The Garden Isle
14.04.2011 - 14.04.2011
Kauai, aptly named the “Garden Isle,” is a small circle of land so ridiculously beautiful that your brain fails to believe what your eyes are seeing. From the soaring emerald peaks of the NaPali coastline to the colorful chasm of the Waimea Canyon to the brilliant hillsides covered in plumeria, bougainvillea, and hibiscus, this is a magical place, where Puff the Magic Dragon lives by the sea and legends of the Menehune abound. The only thing more beautiful than it’s jagged green mountains and vibrant blue seas is the spirit of Aloha found in its people.
It’s sometimes said that Kauai is the closest one can get to “the old Hawaii” or “the real Hawaii” in a tourist destination, because, while it still has its fair share of commercialism, it has remained small, quaint, and low rise. It’s a place where more natural wonders are found than all inclusive resorts, a place where you are more likely to see pick-up trucks than sports cars, and a place where an ahi tuna wrap eaten at a wooden table beachside with a rooster nearby can be a most excellent meal.
About 33 miles by 25 miles, Kauai is encircled by highway that stretches along about ¾ of the island and runs through a dozen or so quaint, small towns. The rugged NaPali coastline and much of the interior of the island are inaccessible by car.
If you are willing to get outside the hotel grounds, you can experience a land that is abundant with natural beauty, dotted with volcanic wonderlands, draped by dense jungle, fringed by beautiful beaches, dusted with dirt so deep and red that it stains your skin and clothes, dripping with delicious tropical fruit and vibrant flowers, and littered with an abundance of beautiful (yet rather stupid and annoying) wild chickens. You may not find “old Hawaii” in the sense of spontaneous ukulele concerts in the park or locals sitting on the beach sipping Mai Tais and eating meat off a pit-grilled pig while scooping three-finger poi with their bare hands, and unless you pay for it in advance, no one is going to show up at the airport with a flower lei to greet you, but you will find yourself surrounded by the Aloha spirit, drawn to a slower pace, and wrapped in the warm sunshine and soft sands of a place that seems other-worldly.
Aloha. Welcome to Kauai.