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Beautiful, Dramatic Hanalei Bay

Hanalei means “lei-shaped bay” and names a valley, town, river, and bay. Hanalei is a fertile coastal plain, surrounded by beautiful emerald mountains, rich soils, and several waterfalls feeding streams and rivers. From our Hanalei boat tours you will see the beautiful beaches, dramatic mountains, and clear waters that have attracted visitors from all over the world. Hanalei and surrounding areas have been the home to many surfing champions and is now the favorite retreat of many well-known celebrities and experienced travelers. Many historic sites, bridges, churches, and buildings remind you of Hanalei’s rich past.

Your check-in destination is in the heart of Hanalei town. Tahiti Nui Restaurant has been a landmark in Hanalei for many years. It is known for its classic, local-style musical performers, authentic hula dancers and of course, great food and drinks. It has gained notoriety in recent years after being featured in the movie The Descendants, starring George Clooney.

As early as the 1950s, Hollywood began to frequent Hanalei and the remote landscapes of the north shore of Kauai. South Pacific was one of the first movies to draw attention to the area, filmed in 1957, it featured many recognizable areas in Hanalei and Ha’ena, coining the mountains along the northern stretch of the bay “Bali Hai”. Other popular movies that featured Hanalei include: the 1976 version of King Kong, Jurassic Park, and Dragonfly. Famous movie stars continue to make Hanalei their home away from home.

Hanalei Bay is the largest bay on Kauai and a perfect crescent shape. There are two miles of shoreline expanding from Puu Poa in the east and ends at Makahoa Point in the west. Many beach parks and public facilities including restrooms, showers, picnic tables, and pavilions stretch along the bay.

Recreation in Hanalei Bay

During the summer months, you see many sailboats and yachts anchored in Hanalei Bay. During the winter months, these boats are no longer safe, as the high surf and strong currents become dangerous. In the summer it is an excellent place for all kinds of recreational activities, including: swimming, surfing, body boarding, windsurfing, stand up paddling, canoe paddling, and kayaking. A 300-foot long pier jutting into the bay near the river mouth is recognizable from a distance. This pier was originally built in 1892, with some modifications and improvements over the years. It was abandoned for commercial use in 1933 and is now solely used for recreational purposes.

Agriculture in Hanalei Valley

Hanalei Valley was a thriving agricultural area, growing a diverse multitude of foods over the years. The marshy lands were great for growing rice and taro. Other agricultural endeavors along the years consisted of growing bananas, breadfruit, sweet potatoes, yams, coconuts, coffee, tobacco, cotton, sugarcane, citrus fruits, peaches, pineapples, dates, tamarind, guavas, plantains, cabbage, and lettuce. In addition, some lands were used for sheep and cattle ranching during the 1800’s.

Currently taro production is still prominent in Hanalei and easily recognizable by the flooded fields and large heart-shaped leaf of the plant. Kauai currently provides more than seventy percent of all taro grown in the state of Hawaii, and more than half of the island’s taro is grown in Hanalei Valley.