Travel insights from The Travel Institute

Kauai — An Untouched, Special Island

The Garden Island is known for its natural beauty. Of the Hawaiian Islands, Kauai is smaller, less populated, more rural, and more laid back. County ordinance regulates that no building exceeds the height of a coconut tree — about three or four stories high — to guarantee against the effects of rapid growth and unchecked development.

One of The Travel Institute’s own family members recently experienced the beautiful island of Kauai and wanted to share with you some of his hundreds of photographs — along with recommendations for a perfect two-day itinerary. We hope you enjoy them and can use these suggestions in arranging travel for yourself and your clients.

Day One: South and West


Our first and most important tip is to not limit your travel options. Rent a jeep!

Kalalau Lookout

Doing so will give you access to unique locations, such as Kalalau Lookout, a popular point on the island’s west side near the end of Kokee Road (Highway 550).

kalalau valley

From here, the visitor is treated to sweeping views of the Kalalau Valley and the ocean. Hiking trails are nearby.


So is this breathtaking waterfall.

And for a refreshing snack that will forever change the way you look at shaved ice, be sure to stop at The Fresh Shave.

shave ice

The owners of this food truck on Koloa Road in Kalaheo use nothing but organic ingredients and farm-fresh produce. Each handcrafted shaved-ice flavor is named after a popular mustache style. We highly recommend The Handle Bar, bursting with pineapple and coconut deliciousness with no high fructose corn syrup or preservatives. Yum!

But if lunch is what you really want, save room and time for a Hawaiian-style hot dog at Pukadog on Kiahuna Plantation Drive in Koloa. How about indulging in a Waimea Canyon – a polish sausage or veggie dog covered in lava garlic lemon sauce, banana relish and passion fruit mustard?

Day Two: North and East


Start off your second perfect day in paradise at Kīlauea Lighthouse. Constructed in 1913, it is strategically situated on a peninsula at Kauai’s northernmost in the Kīlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge.

At 180 feet above the Pacific Ocean, the lighthouse provides the visitor panoramic views.

If your goal is to eat where the locals do, two superior spots near Princeville come to mind. The Hanalei Bread Co. is an organic bakery and coffee house. Its motto is “First we bake, then we surf.” A worthy philosophy, indeed!

fresh bite

And for lunch, the Fresh Bite food truck, also in Hanalei, offers mouthwatering local “farm-to-beach” salads, sandwiches, poi and dessert.

verde restaurant

Or, as you set off on a Wailua River adventure, you may want to eat lunch first at Verde Restaurant on Kuhio Highway (Highway 56).

This Mexican-inspired eatery is a local favorite.


You can continue your drive down Kuhio Highway to reach the Wailua River off Kuamoo Road (Highway 580). This 20-mile waterway is Hawaii’s only navigable river.


Visitors can kayak to a fork in the river, continue for a few hundred yards, pull the kayak to shore and wade across the river.

Be sure to wear comfortable, waterproof hiking shoes!

secret falls

Also located a short hike from the river is the stunning Secret Falls.


After a day of hiking, wading and kayaking, you deserve to sit back and be entertained at the nearby Smith Family Garden Luau. This luau includes traditional songs and dances — not to mention delectable island food! — to celebrate the Spirit of Hawaii.


Located in a 30-acre botanical garden, this luau is a treat for the eyes, ears and tummy!

The unspoiled beauty of Kauai offers dozens of treasures to refresh mind, body and soul. Aloha!

For further learning, enroll in The Travel Institute’s Hawaii destination course.

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