Visitors Information in Kapaa, Maui
Despite its small size—about 550 square miles—Kauai has four distinct regions, each with its own unique characteristics. The windward coast, which catches the prevailing trade winds, consists of the North Shore and East Side, while the drier leeward coast encompasses the South Shore and West Side. One main road nearly encircles the island, except for a 15-mi stretch of sheer cliffs called Napali Coast. The center of the island—Mt. Waialeale, completely inaccessible by car and viewable only from above due to nearly year-round cloud cover—is the wettest spot on earth, getting about 450 inches of rain per year. On Kauai, the directions mauka (toward the mountains) and makai (toward the ocean) are often used. Locals tend to refer to highways by name rather than by number.
Opaekaa Falls, an unforgettable photo op, has scenic peaks of the Makaleha Mountains in the background and a restored Hawaiian village on the riverbanks. A favorite mythical sight is the Sleeping Giant, a product of Mt. Nounou behind Wailua -- indulge in the fable it will be revealed to you. The golden sand beaches of the Coconut Coast are its biggest draw, with Anahola as its northernmost beach. Another beach just a few miles down the road is Donkey Beach, where whale-watching is popular. Rooting on surfers at Kealia Beach is a popular activity among locals and visitors alike. Always remember "safety first" when visiting any beach. Another asset of the Coconut Coast is Lydgate Park and its two lava rock enclosed ocean pools. They are a calm respite for kids, families, and first-time snorkelers. Be sure to find time for a leisurely stroll through Kapaa Town and its funky and fine items, including some great Hawaiian craft pieces, aloha-print shirts, jewelry and fine art objects. Kauai Village in Kapaa offers lifesize paintings of whales on a wall and clock tower. Don't leave without exploring Kauai's unique Coconut Coast.