Anyone can enjoy the diving and snorkelling off the coast of Kauai, with the calm protected waters of the north and south shores for beginners, to the exciting and interesting sites on the east and west shore great for the experienced diver, there's something for everyone on Kauai.
There are quite a few dive centres in Koloa or the main town of Kapa'a but your hotel should have a contact and be able to help you with information. You can enjoy boat diving or shore diving, see lots of tropical fish, corals, many species of sharks, Green Sea Turtles, seals and maybe even dive or snorkel with dolphins or whales! Experienced divers can explore some caves and even lava tubes for a really interesting dive.
With over 15 dive sites to enjoy, you'll fill up a good few days of diving. The best time of the year is from May-Sept but diving is pretty good all year round with water temperatures ranging from 21-25 degrees. Surprisingly 24% of Hawaii's fish species are endemic to the area!
Boat dives on Kauai include Sheraton Caverns on the south shore, which is a gorgeous dive with many blown out lava tubes making interesting overhangs and archways. Turtles love to hang out here along with eels, lobsters, shrimp, octopus and the occasional frogfish. Brennecke's Ledge in the south east is a great wall dive covered in black coral with big schools of fish, turtles, lots of reef fish and a resident reef shark. Nukomoi Point, also known as Tortugas is a shallow, easy site with loads of turtles and cool macro stuff.
Advanced divers can enjoy the few deeper dives such as Ice Box, Fast Lanes, Fish Bowls and Turtle Bluffs. General Store is a wreck from the 1800's with some great swim throughs and a few reef sharks. Zacks Pocket is the deepest of the south shore dives and you may see the very rare Hawaiian Morwong or even a humpback whale if you're really lucky.
Great shore dives available for any level are Koloa Landing and Ahukini Landing. The Tunnels is the best north shore site but it isn't accessible in swell conditions. There are many tunnels here to explore but you should have proper training to enter the tunnels.
So as you can see there is a fantastic world of diving just waiting for you off the coast of Kauai. Say hi to the turtles for us and be sure to post some photos of your favourite sites for everyone to enjoy.
(By Kelly Luckman)
Also known as the Garden Island because of its lush greenery, Kauai is geologically the oldest of the Hawaiian Islands and also the most north western. Strong winds and rain over the many years have shaped some natural wonders like the Waimea Canyon, making this island a fabulous destination for nature lovers.
There is one major airport on the island called Lihue with flights to Honolulu, Maui and many cities on the USA mainland. There are also flights to Vancouver in Canada. The best way to see the island is to hire a car and drive, there is a bus system but it doesn't cover all the main tourist attractions. With the many tours available, you might prefer to take one of them if you don't drive.
The most popular area to stay is Kapa'a on the east side, but there are many small beachside towns if you want to get away from it all. Dorm beds start at $25 a night, a simple private room will set you back around $60 or you can go super 5 star luxury for around $500 a night. The island is a very popular honeymoon destination. There are seven beach side camp sites if you are looking to get back to nature or you're really on a budget.
The activities and sites on the island mainly revolve around nature and the environment. Visit the Lydgate State Park for a great protected swimming area or one of the many beautiful beaches the island has to offer such as Maha'ulepu and Shipwreck beaches. Wailua and Opaekaa Falls are some lovely waterfalls or the Hanalei Valley and Bay for some beautiful scenic lookouts across the valley. There are a couple of wildlife refuges such as Kelauea Point and Huleia where you can up close to the native wildlife, great for any photographer. The National Tropical Botanical Gardens has some stunning plants including rare and endangered species.
Waimea Canyon and Koke's State Park are definitely a must see, the canyon has been called the 'Grand Canyon of the Pacific' and the views are awesome. The famous Na Pali Coast, featured in Jurassic Park and a few other films, have sheer cliffs dropping onto white sandy beaches and it's a wonderful site. Experienced hikers can attempt the cliffs but to view the area head to the state park or hire a boat and see it from the water.
Hire a kayak and cruise the Koloa River with a local guide and learn the history of the area and its people. Stop in at one of the many villages for a bite to eat or grab your mask and snorkel and have a look what's under the water. Hire a Jeep and make the trip out to Polihale Beach at the southern end of Napali for some of the best sunset views on the island.
If you're hiking or site seeing then pack a picnic lunch as there are sometimes limited amenities along the way. Always make sure you have enough water on you for the day as it can get rather hot. BEWARE - if you are hiking watch out for the island's red dirt that can get very slippery when wet, especially along cliff edges and steep drop offs.
Be sure to visit a luau with dinner a show for a truly fabulous Hawaiian feast. Snack on the delicious fresh fruits at roadside stalls or enjoy a plate lunch from a lunch wagon. Seafood is very popular on Kauai and so fresh. Have a drink and watch the sunset at Bali Hai or the Point Bar and try the great selection of beers at the Waimea Brewing Company.
With so many interesting things to see and do, you'll be spoilt for choice on your visit to Kauai. Experience nature at its best.
(By Kelly Luckman)