Have you ever heard of Mahaulepu?
Are you wondering what to see and do on Kauai?
Mahaulepu (ma-ha-oo-lep-oo) is only two miles from the Grand Hyatt along the resort strip of Poipu Beach. But the two miles is via a dirt road that is one ghastly pothole, which dissuades most rental cars. And from the remote parking area, an unmarked trail extends for another mile, a route taken by few beach goers. The takeaway: With deluxe hiking and snorkeling, Mahaulepu is among the top adventure attractions in Hawaii.
You can avoid the drive from the Hyatt by taking the 2.25-mile Mahaulepu Heritage Trail, which hugs the coast and passes the large remains of the ancient Ho'ouluia Heiau (temple). Whales and shorebirds enhance the scenery. The trail joins the parking area at Gillan's Beach (very good snorkeling) and continues over low-lying beach flora that is buffered by ironwood groves.
This unnamed cove is halfway from Mahaulepu to Haula Beach, a larger embayment that is just below the hill. From Haula begins a rugged ascent into a the Haupu State Forest Reserve—where you get a bird's-eye view of private Kipu Kai Beach that was featured in the movie, The Descendants.
The rugged road to Mahulepu ends at Kawailoa Bay. The snorkeling and swimming are excellent. The endangered Hawaiian monk seals like to haul out here and sunbathe.