Beautiful Kauai garden tour at Limahuli Garden & Preserve


A treasure within a treasure — those are the words that come to mind to describe Limahuli Garden and Preserve on the far north shore of Kauai. With cliffs in every shade of green reaching up to the sky and down to the Pacific, the north shore of Kauai is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Nestled on 1,000 lush acres between these scenic cliffs, Limahuli Garden and Preserve invites you to enjoy these stunning surroundings.

Limahuli Garden and Preserve is not just a pretty face, it also provides a look into ancient Hawaiian culture. This garden features plants that not only helped ancient Hawaiian communities survive but thrive for centuries.

Stop into the visitor center first for tickets and a very handy guide book. Then set off on a self-guided journey back in time to a pristine, Eden-like scene. Walk past the 700-year-old rock terrace walls where kalo (taro) grows — a staple food of Hawaiian people. Then move further into the “Canoe Garden” which features the important, life-sustaining plants brought to Hawaii by the Polynesians. Banana, sweet potato, sugar cane and coconut are some of the 27 most important plants brought by canoe to Hawaii.

An example of a native plant and its use in Hawaiian culture.
An example of a native plant and it’s use in Hawaiian culture.

The next garden section, the Plantation Era Garden, highlights the plants that were brought over from the people who came to Hawaii to work in the sugar cane, pineapple and coffee plantations. As workers migrated from China, Japan, Philippines and Portugal, they brought their favorite plants. Some of these plants that you’d probably recognize are mangos and plumeria.

The Native Forest Walk is a re-creation of a healthy Hawaiian forest. This forest is made up entirely of native species including some of the rarest endemic plants. Some of these plants are so scarce that there are less than 10 known plants in the wild.

In addition to the featured sections we’ve listed, there’s more to see, including more gardens, a lovely stream and an archaeological site thought to be the remnants of ancient Hawaiian homes.

A lovely spot to rest and take in the views.

What to know when you go:

  • Starting in June 2019, a reservation system has been implemented. See our discussion regarding the new Kauai north shore shuttle and reservation system. Also, check the garden’s website for current  procedures to visit.
  • The entrance is almost at the end of highway 560 near Ke’e Beach and the start of the famous Kalalau Trail.
  • A ticket fee is charged. Check the garden’s website for current ticket pricing.
  • Allow approximately 1.5 hours to leisurely tour the garden.
  • The plants are well marked and the guidebook provides more details.
  • The dirt and gravel paths are well marked.
  • There are some elevation climbs, but nothing overly strenuous.
  • When we visited, walking sticks were provided at the visitor center.
  • When we visited, mosquito repellant was provided at the visitor center.
  • There are several water stations for you to refill your own water bottles.
  • Sunscreen and a hat are advised. Just in case of a passing rain shower, you might want to bring a light, rain jacket.
  • Check the Limahuli website for updates and further information.

Final footnotes to add:

– We were staying in Poipu during this visit. It was quite a drive — over 50 miles and well over an hour. We almost decided to skip it, but we were really glad we didn’t it was well worth the effort.

– As a matter of disclosure, our visit was hosted. As always, we only give you the same advice that we’d give to our friends and family. For more opinions, here’s a link to TripAdvisor reviews of Limahuli Garden and Preserve.

– You can see more of our photo collection from Limahuli here.

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