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Botanical Gardens on Kauai

When you arrive on the island of Kauai, you'll immediately notice the lush tropical foliage and vibrant flowers that make our island one of the most beautiful destinations on earth. Kauai’s mild weather conditions and tropical climate allow our island's plants, flowers and crops to blossom and flourish year round. No matter where you look on Kauai, you will see Nature at its most spectacular. But to gain new insights and appreciation for our precious and fragile natural environment, plan a visit to one of Kauai’s botanical gardens. Undoubtedly, you will discover plants you have never seen before, and you’ll come away with a better understanding of why the island of Kauai has long been referred to as the “Garden Isle.”

As a guest at Hanalei Colony, you will be just 5 minutes away from one of the finest botanical gardens in the United States. Limahuli Garden and Preserve is part of the National Tropical Botanical Garden network, which includes botanical and research gardens across the U.S. Nestled between two massive mountains in Limahuli Valley, this areais historically significant, believed to be one of the earliest sites of human habitation in the Hawaiian Islands.  The 985-acre jungle-like Preserve is largely inaccessible and is being carefully nurtured and protected through research, conservation and educational programs. However, the 17-acre Limahuli Garden is open to the public five days a week and is certainly one of the most fascinating and visually stunning attractions on Kauai. It has received national acclaim by the American Horticultural Society as the "Best Natural Botanical Garden" and recognition for demonstrating "best sound environmental practices of water, soil, and rare native plant conservation in an overall garden design."

Centuries ago, ancient Hawaiians developed a system of resource management called ahupua'a, recognizing the connection between mountains, ocean and the role freshwater plays in linking the two. By dividing the land and working within the designated ahupua'a, Hawaiians maintained a large, healthy population without sacrificing the integrity of their natural resources. Lava rock terraces built by ancient Hawaiians demonstrate their innovative resource management techniques that contributed to a rich tropical ecosystem, giving life to a wide variety of native Hawaiian crops that are still flourishing today. Limahuli Garden is home to incredible archaeological treasures, including ancient stone-faced agricultural terraces believed to be well over 700 years old.

Limahuli Garden features many rare and beautiful plants of Polynesia as well as native Hawaiian plants, many of which are on the endangered list. You’ll be able to walk through the lava rock terraces, and see plants so rare they can’t be found anywhere else in the world. One such plant, native to Kauai, is the Iliau. This unique plant is reminiscent of Dr. Seuss’s whimsical truffula trees, featuring a tall, thin stalk with  bushy leaves on top. In full bloom, yellow flowers flourish at the center of the leaves, creating a magnificent display straight out of a storybook.Also look for the `Akoko tree--an extremely rare plant with thick, long leaves and a thin trunk reaching as high as 50 feet—and the native Ko‘oko‘olau plant.

Other (non-endemic) wonders of nature found at Limahuli Garden and Preserve include: gardenias, water lilies, taro and hibiscus flowers. With an abundance of pristine, flowing water from the mountains surrounding Limahuli Valley, the sounds of the Limahuli stream add another touch of serenity to your tour through these beautiful botanical gardens.

During your Kauai vacation, a visit to Limahuli Garden and Preserve provides a fascinating view of the past connecting with the present -- a garden tour combining ancient Hawaiian history with modern resource conservation techniques.

Limahuli Garden is open for self-guided and guided tours Tuesdays through Saturdays. Reservations are required for guided tours at least 2 days before your visit. The tour is roughly 3/4 mile in length and can take up to 1 1/2 hours on a self-guided or up to 2 1/2 hours on a guided tour. Guided tours begin at 10 a.m. and self-guided tours begin at 9:30 a.m. You’ll begin your tour at Limahuli Garden Visitors Center, 2 miles northwest of Hanalei Colony Resort on Kuhio Highway. Remember to bring bottled water, and wear comfortable walking shoes, a sun hat for shade, and mosquito repellant.

For more information or to reserve your guided tour at Limahuli Garden and Preserve, visit the website.

Hanalei Colony Resort proudly offers Kauai accommodations with ocean and garden views, so you can awake each morning to the lush sights and scents of our Garden Isle.