Visit Kauai before it’s too late, by travel book

Written by Phyllis Hochman

Remember when Maui was considered the undeveloped island of Hawaii, in the days before the hordes of tourists and merchants that followed inevitably invaded its pristine coast? Well, quick, before the same thing happens to Kauai, visit Garden Island, the most beautiful and beautiful of the Hawaiian islands.

The oldest island in the chain—it’s more than 5 million years old, compared to Hawaii, a cocky little one that’s only a million years old—Kuai has almost as many superstitions as birthdays. The one who says it’s the birthplace of the rainbow is one of my favorites because it captures the essence of the island: mystical, magical and colourful, with surreal treasures to be found at both ends.

Whether you drive around it, fly over it, bike through or sail through it, you know you’ve made it to heaven. Fertility is wonderful. Green grass merges with green plants that grow in green bushes to grow in green forests and then mix in green mountains. The eye often cannot distinguish one from the other; The monotony of the color is almost charming.

Along the island’s edge, clear waters spawn rolling white caps that playfully nibble on the sand. Other times, the waves loom so big that they form a wall between you and the ocean. For the shortest moment, time and the wave stand still – then break with a resounding force as if reasserting his undisputed dominance over the region.

Hiking along the Napali Coast on the island’s northern shore can be one of the most personal contacts with the islands, as you now need advanced reservations. The 11-mile trek begins at Ke’e Beach at the northwest tip of the island and continues along a steep gorge along steep cliffs and knife point peaks until you reach Nirvana in the form of Kalalau Beach. Hiking all day—often more scrambling over rocks and mudslides than walking on the road—isn’t for the faint of heart or the heavy-footed.

Those who want to sample the boardwalk without ordering the full course can choose the two-mile-long entrees from Ke’e to Hanakapiai Beach. Every time I began to lament at my inability to navigate the slippery rocks, I would see a 9-year-old using the muddy surface as a slide or a grandmother confidently topping the course with a makeshift walking stick. It was the young mother with a child on her back, carefully avoiding the rocks as if on a walk in the suburbs, who finally convinced me to keep my grumbling self-criticism to myself. For those who find such challenges unattractive, other modes of transportation offer similar – albeit less intimate – links with the coast.

A helicopter ride along the coast provides an extraordinary overview, like a beautifully written epigraph. Zodiac raft tours allow you to visit the shoreline shoreline, chapter by chapter. But hiking the Napali coast, you become one with the story, immersed in the characters and part of the book itself.

Another must-see that allows multiple ways to explore is Waimea Canyon, “Grand Canyon of the Pacific.” As you wind your way along the 3,600-foot-deep chasm, glimpses of a colorful competition unfold. Red and orange desert colors signify tropical greenery, suggesting the valley’s dire vistas yet to come. However, you arrive at the Waimea Canyon Lookout unprepared for the sprawl and grandeur that finally welcomes you.

Not far away, another vision of wonders awaits us. Kalalau Lookout offers a panoramic view of the historic Hawaiian Valley and Napali Coast from its 4,000-foot prime location. Looking beyond swollen valleys and cliffs with sheer edges, you can’t tell where the ocean stops and the sky begins.

For many, most of Kauai’s allure lies in its natural splendor. However, if you can take your eyes off the beauty of the surroundings, you will be waiting to enjoy the other attractions. Driving around the island, which stretches for less than 100 miles, leads you to many small towns that have not changed since the mid-1800s.

Visit Waioli Church and Mission House in Hanalei, where the first missionaries arrived in 1834. Stroll along the wooden sidewalks of Hanapipe and browse the world-famous Shimonichi Store, which has some orchids so rare they won’t sell them. Stop by an old 1913 lighthouse in the sleepy town of Kilauea, which is the northernmost point in all of the Hawaiian Islands.

Visits to ancient hula temples, lava-blowing vents, and wet and dry caves rich in tales of Hawaiian folklore contribute to Kauai’s charm. Oh yeah, one more thing. Kauai also has more beaches than any of the other islands. Surrounded by long stretches of white sand, long stretches of white sand make for inviting beaches like satin sheets and plush pillows at the end of a stressful day.

But nothing is perfect, and the island’s landscape, although not yet affected by the fast food establishments imported from the mainland, has recently fallen prey to a pair of Starbucks. But even here, there is good news: although some supermarkets have also invaded the island, there is a ban on any future development of it, and no building can be taller than a mature palm tree. Even if Heaven is flawed at times, Kauai may be as close to perfect as possible.

when you go

For more information: www.gohawaii.com/kauai

Waioli Church and Mission House in Hanalei on the island of Kauai, Hawaii, is the first place missionaries came in 1834. Photo courtesy of the Kauai Visitors Bureau.

    The sunset on the island of Kauai is one of the reasons why this is one of the most popular spots to visit in Hawaii.  Image courtesy of the Kauai Visitors Bureau.

The sunset on the island of Kauai is one of the reasons why this is one of the most popular spots to visit in Hawaii. Image courtesy of the Kauai Visitors Bureau.

    Kalalau Lookout offers sweeping views of the historic Hawaiian Valley and the Napali Coast.  Image courtesy of the Kauai Visitors Bureau.

Kalalau Lookout offers sweeping views of the historic Hawaiian Valley and the Napali Coast. Image courtesy of the Kauai Visitors Bureau.

Phyllis Hochman is a freelance writer. To read features from writers and other cartoonists in the Creators Guild, visit the Creators Guild website at www.creators.com.

Kalalau Lookout offers sweeping views of the historic Hawaiian Valley and the Napali Coast. Image courtesy of the Kauai Visitors Bureau.

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