fNote: I was a guest of the Kaua’i Visitors Bureau which is when I had the pleasure of doing ALL of this and more.
The Hawaiian island Kauai is best known as the backdrop for some of Hollywood’s iconic films ranging from Elvis Presley’s Blue Hawaii to Spielberg’s Jurassic Park. Did you know, however, that this relatively small island is the ultimate vacation destination for tourists interested in leaving the high-rise hotels and experiencing untouched scenery and authentic Hawaiian culture? This “Garden Island” may not have the amenities of more developed islands like O’ahu, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to see and do here. Let’s take a peek at some of the best things to do, places to stay, and restaurants to visit on a tour of this magnificent island.
People who want to stay near the city of Lihu’e might want to consider Kaua’i Marriott Resort. So long as you stay near a big city, you shouldn’t have difficulties finding a fabulous place to stay on this island. You can also check out how to score a luxury stay at the Grand Hyatt Kauai for free.
Where to Eat
As with anywhere else in the Aloha State, it’s easiest to find Hawaiian and Asian-themed restaurants in Kaua’i. One of the highest reviewed tropical-themed eateries on this island is Keoki’s Paradise near Kiahuna Beach. Guests visiting this restaurant enjoy picturesque views of the surrounding flora as well as lovely luau music. Just a few tantalizing items on Keoki’s Paradise‘s menu include encrusted ahi, teriyaki chicken, and a sustainable fish with ginger-cilantro sauce, and of course their famous HULA PIE! Although this restaurant seats 300, it can get pretty crowded during the height of tourist season.
Visitors staying at the aforementioned Sheraton Kaua’i Resort must try the hotel’s highly reviewed Rumfire Poipu Beach restaurant at least once. Chefs at the Rumfire Poipu Beach offer specialty dinners that change every day and could include a rum-fire burger, a grass-fed steak with Brussels sprouts, and lamb served on bed of polenta with sweet greens. Some other unique dishes offered at Rumfire Poipu Beach include a Hawaiian take on Spanish paella, mushroom ravioli, and ahi covered with a pea-wasabi crust.
Finally, for those in the mood for an affordable and delicious poke bowl, look no further than Koloa’s Makai Sushi. Two chefs trained at LA’s Sushi Chef Institute created this deceptively simple dive in the early 2010s. Since that time, Makai Sushi has become one of the go-to places for locals and tourists in the Garden Island. Whatever sushi or poke you want, you’re sure to find a bowl to suit your taste buds at Makai Sushi.
What to Do
The first thing many people who visit Kaua’i want to do is find all the locations that were featured in their favorite movies. Luckily for tourists, there are many superb tours that take guests directly to all the hottest filming locations on the Garden Island. For instance, Jurassic Park fans should consider looking into the Island Helicopters Jurassic Falls Adventure. The highlight of this tour is landing by the 400-foot Manawaiopuna Falls, which were heavily featured in Spielberg’s classic film.
Another popular tour for film buffs in Kaua’i is Roberts Hawaii – Hawaii: Kauai Movie Tour. In addition to visiting the Jurassic Park film location of Kapaa Town, this tour will take you to locations featured in films such as Blue Hawaii, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Tropic Thunder, just to name a few. Some of these locales include Coco Palms, Hanamaulu Bay, and Wailua Falls. This tour is offered Mondays through Saturdays and runs between 7AM and 3PM.
To explore Kaua’i’s exceptional flora even further, consider visiting the internationally acclaimed gardens operated by the National Tropical Botanical Garden (NTBG). There are three wonderful gardens to choose from on Kaua’i: McBryde Garden, Allerton Garden, and the Limahuli Garden & Preserve. Be sure to book a guided tour to gain a better appreciation for Hawaii’s unique flora & fauna.
- For more information about visiting Kaua’i visit: GoHawaii.com/Kauai