Hawaii Guide


Waimea Bay, Kauai Attractions

Waimea Canyon, Hawaii, Kauai, Landscape, Nature

Waimea Bay is on the south west of Kauai with the small town of Waimea on its coastline. This bay should not be confused with the bay of the same name on the island of Oahu a world famous surfing destination. However there is a good spot for surfing in this area at the site known as the "Infinities" at Pakala Beach.

Progress seems to have ground to a halt in the sleepy town of Waimea, which can make a welcome break from the tourist developments in other parts of Hawaii. Nothing happens very quickly here and it is pleasant environment in which to chill out. The downside is that it is not within easy reach of other parts of Kauai the north shore is particularly difficult to get to as the road north stops at Kokee State Park. Beyond this region lies the wild, but beautiful, Na Pali coast which is impenetrable by car. So if you are planning to explore the island using Waimea as your base, then be prepared for a lot of driving.

Captain James Cook stopped in Waimea Bay in 1778 en route to Alaska to search for the Northwest Passage between the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. There he discovered this peaceful village of Waimea and was believed by the locals to be a god. The Russians arrived in 1815 and built a fort, but were expelled by King Kamehameha. A few sparse remains of village's past can be seen: a statue of Cook with his ships, the foundations of the fort and the ruins of an old aqueduct. The village has an unusual number of churches this is because it was the first landing site of the missionaries.

There is an airport further along the coast to the east at Hanapepe from which helicopter tours over the whole island depart. The helicopter tours are the best way of seeing some of Kauai's more inaccessible attractions such as the Waialeale Crater, a crater surrounded by waterfalls dropping thousands of feet, or Mount Waialeale. The Waimea Canyon is an impressive sight, both from the air and from the ground. There are hiking trails that give spectacular views of the canyon.

The seas can get pretty rough on the west coast of Kauai so be careful when using the beaches in this area. Kekaha Beach Park to the west of Waimea Bay has high surf and strong rip currents, so stay out of the water unless it is very calm. Boat tours of the western coastline up to Na Pali coast leave from Kikiaola Harbor. The spot where Captain James Cook landed is now called Lucy Wright Beach Park. The beach is not great and the water is a bit off putting because it is very silty.