The northern part of Kauai and the Nāpali Coast are known for wet and dry caves. They are formed by wave erosion on the lava flows long, long ago, some 3,000 and 4,000 year ago, when the island was some six feet lower in the sea. Wet caves have springs filling an underground pond.
Maniniholo Dry Cave and two easy-to-get-to Wet Caves are just off the road in the Haena State Park on the way to Ke‘e Beach from Princeville.
Maniniholo Dry Cave
Maniniholo Dry Cave right across the street from Haena Beach Park.
The cave is has a wide mouth and is not very deep. The floor of the cave is covered with sand. Kids might enjoy exploring Maniniholo Dry Cave with a flashlight, but you really don’t need one. If your eyes are pretty light sensitive, you can see inside the cave from just the light from the large mouth of the cave.
Waikanaloa & Waikapalae Wet Caves
The Wet Caves are just a little way before Maniniholo Dry Cave. You can park at Haena Beach Park and walk back to them. Waikanaloa is right on the road.
The second Wet Cave, Waikanaloa, is up a short trail behind Waikanaloa. There are no signs, but you can see the trail. The pool is in the Blue Room, the small inner room. When the light reflects off the water, the room turns blue.
These caves are filled by an underground spring that then flows into the ocean.
DON’T GO IN THE WATER
Even though the water is spring fed and cold, it is still contaminated with Leptospira bacteria.
The water is contaminated with Leptospira bacteria.
Leptospirosis is found around the world, but is most common in warm tropical areas like Hawaii. Leptospira bacteria can live a long time in warm fresh water and mud. Freshwater ponds, waterfalls or streams in Hawaii are not safe for swimming, wading or hiking.
Salt water is safe, but don’t go into the streams feeding into the ocean. Be especially careful of mud or fresh water puddles, ponds, or streams if you have blisters, cuts or any other opening in your skin. Don’t drink from springs or get freshwater or mud in your mouth, nose, or eyes. Be sure to wash your hands with soap if they get muddy. Let your doctor know if you have been to Hawaii or any other tropical area and have flu-like symptoms; fever, headache, chills, sweating, muscle pain, painful or red eyes, jaundice and vomiting. If you don’t catch it early you can have acute liver and kidney failure, meningitis, blood or nervous system damage. Or even die. Symptoms can be from 2 to 30 days after exposure, but are usually within a week or two.
A blood test can determine whether you have been infected with Leptospira bacteria and prescribe antibiotics.
Every year, 100 to 200 cases of Leptospirosis are identified in the United States. Almost half of these are in Hawaii.