Who doesn’t want to visit Hawaii? It’s one of the most sought-after destinations on most people’s bucket lists. I was lucky enough to travel to Kauai, Hawaii for work in July of 2021. When I went, I knew nothing about the “Jungle Island”. After visiting and learning all about the history, I was so glad that Kauai was my first real adventure into Hawaii. Here’s why!
Kauai, Hawaii offers a relaxed, tropical vacation with a lot of personality! As a backdrop for many notable films, such as Jurassic Park, Jurassic World, Hook, King Kong, Avatar, and Raiders of the Lost Arc, it’s likely you’ve seen the lush beauty of this Garden Island on countless big screens dating back decades. But there’s nothing like seeing the towering green mountains, cascading falls, and beautiful hidden beaches in person. While the island’s personality feels laid back and relaxed, you also feel the call of adventure from all the exciting activities offered across the island. Plus, there are so many adventurous hikes to be found, how can you not call it a destination for adventure? In Hawaiian history, Kauai was the only island not conquered by King Kamehameha, so fight and spirit is in its very nature. (It’s the Dorne of Hawaii, guys!) So, when you head to Hawaii, here’s a list of activities and locations that I recommend you visit so you can get the most of your adventurous experience.
Hidden Beaches in Kauai
Perhaps part of the magic of Kauai is in its distinctive beaches, many of which are tucked behind beautiful trails and allow you a real adventure to find them. Sealodge Beach gave us a real run for our money. Being a local, relatively private beach, we got help from some of the locals to find the trail. After traveling through lush trees that looked as if they were out of a beautiful seaside storybook, the beach appeared in the distance behind a cluster of sea rocks. This little beach pocket had it all- perfect sunset views, a tropical green jungle surrounding the outskirts, and beautiful warm waters. It offered the best type of adventure to find it, and it was well worth the journey.
Let’s talk a bit about the Queen’s Bath, as well. It’s a little controversial, after all. The journey to get there is not an easy one… or at least not a clean one. The trail is usually pretty muddy, as it rains regularly on Kauai, so you need to exercise quite a bit of caution walking down the muddy path. People joked that it could be easier to slide down the muddy trail, but all things considered, that might not be a bad idea. So, be prepared to get covered in dirt and to potentially face-plant into some squishy red mud. However, after the mud portion of the trail, you’ll discover lush green waterfalls and a rocky coast with gorgeous views. This was honestly one of the most beautiful locations I’ve seen in my life. However, I’d like to stress the importance of staying out of the water and staying away from the edge of the rocks. While there were people in the water there, it’s much safer to stand back on the higher rocks and just watch the beauty of nature. The ocean can be rough and unpredictable there, so it’s better to be safe than sorry. So, perhaps, look and don’t touch and keep a very safe distance. And please visit at your own risk and exercise extreme caution. NEVER hop the fence if the gate is closed.
Seasport Divers offers a variety of friendly, fun, and safe diving experiences in Kauai. The team at Seasport Divers pays attention to every detail of each unique dive, allowing an adventurous and personalized experience for certified divers as well as Discover Scuba and PADI certification courses of all levels for diving students. The team there was friendly, knowledgeable, and took me to one of the easiest and most beneficial shore dives I’ve ever done. After beach diving in Los Angeles, I wasn’t sure I ever wanted to try that again, but the beach ramp at Koloa Landing made for an effortless trip into the water for the dive. And the location was filled with sea turtles. If you’ve never swam with sea turtles before, this is your chance! My dive leader/buddy from Seasport Divers took me around and pointed out all the unique variety of sea plants, fish, octopi, and eels that surrounded the area. I like to dive around the world and see different underwater terrain, and this was unlike anywhere I’ve dove before. It was one of the best diving experiences I’ve had, so I definitely recommend you head over to Seasport Divers during your stay in Kauai!
While visiting a chocolate farm might not have been on your “to-do” list for Kauai, I bet it is now that I mentioned it, right? Who doesn’t want to learn all about how chocolate is made, where it comes from, and participate in a chocolate tasting? As soon as I heard about the Chocolate Farm Tour at Lydgate Farms, I was sold right off the bat. What I didn’t expect, however, was to have the way I look at chocolate change forever. On their extremely unique and FUN tour, you get to eat the cacao fruit from right off the cacao tree, learn all about how chocolate is made, and have your vision of what real chocolate is changed forever. It’s ecotourism at its finest, and you just have to check it out for yourself! Seriously! You’ll also get the opportunity to purchase some of the best chocolate you’ve ever had in your life and take it home with you. So, definitely check out Lydate Farms while you’re on Kauai!
Kayak Kauai offers unique adventure experiences all over Kauai. They’re fun, challenging, and perfect for the athletic person looking to get out and have a real adventure. Depending on your tour, you will either kayak down the Wailua River or out into the ocean. If you’re looking to do the Wailua River Sacred Falls Tour, you’ll begin kayaking before disembarking on a challenging hike to your destination. If you’re not willing to get wet and dirty, this definitely isn’t for you. Keep in mind that almost all Kauaiian hikes are super muddy, so be prepared to leave covered in mud and feeling fulfilled. If that doesn’t sound like a good day for you, don’t do it. It’s better to go prepared than to go unprepared. However, if you love adventure and want to have a really fun experience with funny and friendly guides, then this is for you! I had a fabulous time with Kayak Kauai during our trip!
We did the kayak experience down the Wailua River to Sacred Falls. Unfortunately, the conditions were too rough, so we were unable to safely be guided through the hike. So, we kayaked instead. That alone was worth the experience. Dustin, our guide, was a fabulous host who really knew everything about the area. It turns out that the Wailua River substitutes as the Amazon regularly in movies, since it sure does look like it though it is much, much safer for filming. Because of that, it made the experience even more magical, seeing where they filmed Jungle Cruise and Raiders of the Lost Arc on our relatively chill kayak down the River. It was filled with knowledge tips, delicious fruit, and good conversation.
I found the team at Kayak Kauai super personable, funny, and fun. It was worth the experience just for what we did, and I cant wait to come back for the full tour.
Lastly, what’s a trip to Hawaii without a proper Luau? If you’re looking for a more adventurous show, try out the Ahi Lele Fire Show! It’s a very entertaining family-run show hosted by a charismatic personality. And, as he points out, people are always fascinated by fire! It’s a fun evening event to finish out your trip to Kauai!
When we visited the island in 2021, it was still recovering from COVID. Rental cars were sold out across the island, and people were getting stuck left and right. Be sure when you visit that you pre-plan your rides. Whether you plan to book a rental car or hire a driver, you need to have all your plans locked in on your adventures in Kauai, otherwise your good trip could go south quickly. So, please keep that in mind. While only really a COVID problem, this can serve as a constant reminder to plan, plan, plan well in advance!