Globus has two Hawaii itineraries that include Kauai, one of which is an escorted cruise on Norwegian Cruise Lines' Pride of America that includes two days on the Garden Island. Tauck Travel offers an 11-night Best of Hawaii tour that includes two nights on Kauai with leisure time for either relaxation or exploration.
EscortedHawaiiTours.com, owned and operated by Atlas Cruises & Tours, sells more than a dozen Hawaii trips ranging from 7 to 12 nights operated by various guided-tour companies including Globus and Tauck. Several of these trips include two to three nights on Kauai.
Atlas Cruises & Tours (800/942–3301. www.EscortedHawaiiTours.com.)
Globus (866/755–8581. www.globusjourneys.com.)
Tauck Travel (800/788–7885. www.tauck.com.)
Hawaii has more than 150 species of birds that live in the Hawaiian Islands. Field Guides has a three-island (Oahu, Kauai, and the Big Island), 11-day guided bird-watching trip for 14 birding enthusiasts that focuses on endemic land birds and specialty seabirds. While on Kauai, birders will visit Kokee State Park, Alakai Wilderness Preserve, and Kilauea Point. The trip costs about $4,400 per person and includes accommodations, meals, ground transportation, interisland air, an eight-hour pelagic boat trip, and guided bird-watching excursions. Travelers must purchase their own airfare to and from their gateway city. Field Guides has been offering worldwide birding tours since 1984.
Victor Emanuel Nature Tours, the largest company in the world specializing in birding tours, has two nine-day trips that include Kauai. The guide for both tours is Bob Sundstrom, a skilled birder with a special interest in birdsong who has been leading birding tours in Hawaii and other destinations since 1989. Spring Hawaii is the theme of the late February birding trip, when seabird diversity on the island is at its peak. Birders will see the koloa (Hawaiian duck), one of Hawaii's most endangered wetland birds, as well as Laysan albatrosses, red- and white-tailed tropic birds, red-footed boobies, wedge-tailed shearwaters, great frigate birds, brown boobies, and possibly even red-billed tropic birds. Participants in the Fall Hawaii birding trip will visit Oahu, Kauai, and the Big Island in October. Birders will see Kauai honeycreepers and Hawaiian short-eared owls at Kokee State Park and Alakai Swamp and seabirds at the National Wildlife Refuges at Kilauea and Hanalei. Both the Spring Hawaii and Fall Hawaii tours cost about $3,900/person. Both trips include accommodations, meals, interisland air, ground transportation, and guided excursions. Travelers must purchase their own airline ticket to and from their gateway city. Tours begin in Honolulu and end up in Hilo.
Field Guides (800/728–4953. www.fieldguides.com.)
Victor Emanuel Nature Tours (800/328–8368. www.ventbird.com.)
RoadScholar (formerly Elderhostel), a nonprofit educational travel organization, offers several guided tours for older adults that focus on Hawaiian culture. With all the tours listed, travelers must purchase their own airline tickets to Hawaii. We've chosen a few of our favorite tours here, but more information on tour subjects can be found on the organization's website.
Best of Kauai's Natural and Cultural Wonders is a six-night tour presented in association with the Kauai Historical Consortium. You'll visit Hanalei, Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge, Grove Farm Homestead Museum, Kauai Museum, and Kokee Natural History Museum. You'll learn lauhala weaving and other traditional arts and crafts and discover why the island truly is like no other. The cost of this tour starts at $1,725 per person and includes accommodations, meals, ground transportation, admission fees, as well as tipping charges and a travel assistance plan.
The Best of Hawaii and Kauai is a 10-night tour, split up by five nights on the Big Island of Hawaii and five nights on Kauai. Exploring the natural beauty of these two islands, you’ll visit Volcanoes National Park and the Hamakua Coast on Hawaii, then explore the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge and the National Tropical Botanical Gardens on Kauai, learning about these two islands’ diverse life of birds, marine life, forests, volcanoes, and more. Prices start at $2,748 per person and include accommodations, meals, ground transportation, admission fees, and interisland air travel between Kauai and the Big Island.
Road Scholar (800/454–5768. www.elderhostel.org.)
Want to spend a week in Kauai hiking, snorkeling, surfing, and paddling? Kayak Kauai has a seven-day Discovery Tour where you will explore Kauai's peaks and canyons, rivers and coastlines, and discover lagoons with crystal clear water and breathtaking waterfalls, sacred trails, and miles of ivory-white sand beaches. Tours are offered every month and include accommodations, airport shuttles, van support during the week, communal gear, linens, all meals, guides, day tours, and activities. Discovery Tour is rated moderate but can be challenging at times, and participants should be in good physical condition. With a group of four or more, it is priced at $1,750 per person. Travelers must purchase their own airline tickets between their gateway cities and Kauai.
Kayak Kauai (808/826-9844 or 808/826–9844. www.kayakkauai.com.)
Hiking the Garden Island is the theme of a weeklong trip to Kauai sponsored by Sierra Club Outings. In addition to daylong hikes of 5 to 9 miles through many of the rain forests in Kokee State Park, participants will have opportunities for snorkeling and swimming at secluded beaches, as well as bird-watching. Hikers also will help in the maintenance of some of the trails. Accommodations are in shared cabins and, as with all Sierra Club Outings, participants are expected to help prepare some of the meals using only local, fresh ingredients. The trip costs about $1,695 per person and includes accommodations, meals, and ground transportation.
Hawaii Three Island Hiker is a seven-night hiking tour to Kauai, Maui, and the Big Island. Included in the per-person price of about $3,900 are accommodations, meals, interisland air between the Islands, shuttle transportation, support vehicle, professional guides, a T-shirt, and a water bottle. Hikers will spend three nights on Kauai exploring Napali Coast, including hikes to Hanakapiai Falls and the Nulolo Cliffs/Awaawapuhi Loop. Another highlight of the adventure is a cruise and snorkel trip along the North Shore. The trip is rated moderately easy to moderate. The World Outdoors has been organizing and leading adventure trips around the world for 20 years.
Timberline Adventures has a seven-night "Islands Classic" tour that includes Kauai and the Big Island. Participants will hike more than 25 miles total as they explore the rugged southern coastline on the Shipwreck Beach trail, the lush rain forests of Kokee State Park, majestic Waimea Canyon, the incredible waterfalls and cliffs along Napali Coast and even the quiet Sleeping Giant. Then it’s island hopping across the chain to the Big Island of Hawaii where participants explore Volcanoes National Park. Included in the per-person price of about $3,095 are accommodations on the West Side, North Shore, and Big Island, and meals and ground transportation.
Travelers must purchase their own tickets to and from their gateway city.
Sierra Club Outings (415/977–5500. www.sierraclub.org/outings.)
Timberline Adventures (800/417–2453. www.timbertours.com.)
The World Outdoors (800/488–8483. www.theworldoutdoors.com.)
For the ultimate luxurious vacation adventure experience, you'll want to book one of the Pure Kauai vacations. Included in all these high-end arrangements are private accommodations at elegant estates and villas, along with a personal concierge. Most anything can be arranged, from gourmet meals prepared by world-class chefs to outdoor activities, as well as massage and spa treatments. The company can create customized vacations with itineraries of any length and theme. Vacationers must purchase their own airfare between Kauai and their gateway city.
Pure Kaua'i (866/457–7873 or 808/828–6570. www.purekauai.com.)