Kauai is the nature island of Hawai’i. It is smaller than Big Island and way less developed than Oahu. Kauai is more about hikes and waterfalls than watersports.

Day 1

We started our first day with Kauai’s Hindu Monastery Its a beautiful temple with picturesque surroundings. I would recommend reserving a few hours to check out the whole area. The monastery is only accessible till noon, so, plan accordingly.

Kauai Hindu Monastery

Another view of the monastery

Then we headed to Makauwahi cave, it’s a bit of drive, but the caves are accessible only for a few days every week from 10 AM -2 PM. Unfortunately, the caves were closed due to a medical emergency, but the short hike to the caves and the tortoise farm was excellent.

Makuwahi caves

Tortoise

Next, we head back up north to Wailua Falls. The falls are good for snapping a few photos. There is an unofficial hike down to the falls as well. I would recommend skipping these and doing Honopii falls (See Day 5) instead.

Day 2

We started the second day with Sleeping Giants trail. It is only 4 miles round-trip but has steep elevation gain. The panoramic views from the top are pretty good though.

View from the top

We then headed to Kauapea Beach in the north. While it is pretty secluded, the waves were strong and unswimmable. I would recommend skipping it and going to Poipu beach (see day 5) instead.

Day 3

Waimea Canyon has an appearance similar to  Grand Canyon. It is much greener and smaller though. We started the day with the Kukui Trail in Waimea Canyon. It is 5 miles long and goes from the top to the bottom of the canyon and back. The views are good, but just like Grand Canyon, I would recommend doing this for the journey and not the destination since views are better from the top itself.

Waimea Canyon

A small waterfall on the way to Kukui trailhead

Then we headed to the most beautiful lookout on the island, the Kalalau lookout

Kalalau Lookout

The views from the Pu’u O Kila Lookout give an even more symmetric view of the canyon joining the ocean.

Pu’u O Kila Lookout

Day 4

We started with the Alakai Swamp trail. It’s a 7.7-mile long trail starting from the Pu’u O Kila lookout. The views are usually very cloudy, but the hike in itself is through a rainforest which makes the journey worthy of it. Apart from a few muddy patches, the hike is relatively straightforward. It took me about 4:15 hours to finish it.

Alakai Swamp Trail

Next, we headed down the Kalapea Ridge Trail which is ~ 2-miles round-trip unofficial trail from the Kalalau Lookout. The trail is short but steep, and it’s some patches are a bit risky. The views at the end are worthy of it though. One can see the famous Kalalau beach at the bottom.

Kalepa Ridge Trail

Kalepa Ridge Trail

Day 5

We started the day with Spouting horn, a natural blowhole near the Poipu beach. We then headed to do some swimming at the Poipu beach. Relative to the north shore, the water was calm and clean. We saw a lot of fishes and even a Hawaiian Monk Seal. I would highly recommend swimming here for a few hours.

Poipu Beach

Then we headed north towards Menehune Fishpond overlook. There isn’t much to see here. I would recommend skipping this and going to Hoopii Falls instead. There are two falls, the first one is good for cliff jumping and the second one is bigger and is good for swimming.

First falls

Second falls

Notes

  1. Carry good hiking boots. Most hikes are muddy due to year-round rainfall.
  2. Carry a good amount of water and electrolytes since the sun is strong and hiking during the afternoon is hard.
  3. Most road-side fruit shops are good at cutting the fruits for you. I would highly recommend Koloa Fruit stand; we got some delicious fruits here.
  4. For vegetarians, I would recommend checking out Potions restaurant for Indian food and Eat Healthy Kauai for vegan food including Vegan Banana bread.