In the heart of Kaua‘i’s rugged North Shore, the scenic escape of the Princeville Botanical Gardens can be found nestled between the craggy peaks and the overlooking fertile river valleys. This sacred garden paradise showcases the native and “canoe” species of the Hawaiian Islands, as well as medicinal plants, endangered flowers, and economically important species from across the globe. Here you can enjoy an interactive and fascinating guided tour of the grounds, exploring groves of fruit trees flourishing in the Kaua‘i sunshine and admiring the dedicated bustling of both native honeybees (which produce some of the island’s best local honey) and the garden’s own workers as they harvest organic cacao for producing delicious chocolate. Open four days a week, the Garden offers two tours on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays (9:30am, 2pm) and one on Fridays (9:30am).
Paradise Found in the Princeville Gardens
The Princeville Botanical Gardens is young as gardens go, but its incredible diversity rivals any other in the state. Reclaimed from overgrown cattle pasture in the early 2000’s, the invasive species were eradicated and native and “canoe” species (those introduced by the voyagers who settled Kaua‘i) planted in their place. Thanks to painstaking care, organic and sustainable practices, and a whole lot of love, the Garden now flourishes and features prime examples of important medicinal plants, native trees, tropical flowers, delicious fruit trees, and important economic plants like coffee and cacao trees, among many others. The grounds are interwoven with beautiful walking paths, perfect for exploring with your knowledgeable guide.
The Princeville gardens does not offer self-guided tours, so all visitors must reserve a space on one of the weekly guided tour offerings. Each tour lasts three hours and includes a relaxing walk through the gardens where you can learn about the fascinating natural history and homeopathic uses of the numerous species found here, from fruits to hardwoods to medicinal roots. Native birdsongs serenade you as enjoy your tour, and the provided samples of fresh fruits, local honey, and the Garden’s very own organic chocolate are sure to keep your spirits – and your energy – at an all-time high. At the end of the walk, a 30-minute interactive session allows you to learn everything you ever wanted to know about cacao and the Garden’s chocolate processing operation (and yes, there are more samples as you watch these chocolatiers at work).
Perfect for the entire family (though children under 6 might find the walk too tiring), the Botanical Gardens tours runs rain or shine (so you can get muddy) and is an excellent way to explore the lush, native forests of Kaua‘i.