Beyond Hanalei and the last wooden bridge, there’s a mighty cleft in the coastal range where ancestral Hawaiians lived in what can only be called paradise. Carved by a waterfall stream known as Limahuli, the lush valley sits at the foot of steepled cliffs that Hollywood portrayed as Bali Hai in South Pacific. This small, almost secret garden, part of the National Tropical Botanical Garden, is ecotourism at its best. Here botanists hope to save endangered native plants, some of which grow in the 1,000-acre Limahuli Preserve behind the garden, an area that is off-limits to visitors. The self-guided tour encourages visitors to walk slowly up and down the .75-mile loop trail (resting places provided) to view indigenous and “canoe” plants, which are identified in Hawaiian and English, as well as plantation-era imported flowers and fruits. From taro to sugarcane, the plants brought over in Polynesians’ voyaging canoes (hence their nickname) tell the story of the people who cultivated them for food, medicine, clothing, shelter, and decoration. The tour booklet also shares some of the fascinating legends inspired by the area’s dramatically perched rocks and Makana mountain, where men once hurled firebrands (‘oahi) that floated far out to sea. You’ll learn even more on the daily 2 1/2-hour guided tour, if you reserve well in advance; a weekly family tour, for parties with at least one child age 12 or younger, treats the garden as an outdoor classroom and lasts 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Limahuli Garden and Preserve
5-8291 Kuhio Hwy. (mauka side), Haena, HI
Our Rating Neighborhood North Shore Hours Self-guide tours: Tues–Sat 9:30am–4pm (grounds close at 5pm); Guided tour Tues–Sat 10am by reservation only; Family guided tour Tues–Sat 9:30am by reservation only; Specialty and private guide tours available by request. Phone 808/826-1053 Prices Self-guided tour $20 adults, $10 college students with ID, free for children 17 and younger with adult; Guided tour $40 adults, $20 college students with ID, $20 children 10–17 with adult (not recommended for kids under 10); Family guided tour $30 adults, $20 college students, $5 ages 5–17 with adult, free for 4 and under; Specialty and private guided tours ($75–$100). Web site Limahuli Garden and Preserve Other Credit card required to book guided tours.
Map5-8291 Kuhio Hwy. Kauai
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.