You could live on Kauai for a lifetime and still never see all the beauty and experience all the fun the Garden Isle has to offer. So just what are the top Kauai adventure bucket list activities that no self-respecting adventurer should miss out on?
1. Hit the skies in a helicopter
If buzzing mountaintops, soaring deep into tropical valleys and hovering in front of waterfalls rings your bell, then this splurge-worthy journey is for you. Nothing matches the thrill of taking a doors-off tour in a helicopter over the eye-popping landscape of Kauai. More than 70 percent of the Garden Isle is inaccessible, which means a helicopter escort is the only way to get a real look at vast stretches of the island’s hidden beauty. Kauai is a natural wonder and you cannot fully appreciate its grandeur until you see it from the sky.
2. Hike the Kalalau Trail
If these jaw-dropping vistas look like something right outta Steven Spielberg’s “Jurassic Park”, well . . . it’s because they are! Not for sissies, this unforgettable but treacherous 11-mile trek starts at Ke’e Beach, follows a rugged stretch of the Na Pali Coast and rewards you at the end by delivering you to pristine Kalalau Beach. You’ll also find a sizable waterfall, ready to offer up a refreshing outdoor shower post hike.
3. Zipline through Poipu
Imagine yourself flying . . . right through a tropical rainforest! Go easy or tear through the air at speeds of up to 50 miles per hour with the longest line clocking in at half a mile. You can ride backwards, in tandem with a friend, and even upside down. Satisfy your need for speed!
4. Chase waterfalls
The easiest waterfall to access on Kauai is the 173-foot double barreled Wailua Falls which is found just a short drive up Maalo Road off the Kuhio Highway. You can easily spot it from above or hike down to the pool and experience it thundering right there before you. Rainbows come standard! Also, with a little extra hiking, ingenuity and a good map, you can come face-to-face with more remote specimens like the spectacular Hanakapiai Falls near Ke’e Beach, the Na Pali Coast’s massive Manawaiopuna Falls — aka “Jurassic Falls”, the “Weeping Wall” of Mount Waialeale (the 2nd wettest place on earth) and many many more. These cascading natural forces are gorgeous to look at — and put you in awe of Mother Nature. You, too, will be gushing.
5. Travel up the Napali Coast
Set sail on an enormous catamaran, a 6-man power boat or even a speed raft and fly up the breathtakingly gorgeous and utterly pristine Na Pali coast. Pods of spinner dolphins race alongside you in the turquoise waters as Humpback whales breach on the horizon. Once the anchor is dropped you can snorkel to your heart’s content amid turtles, eels and brilliant schools of tropical fish. The ideal place to feel truly off the grid.
6. Explore Waimea Canyon
Mother Nature was really showing off when she lit up a volcano millions of years ago to create this so-called “Grand Canyon of the Pacific.” Stretching 14 miles long, about a mile wide and more than 3,600 feet deep, this geological wonder is like nothing else you will see in Hawaii — or anywhere else for that matter. Colorful hiking trails of all levels wind you past soaring cliffs and deep red gorges sprinkled with cascading waterfalls. You will run out of adjectives.
7. Snorkel at Tunnels
The coral reef at Tunnels is so massive you can see it from space. Currents are strong and parking scarce but if you’re a good swimmer with good gear you will be regaled by crystal clear waters and a rainbow of sea life. Make friends with sea turtles, boxfish, unicorn fish, grouper, moray eels and of course the humuhumunukunukuapua’a — Hawaii’s shimmer-golden state fish.
8. Get offroad in an ATV
Hop on an All Terrain Vehicle and follow the leader through pristine landscapes that take you from makai to mauka (ocean to mountain). While tearing up the plantation roads you can learn all about Kauai history and botanical life. Stop atop an inactive volcano crater, ride through rainforests and see where some of your favorite movies were shot. Some tours even stop to fish or camp or do a little trick riding. A fast, furious and fun way to get to know the island. Plenty of mud included.
Our concierge team is your one-stop spot for all the fun adventures to be found on Kauai — and beyond! Go to Koloa Landing Resort activities or call them directly at 808.240-6609. Have a blast — be safe. Aloha!
— Erica Karlin