalei Town

Located west of Princeville, Hanalei Town offers a variety of activities and sites for its guests. From historic places to contemporary art galleries to frequent ukulele concerts at the community center, there is a lot to see in Hanalei!

Waioli Mission House is one of the most famous sites in Hanalei Town and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Exploring guests experience a glimpse of missionary life from 1837, complete with historically accurate features such as lava rock chimneys and fine koa furniture. The Waioli Huiia Church, built in 1834, is located directly in front of the mission house. The church’s green shingles and luminous stained glass are well-known and picturesque symbols of Hanalei.
Hanalei’s beauty inspires many artists, artisans and craftsmen. Paintings, handmade ceramics, glassware and woodwork made of rare koa wood are displayed and available for purchase. Visitors are sure to find the perfect memento of their Kauai vacation while meandering through the streets of Hanalei.

Anini Beach

Anini Beach is known as one of the most protected beaches in Kauai, thanks in part to the two-mile-long fringed reef that runs the length of Anini Beach. Hawaii’s longest reef, it creates an ideal, calm spot for children to swim and play in the water. A sandbar extends deep into the ocean and makes for a great place to wade or fish. Shell collectors love this beach as an immense amount and variety of shells are found along the shoreline.

Come Explore the North Shore of Kauai

Are you ready to explore the diverse sites of Kauai’s North Shore? Call Kauai Vacation Rentals today and reserve your time on the Garden Island!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Top Lifeguarded Beaches in Kauai

The island of Kauai has much to offer its guests, including some of the best beaches in the world! Learn where to sit back, relax, and stay safe on Kauai’s top lifeguarded beaches in our latest article. 

Makua Beach

Known for the incredible mountain scenery featured in the movie South Pacific as well as its superior snorkeling opportunities, Makua Beach comes in as one of our top Kauai beaches with lifeguards. Also known to the locals as “Tunnels,” Makua beach is renowned as one of the premier diving sites in the world.

The shallow waters located within the inner reef at Makua are great for kids or novice swimmers, while the outer reef is better for experienced divers and snorkelers. Makua Beach is just a short distance from Haena Beach.

Hanalei Bay Pavilion

Located on the North Shore of Kauai, Hanalei Bay Pavilion is an ocean playground for guests of all ages. This two-mile-long, half-moon bay hypnotizes visitors with spectacular views of Makana Mountain and meandering walks on the soft white sand. The center area of the beach is beloved for swimming, boogie boarding and surfing, all under the watchful eyes of Hanalei’s lifeguards.

The Hanalei Bay Pavilion also offers plenty of land-based amenities, including designated barbeque areas, family-friendly restrooms and showers. During the summer, this beautiful spot is a favorite anchoring spot for sailboats from around the world. Hanalei Bay is often their last stop before heading back to the west coast from Mexico or the South Pacific. Loved by visitors and locals alike, this popular and active beach is definitely one to check out while vacationing in Kauai.

Poipu Beach Park

Named America’s Best Beach by The Travel Channel and the recipient of numerous top beach awards, there is no mistaking why Poipu Beach Park is the most popular beach on the South Shore of Kauai. The offshore surf break lures in experienced surfers and the protected areas are perfect for swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving.

Wildlife enthusiasts count Poipu Beach among their favorite spots for spotting humpback whales spouting off shore, Hawaiian green sea turtles swimming through the turquoise waters, and endangered Hawaiian monk seals sunbathing on the golden sand. Staffed with lifeguards seven days a week, Poipu Beach allows visitors to sit back, relax and Enjoy the Aloha spirit.

Haena Beach 

Directly across the street from the Dry Cave, Haena Beach is another top lifeguarded beach in Kauai with golden sands and panoramic views. Beach combing, shell collecting and beach camping are favorites among visitors to this beach. When surf conditions are calmer, guests experience wonderful swimming and snorkeling.

Haena Beach is a short walk away from Makua Beach, and many backpackers use Haena Beach before they start their journey when heading to the Kalalau Valley.

Call Kauai Vacation Rentals to Book Your Hawaiian Beach Vacation!

Whether you would like to collect shells on Haena Beach, snorkel off Makua Beach, observe Hawaiian monk seals sunbathing on Poipu Beach, or watch sailboats from around the world anchor at Hanalei Bay, we can help you Enjoy your time in Kauai. Give us a call today!