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Photos courtesy of Fred Patricio, Jr. and the Kaui Visitors Bureau
Kauai is called the Garden Isle, because of its central mountain range which causes over 200 inches of rain annually. While very little of this occurs at sea level, it fuels the many waterfalls so prevalent all over the island, besides making the island very green.
Most of the resorts are located either at the south of the island, at Poipu, or on the north coast at Princeville. There are scenic opportunities at every turn, so neither is completely isolated.
For those opting for Poipu, Waimea Canyon is strikingly impressive, especially on as small an island as Kauai. The same forces of water and wind erosion that have created the Grand Canyon, here have formed its smaller sibling, with steep sides, many inner formations, and with a tiny stream running though it. Entering from the hot and sunny south coast, you end up at about 4000 feet of elevation, with a magnificent view of the north coast.
The North Coast, as it’s called, provides attractions of an entirely different kind. Here, cliffs fall into the sea, creating sea caves and coves with beautiful beaches. The north side of Kauai is also the windward side, so surfing is excellent in winter. This area offers excellent opportunities for ecotourism of all kinds, some of the best of this type in the state. World famous Hanalei Bay is here, with its tiny town.
Not To Be Missed – Opaekaa Falls has scenic peaks of the Makaleha Mountains in the background and a restored Hawaiian village on the riverbanks.