What’s more tropical than a waterfall? Sure there are plenty of waterfalls in nontropical locations—take Niagara Falls, for instance—but when I think waterfall, I think of a tropical climate, complete with orchids, colorful birds, and palm trees. That just seems the appropriate place for waterfalls in my opinion. Hawaii appears to support this theory of mine, as it is home to a plethora of beautiful waterfalls that come in all sizes and shapes (and occasionally varying colors too, thank you rainy season mud).
Being waterfall fans (come on, who doesn’t like to see gushing water jump off of a cliff?), we searched out a selection of waterfalls on our visit.
On Kauai, we first visited Opaeka’a Falls and Wailua Falls, both of which you can drive up to. Much better roadside attractions in my mind than a giant ball of twine.
We then saw more of Kauai’s water wonders on a visit to Waimea Canyon. We viewed many of the falls from a distance, but we earned the right to get up close and personal with Waipo’o Falls on a challenging hike through the canyon. Honestly, the view of the falls is better from afar, but it was a scenic hike. And from a distance, my parents could not have practiced their American Gothic pose while standing over a waterfall. Worth it.
The Hilo side of the Big Island is well known for being wet, which might be a downer for some, but on the plus side, it means you’ll find lots of waterfalls. Just a bit north of Hilo, Rainbow Falls is a well-established tourist spot, but even when a tour bus full of cruise ship passengers pulls up at the same time you do, you can still get some uninterrupted views. It’s quite powerful in the rainy season months, but it’s also quite brown thanks to all the run-off.
Well worth the $15 admission fee, the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden overflows with beauty. Nestled amidst all the flowers and trees and ferns and other tropical plants is this lazy little waterfall.
Battling for the tile of most noteworthy waterfall in Hawaii is Akaka Falls,which plunges 420 feet into a pool.
It’s practically impossible to go to Hawaii and not see a waterfall unless you plant yourself in Waikiki and never leave. With many waterfalls either right on the road or just a short walk from it, plan to pull over for the view.