Landlubbers need not apply—the only official way of visiting Honopu beach is by swimming. Inaccessible by land and impossibly magical in its setting, this treasure trove of a beach has provided the scenery for many a film, among them King Kong, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and South Pacific. (Admittedly, the authorities may well have had to make an exception to the swimming-only rule for the film crews.)
Two deep, golden beaches flanked only by steep mountain rock and the enchanting azure waters of the South Pacific are connected by a colossal stone arch in the craggy rockface, before which a waterfall cascades like a shimmering curtain. Honopu, situated on the dense Na Pali coast, is nature’s gift to the adventurer. Veering up the vertiginous cliffs, even more inhospitable terrain abounds—the last remaining track of the legendary jungle guarding Honopu beach was reclaimed a the hurricane in 1962. This thick, unnavigable wilderness is thought to be the final home of the native Mehuens, lending the Honopu jungle its alternative moniker: “Valley of the Lost Tribe.” Honopu is among the best-kept secrets in the lush tropics of Kauai, the oldest of Hawaii’s islands. A volcano formed Kauai’s spectacular natural terrain, melding sheer cliff faces with dense jungle, lush waterfalls, emerald interiors, and theme-park-perfect rivulets and waterways. The cool temperatures of the mountains provide welcome respite from the balmy climate of the coast.
Honopu beach itself is steeped in legend, and is thought to be a sacred tribal burial site where nobility were laid to rest. Today it provides the perfect spot to explore the Pacific’s finest sea life, luxuriating in splendid isolation as you bask in your thoughts and in the sheer wonder of nature.