The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook: Kauai Revealed by Andrew Doughty


This is the famous blue guidebook that every tourist on the island of Kauai carries with them on their adventure trips.  It is a wealth of information and a must for any visitor to Kauai.  It was actually recommended to us by my sister Chris.  We are using the 6th edition which must be very current.  Example: We followed the directions to a remote swimming hole location where there was reported to be an operational rope swing for the kids.  But just as the book advised, the parking area on the deserted access road was littered with broken glass from thieves breaking car windows to grab whatever they could.  The locals know just to leave the car unlocked and the windows cracked with nothing inside to discourage break-ins.  We decided to just move on to the next location (especially since I had not purchased the supplemental rental insurance).

Sometimes the book almost has too much information — gaining you access to remote areas of the interior that might be more of an adventure than you are prepared to handle.  We had a terrific local guide yesterday (6th generation white Hawaiian! who knew everything about the island and the people who live here) on our journey into the rain forest.  This involved a rocky, bumpy thriller ride in his customized 4 X 4 commercial van (better than any amusement park ride) as he narrated a complete nature tour for us.  We ended up hiking into the central part of the rain forest which is one of the wettest spots in the world.  He related all sorts of stories of travelers who followed the directions of the famous blue book to their own misfortune.  (Several times he has used his winch to haul people out of various muddy potholes, etc.)   We had a blast stopping every young couple we passed in a vehicle going the other way and asking them if they were following the blue book directions.  We got that glazed over “What is this?” expression from them as we roared with applause in every case as they showed us their copy of the book.  They thought we were nuts!  But the kids made a game out of it.  There was one poor young woman driving alone in a regular compact auto — don’t know how she was going to navigate that terrain.  We enjoyed eating the various edible red berries and small blue flowers that tasted like mushrooms.  We touched the shy ferns that amazingly shrink back towards the root and close up to protect themselves — a reaction that seems more like an animal than a flower.  We didn’t see any wild pigs; but like the rest of the island, chickens and roosters can be found roaming around everywhere.  We took pictures of the kids as tree-huggers next to the rainbow eucalyptus trees that have the smoothest, most colorful  bark.  These trees breathe through the bark instead of the roots so they feel refreshingly cool.