Episode 86: The Ultimate Kauai Travel Guide

by | May 19, 2023


Aloha food lovers! Are you ready to embark on a journey of culinary delights on Maui? In this episode of Hawaii’s Best: Traveling with Aloha Edition, we’ll explore five mouthwatering local food places on the island of Maui that you absolutely must visit.

So pack your appetite and join us as we taste our way through Maui’s food scene.

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This post gives general info and isn’t legal or authoritative advice. It helps travelers with tips but can’t replace personal abilities, fitness, experience, or local knowledge. Marine activities have risks; assess conditions and follow local laws.

Welcome to another episode of Hawaii’s Best, where Bryan Murphy and Andrew from Shaka Guide take you on a virtual tour of Kauai, the Garden Isle.

Shaka Guide is a GPS-based driving tour app that allows you to explore Hawaii’s islands at your own pace. In this episode, they dive into the highlights and hidden gems of Kauai, starting with the North Shore.

The North Shore boasts breathtaking views of the Napali Coast and popular destinations like Princeville and Hanalei. Bryan and Andrew discuss the Kilauea Lighthouse, a bird refuge with stunning cliffside scenery.

Hanalei, a charming beach town, offers a variety of shops, boutiques, and eateries. They caution against visiting during winter due to high surf but recommend Haena Beach Break, Tunnels Reef, and Ke’e Beach for summer water activities. They also mention Moloa Beach, known for its connection to the iconic TV show Gilligan’s Island.

Moving on to the logistics of exploring the North Shore, they talk about the limited access to the Napali Coast, requiring a voucher reservation to proceed beyond Hanalei. They recommend reserving in advance through the Go Cayenne website.

The conversation provides valuable insights into the attractions and practicalities of visiting the North Shore using the Shaka Guide app as your self-guided tour companion.

Next up is the South Shore, known for its calm waters and the resort town of Poipu. Bryan and Andrew highlight Poipu Beach, ideal for spotting monk seals, and Shipwrecks Beach, a favorite among surfers. They also mention Baby Beach and the natural wonder of Spouting Horn, where waves create an impressive blowhole.

They then take a trip to Koloa, a historic sugarcane plantation town on the South Shore. Koloa offers a charming walkable environment, with its own unique attractions and shops.

The discussion concludes with an exploration of the West side, where Waimea takes center stage. Waimea is described as a Wild West-style town with wooden decks, restaurants, and shops. Visitors can immerse themselves in the town’s history and enjoy local culinary delights.

They mention Koloa Rum, produced at a sugar mill in Waimea, and recommend checking out the podcast episode featuring Bob Gunter, the president of Koloa Rum, for more historical insights.

The conversation then turns to Waimea Canyon, dubbed the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. Bryan and Andrew suggest taking the scenic drive and stopping at various viewpoints along the way. They emphasize the entrance and parking fees at the state park and highlight the Waipo Waterfall hike as a moderate but rewarding option. They also mention the distinctive red dirt, a result of iron calcite in the volcanic rock.

Bryan and Andrew discuss the appeal of Kauai for different types of travelers, including families, couples, and adventure enthusiasts. They note the island’s slower pace, smaller community feel, and abundance of hiking trails and beautiful beaches. They jokingly address the island’s wild chicken population, advising visitors to bring earplugs due to early morning crowing.

In closing, Andrew promotes the Kauai GPS driving tour app by Shaka Guide, which offers immersive audio tours and encourages listeners to share their Kauai adventures on social media.

Don’t forget to subscribe to Hawaii’s Best for more exciting episodes. Mahalo for joining us on this virtual journey through Kauai, the Garden Isle.

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The Ultimate Kauai Travel Guide

[00:00:00] Bryan Murphy: Aloha and welcome to another episode of Hawaii's Best.

[00:00:03] And I am joined with one of my best buds, Andrew from Shaka Guide. What's going on, man?

[00:00:11] Andrew Fowers: Hey, how's it going, Brian? Thanks so much for having me.

[00:00:14] Bryan Murphy: It's going good. I mean, we're staring down summer right now, and I know crowds are and have started picking up. What can you tell us a little bit being on island right

[00:00:23] Andrew Fowers: now?

[00:00:24] It's kind of an exciting time to be in Hawaii right now. Yeah, you

[00:00:27] Bryan Murphy: definitely see it, sense it, feel it. And also in regards to Shaka Guide apps, a lot more traction, a lot more people, you know, discovering places for the first time. So that's kind of cool seeing around social media, people being out there and getting out there and traveling.

[00:00:44] We've done a ton of podcasts in the past. And today we're talking about Kauai overview, like a Kauai travel guide. But maybe for those who haven't tuned in to. The last couple of episodes so far, we've done Oahu, uh, travel guide, Maui. Today we're [00:01:00] doing Hawaii and give us a little overview of what Shaka guide apps is all about.

[00:01:05] Yeah

[00:01:05] Andrew Fowers: So just really quick Shaka guide is a GPS based driving tour app for Hawaii So instead of getting on a tour bus with you know, strangers what you can do is actually Drive in your own vehicle with your own family, having ShakaGuide app downloaded, hooked into your car stereo. It'll take you around the Island and tell you stories and history, take you to some cool spots and just kind of be your tour guide around the Island.

[00:01:33] So it's just a lot of fun. That's

[00:01:35] Bryan Murphy: awesome. Yeah, we've, we've used ShakaGuide a ton of times and. I've mentioned this before on the show, but I'm not the guy to get on the tour bus and, and do that. I'm more, you know, kind of just want to go out and explore. When we talk about exploring the islands and we talk, we're going to talk about Kauai today, but you know, it's not just no holes bar.

[00:01:56] You don't just get to go out there and yeah, that looks like a cool spot. I'm going to stop there [00:02:00] and go explore. Like there's, there's a ton of opportunities to explore. But what Shaka Guide does so well is. It gives us those areas that it is okay to go out and, and explore, not just to like confine us to things, but because for the safety of, well, one, you and your family, but also of the land and the people that you are exploring around.

[00:02:23] Yeah, definitely, definitely. All right. Today. Kaua'i, also known as the Garden Isle, also known as Heaven. When we think about Kaua'i, it's, like you mentioned, it's the Garden Isle, it's the northernmost island, it's also known as the oldest island in the Hawaiian chain. And coincidentally, we are recording this on King Kamehameha Day, and this is the last, this is kind of like the last stronghold.

[00:02:47] That's

[00:02:47] Andrew Fowers: right. Kamehameha never actually conquered Kaua'i. There's multiple failed attempts, but Kamehameha actually... Originally tried to conquer them. There was various stories [00:03:00] of them like getting sick and they're about to attack and the waves actually sunk the boats. I mean, there's a lot, there's a whole story that we talk about there, but eventually they signed a treaty King Kamolii of Kauai and Kamehameha.

[00:03:15] Bryan Murphy: So zooming out a little bit, can you give us a brief overview of Kaua'i, the

[00:03:19] Andrew Fowers: geography? Yeah, so Kaua'i is on the northernmost tip of Hawaii. It's actually considered the oldest island. It has some of the most unique and amazing... Endangered species and ecosystem there, so it's a very beautifully protected natural environment.

[00:03:38] It's actually quite small. If you compare that to the other islands like Maui, or even, of course, Big Island is huge, and Oahu is very populated. Kauai is actually small, and it's also not as populated, so it really feels much more country. kind of out there. Next to Kauai, there's also another island called Niihau, which [00:04:00] has a whole nother interesting story, but there are Hawaiians that live there.

[00:04:03] It's actually off limits to visit, um, and the people that live there speak native Hawaiian, which is, I think, very cool.

[00:04:10] Bryan Murphy: Yeah, that is cool. Niihau, you can see it as, as we get into kind of going over the different sides of the island. You can see it off on the west side of, of the island. Like I mentioned, the different sides of the island, the best way to break down, I think, any of the islands, and if you've listened to, you know, Maui and Oahu, the Overview, um, podcast, the best way to break down The islands and explore is on the different regions.

[00:04:34] So we're going to dive into a few of those. Uh, the North shore is where we're going to start the resort towns. You're probably familiar with if you've visited Kauai, uh, of Princeville and Hanalei, so let's go ahead and let's start in North shore and we'll just kind of work our way around the island, Andrew.

[00:04:50] Andrew Fowers: Cool. That sounds like a plan. So the North Shore of Kauai, man, uh, where do I start? We most famously know about Princeville and Hanalei. [00:05:00] Those are more of like the tourist districts, but there are also some great shopping in those areas as well. Golf courses and whatnot in Princeville. One of the things I want to mention just right off the bat is there's a Kilauea lighthouse.

[00:05:14] If you're going out to Princeville, there's a little town of Kilauea and they've Recently did a really cool remodel shopping center and stuff like that. But if you continue to drive to the further most Northern tip of the island, there is a lighthouse there. There's a small admission fee to go there, but it's a bird refuge.

[00:05:34] And so it's on these cliffs. There's these huge seabirds that dive bomb and fly all over the place. There's, uh, many different variety of birds that you can check out. They're kind of seasonal. Some of them are stay there year round. And those, they nest on the cliffs and that lighthouse, there's a really cool story about how that lighthouse has evolved over years, of course, increasing, improving the technology of, of the [00:06:00] lighthouse, but it's still in operation today.

[00:06:01] So it's kind of a cool viewpoint to, to check out, kind of check out the ocean, the beach, and then you can also see the birds as well. So is

[00:06:10] Bryan Murphy: this a lighthouse that you can actually kind of go to, or is it kind of off in the distance, like the Makapu'u lighthouse?

[00:06:17] Andrew Fowers: You can actually go in to it, inside of it, but, um, you can't go to the top.

[00:06:22] Right. But you can actually go around it, go very close to it, take some cool pictures with it. It's just kind of cool to check it out. And then also the birds, so it's something to do if you're heading up to the North Shore. Let's just talk a little bit about Hanalei. Yeah, you can access it by car. Like I said, and it's first of all, it's this beautiful valley if you can see it from the Above there's a viewpoint from Princeville.

[00:06:45] You can see it's just acres and acres of taro fields. Taro is a really important Staple for Hawaii. We use it for poi. We use it for food. It's it's think of it like Potato similar to a potato or sweet potato. [00:07:00] It has a little bit of a different consistency. It tastes great with everything with a nice Yeah, kalua pork or whatnot.

[00:07:06] So so the kauai is famous for for its taro It actually supplies all of the islands with with some great taro in terms of hanalei. It's it's a small little beachy town It's a small walking town, but there's a lot of little shops and boutiques some great little restaurants It's kind of like roadside stands, um, that you should check out.

[00:07:27] So it's kind of like a cool little beachy town. Check it out before you continue driving deeper into the North shore.

[00:07:34] Bryan Murphy: Yeah. As you're, as you're driving around, it kind of resembles a little bit of, you know, Al Ewa, you know, North shore of, yeah, exactly. Has that feel, but it's a little bit more country, which, you know, I always

[00:07:46] Andrew Fowers: love.

[00:07:47] Exactly. So another thing to be aware of is the North Shore of Kauai can get really big surf during the winter. So use caution if you're traveling out there during the winter. Some popular beaches [00:08:00] out there is Haena Beach Break. Uh, with some epic surfing. There's also a little bit more of a protected reef called a tunnels reef and a knee beach.

[00:08:10] And those are some great snorkeling spots during the summer. I don't really recommend them during the winter. Right. A cool little beach that you should also check out is Moloa beach. This is a small little residential road. It takes you, the parking is kind of limited, but that beach is actually where, uh, Gilligan's Island was filmed.

[00:08:30] I think their first season. I didn't know that. Yeah. Yeah. So it's kind of a cool, check it out. It's a beautiful, beautiful beach. You can walk, walk and check it out. Well,

[00:08:39] Bryan Murphy: probably like as we're up there and you see these, these amazing sea cliffs is the view of Nepali coast. And this is that area and it's the North.

[00:08:51] Shore of Kauai. And it's important to note that even though these seagulls are amazing, there's no way to get there by foot. Yeah, [00:09:00]

[00:09:00] Andrew Fowers: that's right. So there is no continuous road around Kauai. You can only drive to, you know, why may on the West side or the, the end of the road in the North shore. At Cayenna beach and that's pretty much it.

[00:09:13] The road does not continue around. So you can get a views from the Nepali coast at the end of the road on the North shore. Now, just really quick in order for you to go past Hanalei, you need a voucher reservation. The reason is, is that road gets really narrow. And the parking is really limited on the, at the end of the road and at Cayenna and just in the past, we had, you know, people parking all over the place and just really impacting that environment, uh, in a negative way.

[00:09:45] So they've set up a reservation system. I recommend doing it in advance of your trip. If possible, you go to go cayenna. com it's a 5 for parking and then. There's also an option of a 15 shuttle, which [00:10:00] includes, um, entrance fee. So just, just do that. If you plan to go to the North shore, otherwise you really can't drive in yourself without a reservation.

[00:10:08] So just, you know, keep that in mind in terms of planning and logistics. If you're going to the North

[00:10:13] Bryan Murphy: shore. Gotcha. And then the, the Polycoast, the best way to view that obviously would be from. from a boat and where do some of those boats kind of launch

[00:10:23] Andrew Fowers: off of? Yeah, so a lot of the boats actually launch out of Ani'i Beach, which is on the North Shore.

[00:10:29] So there's a ton of cool, you know, boating trips. If you're really brave, there's actually a kayaking Option where you can kayak the Nepali coast. When you go to the end of the road at, uh, Canada beach, you actually can't see the Nepali coast unless you hike about a 0. 5 miles. There's it's called the 11 mile hike that I don't recommend for, you know, in a day, unless you're really, really prepared.

[00:10:58] But if you just want to do a casual [00:11:00] hike, there is the Kuala Lumpur trail. You can hike in. Trailhead starts from the parking lot, you hike in about 0. 5 miles, and there's a beautiful view of the Nepali coast, some of those iconic views that I really recommend. Awesome.

[00:11:14] Bryan Murphy: Okay, so I think we got a lot of areas to cover on the North Shore.

[00:11:20] Okay, going over to the east side, Coconut Coast, and probably one of the most, you come to Kauai, you're going to, Passed through Lihue. Yeah. I mean, that's the airport. That's the main airport here.

[00:11:32] Andrew Fowers: Yeah. So of course we have Lihue. That's just the main town. Used to be a bunch of rice fields back in the day.

[00:11:40] There's some really cool stories about Wilcox, George Wilcox. He was one of the first foreign, you know, Business savvy people, and he actually set up quite a big operation of farming, mostly rice and taro and sugar cane. So they did actually quite [00:12:00] well. This family is still owns land there, and they're very philanthropic with that in helping the community and whatnot.

[00:12:07] Which by the way, this is kind of a side note. I forgot to mention this on the North shore, but Mark Zuckerberg owns like a big chunk of the Kauai's North shore. If you guys are Facebook users, I think he owns somewhere around 900 acres right now of the Kauai's North shore. And this is semi controversial, but really what he plans to do is not develop it.

[00:12:28] He he's actually wanting to just hold it. And some would argue that as a good thing, because it, it limits its further development. Yeah. So say how to market if you're, if you're driving by.

[00:12:41] Bryan Murphy: Yeah. I was curious. He has big, big walls. Yeah, I bet. Yeah. That's funny. Cause I was, uh, I was going to bring it up and I know I've.

[00:12:48] Read some of the news and where things are at. And yeah, you can do your own research on all that, but that is encouraging to hear at least that he's planning on to not develop it at [00:13:00] this point in time.

[00:13:01] Andrew Fowers: Yeah. So anyways, I know it's a, it's a politically sensitive, we'll digress, but anyways, I was talking about.

[00:13:08] The coconut coast, basically the east side of the island. So we got Lihue, there's a few hotels there, not too far off Lihue. There's, this is also where the cruise boats park. So there's, you know, shopping, there's restaurants, there's all that cool stuff that you'd kind of get in a touristy town. There's also some tours that pick up from there as well.

[00:13:29] Just outside of Lihue, not very far, there is a beautiful waterfall called the Wailua Falls. It's a double barrel waterfall, really cool, just little parking lot with some pictures. It's really, it's really a fun spot. Yeah, that's an

[00:13:44] Bryan Murphy: incredible spot. And I think the one thing to know, just on As we're going around the island a little bit, you'll probably notice that, especially if you've been to Waikiki, it's an urban, or Honolulu, it's an urban city, it's a little bit faster, [00:14:00] but still probably not as fast as like in LA or whatever, but when you go to Kauai, It's really slow.

[00:14:07] You got to make sure that you prepare yourself, especially if you're coming from the mainland, and especially if you're on the west coast of the, or even, you know, over in New York, you really have to mentally prepare yourself. to slow down because you have to move with the island or you're going to have a bummer time.

[00:14:29] Andrew Fowers: That is totally right. It's, it's a different feel. The locals are really friendly. So, you know, you go to restaurants like, Hey, where are you from? And, you know, I just love that. I love that type of, that type of environment. Of course, you know, we as visitors also need to make sure that we respect. They're home and by doing all we can to, you know, pick up our trash and, you know, minimize the impact where we can.

[00:14:51] But I love the town. It's actually where I went for my honeymoon. So cool. Special little memory for me, but looking at another [00:15:00] big Town, um, just north of Lihue is Kapa'a. Kapa'a has become kind of a little bit of a Airbnb resort town in a way. There's a lot of like vacation rentals that you can find there in Kapa'a.

[00:15:13] Loads of cute restaurants, you know, shave ice. What I like most about Kapa'a is there's this cool little bike path where you can rent a bike and it's actually goes for miles and miles and it follows the beach, nice open sidewalk. So I think that is one of my favorite things to do actually when I'm on the east side in Kapa'a.

[00:15:33] And just really quick, if you're going into the Wailua Valley, there is also another waterfall called Opeaka'a Waterfall. You can just see it off the road. There's a parking lot. So that's kind of cool to check out. Also has a view of the Wailua River. The Wailua River is actually pretty unique in that you can actually ride boats on it and kayak on it.

[00:15:54] It's a pretty Huge river just with the amount of rainfall that hawaii gets it funnels [00:16:00] into this the wailua river So there's also an option to take a boat tour to what's called the fern grotto This is done by what's called the smith family luau and they have this fern grotto boat ride It's it's kind of cool.

[00:16:16] It's definitely Starting to see some wear and tear in terms of the ferns and the natural flora fauna is having some impact for some reason the water isn't flowing as much as it used to there, but still kind of worth it if you want to check it out the boat ride. If nothing else, it's kind of a fun boat ride and one last thing before we move on is the lid gate beach park.

[00:16:40] This is on the eastern coast. There is a cool wood made children's playground. I mean with swings, right? Most playgrounds don't have swings anymore. This playground has swings It's all made of wood and it's just cool little like Slides this beautiful park if you have kids go [00:17:00] there There's also a protected cove where you can swim and so a lid gate beach park is a fun like family stop Um, you know for a picnic or something.

[00:17:08] Bryan Murphy: Sometimes you just need the classic Swing set, right? Like you travel around like, okay, so we're like where we live, we live around where there's a lot of parks and you go to a park and it's like, what is that structure? It's like this octagon thing that you're supposed to like, you know, climb around.

[00:17:23] Andrew Fowers: Where's the swing, man? Where's the swing? Yeah, exactly. So anyways, it's like an old school park, but a

[00:17:30] Bryan Murphy: lot of fun. Love that. Okay. Before we head to the South shore, I want to talk a little bit about Shaka Guide. You know, there's a lot, a lot of information to take in and we'll have a blog post like we did with the other tours and travel guides.

[00:17:43] We'll have that link, but if you're on your smartphone, what are some of the tours that people can expect or what do you recommend downloading coming to Kauai?

[00:17:51] Andrew Fowers: Sure, so basically we break up Kauai in four sections just like we are in this podcast We have the North Shore tour [00:18:00] We have the the east is actually what we call Wailua Valley and waterfall tour and that basically is Kapa'a Ilihui and into Wailua Valley.

[00:18:09] So that's that That's the second tour. We also have a tour for the West side, which is actually, we call the Waimea Canyon tour and that'll actually go into Koke'e and whatnot. We'll talk about that in a bit. And also the South shore, which is Poipu and Koloa. So that's another tour that we have as well.

[00:18:25] So four tours, four kinds of sides of the

[00:18:28] Bryan Murphy: island. Well, that's a good segue because we're going to talk about the South shore now. And this is probably, if you have been to Kauai, you've probably have stayed on the South shore of the island, or like we just mentioned the East side. So let's, so let's talk about, uh, Poipu, the resort town.

[00:18:44] Andrew Fowers: Yeah. So Poipu is on the further Southern most side of the island. So when the North shore of Kauai is really, really big surf in the winter. The South shore of Kauai is actually like [00:19:00] beautifully calm ocean. Anyways, that being said, Poipu does have some major hotels there, golf courses. It has tons of little condos and bed and breakfasts and Airbnb type of situation there.

[00:19:13] They have some cool restaurants, shopping centers, you know, the whole, the whole nine yards in terms of just the. Cool place to chill. There are some nice beaches there that you can check out. Some are more of the rocky side, some are more approachable. So let me talk really quick about the Poi Pou beaches.

[00:19:30] We have the Poi Pou beach, which is kind of the southernmost beach, big, nice, broad sand, walkable. Walkable spot. Yeah, so that's kind of like the go to to kind of chill You usually can see monk seals there if you're there at the right time another beach. I really love which is shipwrecks beach It's first off.

[00:19:50] It's the place to go for surfers and boogie boarders so you can go check that out There's also a little hike to A lookout point, not too far from [00:20:00] shipwrecks where you can kind of get a cool view of the beach and Poi Pui. If you go check that out, that's also in our tour. Yeah. Then there's just a variety of other beaches.

[00:20:10] Uh, baby beach is another, one of the fun things to do there in Poi Pui is actually called Spouting Horn. This is a natural blowhole that, you know, the lava, for whatever reason has a crevice in the rock and when the ocean is pushed in, it shoots water up sometimes, you know, 30 feet in the air. And I've been there just recently with my family and we came at like the perfect time and it was.

[00:20:38] Epic. Like it was like, seriously, it is a mega blow hole. If you're there when it, the waves aren't so big, it's kind of a wussy blow hole, but still cool nonetheless. So check out spouting horn there. If you go to Poi Pou

[00:20:52] Bryan Murphy: for sure. All right. Close to Poi Pou is Kaloa.

[00:20:56] Andrew Fowers: Yeah. Kaloa. Is a historic sugarcane plantation [00:21:00] town, long story about sugarcane and the impact on Poi Pou, but it's a cool walkable town.

[00:21:06] I think of it like the wild, wild West type of town where they have like the broad, like wooden decks with all the restaurants lined up. It's really cool. There's some history there as well about the town that you can check out. Again, some cool little shops and, you know, souvenirs and food. I just like, I like to walk around, uh, Colo when I have a chance.

[00:21:30] Yeah. I love

[00:21:30] Bryan Murphy: Colo. Yeah. We had Colo Rum happens to be part of this sugar mill. And we had Colo Rum on the podcast. We didn't talk a lot about rum we talked about. So if you're curious a little bit more about the history of Colo, we talked with the president, Bob Gunter of Colo Rum, and he gave us a whole history lesson of this area.

[00:21:50] So I'd encourage you to go back and listen to that. So that's the South shore and definitely would recommend not just [00:22:00] hanging out there your entire time, even though there's, you know, quite a bit to explore there on the West side. And this will be where we'll wrap up our. Kaua'i travel guide, the West side of Kaua'i has some incredible views.

[00:22:16] So let's start, Andrew, let's start with, uh,

[00:22:18] Andrew Fowers: Waimea town. So going out to the West side, the kind of the, the doorway to Waimea Canyon and Kaua'i State Park is Waimea town. There's a lot of cool history here about. Actually, there's a statue of Captain Cook in the town, and this is supposedly where he came on one of his voyages.

[00:22:44] Basically, the town of Waimea has a small town with a great place to grab a bite to eat, kind of on your return trip. So I recommend just like, You know, driving straight past it. And then on the return trip, you can kind of stop in here for lunch or a late dinner. There's some great, [00:23:00] uh, poke Ishi Hara's or Jojo shave ice is some great go to spots that I like to check out.

[00:23:07] But beyond that, it's really just kind of a. Passing through town as you're making your way up to the canyon. So there is a couple farms here on this side of the island. There's kawaii shrimp. There's a shrimp farm There's also kawaii coffee, which they have acres and acres of coffee that are grown here That we also kind of take people on a little segue on our tour to check out kawaii coffee free samples It's kind of fun fun little detour to check out

[00:23:35] Bryan Murphy: Yeah.

[00:23:36] Okay. So we're passing through Waiamea town and then what's kind of the next spot? Where, where are

[00:23:41] Andrew Fowers: we going? So there is a little visitor center before you drive up to the, the state park that if it's open, I kind of recommend checking out that visitor center. There's some information, there's some maps, you know, there's a restroom too, if you need to.

[00:23:56] Because once you drive past Waiamea town, there's, there's really [00:24:00] not, there's only one place to eat. Uh, and so, and I think there's only one restroom, so just be aware of that, so you know, make sure you're good, good to go. So as you're driving up, it's a very windy road up to the canyon. There's multiple viewpoints of what's called the Grand Canyon of the Pacific.

[00:24:18] So with these viewpoints, you can kind of slowly get a little bit of a, more of a view. And as you get closer, the view gets even more amazing. Into Waimea Canyon, you need to be aware that they started actually charging for parking as well as entrance fee into this area of the national park, excuse me, of the state park.

[00:24:38] Right. Uh, the reason is, is just impact. There's been a lot of visitors. And they're looking to kind of improve the infrastructure and the education there. So just be aware that if you're going into Waimea Canyon, they do charge 5 per adult in your car, and they also charge 10 per vehicle parking for as a parking fee.[00:25:00]

[00:25:00] Kind of expensive. I mean, if you're going with a family, but at the same time, just remember that this helps them to, you know, maintain and improve the environment there as much as possible. So anyways, going into Waimea Canyon, there is a couple of viewpoints to actually see the Grand Canyon of the Pacific.

[00:25:19] It's pretty epic. Definitely check it out. There's like a fruit stand in the parking lot sometimes if you're lucky. I

[00:25:26] Bryan Murphy: remember the first time we, and it happened to be pretty wet and, and misty when, when we went. And so just, you know, be aware of that. Any weather on, in any of the islands can, can change pretty quickly.

[00:25:39] So just be aware of that. But anyways, you know, so if you, if you've, if you've been to Grand Canyon, proper Grand Canyon, and like you, you walk up to it and I know we, we went with our, our little kids and. Like your stomach just kind of drops and you're like, you hold them a little bit tighter. It's that same type of feeling probably [00:26:00] not as intense, but it's still pretty intense and like you gotta kind of respect it as you're making your way to the viewpoints.

[00:26:09] Andrew Fowers: Yeah, no doubt. And the truth is, is you see the Waimea Canyon, but it's only the beginning because as you continue to drive up the mountain, it just gets better and better. So what you can expect next as you continue to drive, let me. Back up here before, if you would like to hike, there is a very cool, uh, waterfall hike called Canyon Trail to Waipo Waterfall.

[00:26:35] And this is a waterfall that you can actually see from the road without hiking it. It's very far away, but you can see this cool little waterfall kind of to the side of the, you know, Waimea Canyon. You can see this little waterfall. There is a cool hike. It's about three miles round trip. It's not the easiest.

[00:26:54] It's it's what I consider moderate. So be prepared for some, you know, grabbing roots and [00:27:00] climbing up rocks here and there. But you can actually walk to the top of the white pole waterfalls. And you get a beautiful view down. You can actually swim in small pools there. I did it with my family and enjoyed it very much.

[00:27:13] Just make sure to, you know, pick up the trash, stay on the trail and respect the area there. But it's, it's definitely one of those like epic hikes. Like I don't think I've ever been on such a cool waterfall hike in

[00:27:26] Bryan Murphy: Hawaii. And the dirt is so red as you're driving. And it's like, yes, it's incredible how red the dirt

[00:27:33] Andrew Fowers: is.

[00:27:33] Do you know why it's red? Tell me why. It's actually because there's iron calcite in the, in the rock, because this was a volcanic eruption that formed these islands. And so the red is actually. Kind of like the island is rusting slowly because of this iron that's in the dirt. So it appears very red. Uh, actually it's very interesting.

[00:27:56] There's a company in Hawaii and Kauai that [00:28:00] started a shirt company called Kauai Dirt Shirts. And what they do is they stain the shirt using the Kauai dirt. And so it becomes a very, very dark, deep red. So of course, if you have white sneakers and you're hiking, you know, forget about it. It stains

[00:28:17] Bryan Murphy: pretty easy.

[00:28:17] But maybe you want that little souvenir, like that's the one of the things you can take from the land is that dyed on your new, you know,

[00:28:25] Andrew Fowers: hiking shoes. Yeah, so, but Kauai dirt is, is something known for being very red, but it's, it's cool. As you're continuing to drive, you do get beautiful views of the Nepali coast at the end of the road.

[00:28:39] It's called the Koke'e State Park. There's two views of the Nepali coast. Both are just as amazing. The problem is, is you can't control the weather. And so I've been there. Sometimes where blue skies, no clouds. And you're just like, Oh, but then [00:29:00] there's times where it's like cloudy. And by the way, Kauai, this part of Kauai is one of the wettest places in the world.

[00:29:07] Okay. It gets more rainfall than. Most rainforests, uh, it's just the way the mountains are formed and the clouds get trapped. They're very, very wet. And so sometimes I go to this beautiful viewpoint waiting for that view and it's like clouds and you're like, I drove all out here and I can't see it. So sometimes just be patient.

[00:29:29] The clouds move quickly and sometimes you get lucky and it'll open up for a view. Other times you just out of luck. So, yeah.

[00:29:36] Bryan Murphy: And it's not like if you go out one day. This can be a, you know, a half day. It doesn't have to be the full day. So if you go out maybe the first couple of days into your, your vacation and it doesn't, it's not the right, you know, whether you're hoping for, you know, maybe try it in a couple of days and

[00:29:54] Andrew Fowers: you'll be good to go.

[00:29:54] I mean, yeah, you could always go another day to drive it to the top. From Waimea town [00:30:00] to the top, I think is like maybe hour. Yeah hour and a half top So it's not too bad if you just want to buzz up another day and like check out the view but you might check the weather although it's Unpredictable and one last thing at the end of the road there.

[00:30:14] There is a trail hike called the Pihea trail This is a little bit of a muddy hike, especially if it's wet so be aware, but this actually is a Is pretty level. It doesn't have a lot of climbs, but you can actually hike and get some different viewpoints of the Nepali coast on this Pija trail. So I think that's a fun little family friendly hike, you know, assuming it's not muddy for you to check out if you have the chance.

[00:30:43] So after

[00:30:44] Bryan Murphy: taking all that information in, Andrew, who would you recommend Kauai to, you know, is it good for families, honeymoons, retirement moons, if that's the thing, what would you recommend Kauai for?

[00:30:58] Andrew Fowers: I personally like Kauai [00:31:00] because it packs a punch with not a lot of driving. You go to Big Island, I mean, you got to really be committed to go places because, you know, there's a couple hours to really get to some of those scenic places.

[00:31:11] But Kauai, it's like, you can. and hit the top and the bottom of the island in the same day, you know, you viewing different stuff. So I actually like Kauai because there's a lot there without a lot of driving. It's a slower kind of a smaller town community feel. So if you're not into shopping, I would recommend.

[00:31:30] Kauai and you're into more of the hiking and a little bit more adventure. Kauai is a lot of fun, but in terms of family, it's also family friendly, but at the same time, it's, it's a great honeymoon spot where if you just want to get away, don't bug me. I would recommend for Kauai for a lot of things, but definitely for couples.

[00:31:49] I think it's a great couples trip because some of those hikes, maybe not. Uh, be appropriate for younger children. So of course you can, you know, modify your travel itinerary. If you are [00:32:00] traveling with kids just to, you know, maybe not do some of those more moderate to challenging hikes. There's still a lot to see out there, beautiful beaches, beautiful green botanical gardens, and some awesome hikes.

[00:32:14] So I think Kauai actually has a little bit of everything for pretty much anyone. Just depends on how you want to customize that trip.

[00:32:22] Bryan Murphy: Yeah, I totally agree. And you ended it so well right there, but I got to ask, and everyone has asked, what's with all the chickens?

[00:32:33] Andrew Fowers: Well, we actually kind of make a joke about this in the, in our tour.

[00:32:38] And so there's a long story, but there was a hurricane in Nikki that came in and devastated Kauai. And, you know, according to legend that there was a lot of chickens that got let loose during that time. And then they inbred with these like bigger native chickens. And they turn into like these Godzilla chickens and roosters.

[00:32:59] So [00:33:00] part of the respecting the locals is respecting the chickens and roosters. My recommendation is bring earplugs with you. They will wake you up at four in the morning. And sometimes that is not cool, but you'll see chickens everywhere. Don't feed them, but there's no natural predator to them besides fast moving cars.

[00:33:18] So just speed up. Yeah. If you're driving, no, just kidding. They're everywhere

[00:33:24] Bryan Murphy: in Kauai. You got, you got dinner.

[00:33:28] What's crazy. I knew about the shipwreck and that whole history. I didn't, I didn't realize that there was like this inbred of like a super chicken.

[00:33:35] Andrew Fowers: That's, that's incredible. There are some native chickens, right? They're brought over from, you know, the Polynesians, like. Years ago, and supposedly, you know, the legend goes that they, there was this, a lot of chickens let loose.

[00:33:46] And I mean, they're pretty big, meaty chickens. Oh, they're healthy. Yeah. I don't know how they eat so well, but the chickens are everywhere.

[00:33:56] Bryan Murphy: Awesome. Well, I think that's the, uh, the perfect note to end [00:34:00] on. So Andrew, thank you so much again for coming on today.

[00:34:04] Andrew Fowers: Yeah, no problem. It's super cool to talk about Kauai.

[00:34:07] I love the island. Check out our app. If you get a chance, it's called Kauai GPS driving tour on the app store. We have four different tours for you to check out. A lot of fun, basically a local guide take you around the island. And thanks for having me. Appreciate it. Absolutely.

[00:34:22] Bryan Murphy: And next time you are on Kauai, be sure to tag both of us at Shaka guide and at Hawaii's dot best.

[00:34:29] We love to see your adventures on the island and stay tuned, hit subscribe because we got a lot more info coming your way. And until next time, be well. Aloha.

[00:34:42] Hawaii's Best: Mahalo for listening to this episode of Hawaii's Best. To stay up to date on future episodes, please subscribe and visit us at hawaiisbesttravel.

[00:34:53] com.

[00:34:53] Andrew Fowers: It's Aloha

[00:34:54] Hawaii's Best: Friday. Got me feeling all irate. It's the [00:35:00] weekend finally. We gotta celebrate. Man, I've been

[00:35:05] Andrew Fowers: working

[00:35:08] Hawaii's Best: so hard.

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