Kauai is an amazing, awe-inspiring island to live on. It’s the crown jewel at the top of the Hawaiian Island chain. The most special of places. On any list of the world’s most spectacular islands, Kauai ranks right up there with the best and the rest.
Travel & Leisure and other magazine readers routinely recognize Kauai as one of the best islands in the world.
It’s been neary twenty years of living here, and we appreciate Kauai more now than ever. After living abroad, visiting foreign countries and exploring islands in the South Pacific, we are continually reminded that we live somewhere extremely special.
We’ve asked ourselves, “Why didn’t we move here sooner?” The answer is simple: It’s never too late. Living on Kauai at any stage of one’s life is better than not ever having the chance to experience more than a visit.
Kauai is an island of contrasts – from the soaring Na Pali sea cliffs and jagged, forbidding mountains, to the rugged rain-cut emerald valleys and abundant rainforests; from magnificent Waimea Canyon (the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific”), and Mt. Waialeale (the wettest spot on earth), to the desert-like sand dunes of Polihale and over 52 white sand beaches.
In fact, Kauai has more beaches, rivers, streams, and waterfalls along with the least amount of developable acreage than any of the other Hawaiian islands. It certainly deserves, and more than lives up to its name as “the Garden Island.”
Kauai is not heavily developed, its resort areas are concentrated in only a few locations around the island. Kauai is the only major Hawaiian island with a height restriction/ordinance where no building can be taller than the tallest coconut tree (or the equivalent of four stories). Local laws prevent Kauai from looking like Oahu’s Waikiki.
Land Area: Roughly circular in shape, Kauai covers 552.3 square miles of land, with a diameter of 32 miles and a wide point of only 25 miles, it’s the northernmost and fourth-largest in the State of Hawaii. This island is so small, it is measured in acres! (401,280).
Land Use: 97% of the land on Kauai is used for agriculture and conservation.
Coastline: 111 miles, 50 of those miles are sandy beaches!
Geologically, Kauai is the oldest of the major Hawaiian islands, at 5.8 million years old.
Official Island Flower: of Kauai is the Mokihana (Green Berry).
Official Island Color: Purple.
Unofficial Island Bird: Red Dragon Rooster.
Longest River: 19.2 miles, Wailua River. The only navigable rivers in Hawaii are on Kauai.
Highest Waterfall: 800 feet. Other sinificant waterfalls: Waipoo-800ft.(Waimea Canyon); Wailua-175ft.(Wailua Valley); Awini-480ft.(Waimea Canyon); Opaekaa Falls-40ft.(Wailua Valley); Manawaipuna-280ft.(Kahili Mountain); Hinalele-280ft.(Wainiha Valley); Kapaka Nui-280ft.(Makaleha Mountains).
Highest Mountain: Kawaikini Peak at 5,243 feet.
Wettest Place On Earth: Mt.Waialeale (averages 450 inches per year).
Weather: Eternal Springtime. Averaging 85 degrees, does not change much from day to night or from season to season. Ocean temps range from 68 to 80 degrees F.
Brief History: Polynesians settled the island in the 4th or 5th century A.D. Later, Kauai was “discovered” by Capt. James Cook in 1778.
Time Zone: Hawaiian Standard Time (HST) is all year-round. No daylight savings time here.
County Population: With a population of 67,701 (2011) everyone on Kauai could easily fit into a large sports arena! Projections for Kauai County to 2025: 2015=72,000; 2020=78,700; 2025=85,400 (source: Hawaii State Dept. of Business, Economic Dev. & Tourism)
Distances From The Lihue Airport:
– Kalapaki 1 mile, 3 min
– Nawiliwili 1 mile, 3 min
– Puhi 2 miles, 5 minutes
– Koloa 11 miles, 25 minutes
– Poipu 12 miles, 30 minutes
– Kalaheo 14 miles, 25 minutes
– Eleele 17 miles, 30 minutes
– Waimea 25 miles, 45 minutes
– Kekaha 28 miles, 55 minutes
– Waimea Canyon 36 miles, 1 hr. 15 min.
– Kalalau Lookout 42 miles, 1 hr. 40 min.
– Wailua 7 miles, 15 minutes
– Kapaa 10 miles, 20 minutes
– Anahola 15 miles, 30 minutes
– Kilauea 26 miles, 45 minutes
– Princeville 30 miles, 1 hr.
– Haena 38 miles, 1 hr. 15 min.
On Kauai, outdoor and sports activities can be comfortably enjoyed all year long, including; World Class Golf (Kauai is home to four of the top-ranked courses in Hawaii), Tennis, Polo, Hiking (more than half the island is forestland and Kauai has 19 State Parks), Horseback Riding (a great way to tour ranchlands), Mountain Biking (on the roads of Koke’e State Park), Tours (of Botanical Gardens, Movie Locations, Sugar Plantations, or Rough Back-Country Roads), Sailing, Boating, Deep Sea Fishing, Kayaking, Outrigger Canoe Paddling, Surfing, Water Skiing, Windsurfing, Kitesurfing, Scuba Diving, Swimming, Snorkeling, Beach Volleyball and other beach-oriented activites like collecting shells, building sand castles and watching for the sealife: dolphins, monkseals, green sea turtles and in season, whales.
There are many distinctive towns and neighborhoods throughout Kauai, each with their own particular geography, character and charm. I’m certain the more you learn about Kauai, the more you’ll want to be a part of this tropical island paradise!