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“It's a Botanical Garden-not just a waterfall”
Review of Waimea Valley

Waimea Valley
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Go Oahu Card
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Oahu Coach Tour Including Dole Plantation and Waimea Falls
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Kauai Shore Excursion: 55-minute Helicopter Adventure Flight
Ranked #4 of 60 things to do in Haleiwa
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: Experience Hawaiʻiʻs Living Culture in Waimea Valley, deeply rooted in authentic Hawaiian History, Culture, Spirituality and Tradition. Waimea Valley is a world apart from Waikiki, be in the quiet of nature, beautiful flowers, rare plants, cultural sites and a beautiful waterfall for swimming.
Reviewed November 9, 2012

If you go to the Waimea Valley only to see the waterfall, you will probably be disappointed, depending on when you go. Right now (November 2012) they've had very little rain, so the waterfall is a trickle. To me, this didn't matter. I love going to visit botanical gardens, and this is a good one!

Everything is well marked and labeled, so you can learn what kinds of plants you're looking at and driving by.

There are some highly maintained areas and some areas that need to be weeded (the hibiscus garden comes to mind), but there are lots of beautiful foliage areas and blooming plants to see. I really liked the begonia and fern hill, which I think many people probably miss. It is fun to see a lot of plants that grow as houseplants growing"wild."

The gardens are organized by plant type and geographic area. If you actually read some of the signs instead of sprinting for the waterfall, you'll learn some things.

You will see weeds, but can you imagine tending a park this big and keeping it totally weed-free? I think they do a decent job, and they probably work area by area. By the time they get back to the beginning, there are a lot of weeds to deal with!

Some tips if you're going:

1) Take a bottle of water or buy one. it is hot and humid

2) Wear shoes with a good grip on the bottom--tennis shoes or Keen-types. The path to the right is slippery, but that's where you see the most stuff.

3) Rain showers pop up frequently, so be ok with getting a little wet or take a raincoat or umbrella

4) The bugs were not bad while we were there, but I think they can be.

5) If you can't walk very well you can take the little shuttle. It costs $6 round trip. There are hills to walk. I think it would be worth the drive just to see some of the gardens, albeit quickly!

6) The gift shop actually has a nice collection of books about Hawaii--the only books I've seen since I got here! I bought several.

7) Stop at the snack bar and get one of the locally made popsicles on your way out. SO tasty. I got the pineapple vanilla.

Kids might be bored here. Or they might not. Depends on if they like plants.

When we were there you couldn't swim because of the lack of water. After learning about the bacterial disease that is in the water, I don't think I would have wanted to swim anyway. There is a life guard there. You can also rent or borrow life jackets. (I don't know if you rent or borrow--because we couldn't swim, I didn't investigate.)

It's a really pretty park and a way to actually stroll through the "rainforest" conditions of the north shore.

Thank camellia10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed November 7, 2012

Nothing bad to report about this place. Like others have said, its an easy hike (mostly paved) and you get a slight glimpse into tribal life. The water fall is subject to mother nature and so we too saw only a smaller water cascade instead of the waterfall we had hoped for. The water was refreshing and we still got to sit under the water that was falling. Nice, peaceful, and relaxing. Half day at most.

Thank Ken B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 6, 2012

The glossy tourist brochures make this place sound amazing, so we paid our $15 each and hiked off to the waterfall. The grounds themselves are nice enough, although a little overgrown in areas. The walk to the waterfall is about 3/4 of a mile. Although it's paved, it is up and down hill so not for the unfit or those with walking difficulties (there is a little tram type thing that will drop you off at the waterfall for $4 each way!). Given that the waterfall is the pinnacle of the whole Waimea Valley experience, we laughed when we saw it. We were expecting this spectacular waterfall and all we got was a little trickle of water over some rocks. Ok, so fair enough, this is nature and if it hasn't rained for some time, it's not gonna be ferocious, but I was expecting more than a little trickle - I've seen more water overflowing from the gutter on a rainy day! People are able to swim in the pool of the waterfall, and there are lifeguards on duty. The only (major) issue I had with the swimming experience were the signs warning that the water is contaminated with leptosporidium!! Umm...thanks, but I think I'll pass on that one!

Thank northernstar30
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 5, 2012

Definitely worth the trek. Easy hike, beautiful gardens. I saw so many plants growing in tree crevices that I've killed through the years in my own home! Amazing, stunning and delightful. The falls at the end of the hike was a popular swimming hole but too congested for my taste. Life vests and noodles being rented, all spoiled the natural beauty for me. The rest of the hike was quite lovely.

Thank dalycalifornia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 4, 2012

The Waimea Valley offers an opportunity to take a short hike (walk, really) back to Waimea Falls, where you can actually swim up to the waterfall (which I highly recommend -- I mean, how many times in your life are you going to get this opportunity?!) The terrain changes so drastically from the coast and the beach, it feels, in some spots, as though you have stepped back in time. The path is relatively easy, the little ones can run & play on the grass. It's peaceful, and the follage is completely beautiful!

Thank PassportEnvyTA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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