How to summarize an island so rich with color, so glorious in spirit, so compassionate in nature, it needs a true adventurer to dig in and not let go. Extolling the magic of Kauai becomes almost a parable, as the oldest and wettest of the Hawaiian islands, the lush landscape of tropical flowers and waterfalls overwhelms in the best kind of way.
As the garden island of Kauai has one merit after another, the force that pulls one's heart to travel and reside there can't be explained. Maybe living off the grid is a desire, or simplifying life at some point due to the busyness of existence tugs more than ever and can't let go. Whichever motivates you to pull up your current roots and sell everything you own--save for a few priceless mementos--and restore your sanity in a place that is uber Aloha, Kauai has it all.
Explore, explore, explore
You have to rank outdoor activity as your number one mission on the island of Kauai. Once you arrive in the main city of Lihue, life feels instantly easier. Granted, Lihue is the hub city of airports and restaurants and hotels, yet it's also the main place to hail a cab and begin your journey around the island. If you've done your homework, the rest is a peaceful existence.
There are busses that travel from south to north shore and back. There are puddle jumper planes that will take you to the west side, the 'drier and sunnier' side of Kauai. There are cars and bicycles to rent. Whichever is your chosen mode of transportation, decide on a route and stick with it. The simpler, the better.
And of course, you could walk everywhere. Walking is the epitome of adventuring in Kauai, thus having a solid pair of flip flops or sturdy shoes helps the miles tick away. You'll find many visitors choose to walk, but it all depends on which area of the island you're settling into during your stay.
North Shore is highlighted
There is no hustle bustle on the north shore of Kauai. The age-old mantra of "leave your shoes at the front door" is echoed by every business and residence that permeates the Kauai culture. Barefoot living is simple living. The idea of having your feet close to the sacred land is one of the main attractions of dwelling on the island.
Everything is in close proximity to each other. From organic markets to yoga studios to eclectic restaurants, to taco shacks, and to Mother Ocean herself. Taking a bus or walking throughout the north shore is optimal, as it allows you the chance to see everything. There's an iconic lighthouse in Kilauea, right at the point of the small town, with an extremely rich history and allows you to get the gist of that area.
Kilauea has natural foods markets, small fresh fish markets supplied by local fishing boats where you can eat while the roosters and wild boar or island dogs roam about. It's an interesting mix of the environment that lends itself to how unique Kauai is, no matter the locale.
There's also the chance of rain, anytime, anywhere, and any day. As Kauai is the wettest place on Earth, it receives annually up to 300 inches of rain per season. The single lane bridge to Hanalei Bay can get flooded, the rivers where farmers tend to their lands nearby and paddle boarders traipsing though the channels coincide in a display of all-encompassing terrain, yet Hanalei Bay is a charmer in her own right.
The renowned Princeville Hotel is set right on the point next to the Hanalei Pier, and it's one of several five-star hotels that is a juxtaposition of the residents of Hanalei Bay. Surfers flock to the shores. Dolphins can be seen cruising in and through the waves. The sunsets are a sight to behold, as the inlet bodes well for a plethora of palm trees, waterfalls in the distance, and sand that feels awesome on your feet.
Time to rest
If being one with the land is any indication of travel, living simply on Kauai boils down to whichever area suits your heart. Plain as day. Take as much time as you need to explore the entire island. You never know what you're going to experience, yet you're never in a rush.