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Hawaiʻi, 2,397 miles (3,858 km) west-southwest of San Francisco, is a 1,523-mile (2,451 km) chain of atolls, islets and eight main islands — Hawaiʻi, Kahoʻolawe, Maui, Lanaʻi, Molokaʻi, Oʻahu, Kauaʻi, and Niʻihau. Kauaʻi is the northernmost island of the eight main islands, and the northernmost tip of the island is at Kīlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge and Lighthouse.

Hawaiʻi was first settled by Polynesians sailing from other Pacific islands between 300 and 600 C.E. and was a native kingdom until the late 19th century. The expansion of the sugar industry meant increasing U.S. business and political involvement. In 1893, reigning Queen Liliʻuokalani was deposed, and a year later the Republic of Hawaiʻi was established with Sanford B. Dole as president. Following annexation (1898), Hawaiʻi became a U.S. territory in 1900. The Japanese attack on the naval base at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, was directly responsible for U.S. entry into World War II. Hawaiʻi became a U.S. state on August 21, 1959.

Kauaʻi is known as the “Garden Isle” for its abundance of tropical plants and flowers. It is also famous for white sand beaches, towering peaks, waterfalls and tropical rainforests, making it truly one of the world’s most beautiful islands. (Ecologically and agriculturally, Hawaiʻi is the endangered species capital of the world with a majority of species on Kauaʻi.) The island is a favorite for locals, tourists, honeymooners, and filmmakers. Jurassic Park, South Pacific, Raiders of the Lost Ark, King Kong, Six Days Seven Nights, Honeymoon in Vegas, Dragonfly, Avatar, Just Go with It, The Descendants and even Fantasy Island were all filmed on Kauaʻi.

Fun Island Facts

Nickname:  The Garden Island
Island Flower:  Mokihana
Color:  Purple (Hawaiʻian: Poni)
Island Song:  Maikaʻi Kauaʻi
State Song:  Hawaiʻi Ponoʻī
County Capital:  Līhuʻe
Island Population:  72,029 (as of 2016)
State Population:  1,420,491 (as of 2018)
State Bird:  Nē Nē Goose
State Fish:  Humuhumunukunukuāpuaʻa

Kauaʻi Land Statistics

Total land area of the island:  562 square miles (1,456 km2)
Width:  25 miles (40 km)
Length:  33 miles (53 km)
Coastline:  90 miles (145 km)
Highest Point:  Kawaikini Peak, 5,243 feet (1,598 m)

Average Driving Times

From Princeville to…

Līhuʻe Airport:  50 minutes
Hanalei:  15 minutes
Kōkeʻe:  2 hours & 15 minutes
Waimea Canyon Lookout:  2 hours
Kalalau Valley Lookout:  2 hours & 30 minutes
Kōloa:  1 hour & 15 minutes
Poʻipū:  1 hour & 20 minutes

From Poʻipū to...

Līhuʻe Airport:  25 minutes
Kōloa:  10 minutes
Kōkeʻe:  1 hour & 20 minutes
Waimea Canyon Lookout:  1 hour
Kalalau Valley Lookout:  1 hours & 20 minutes
Princeville:  1 hour & 20 minutes
Hanalei:  1 hour & 30 minutes

Average Annual Rainfall

Waimea:  19 inches (48 cm) per year
Poʻipū:  36 inches (91 cm) per year
Mt. Waiʻaleʻale:  432 inches (1,097 cm) per year
Princeville:  85 inches (216 cm) per year
Kapaʻa:  48 inches (122 cm) per year

Kauaʻi State Parks

Ahukini State Recreation Pier
Hāʻena State Park
Kōkeʻe State Park
Nāpali Coast State Park
Polihale State Park
Russian Fort Elizabeth Historical State Park
Waimea Canyon State Park

Origin of the Hawaiian Language

Hawaiʻian is one branch of the Polynesian language, others being Samoan, Tahitian, Marquesan, Tuamotuan, and Maori dialects.

Language Specifics

Every word must end in a vowel and every syllable must end in a vowel. No two consonants can be pronounced without at least one vowel between them. There is but one exception to this rule and it applies to a word introduced by the American missionaries — Kristo, from “Christ.”

The Alphabet

There are twelve letters in the Hawaiʻian alphabet. Of these, A, E, I, O, U are vowels and H, K, L, M, N, P, W are consonants. A thirteenth letter ( ʻ ) called ʻokina is used to designate a glottal stop.

The vowels are pronounced: A as in father; E as in vein, I as in peep, O as in own, U as in spoon. A macron (kahakō) can be used above some vowels.

The consonants are pronounced: H as in happy, K as in kite, L as in lay, M as in moon, N as in no, P as in peak, W as in way.

Commonly Used Words

Aloha      Hello, goodbye, or love
A hui hou    Goodbye, until we meet again
Hauʻoli la hānau   Happy New Year
Heiau      Place of worship, shrine
Hula        Hawaiʻian dance
Komo mai  Come on
Kai           Ocean
Kamaʻāina Native-born islander
Kāne        Man
Keiki        Child
Lānai       Patio
Lūʻau       Hawaiʻian feast
Mahalo   Thank you
Mahalo nui loa   Thank you very much
Mele KalikimakaMerry Christmas
ʻOhana    Family
ʻOno         Delicious
Pau           Done, finished
Puka         Hole
ʻŌkole maluna    Bottoms up!
Pūpū         Appetizer
Shaka       Great, friendly hand greeting
ʻUkulele   Hawaiʻian string Instrument
Wahine    Girl or young woman