Kauai, the Garden Isle of Hawaii
There are few places on earth where, the second your feet touch the ground, the stress drains away. Hawaii is my #1 place in that regard.
Kauai is the northernmost island, not as developed as Oahu, Maui or the Big Island, and less visited. its natural beauty is legendary, and recognizable from films such as Jurassic Park.
Here is a typical vista, with the Pacific Ocean, lava rocks, and palm trees. This is in Princeville, on the North Shore of Kauai.
Also in Princeville is the St. Regis Hotel that I walked by. Its lobby area leads out to stunning views of the beach, which can also be reached by a long stairway off to the side.
The botanical gardens in Princeville are vast and beautiful. There, I saw for the first time a rudraksha tree, with bright blue fruit containing the seed that is made into a rudraksha bead. More on that, and a Hindu monastery on Kauai here.
The lobby, grounds and views at the Wyndham Bali Hai, Princeville.
So many lovely beaches: Hanalei Bay, Hideaway beach and Anini beach.
Queen's Bath is a rocky and sometimes slushy walk from the road. It was a joy to see turtles in the ocean, and a rainbow.
It is also a dangerous place: there is a tally of the number of people who have died while bathing in the nearby treacherous King's Bath. Signs abound to respect the power of nature, but have not sufficed to temper the foolhardiness of some.
A helicopter ride is the only way to see parts of the interior of the island where there are no roads. Waimea Canyon or "Jurassic Canyon", and aerial views of the Napali coast and Hanalei bay.
A hike in the Waimea Canyon: red dirt, deep canyons, wild crocosmia, sprawling vistas, eucalyptus trees, waterfalls
On a sightseeing tour: a blowhole, Kauai Coffee Plantation, a walk to Fern grotto, boat ride down the Wailua river, hula dancers and Hawaiian songs accompanied by ukulele,
A boat tour along the spectacular Napali coast offered incomparable views of the coastline as well as views inside sea caves.
Poipu offer calm beaches with the occasional sleeping seal.
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