Kauai is Hawaii’s fourth largest island and is nicknamed the “Garden Isle,” which is an entirely accurate description. The oldest and northernmost island in the Hawaiian chain is draped in emerald valleys, sharp mountain spires and jagged cliffs, aged by time and the elements. Centuries of growth have formed tropical rainforests, winding rivers and cascading waterfalls. Some parts of Kauai are only accessible by sea or air, revealing amazing views.
Kauai is best known for the Napali Coast (towering North Shore cliffs), Waimea Canyon (known as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific), the Wailua River (one of the most popular navigable rivers in Hawaii), and beautiful beaches (from Hanalei Bay to Salt Pond).
Travel to Kauai:
Kauai’s main airport is Lihue Airport (LIH) in southeastern Lihue. Many airlines now offer non-stop service to Kauai. There is also the option of flying into Honolulu International Airport (HNL) on Oahu first and then heading to Kauai on a short, 25-minute flight.
Geography of Kauai:
Occupying 552 square miles, Kauai is circular in shape with lush, mountainous regions in its center (most of which is uninhabited and can be viewed only by air) and beaches covering almost half its shoreline.
Kauai's most striking geographic feature is the Napali Coast, which rivals any of the world’s grandest coastlines. The Napali Coast's 17-mile coastline took millions of years to form from wind and water erosion. The results are cliffs thousands of feet high; complete with green valleys, scenic waterfalls and hidden sea caves. These breathtaking cliffs can only be seen from the sea, by air, or by hiking the Kalalau Trail. An excellent view of the coastline can be seen from Kee Beach and the panoramic view from the Kalalau Lookout beyond Kokee State Park is a popular draw for photos.
Weather in Kauai:
Kauai offers yearly temperatures ranging from the mid-80s to the high 60s. Ocean temperatures year round are warm and pleasant for swimming and other beach activities. Kauai features seven distinct microclimates, from lush interior spots to arid areas on the West Side. Mount Waialeale (elevation 5,148 ft) is at the heart of Kauai's interior and is a quintessential rainforest with over 400-inches of rain per year. The rain that falls around Mt. Waialeale generally does not affect the coastal parts of the island, which get far less rain (as little as 18-inches a year in some areas). The trade winds of Kauai are generally light and keep the days comfortable for outdoor activities.