Sustainable travel makes for better travel. When you visit Kauai, finding activities that are easy on the environment, supportive of the local economy and respectful of the island’s heritage is easy. Enjoy all that Kauai has to offer and leave it better than you found it with one of these unique, eco-friendly experiences in Kauai.
Less a walking trail and more a self-led tour, the Wailua Heritage Trail includes a series of historically significant places in Wailua, which was once the central seat of power on Kauai. Sites include Wailua Bay, `Opaeka`a Falls, several mountain ridges, the Wailua River and sacred sites including a forming birthing site of chiefs, a place of worship, and the popular Fern Grotto. This is a spectacular way to learn about the local history and unique ancient culture of the island, further understanding the island’s people and environment
The Ho`opulapula Haraguchi Rice Mill is the only remaining rice mill in all of Hawaii (established in the 1800s), and it opens its gates to tourists interested in learning about the history of the rice industry on Kauai. The mill is now preserved by a nonprofit organization whose mission is to educate people on the area’s family traditions of farming. On your tour, expect hands-on activities like exploring the taro field, scooping up snails, and tasting foods grown right there on the farm. Not to mention, the scenery alone is worth a tour. They have their own food truck on-site and offer plenty of farm-fresh foods that you can take home with you as well.
As the oldest island in Hawaii, Kauai is home to the highest diversity of plants – more than 1,360 native plant species. The National Tropical Botanical Gardens and Preserves are safe havens for at-risk species that otherwise might disappear forever. With three different locations in Kauai (Limahuli, Allerton and McBryde), you can pick one that’s most convenient for you and book a breathtaking guided or self-guided tour. Visiting these gardens is an inspiring way to see plants you won’t see anywhere else and support the preservation of them, as well.
Kauai has a vibrant community of growers and makers, and they share their goods at farmers markets in Hanalei, Waimea and Kilauea. The Waipa Farmers Market is a favorite, hosted by an organization seeking to restore the area’s natural resources and systems. Or pick up local foods from a collective like Malama Kauai, including tea leaves, goat cheese, and local meats. Support local farmers by purchasing produce and locally-made foods, or take home an artisan, hand-made souvenir.
Kauai is known for its pristine, undeveloped beaches, and this is due in part to organizations like Surfrider Kauai. The Kauai Chapter was started by local surfers who wanted to protect the island’s oceans, waves and beaches. Among many other things, the organization hosts regular beach clean-ups and Net Patrol events – removing fishnets from coastlines. Joining in on one of these weekly events is an opportunity to give back to the place where you recreate during your visit and leave a positive impact. Find more details on their events page.
Whale watching is one of the best ways to appreciate the ocean wildlife off the coast of Kauai. Like all of us tourists, humpback whales make their way to the Hawaiian islands each winter in search of warmer temperatures. From November to March, you can hop on a boat tour in search of these gentle, majestic creatures. You may even spot a newly-born calf, as Hawaii is the only place where humpback whales mate and calve. From Kauai, you’ll find several tours to take you whale watching out on the ocean.
At Highline Adventures, we cultivate sustainable ways to travel and experience new places, like the island of Kauai. Looking for a sustainable accommodation in Kauai? Check out 17 Palms Kauai, right in the heart of historic Wailua. For more tips on unique experiences in Kauai, check out the rest of the Highline Adventures blog.