Cool facts:

  • Hawaii is the most isolated archipelago on earth.
  • Kauai is the oldest Hawaiian island by millions of years.
  • Kauai has the most endemic species of anywhere on earth.
  • Kauai wildlife can be seen even at the resort — if you know where to look. . .

You and your daughter rise with the sun to enjoy the morning yoga event on the resort’s main lawn. You agree that even the Standing Scorpion pose is easier to hold with an ocean view. On the way back to your villa along the cement path that meanders through tropical foliage, your daughter whispers, “Look mom!” She points out the snowy-white head of an egret poking up through a reddish bush. You both stop walking so as not to frighten the bird. “Isn’t he SO cute?” she enthuses

The egret’s skinny neck undulates as he moves through the plants toward you leading with his sunflower-yellow beak. Stepping onto the path just a few feet away, he’s about a foot-and-a-half tall and moves slowly and elegantly on star-shaped feet that seem way too big for his sleek body. You are both awestruck.

A woman in yoga pants carrying a water thermos struts past and instead of running scared, the egret turns and follows her! The bird stays right on the oblivious woman’s heels all the way down the path. When she cuts through the greenery toward the villas the egret pauses a moment before continuing after her.

Now you’re both giggling. Wait . . . what?

Back at your villa you do some research and discover that Kauai is home to cattle egrets. Cattle egrets are so named because they hang around livestock to feast on the insects that collect in their midst. They are also nicknamed the “gardener’s bird” because they like to follow people who stir up plant life, potentially exposing tasty bugs along the way. Bingo!

You hope to see your new egret friend again soon.

Prince of Whales

You and your spouse are relaxing on your private lanai after breakfast. You’re sipping fresh-brewed coffee on side-by-side loungers and gazing out to sea. The kids are inside the villa because you finally caved and allowed them some extended screen time.

Suddenly, out there in the distance you see something on the ocean. A whale. It bursts up through the water like a torpedo, then splashes back down. It’s over before either of you can speak.

“Did you–?”

“Oh my god– was that . . .?”

You look at each other, incredulous.

“That was incredible! . . . Should we tell the kids?”

You glance back at them sprawled across the couch inside, their faces buried, zombie-like, in their phones.

“Nah . . .”

You both sip your coffee and smile.

Eel Appeal

One morning after pancakes at the onsite Holoholo Grill, your family hits the poolside Activity Hut to rent snorkel gear and check the ocean conditions. You walk the few shorts steps down to historic Koloa Landing — a nice little bay of water adjacent to the resort. You all float past the rocks and bob out to sea.

The sights are breathtaking as shafts of sunlight illuminate the underwater world. You spot a bevy of humuhumunukunukuapua’a, various brilliant tropical fish and even an eel lurking in the rocks. You can’t take your eyes off him.

Just as you’re calling it a day, a brief glint of silver-green flashes in your peripheral vision and in an instant a sea turtle is swimming past — graceful, soaring. Your son’s grin is visible even behind all his gear. Score!

Fowl Play

After a sunset happy hour on your lanai, you and your family take a quick stroll along Poipu Road to enjoy dinner at Eating House 1849. Something darts out of the tall grass, startling you. You all watch, amused, as a mother hen and her trail of fuzzy chicks waddle across the street in front of you. You have seen no shortage of chickens since your arrival, but none this close or this tiny!

Your spouse says, “So, I can’t help but wonder . . . Why did the chicken cross the road?” Everyone groans.

Here on Kauai, this age-old question is easy to answer because chickens are everywhere — and cross everything: The road, the parking lot, the pool patio, the beaches . . . They have lived on Kauai for so long, some may have even learned how to bodysurf or mix a Mai Tai.

Reptile Repast

You have a weird fear of snakes so are relieved to learn that few exist on the Garden Isle. You do, however, see plenty of geckos. These tiny brilliantly colored reptiles sunbathe on rocks, scurry under plants and occasionally lounge on the wall outside your villa. The geckos are not native to Kauai but arrived some 1500 years ago as stowaways in the canoes of Polynesian settlers.

You stop to admire one resting perfectly still in a planter near the lobby’s footbridge. A few moments later as you’re walking away, your friend the cattle egret hurries in and snatches it up in his beak for lunch. Talk about fast food!

As you head for the parking lot along the lush path, you can’t help but feel you’re being followed. You glance over your shoulder and sure enough, your egret is not far behind. You reach over and rustle the leaves of a tall bush, hoping a tasty bug will flutter toward him for dessert.

Ready to seek out some wildlife yourself? Come stay on the Garden Isle with us at Koloa Landing Resort. You never know who you might run into.


Erica Karlin — Koloa Landing Resort