Written for Makanacharters.com
West Side – Gateway to Kauai’s Natural Wonders
When visiting Kauai, Every travel guide and friendly recommendation you come across will tell you that the top 3 can’t-miss things to do on the island are:
1. Na Pali Coast
2. Waimea Canyon drive
3.Polihale beach (especially for Sunset)
To get to all of these places you need to drive to the far end of the island across the Waimea river and right past our office – Right on the corner after the bridge.
Being on the west side and facing the ocean makes for some of the best sunsetviewing on the island. From the beaches to the mountaintops there is always a different vantage point, each with their own stunning view as the sun fades into the horizon of the Pacific ocean.
Here on the westside you get a unique local feel that is different from the rest of the island. The small towns are stained with the Red dirt and lack of rainfall. We get more sunshine than anywhere else on the island, and we openly welcome those staying on the north shore and who need a break from the rain! We of course welcome everyone with kindness and Aloha, something you will feel on every street corner and in the shops.
Makana Charters is based out of Waimea – right near the small boat harbor that offers the closest year-round access point to the Na Pali Coast. In fact, Waimea was the first landing place of Captain James Cook back in the 18th Century. There is plenty of other history around as well, from the remains of an old Russian fort to old irrigation ditches that are rumored to have been built by the mythical Menehune people.
Things to Do:
The West side is full of natural wonders that will leave you in amazement. Probably the most famous of these sights is Waimea Canyon, whose nickname is “The Grand Canyon of the Pacific”. This steep, 3500′ canyon can be reached either from Waimea or the next town over of Kekaha.
Right past Waimea Canyon is Kokee State Park, which is a huge area full of amazing biodiversity. Many people just drive on the main road, turn around, and come back down the hill. But by doing that you are missing out on a whole host of amazing terrain just waiting to be explored.
Another must-visit of the west side is the end of the road – Polihale State Park. This long stretch of beach extend right up to the cliffs that begin the Na Pali Coast. It is a favorite weekend spot for locals, who drive their 4×4 trucks straight onto the beach.
One activity that cannot be missed is to simply take a long walk on the beach. Many times people forget to enjoy the simple things in life when on a short vacation. Sometimes the best things in life are free, as the saying goes. So grab some shave ice, a good snack, and take the shoes/slippers off and enjoy the peaceful scenery and uncrowded beaches of West Kauai!
For more information:
For more information on things to do, places to see, shops, and restaurants, please check out our blog, “The local’s guide to Kaua’i!“