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Hanalei Valley, Kauai, Hawaii





The Island of Kauai

It is said you don't just go to Kauai - you get into it! It is probably the most exclusive but the least developed of the four major Hawaiian islands. Much of it will look familiar to you if you've ever seen the George Clooney movie, "The Descendants", much of which was filmed here. It's also where Ireland's own "James Bond", actor Pierce Brosnan, has a home.

Most of Kauai's interior is mountainous forest, giving it a lush, rural feel and a laid-back lifestyle all its own. This is the place to be to pamper yourself and get away from it all, to experience the true beauty of nature and to enjoy the finest cuisine.

Kauai is Hawaii's oldest island (up to 5.6 million years) and has been around millions of years longer than its sister islands. Time and the elements have created Hawaii's only navigable river, carved the deep Waimea Canyon and nurtured an amazing feast of flora and fauna. It is also where you will find the island's central dormant volcanic peak, Mount Waialeale, the wettest place on earth.

But don't let that put you off as the island is dry and sunny on its southern and western sides which is where you will find most of the hotels and resorts. These range from the very select to the more casual, thereby catering to all tastes.

Nothing prepares you for some of Kauai's natural wonders such as Wailua Falls and the 17-mile stretch of beaches on the west side of the island. A trip around the island reveals green, tropical forests, cascading waterfalls and golden sand beaches. You can can opt to self-drive in a hire car or join one of the many organised tours by land or air. Kauai is well geared for hikers and walkers, with trails into some incredible places. Don't be surprised to see chickens roaming free - they are a wild population and can can pop up anywhere!

Many of Kauai's beaches are not recommended for swimming but we choose hotels with good pools. If you do plan to swim in the sea, please check locally for safe conditions.

The landscapes of Kaua'i have served as locations for more than 60 movies and television shows over the years.

Kauai's Highlights

Napali Coast - one of the world's greatest natural wonders. Take a boat or helicopter to witness its 15 miles of vertical green cliffs falling 2,000 feet into the blue ocean below.

Waimea Canyon - the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific" can be viewed from several lookouts within the Koke'e State Park. It is hard to believe that a small island could hide such an immense canyon. It is truly a vast, and beautiful, sight to behold.

Wailua Falls - usually seen as two separate falls, when it rains they transform into one. Rainbows often appear in the morning when sunlight turns the 80 foot waterfall silver.

Paddle Power - Rent a kayak and paddle along Huleia stream (where Indiana Jones escaped headhunters in the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark) or along the Wailua, Hanalei or Kalihiwai Rivers. For a wilder ride, ocean kayaking along the Napali Coast was deemed the second best adventure in the country by National Geographic Adventure.

Fern Grotto - a natural fern-filled amphitheatre on the Wailua River. Stunning - there's no other word for it!

Spouting Horn - this lava tube forces spumes of salty surf as high as 50 feet in the air. This natural wonder is a photographer's dream, especially at high tide and sunset.

Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge - an historic lighthouse marks a visitor centre in the 200-acre refuge, protecting such seabirds as the red-footed booby, the Laysan albatross and the Nene Goose, Hawaii's State bird. A lookout offers excellent views of the area.

Monk Seals - There are only about 1200 Hawaiian Monk Seals left in the wild with less than 30 living around the waters and beaches of Kauai. They are a protected species, so if you see one sunning itself on the beach stay at least 100 feet away.

Add a short stay in Kauai to your Waikiki holiday in Honolulu, Oahu. The price depends on the category of hotel or apartment, the room type you select as well as the time of year you travel. Use the price grid on the Waikiki package page as a guide to estimate the price for 5 nights based on 2 people sharing - we have priced hotels on the high side to allow for fluctuation in exchange rates so you can be fairly sure the final budget will be around the total calculated if not less - nobody likes nasty surprises! We recommend you book a hire car for the duration of your stay to give you the best opportunity to explore Kauai.

And remember, the Aloha Holidays Promise applies - if we find better value on your travel dates we will pass the savings on to you!

Photo credits: Aloha Holidays, HTA, Tor Johnson,