Kauai is magical in its diversity. It is the epitome of paradise. Island dreams come true each and every day for those who visit.
Landscape photographers, like us, revel in its dynamic seascapes, sprawling landscapes, signature waterfalls, and more. Backcountry Journeys invites you to visit “The Garden Isle” with us to enjoy seven days emersed in all the things that make this island perfect. While we focus our efforts primarily on photography, Kauai offers a wide variety of things that make it so attractive. Let’s take a look at the Ten best!
Kauai is the most undeveloped of the main Hawaiian Islands besides Lana‘i and Moloka‘i. Because of this, the natural beauty of the place is allowed to shine through. We’ll visit and photograph an incredible amount of natural beauty from lush forests and mountains to white, sandy beaches.
Na Pali Coast
The Na Pali Coast may just be the number one reason many choose to visit Kauai. This stretch of valleys and cliffs (pali), sea caves, and exclusive beaches wrap around the northwestern portion of the island. Backcountry Journeys guests will have the chance to photograph the beautiful and enchanting Na Pali Coast from the Kalalau Overlook, in addition to a doors-off helicopter flight over the jaw-dropping Na Pali Coast. Potentially the highlight of the tour!
Koke‘e State Park
Waimea Canyon, known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, is a visual treat that is full of gorgeous scenery including the Kalalau Valley. Koke‘e and Waimea State Parks have vistas and hikes that abound and are unlike anything you will find elsewhere. Our itinerary will put you and your camera at multiple viewpoints overlooking Koke‘e State Park and Waimea Canyon.
Miles of magnificent beaches surround the island, many of which are world-renowned like Hanalei Bay. Hanalei Beach, Tunnels Beach, Lumahai Beach, Kahili Beach, and others will all be on our “To-Do” list at just the right times of the day.
While watersports take a backseat for Backcountry Journeys guests, they are a big deal in Kauai, as one would think. Activities from surfing, kayaking, snorkeling, and scuba diving are popular activities on the Island.
Our Backcountry Journeys tour is a Standard Tour, so we don’t do a bunch of hiking apart from a short/relatively easy jaunt down Kuilau Ridge Trail. Kauai does offer many hiking trails, full of tropical wilderness, traversing the island for those who are interested in hiking. We’ll get a ‘feel’ for this as we maneuver to and from photo locations.
It never really gets too crowded on Kaua‘i. With a small year-round population of just 70,000 on a landmass the same size as O‘ahu (home to a million residents), there is simply more space. In fact, it is not uncommon to have a beach or a hike completely to yourself. Something you’ll never get on many of the Hawaiian Islands.
Fresh Tropical Fruits
Locally-grown fruits are available at seemingly every turn in Kauai. It’s quite remarkable. Farmer’s markets offering fruit such as apples, bananas, mango, papaya, and pineapples are fantastic and easy to find! Backcountry Journeys feel that sampling local foods, which to us provide an intimate feel for the locations we visit, is nearly as important as getting great images (close, but not quite). For this reason, we always scout out the best restaurants and local food options so that we can sample the region appropriately.
Native Plants and Wildlife
Fewer people and less development also mean more native Hawaiian flora and fauna. Some avian and plant species are only found on Kaua‘i and several are endemic to the island that can still be readily seen. We’ll photograph Monkeypod trees, as well as the brightly colored Eucalyptus trees.
Whether or not you view our Backcountry Journeys photo tour itinerary as relaxing, or not, it certainly will provide a lot to do and to photography. Kauai is known for being a fantastic place for some rest and relaxation, so we’ve built in some downtime for you to enjoy. Whether it’s on a beachside hammock with a mai tai, or on a mountain top with a picnic, Kaua‘i is an amazing place to spend some time. Especially in January!
Backcountry Journeys’ Kauai: The Garden Isle tour itinerary combines perfectly so much of these top ten reasons to visit, all while focusing on photography.
Kenton Krueger has spent the past several years guiding backpackers, hikers and photographers into the wild places of the American West such as Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Glacier, Katmai, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Arches, Canyonlands National Parks, as well as internationally in Costa Rica & Brazil. In addition to backpacking and camping, his adventures include rock climbing, exploring the slot canyons of southern Utah, mountain biking, and bagging 14ers in Colorado’s San Juan Mountain Mountain Range. Kenton is a trail runner, former pilot, and spent roughly five years writing and photographing for the award-winning Omaha World-Herald newspaper, out of his hometown, Omaha, Nebraska. Kenton looks forward to utilizing his years of trip leading and guiding experience, combined with his passion and experience behind the lens, to provide memorable and unforgettable experiences at the wild places we will visit together.