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Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Family-Friendly Things to Do on Kauai During Vacation

From playing on Kauai’s stunning beaches to taking a chocolate tour at Lydgate Farms, prepare for a fun and memorable vacation on Hawaii’s Garden Island. There are lots of family-friendly things to do on Kauai. Take a look at a few exciting attractions that we recommend you include in your travel plans.
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Family-friendly Things to Do on Kauai

Picture your family laughing together, relishing new adventures and making pleasurable new memories during your vacation to Kauai. There are a few time-tested activities on the island to help ensure your whole family has a wonderful time.

Chocolate Tour

Did you know Hawaii is the only state in the nation that can grow chocolate? Chocolate lovers will learn about the history, health benefits and more during a three-hour tour of the Lydgate Farms, formerly known as Steelgrass Farm. Indulge in the many tastings of their award-winning honey, vanilla beans, tropical fruit and, of course, chocolate.

The Lydgate family has run this well-known 46-acre orchard with more than 1,000 chocolate trees for five generations dating back to 1867. The very knowledgeable family members lead the fascinating tour and teach visitors about “Chocolate From Branch to Bar.” This includes how to taste chocolate like a connoisseur and the history of chocolate dating back to its discovery by the first Mesoamericans.

Kauai’s Best Beaches for Families

Two beaches families find welcoming, include Poipu Beach Park, and Salt Pond Beach. They have in common scenic views, calm, shallow waters, unique sea creatures and spots to explore. Additionally, lifeguards keep beachgoers safe and secure at these family-friendly beaches.

Poipu Beach Park has great facilities and ranks among the most popular on the South Shore. It provides young children with calm wading areas, while older kids and adults can treat themselves to snorkeling on the colorful coral reef.

Salt Pond Beach includes a reef and smooth rocks that make it family-friendly. Children have a great time exploring and splashing around in shallow pools. Families also have fun searching for various marine animals and shells.

Na’aina Kai Botanical Gardens

Thanks to Joyce and Ed Doty this 12-acre “retirement” home bought in 1979 has turned into a 320-acre national treasure today. It includes numerous gardens both adults and children can take pleasure in and one of the largest collections of bronze sculptures, numbering around 120 in total. Called Na’aina Kai Botantical Gardens, Sculpture Park and Hardwood Plantation, this diverse eco-system’s name means “Lands by the Sea.”

One of the many colorful gardens includes “Under the Rainbow Children’s Garden,” which opened for tours in 2005. The playful theme features a children’s wading pool and garden area. It centers around a 16-foot sculpture, “Jack and Company,” depicting the fairytale “Jack and the Beanstalk.” In addition, the area has a child-height maze designed in the shape of a gecko. A rubber tree includes a treehouse inspired by The Swiss Family Robinson. Children can also play in a tropical jungle within the garden. Many also love the hillside with tunnels and slides, as well as the unique teak tree log cabins.

Have a Family-Friendly Vacation of a Lifetime with Kauai Vacation Rentals!

We offer wonderful rental homes or condos across Kauai for your family to stay during your trip. Call us today and make your reservation. Then Enjoy making long-lasting family memories on this incredibly beautiful and peaceful Hawaiian island.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Native Foods on Kauai to Sample on Your Culinary Adventure

Take a culinary adventure on Kauai and sample its delicious native foods during your trip there. Learn more in our latest blog about these dishes and where you can eat them!

Native Foods on Kauai to Try on Your Vacation

To truly experience this lush Hawaiian island and its rich culture, we recommend you sample the delicious native foods found there. First settled nearly 1,500 years ago, several dishes have evolved that sustain the Kauai people to this day. So, prepare your taste buds for some amazing delights.

Poke

Poke (pronounced POH-kay) traces its roots back to native Hawaiians, who chopped fish, seasoned it with salt, dried it in the sun and added limu or seaweed for texture and flavor. Finally, inamona — roasted Kukui Nuts — are served with the Poke giving it an oily richness.

Poke in Hawaii has become as popular as hamburgers in America. You can find this savory staple in supermarket delis and high-end restaurants. Kauai residents even serve this local favorite at family events, tailgate parties, potlucks and pau hana or after-work gatherings.

The Hawaiian word, Poke, means to slice or cut crosswise into pieces. The chunky, raw fish salad commonly uses ahi (yellowfin tuna) or tako (octopus).

Poi

Another Hawaiian staple every visitor should sample is poi. Made from the starchy taro root, Hawaiians cook it for hours in an underground oven called an imu. Poi gets mashed until it turns into a liquid. To get the desired consistency, chefs add water.

It can range from being runny, to thick and dough-like. Hawaiians refer to it as “one-finger,” “two-finger” or “three-finger” depending on its consistency. Eaten immediately it tastes sweet but some like to leave it out longer to ferment.

Ancient Hawaiian legend considered the taro or kalo plant an original ancestor. They believed the spirit Haloa showed up whenever poi was served. Because of this, all conflict among family members came to a halt while eating a bowl of poi.

Loco Moco

Kauai locals love this contemporary cuisine created in 1949. Traditionally, loco moco consisted of white rice, topped with a hamburger, fried egg and brown gravy. Over the years, variations have included chili, bacon, ham, Spam, kalua pork, Portuguese Sausage, teriyaki beef and chicken, mahi-mahi, shrimp, oysters and various meats. This Hawaiian original’s popularity has spread throughout the Pacific Rim.

Kalua Pig

Kalua refers to a traditional Hawaiian cooking method that employs an imu, or underground oven. This dish originated with early Hawaiians in a ritual to honor Pele, the Hawaiian Goddess of the Volcano.

The traditional cooking method of this flavorful dish takes hours to complete. Stones placed on top of a fire in the large pit can take two to three hours to become hot enough to begin cooking the kalua pig, which takes about eight hours. Banana trees and ti leaves line the underground oven and the heavily salted meat goes on top. A few hot stones go inside the hog’s body to ensure the meat becomes fully cooked. Ti and banana leaves then wrap around the kalua pig. A tarp covers the pit and several inches of soil placed on top keep steam from escaping and helps the meat cook to perfection.

This slow-roasted, succulent pulled pork has become an iconic centerpiece of luau feasts.

Huli Huli Chicken

Out of Kauai’s sugar plantation days that began in 1835, came Huli Huli Chicken. Unique to Hawaii, it earned the name huli, which means turn. Roasting the chicken requires turning it back and forth several times almost like a rotisserie. Many on Kauai call the native food barbecued Hawaiian-style ono, or delicious!

Lomilomi Salmon

Western sailors introduced this popular side dish now considered Hawaiian ethnic food. Made of raw salmon and tomatoes, it earned the name lomilomi because spices get “massaged” into the fish by hand. Salt, onions and chili peppers typically flavor the salmon.

Plate Lunch

This native food in Hawaii became popular in the 1920s during the islands plantation period. Composed of two scoops of white rice, one scoop of macaroni salad, one scoop of potato salad and fish, beef or chicken make up this hearty dish. In fact, Hawaiians refer to it as “the meal that will not leave you hungry.” Favorite meats include barbecued chicken, chicken katsu and Kalbi rib. Often served on disposable plates, food trucks and takeout spots predominately serve this plate lunch.

Lilikoi Pie

Top off all this excellent native food with a special dessert. Order a slice of the lilikoi pie at Hamura’s Saimin Stand, a favorite local hangout. It is a lemon meringue pie unique to Kauai. The texture is light and it isn't overly sweet. It has visitors raving about its amazing taste. Hamura’s Saimin Stand earned the distinguished James Beard Foundation award for being a contributor to American culinary heritage and diversity.

Book Your Culinary Adventure with Kauai Vacation Rentals!

Take a getaway to Kauai and order bento boxes filled with traditional native food or dine at one of our finest restaurants. If you need recommendations, just ask our friendly staff. Call us at Kauai Vacation Rentals and book one of our vacation rentals today!

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!