Layered in endless hues of deep red, ochre and green, Waimea Canyon seems like a detailed work of art right in the heart of the Garden Island of Kauai. Words can´t accurately describe the extraordinary beauty of The Grand Canyon of the Pacific. It really must be seen to be believed!
As soon as we touched ground, we rented a car and headed to Kauai´s west side. On our way to Waimea Canyon, we made a few stops in towns like Koloa, an old sugar plantation town on the south side of the island, Hanapepe (meaning “crushed bay” in Hawaiian) and Waymea to explore Kauai’s rich history.
With its quaint plantation buildings, unique sidewalk cafes and a majestic canopy of century-old Eucalyptus trees that branches off from the main road, Old Koloa Town truly stole my heart. A walk around the historic center with its old-fashioned storefronts is like stepping back in time. It was here, in this little town where the first successful sugarcane plantation on the Hawaiian islands started.
If you are an Ukelele enthusiast like us, Larry´s Music is a must! Located at 5330 Koloa road, the store has a wide variety them and if you are lucky, the owner will teach you how to play the chords you need to get started. Once you visit the store, you will find yourself not wanting to return home without of this classic Hawaiian instrument!
Okumura is a two-storey building constructed in 1905 where you can have an authentic shave ice at a good Price. With plenty of flavors to choose from Koloa Shave Ice…And More has long been a favourite in Kauai.
However, if you want to treat yourself with a delicious gourmet ice cream, I highly recommend Lapperts´ which is located at 4425 Ala Kalanikaumaka, Kukuiula Shopping Village in Koloa.
Driving west across the southern end of the island, we passed a huge Hawaiian clothing store which could possibly be the home of the largest aloha shirt!!
Grandeur of Waimea Canyon
Even though smaller than Grand Canyon of Arizona, Waimea Canyon absolutely took our breath away. All we could say was “¡Qué pasada!” which can be translated as “Wow!” or “Holy Shit!” in English.
A group of Japanese next to us barely uttered a few words. I didn´t understand anything they said but I guess they were thinking the same as us. Waimea Canyon´s grandeur and impressive color scenery bound us together with great admiration and respect for Mother Nature.
Formed over thousands of years by volcanic activity and erosion, the colorful canyon with its crested peaks, rugged crags and deep gorges offers one of the most dramatic landscapes on earth.
You can take two roads to get to the Canyon: Waimea Canyon Drive and Koke’e Road. We took the first one which begins in Waimea and ends at Pu’u o Kila Lookout. It was like a roller coaster ride as the road had quite a few sweeping curves, twists and turns but the scenic lookout points along the way are well worth it.
TIP: One think to keep in mind is that there´s no gas station available in Waimea Canyon, so fill up your tank beforehand.