Shipwreck Beach is a nice little beach located just east of the Grand Hyatt Poipu Beach property. It’s a favorite spot for surfers. The water usually provides moderate waves for surfers and boogie boarders but is also gentle enough for swimmers. It’s a pretty beach with hike-able cliffs nearby that are easy to navigate and provide beautiful views. There is parking in the area as well.
Odds are you will pass through Koloa on your way to Poipu. It is a charming little town with important Hawaiian history that is worth a visit. It was the first sugar plantation town in all Hawaii, and the small, free historical displays in the Koloa History Center give a good impression of life during the plantation years. Many of the town's storefronts have been restored to look like they did in the late 1800s. While now the shops sell tourist items, surf goods and food like in other island shopping areas, the feel here is unique. There are also some of Kauai's oldest churches in this town, an interesting old Salvation Army building, and a Lappert's Ice Cream store.
Spouting Horn Beach Park is a wonderful stop on Kauai's south shore near Poipu. The rugged shoreline here has an opening in a lava shelf, and when the waves rush in water is forced through the hole and spews up in the air hundreds of feet. There is another hole nearby that doesn't blow water, but only air, making weird noises, only adding to the interesting atmosphere of the place.
The view of the blow hole is from behind a guard rail at the park above the lava shelf, but the views are excellent. Along the walkway from the parking lot to the viewing area there are about 15 vendors with tables set up selling tourist items. My wife bought a bamboo wind chime when I wasn't paying attention.
Leading east from Shipwreck Beach there is an interesting walk along the rugged cliffs. The access is easy, just up the trail from the beach, which has a small parking lot. The cliffs were formed from cemented sand dunes that have been roughly eroded from wind, water and salt over the centuries. It is a rather unusual and interesting scene, surely worth a look if you are in the area. The area is also used by local fishermen.
This beach may be overlooked by some visitors because you don't see it from the main road. Access is easy, however; there is a small parking lot just to the west of the Sheraton, and there is a smaller lot and some street parking on the other side of the hotel. You can also walk there from Poipu beach by a small path along the shore. It's about 100 yards, I think.
The beach and sand here are beautiful. It's also safe for swimming, snorkeling. Beyond the reef you will see surfers, but it isn't for beginners. There aren't public services here, such as bathrooms and tables like at Poipu Beach, but we didn't have any problem with relaxing at the Sheraton tables and ordering a few mai tai drinks.
This is probably the most popular beach on Kauai's south shore. There is good, safe swimming, easy access, picnic tables, and one of the few examples of a tombolo - a narrow stretch of land/sand leading from the shore out to a point. When the tide is right, the ocean waves come up from both sides. This is where monk seals often rest also (see second photo). There is also pretty good snorkeling here.
You won't find a shipwreck at this beach; the old one the beach is named for is long gone. But you will find a pretty sand beach, fairly wide and long, framed on one side by a rugged bluff and backed up against the huge Hyatt complex and golf course. While the setting is good, it isn't a beach that is recommended for swimming, which is difficult and challenging here. You'll see surfers and boogie boarders here, but if you try it here, you should be experienced.
The cliff to your left as you face the ocean is a good place to get ocean views and/or begin a hike along the coast. It's called Makawehi point. I've got another tip on that.
Poip’u Beach is a family oriented public beach situated between resorts. There is a park leading up to the sand with public restrooms, picnic shelters and barbeque pits. The water is calmer here than at other beaches in the area due to the lava reef that has created a lagoon-like area, free from the crashing surf making it easy for children to wade in the water. Occasionally giant sea turtles or the endangered Monk Seals come to rest on the shores here. These amazing sea creatures are protected so locals will rope off the area to prevent humans from coming within 100 feet of them.
Spouting Horn is created by water rushing under a lava shelf and bursting through a small opening at the surface. The blowhole differs from the nearby holes by blowing water instead of air, making a loud groaning sound. Waves produce a spray of water 15 meters (50 feet) into the air.
We were pleased to have ended up with Holo Holo Charters after the catamaran we were initially booked on became damaged. As we left the port and sailed toward the Napali Coast it became obvious that the Holo Holo fleet was amongst the newest.
We chose the 3.5 tour of the Napali Coast. I was disappointed that the tour did not include snorkeling but once we got out in the swells I realized we were skiiping the snorkling for very good reasons. We took dramamine before we sailed (as directed by the ticket office) but there were plenty of other sorry folks who didn't and once we hit the trade winds the boat was tossed and turned like a load of laundry! The crew was quick to assist ailing passengers and clean up any accidents.
The tours include unlimited beer and wine...but drinking was really the last thing on most people's minds. To hold a drink and hold on at the same time is a talent few posess. 3.5 hours was more than enough to see the coast as well as a couple of sea turtles and varied marine life.
We took the winding drive to the top of Waimea Canyon to a terrific lookout point and then decided we wanted to see things up close. There are about 10 different trails in Waimea Canyon ranging in distance and difficulty. We chose the 4 mile trail roundtrip trail to "the falls." Unbeknownst to us until the uphill hike out , we learned that you can actually drive your car in the first two miles of the dirt path. We thought our efforts were going to be rewarded by reaching the massive falls seen from the road...however those falls were on another trail. These falls were our reward. Signs were posted near the water warning of some bacteria and that swimming should be done at your own risk.
" Mahaulepu Beach" is one of the best beaches I recommend you to visit. I bet you heard enough about Poipu Beach, one of the best beaches in US! I agree with that however it is just one of the very nice tourist beaches, great for children, good for adults, suntan next to the monk seal, swim with turtles sometime and snorkeling with so many trained native fishes. Mahaulepu Beach is unique! Not many tourists know about it although I have seen the number of tourist increasing over 10 years ( from 1 to ~10), still it is a pretty beautiful beach. Whenever there is a trade wind, you will see local windsurfing and kitesurfing here! Enjoy uncrowded swimming, snorkeling, suntan, whale watching (during winter months) and enjoy watching Kite/Windsurfer perform jumps a few feet from the shore! Total driving distance is about three miles from intersection of Poipu Road, Pe'e Road.
A sign used when monk seals are in the area. Nowadays the area in which a monk seal is beached is not only temporarily fenced off with caution tape, but is patrolled especially in high population areas. It is common for the seals to beach themselves on the sand in the morning & returning to the ocean in the late afternoon.
While at Poipu Beach about 5 years ago someone was strolling the beach and walked into the seals territory while not paying attention. The seal tried to attack the walking man and proceeded to chase and bark at him. For us onlookers it was a funny sight as the startled man quickly moved away. The seals can move quicker than you'd imagine.
It is illegal to harass, capture or kill a monk seal.
Their declining populations are due to:
- The rapid spread of human acitivity in the islands
- Death by sharks
- Lower pup survival caused by human interference
- entanglement in fishing nets and debris
The Poipu Shopping Village has FREE Tahitian Dance shows twice a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:00-5:45 p.m. Limited terraced seating is available by the center stage.
The shopping village is a small open air mall that has a good selection of clothing, gift shops, art galleries and restaurants.
One of my favorite acitivities is going to the Koloa Farmers Market on Monday's at noon. It's by the Ball Park and it gets very crowded so I'd strongly advise getting there before it opens. Parking fills up and items sell out quickly.
They sell a wide range of tropical fruits and vegetables. Many are rarely or never seen in the continental U.S. They also sell nuts, fresh coconuts (opened) and beautiful tropical flowers.
This vendor is slicing the tops off coconuts. He'll then insert a straw for customers to drink the coconut milk. Once they are finished he'll crack open the coconut for them to scoop out the soft coconut meat.