Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Kauai Trailblazer: Your personal tour guide

 Kauai Trailblazer gide

If you plan to get out and explore Kauai on vacation, pick up a copy and give it a good perusal before you leave home. The island's top attractions (like the Kalalau Trail, Waimea Canyon, and Poipu Beach) are easy to find—you really don't need a guidebook.

But to find the aloha of old Hawaii, you'll want some help. The authors have been exploring Kauai for over 20 years, and the fruit of their efforts is organized efficiently in their top-selling adventure guide. 

Here are a few examples of where you can find the aloha: Lawai Center (88 Holy Places of Kobo Daishi), Anaina Hou Community Park, Taro Patch, and the Hula Temple. Kauai is Hawaii's best island for wild, hike-to beaches, and KT has directions to all of them, as well as many off-beat trails. You'll also find all the  town strolls (like Hanapepe, Hanalei, Kapa'a, Koloa, and Lihue).

The Kalalau Valley, pictured above from the top of Waimea Canyon, sees scads of tourists. But there are dozens of other breathtaking ridge hikes in the area that you will have virtually to yourself. For independent and active visitors, Kauai Trailblazer is essential outdoor gear.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Akaka Falls: More than just another roadside attraction on the Big Island

For sure the half-mile loop hike at Akaka Falls State park is a tourist trot, complete with sightseeing buses and paid parking. But it's also one of the best waterfall-and-botanical hikes in Hawaii.

The park is a four-mile drive up from the quaint town of Honomu on the south end of the Hamakua Coast (the northeast quadrant of the island.) Besides Akaka's 440-foot freefall of whitewater, the hike also takes in Kahuna Falls, which spews from a side-canyon, and a profusion of tropical greenery alongside Kolekole Stream.

Stairways, bridges, and paved sections make for easy going. If you show up in the morning, say before 10, you'll have the place mostly to yourself.

Hamakua is the lush coast of the Big Island, with many streams and valleys, with jungly sections of the Old Mamalahoa Highway that offer opportunities for side trips—rugged coves, beach parks, and old sugar-shack towns. You can also take roads up the mountain (the 'lower' slopes of Mauna Kea) to vast forest reserves. This isn't the coast for a day at the beach—surfing, yes, but swimming, no) but Hamakua is dripping with eye candy.

Hawaii the Big Island Trailblazer has the details on Hamakua's hidden attractions, on pages 169 to 176.