by Lori Derauf

This trip was an intense 5-day tour and education of Kauai; 12-hour days consisted of hotel inspections, excursions, and class taught by the Kauai Tourist Board.  As a result I am one of the hand-full of travel agents in the US who are certified as a destination specialist for this beautiful island.

The nature of the island

Every Hawaiian island has its own flavor; Kauai’s flavor is organic and fresh.  Kauai is not a commercialized island; it is lush, tropical, and wild.  If you like exploring rugged nature, wildlife and landforms then this is the island for you.  Kauai, known as the “garden island” is all about relaxation, adventures in nature and the true Hawaiian spirit.  (If you enjoy nightlife and entertainment, I would recommend Oahu or Maui.)

Lori the Explorer

This trip proved to be a true adventure!  Our catamaran tour up the Napali Coast (which is not accessible by road, only via helicopter or water craft) was spectacular.  We were dwarfed by high cliffs and lush vegetation.  From our boat we saw whales, dolphins, flying fish, and turtles!

Johnny on the Spot!

Our next adventure was exhilarating (and a bit exhausting); stand-up paddle boarding down a river for 2 miles followed by a 3-mile guided hike through the wilderness.  Now it was pretty tiring, but totally worth it when we arrived at the very pond where Johnny Depp shot scenes for the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie.  I dipped my toe into the very same pond as Johnny, “sigh.”  I appear to be following Mr. Depp across the world (in Venice I happened into a café that Johnny frequented when he was filming “The Tourist” there.)  I always felt we had some cosmic connection.  Oh, and by the way, Kauai is known for the number of famous movies that have been filmed there: Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones, and Avatar are just a few of the dozens of movies that were made in Kauai!

Three Tasty Treats

Hawaii’s Kona coffee is famous, but did you know that the largest, most fertile coffee plantation is in Koloa, Kauai?  Koloa is nestled beneath the mountains on Kauai’s south shore and produces what some believe is the BEST coffee in Hawaii.

Before you take a bite of that tangy, juicy pineapple, take a moment to appreciate it.  Every pineapple takes a whopping 2-years to mature and ripen for eating (and I thought it took a long time to make lasagna)!

The third tasty treat… was me.  The mosquito population in wet tropical climates is always in excess and Kauai was no exception.