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Waipio Valley, Big Island

Waipio Valley is certainly not hidden -- in fact, looking down into the breathtaking valley from the roadside lookout is an awesome experience. However, an excursion through the valley itself, in a mule-driven wagon, provides passage to gorgeous tropical vegetation, cascading waterfalls, saturated taro fields, and a striking black-sand beach -- all seldom seen. It is also a journey through history. King Kamehameha I established his long reign over the islands from this location. Formidable battles, human sacrifices, and peaceful agriculture have all been part of life in this mesmerizing valley. The softly wafting breezes here seem to whisper of Hawaii's past, so take a moment to contemplate the ancient stories this area can share.

If you are interested in a more intimate trek and are also capable of handling a fairly steep ascent out of the valley, hiking is definitely an option. Watertight shoes are a necessity, along with a backpack and light rain gear. Remember, this is the rainy side of the island.

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