During the winter months, Kaua‘i’s sunny southern shore is an ideal spot to look for migrating humpback whales as they arrive to rest and nurse in the warm offshore waters. Perched on the cliffs or bluffs of Koloa and Poipu, the visiting whales’ spouts can be easily seen on clear days, their tufts of mist hanging in the air just a few yards offshore. Should you miss these majestic visitors during your time on Kaua‘i, you can still catch a magical – and mythical – “whale” of another sort at the Spouting Horn Kauai blowhole in Koloa. This unique natural formation may evoke images of a whale encased in stone, but we assure you its origins are far more interesting!
The Hawaiian myth for the Spouting Horn Kauai doesn’t involve a whale, but rather a giant lizard named Kaikapu. Tired of the lizard terrorizing the local fishing grounds, a boy named Liko put an end to his antics by diving into the water and luring him away from Kukuiula Bay. When Kaikapu attacked, Liko wedged a stick into the lizard’s mouth and escaped his clutches by swimming to the surface through the blowhole chimney in the coastal shelf. Enraged, Kaikapu gave chase and became stuck in the underwater chamber. His hissing breath and angry roars can be heard to this day.
NOTE: Kaikapu was probably even more upset when the original blowhole – whose fractured opening is still visible beside the current spout – was blown up with dynamite by a local sugar plantation owner to stop the jets of saltwater from damaging their nearby crops located just downwind.
Kauai Free Activities
Access to the blowhole is limited to a scenic overlook at Spouting Horn Kauai as ocean conditions, wet rocks, and the violent geysers pose a safety risk. Excellent views can be head from the park’s headlands however, and the grounds are perfect for a short seaside stroll. Ample parking is available, and local artisans are often on hand selling local delicacies and treasures. To get there, take Highway 50 south from Līhu‘e and turn onto Maluhia Road (HI-520) and pass through the famed “Tree Tunnel” on your way to Koloa. After Koloa town, continue on Lawa`i Road as it follows the coast west to the park, passing Kukuiula Bay along the way.