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Kauai, the oldest and northern most of the four major Hawaiian Islands is more than 6 million years old. It covers only 553 square miles, is a distinctive, “round-shaped” island with a population of 51,000 residents.
Much like the other Hawaiian islands, the warmest and coolest months differ only by 8 degrees or so. The ocean temperature is remarkably consistent, hovering between 72 to 76 degrees all year long.
It is known as “The Garden Island” because of its high population of plant life. The rainforest climate is the wettest of the Hawaiian Islands, and Mt. Wai’ale’ale is the wettest spot on EARTH!
The island’s people are among the friendliest in the country according to Conde Nast Magazine’s annual poll of readers. Two of Kauai’s resorts–the Hyatt and the Princeville Hotel– are consistently rated in the top twenty tropical resorts according to the same magazine.
But it is the rugged beauty and the opportunity for adventure that attracts many people to the island.
The southern and western shores have long, white beaches. And there are the majestic, sweeping valleys, such as the Kalalau Valley on the Na Pali Coast.
The most notable and well-known scenery includes the Waimea Canyon and the breathtaking cliffs of the Na Pali Coast. The Alakai Swamp, extending almost 10 miles northwest of the summit peaks of Kawaikini and Waialeale, is accessible — but only to very advanced hikers.
Waimea Canyon — aptly named the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific”–and Koke’e State Park, in Lihue are open year-round. The canyon stretches 10 miles from Captain James Cook’s famous landing site, in 1778, to Koke’e State Park. This canyon has been the site for a number of movies including Jurasic Park and Raiders of the Lost Ark. In fact, more than two dozen Hollywood movies have been filmed on Kauai!
Hiking trails in the park offer unbelievable views of the canyon and lush “forest” environment. The canyon itself is also accessible for hiking, fishing and camping.
Kauai’s Na Pali Coast cliffs, are pure, rugged beauty, featuring deep, narrow valleys ending sharply at the sea. Waterfalls, swift-flowing streams, and extensive stone-walled terraces remain on the valley bottoms where ancient, native Hawaiians once lived.
The 11-mile Kalalau Trail provides the only land access to this part of the coast. The trail crosses above towering sea cliffs and through lush valleys, then drops to sea level at the beaches of Hanakapi’ai and Kalalau. But much of the island can be see only by air. To see Kauai by helicopter is like nothing else in the world, with its remote waterfalls, hidden canyons and uninhabited valleys.
You can also enjoy a full day of exploration and excitement on a snorkeling excursion to “The Forbidden Island,” Kauai’s island of Niihau. Cruising along the majestic Napali coast provides the opportunity for some world-class snorkeling. No other place in Hawaii offers such unique formations as those on Niihau,shaped by ocean currents and waves for those 6 million years!
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