Kauai, Hawaii: I Hope You Like Chickens! 🐓🌈

Hands down one of my favorite vacation spots of all time, 5 days on the beautiful island of Kauai, Hawaii was an absolute dream! It’s one of the least populated and visited of the Hawaiian Islands, although I’m unsure why, as it was it like being inside a tropical dream paradise, albeit with higher prices and chickens everywhere 🐓😅. Geologically, it’s the 2nd oldest island after Niʻihau, and the 4th largest of the seven Hawaiian Islands. It’s also known as the “Garden Isle” – a very appropriate and accurate nickname!

Located approximately 2,500 miles from the west coast of the United States, Kauai is considered to be the most northern island in the Hawaiian archipelago. It sits around 110 miles from Oahu, 225 miles from Maui, and almost 300 miles from the Big Island. It has one of the lowest year-round populations, with approximately 75,000 people calling it home. There are numerous communities, the biggest being Waimea (11,000), Kapa’a (nearly 10,000), Lihue (9,000), Hanapepe (2,700), and Princeville (1,900). All the towns and communities are essentially exclusively along the shoreline, with none along the northern Nā Pali Coast.

We stayed in Princeville on the northern side, which had its pros and cons.

Pros: it’s in a less populated and congested part of the island; it was close to Hanalei Bay; and it was more beautiful than some other spots.

Cons: most places are on the eastern or southern side; getting places can take 2+ hours, as there are only a few 2-lane main roads with speed limits of 45-50mph; no gas stations nearby and only one grocery store that closed at 9pm.

Nonetheless, I loved our Airbnb and highly recommend it!


The pool at our Airbnb.

As for things to do on Kauai, the list seems endless. You can book a boat or helicopter tour to see the famed Pali Coast (The Nā Pali Coast of Kauai, Hawaii.), an epic and beautiful place featured in movies like Jurassic Park and Pirates of the Caribbean. It’s part of the island left relatively untouched by man, inaccessible by road, and reachable/visible only by boat, helicopter, or a 22-mile “generally challenging” round-trip hike.

The beautiful Nā Pali Coast.

Or take a kayak a couple miles down the Waimea River, eventually leading to a quick, 1.5-mile, out-and-back trail that takes you to the spectacular Secret Falls ((Not so) Secret Falls & the Wailua River.). It’ll make you understand why the producers of the movie Tropic Thunder chose Kauai as their “Vietnam backdrop”.

Secret Falls and a rooster.
Deep within the jungles of Vietnam, I mean Kauai, on our way to Secret Falls.

Enjoy a beach day at one of the numerous beaches like Kealia Beach and Poipu Beach, featuring swimming, snorkeling, or surfing. After visiting Poipu Beach, you can take a short 10-minute drive to the Spouting Horn blowhole, something kids especially will enjoy. Located at Spouting Horn Park in Koloa, it’s open daily from 8am to 6pm.

The Spouting Horn blowhole.

An easy drive up Waimea Canyon Drive leads to the Waimea Canyon Lookout Point, where you’ll see the beautiful “Grand Canyon of Hawaii”, an approximately 10 miles (16 km) long and 3,000 feet (900 meters) deep canyon that was formed when the volcano that created Kauai collapsed (Waimea Canyon: The Grand Canyon of Hawaii.).

Waimea Canyon from the Waimea Canyon Lookout Point.
The Waimea Canyon Lookout Point.
Hanalei Beach and Pier.

There is also the beautiful Hanalei Beach and Pier (Hanalei Bay & Pier: Paradise 🌺.) my personal favorite spot on the island. Located on the northern side, the bay is surrounded by lush, beautiful, towering mountains, making it the perfect spot to relax and take a break, especially at sunset.

Or take a drive through Kauai’s famed Tree Tunnel, located on Maluhia Road in Koloa. During the winter months, you can go whale and dolphin watching at here, or at Kilauea Point, Kapaa Overlook, Poipu Beach, along the Kalalau Trail on the Nā Pali Coast (permit only), or by boat, like we did.

Tree Tunnel located on Maluhia Road in Koloa.
A baby humpback whale breeching multiple times!

There’s also the Kīlauea Light, a 110-year-old lighthouse that was officially added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1979. It’s located on the Kīlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge and is open Wednesday Saturday from 10am to 4pm (closed Sun/Mon/Tues).

The Kīlauea Lighthouse.

Or simply spend time driving around and checking out the less visited parts of the island, getting to completely enjoy and experience all of Kauai. This is truly just a drop in the bucket!

Just take a drive around the island and see the beauty!

Something very unique about Kauai? There are chickens… everywhere. Literally. Everywhere. The story goes – when hurricanes Iwa (1982) and Iniki (1992) hit, each destroyed countless private coops, releasing a ton of chickens into the Kauai jungle. The domesticated chickens then mated with the wild red junglefowl (a very chicken-like bird), and the rest is history.

The chickens are like feral cats, congregating anywhere humans do, including at Secret Falls in the middle of the jungle, which is reached only after a one-hour kayaking trip and 1.5-mile hike. They were in all the outdoor sections of the airport, at the beaches, outside our condo cock-a-doodle-dooing at 5am, on golf courses, 3,400 feet above sea level at the Waimea Canyon Lookout Point, outside all stores and restaurants, and even inside some restaurants. We ate at Lava Lava on our last night, which is an “open-wall” style restaurant located directly on Waipouli Beach, and the chickens were inside begging for food (please see video below). Also, strangely, there are far more roosters than hens. It’s quite the sight and experience!

Chickens in parking lots.
Chickens inside restaurants. They’re literally everywhere.

Poipu Beach.

Overall, if you’re looking for a Hawaiian getaway but would rather steer clear of the overcrowded tourist hotspots like Oahu or Maui, I’d strongly recommend checking out Kauai. It’s the epitome of the laidback, tropical island vibe, a place where everyone is just “living”. It has very few cons, mainly the higher prices (food, gas, housing, etc.), traffic congestion, and the chicken infestation. But there are many more pros, like the beaches, hiking, rivers, blowholes, canyons, waterfalls, piers, lighthouses, sanctuaries, whales, dolphins, adequate shopping, yummy restaurants, and so much more. Give the beautiful, epic, and amazing Hawaiian island of Kauai a visit!

This sea turtle was laying eggs on Poipu Beach. There were 4 cones encircling it, with signs warning to stay away and a life guard in a tower approximately 10 feet away, watching.

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