A short 5-10 minute hike through almond trees over a rocky trail, this ancient Hawaiian ritual site has great views of the ocean. Heiaus are considered sacred places where kahuna (priests) performed various rituals and offerings to gods including animal and human sacrifices. Only the kahuna and ali'i (high chiefs) were allowed to enter the heiau....more
Located just east of the parking lot at the end of the Kuhio Highway, this wet cave was craved out by the strong pounding surf thousands of years ago when this cliffline was right along the coast. While visitors can walk into the extent of the Maniniholo Dry Cave, this and the nearby Waikapala'e Wet Cave have deep pools of cool water. Hawaiian...more
Located opposite Haena Beach Park on Kuhio Highway, this large cave was craved out by the strong pounding surf thousands of years ago when this cliffline was right along the coast. Visitors can walk the several yards to the back wall of the cave which is surprisingly well lit by the large opening. Hawaiian legend states that this and the two wet...more
This is the beach at the end of the road in Haena State Park. Kuhio Highway ends at the parking lot for the beach. The parking lot isn't large so plan to get there early in order to avoid having to park back down the road and hoofing it back to the beach. The beach is beautifully situated with Bali Hai towering overhead marking the start of the...more
Traveling west on the Kuhio Highway after passing the Hanalei Colony Resort, the first main beach you'll come to is Haena Beach Park. It has a parking area, bathroom facilities, and a grassy park area. It also has a lifeguard tower which can come in handy due to the strong surf that can be experienced here. There's usually a food truck in the...more
Tunnels is a spot for snorkeling and swimming on the North Shore because of the extensive reef fairly close-in that protects it from the larger surf that one experiences at some of the other beaches. During high-tide, however, the waves will tend to wash over the reef and warnings and even prohibitions can be posted on this beach. Because of the...more
The Mediterranean Gourmet is a true favorite for many locals and visitors alike. It is the only beachfront restaurant on the north shore of Kauai. It is an award winning restaurant with exceptional ocean views and a wonderful setting on Kauai's tropical and vibrant north shore. Open for Lunch and Dinner every night and closed on Tuesday for their great local style LUAU feast and entertainment. Great greek salad and other pacific/mediterranean dishes.
Favorite Dish: Everything is so delicious! There is not one thing on the menu I don't like.
After you leave Hanalei, this is the only store at which to purchase provisions for your stay in the Haena area. The offerings aren't extensive but you can purchase snacks, beer, juices, condiments, toilet paper, etc. at this charming store that is technically in the town of Wainiha and not Haena. Also part of the buiding is a doorfront from which you can purchase wraps and sandwiches for a picnic at Ke'e Beach or for your hike on the Kalalau Trail.
If you're staying in a home in Haena and you need to go out and purchase some living essentials, it's worth a stop here. You may save yourself a trip to the Big Save all the way in Hanalei.
What to buy: Groceries, ice cream, drinks
The native fish, that is. :)
Have you ever been attacked by a school of fish? I have! :) It was at Tunnels Beach on the north shore of Kaua'i near Ha'ena. It is considered one of the best places to snorkel on the island. The coral reef protects the beach and offers calm waters and plenty of hiding places for all the fish. I have only snorkelled a few times while on the islands but I did see more fish here than anywhere else I've been. And while trying to feed the fish I was attacked by a school of them.
I had fish food in plastic bags that I got from the place where I rented my snorkle gear. As soon as the fish saw the plastic bags, they attacked in swarms. Some of these were large fish the length of my forearm, from elbow to tip of my fingers, and half that as tall. They were biting at anything protruding from my clenched hand and even my hand itself as they swam around and around. And in the swarming one of the smaller fish implanted his mouth on my shoulder and broke the skin in an almost perfect circle.
Wouldn't you know it, at this perfect time, my new underwater Minolta camera decided that it was no longer waterproof. Hence, no photos. :( Maybe next time.
I don't fully understand their aggressive behavior but I'd guess these guys are very used to a lot of people having a lot of food for them and they'd normally get their fill early in the morning. But with tourism almost 80% gone right now (first week of October, 2001) so soon after the September 11th attacks, their smorgasboard runneth empty. I believe these guys weren't seeing enough food pass their way and the sad part is that they probably don't know how to scavenge for food naturally since they've been hand-fed by humans for so long. So they just attacked at even the slightest hint that I had food for them. They literally bit the hand that fed them. What a bunch of ingrates! :)
The Kalalau Trail is the only land access to the incredible Na Pali Coast. The trail is an out-and-back trip extending 11 miles from Ke'e Beach to the Kalalau Valley. The trek is basically three parts that can be done in any length depending on your time constraints. The first section is 2 miles to Hanakapia'ai Beach. Take care swimming at this beach's strong rip tide. Trekkers may want to camp here (permit required) and take a 2-mile inland hike through bamboo and fragrant guava forests to the towering Hanakapi'ai Falls. The cool waters at the base of the falls are a nice reward for making the hot and humid hike. Day hikers typically will at least go to the beach, some will add on the 4-mile round trip from the beach to the falls. A total day hike from Ke'e Beach to Hanakapi'ai Falls is 8 miles.
I have only done the 8-mile day hike but would one day like to do the entire trail. According to the Lonely Planet guidebook a permit is officially required to go beyond Hanakapi'ai and can be obtained from the Division of State Parks. The second portion is 4 miles from Hanakapi'ai Beach to the Hanakoa Valley. A campsite here has been closed for some time. Check with the state parks office in Lihue before planning on camping here. From here the last section takes trekkers 5 miles to the Kalalau Valley. While being the most beautiful portion of the trail it is also the most difficult. I will update this tip with my personal impressions after I complete this trek in the future.
Equipment: Good hiking shoes (do yourself a favor), ample quantities of water, sunscreen, hat, mosquito repellant.