Explore Kauai sustainably by following these 6 tips on your next visit to the beautiful Garden Island of Hawaii!
After spending a month explore Kauai and talking with my friends who are locals, it became super important to me to share how to explore Kauai sustainably. There are tons of blogs out there sharing all the best places to visit but they rarely talk about things to protect the Island. If you are planning on visiting Kauai, or any of the Hawaiian Islands, please take the 6 tips below to heart!
How to Explore Kauai Sustainably
#1. Respect the Land
You can respect the land by doing any and all of the following tips! Hawaiian’s value their land and culture deeply, respect it. Do not be “that tourist”.
Another way to respect the land could be listening to the posted signs and knowing your limits. If there’s a “no swimming” sign at the beach, I would listen to it. The waves and shore-break can be extremely dangerous, especially in the winter. There’s no need to put your life and the life of others [aka. the lifeguard who will probably have to rescue you] at risk.
#2. Do not geotag or share exact locations on Social Media!
This has been one of the largest negative impacts on the landscape of Hawaii. No matter if you have 100 or 100k followers on Instagram, the more exact locations are shared, the more people go to those exact locations. As locations become more popular, it’s easy for them to become overrun, damaged, and even vandalized by tourists.
What does “don’t geotag” mean? Instead of putting the exact beach you watched the sunset at as your location, put “Kauai” or “Tag Responsibility, Keep Hawaii Beautiful”. Here’s an example one of my Kauai posts! You can always take photos of your Hawaiian adventures, but just make sure they are taken and shared in a respectful, eco-conscious way!
#3. Practice Leave No Trace Principles
While this seems like common knowledge, you’d be surprised how many people completely ignore the LNT Principles. The biggest principles when exploring Kauai sustainably are not leaving any trash behind and leaving what you found, where you found it. All the beautiful seashells may be tempting but leave them so other people can enjoy and the ecosystem can stay intact! Another best practice that isn’t explicitly stated is wearing reef-safe sunscreen, always!
It is can take simple steps by many people overtime to either destroy an environment or protect it. Be the type of person to always leave a place better than you found it!
Want to get inspired to plan your Hawaiian adventure? Watch our Kauai Home Video!
#4. Support local
Always, always, always support local! Whether it’s a local restaurant, shop, or even Airbnb. Corporate companies seem to be taking over the world and it puts so many local’s livelihoods at risk [not just in Kauai, but all over!]. It’s one of the easiest things you can do to support the local economy of Kauai.
Here are a few easy examples of how to support local Kauai:
- Eat at local restaurants. Check out my blog, Best Shave Ice Places on Kauai!
- Stay at an Airbnb or rental properties, instead of a hotel chain
- Support “mom and pop” tour companies
- Shop at local grocery stores or farmer’s markets
- ALWAYS pay entrance fees to state parks or beach parking
- Purchase souvenirs at local shops
#5. Do not go near or touch the wildlife
Wildlife is beautiful to watch and it can be incredibly tempting to try and touch the animals, don’t! It’s common to see a sea turtle or Hawaiian monk seal laying out on the beach in the sun. Do not approach! There’s sometimes a little “fence” or rope put around the area to protect them to prevent people from bothering them. But even while swimming in the ocean or snorkeling, look at the beauty of the animals with your eyes, not your hands! In addition, a law recently passed making it illegal to chase dolphins by swimming or boat.
#6. Learn about the Hawaiian Culture and the present day issues they face
It wasn’t until a few months ago that I had even heard about some of the issues and struggles that local Hawaiian’s are facing. My voice is not the loudest in the room but I want to use it to help spread the word to others.
Since I am not Hawaiian, I am not the expert to speak on this topic. Here are a few local accounts to learn more: @protectmaunakea, @alohaadvocacy, @end_hate_in_hawaii, and @thekuproject. There are so many more resources than the ones mentioned so I urge you to do your own research to gain a new perspective before visiting Kauai on vacation!