The Limahuli Valley on the North Shore of Kaua‘i has been a home to native Hawaiians for more than 1,500 years. Full of incredible biodiversity and a host of native species, to this day it remains one of the few pristine places on Kaua‘i. It is home to native plants and birds, and descendants of the first Hawaiians still practice traditional agriculture and cultural traditions in this lush and beautiful slice of paradise. Easily accessible (compared to the other isolated valleys in Kaua‘i’s interior), the Limahuli Garden offers a series of guided and self-guided tours for those who wish to experience a truly Hawaiian landscape.
Limahuli Garden and Preserve is a pu`uhonua (“place of refuge”) for the original ecological systems of Kaua‘i at the time of first contact, when the Polynesian voyagers arrived. The connections between the settlers and the land are preserved to this day, and indigenous traditions are still practiced and revered. A rich tapestry of terraced taro fields and lush green native forests greet the visitor, and this is one of the few valleys spared the onslaught of invasive species so problematic elsewhere in the Isles. Native and “canoe” plants (those brought by the voyagers) flourish here; from koa to taro, each species provided vital medicinal, economical, and practical applications to native Hawaiians. Learn about the intimate and intricate connections that tied these plant species to the life, culture, and very survival of the first Hawaiians, and see traditional practices still in place.
The Limahuli Garden and Preserve is open Tuesday through Saturday, from 9am to 5:30pm (early check-in for tours is recommended). A variety of tours are available, from self-guided walking tours to educational walks to private interactive experiences. Reservations for guided tours are required, and most walking tours take 1.5-2 hours.
Whether you venture out on your own or with a guide, you will experience beautiful wooded forests and sunny fields of tropical flowers. Forests full of native birdsongs and babbling brooks form the soundtrack for your stroll along peaceful pathways, and you can see first-hand the delicate balance between working the land and protecting the natural environment from the devastating effects invasive species have on the natural ecosystem. Learn the legends and myths of the valley, and watch as history comes alive before your very eyes.
NOTE: After the historic and tragic flooding in the spring of 2018, the garden is currently closed at this time while undergoing repairs. Please check their website for updates or to make donations to aid the recovery efforts.