Sunday, January 16, 2011

Kauai's Papa'a Bay: Best Things are Free (for most)

Papa'a Bay is a sandy cove with a stream, backed by palms and ironweed trees, just the sort of place that causes people to space out in their workaday cubicles all across America. You may have seen it before. Harrison Ford's plane "crashed" here in the movie "Six Days, Seven Nights." The director, Peter Guber, liked it so much he bought it, erected a mansion called Tara, and closed the access road historically used by locals. Arrests were made during a "walk-in."

Now Guber is gone like driftwood at high tide, having sold the joint for 28 million in 2009.

And, more significantly, you can get to Papa'a Bay for free, thanks to a public access (see Kauai Trailblazer for details). Beginning near the Aliomanu Beach parking lot, the access involves a 20-minute walk along a bluff, down a fairly steep hillside, and then a boulder-hop for 300 feet or so. Though doable for families, the access is difficult enough to keep crowds away. Surfer's like the outer beak and swimming is excellent.