Kauai also known as “Garden Isle” is the oldest island of the main islands in Hawaii. It is the fourth largest island in the state and is the 21st largest island in the United States.
Legend surrounding the origins of how the island received its name says that the discoverer of the islands, Hawaiiloa, named it after his favorite son. Possible translations of Kauai are “place around the neck” or “food season”.
Kauai is divided into six regions: West Side, North Shore, East Side, Na Pali Coast, Central, and South Shore. Out of these the Na Pali Coast is one of two areas not accessible by a road. It is a rugged coastline and possibly the most scenic view in all of Hawaii. It was thought to be were the original settlers of the island lived because although the area is hard to reach (now only by boat, air, or hiking) it provided all the essentials of life. Now, it has been turned into a state park to protect the Kalalau Valley. The Central part of Kauai is also non-accessible by a boat and the best ways to see it are by foot or helicopter; however, this is the most unseen area in the entire island.
North shore is a lush-green, tropical environment due to the excessive rainfall that it receives each year. Anahola is a small residential neighborhood here where much of the area has been reserved for those of Hawaiian descent. Across from the Anini Beach is some of the most luxurious and expensive homes in all of the real estate on Kauai. Princeville is a planned resort in this area. It sits on 11,000 square feet and has everything anyone could need. There are single family homes, condominiums, vacation ownership resorts, and several ways to keep busy while in the area. Hanalei Town is mainly a business district and a culture mixing pot with its variety of surfers, rich and famous vacationers, a mix of new town, and that of old town.
The East Side of the island or Coconut Coast because of the miles of coconut trees lining the coast is the second most popular area of the island. Lihue is Kauai’s capital and is primarily a residential area. North of Lihue is the resort of Kapa’a. It is primarily an oceanfront town with many oceans being located in or around it. It is also Kauai’s largest town and the main area where visitors come.
The South Shore of the island is hotter and drier than other areas of the island. Poipu is the most popular tourist area on the island. It is a resort community with many of the homes or accommodations are facing some of Kauai’s most popular beach destinations. Other towns in this area are Kalaheo, Koloa, Lawai, and Omao.
The West Side of the island is actually divided into two parts the Northwest Side and the Southwest Side. The Northwest Side is for the most part impassable. It borders the Na Pali Coast and is divided into two parks. This area does offer many exquisite views such as the Waimea Canyon. The Southwest Side is drier than any other part of the island and is also very remote. Many visitors do not come to this area, but the towns where people do have homes are Waimea, Eleele, Hanapepe, Kamakani, Port Allen, Kapaka, and Mana.
Kauai is home to several “hidden gems” in Hawaii. This island leaves a lot of natural scenery for residents and visitors alike to explore. There is no shortage of adventures that can be had on this island.