Kauai, the Garden Isle

Kauai was our second stop and it couldn’t have been more different from Honolulu!  Whereas Honolulu reminded me of Vegas, my first impression of Kauai was that it reminded me of Prince Edward Island…. meets Jurassic Park.  There’s vegetation and greenery everywhere!  I wouldn’t have been surprised if a dinosaur had wandered by.

We didn’t see any dinosaurs (well except for the miniature T-rex in a toy train display), but we did see all kinds of moa (wild chickens).  Apparently there was a hurricane back in ’92 that picked up the chickens and blew them around the island and now they’re everywhere.  I didn’t notice them at all our first day, but once I spotted one on the second day, I noticed chickens and roosters everywhere!  Who knew poultry liked the beach?  Or parking lots?

Kauai was a lot quieter and there were definitely fewer people around than in Waikiki.  Whenever we took a walk on the beach in front of our hotel, we were pretty much the only people on it.

Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t super great when we were in Kauai.  It was overcast most of the time and there were a few showers.  It was also windy and the surf was quite rough.  All that wind and the waves reminded me of beach days back home.

We did a helicopter tour of the island with Blue Hawaiian.  It was awesome!  We got to see Manawaiopuna Falls, also known as Jurassic Park falls.  These waterfalls were the whole reason we went to Kauai in the first place.  While Jurassic Park terrified me as a child because I was convinced at any moment a T-rex was going to come lumbering down the street and eat me, Michael absolutely loved it and still loves it!  One of our first dates was eating Chinese and watching his Jurassic Park DVD, actually.  The landing pad that was at the base of the falls in the movie isn’t there anymore.  Apparently they had to pour it three times during the filming because the concrete kept washing away.

Other sites on the helicopter tour included Waimea Canyon (the Grand Canyon of the Pacific), the Na Pali coast, Hanalei Bay (where they’ve filmed movies such as Soul Surfer), and tons of waterfalls!

We ended up renting a car that day too so we could get to the mall to meet our helicopter people.  I would have been happy with the cheap compact car, but that wasn’t good enough for Michael.  What we ended up with was a red Mustang convertible.   We went to the southern part of the island because we’d heard rains had washed out the only road going north and traffic that way was a nightmare.

We ended up driving through the eucalyptus tree tunnel we had seen from the helicopter tour.  Michael somehow missed that part of the helicopter.  Our conversation went something like this:  Me: “Isn’t this the tree tunnel we just saw?” Him: “What tree tunnel?  What are you talking about?”  Then I showed him the picture.

We saw the Poipu resort area and Spouting Horn.

Then we stopped in Koloa Town for lunch.  Not much to see, but there were lots of shops and restaurants, and it was cute.

On the way back, we stopped at the Wailua Falls (Fantasy Island falls) and Opaeka Falls and Wailua River lookouts.

We ate at The Eastside in Kapaa and it was delicious!  I had the huli huli chicken.  It was huge!  It was half a chicken cooked in some sort of papaya sauce, with a coconut lime cole slaw, and the best sweet potato fries!  I will always regret not taking a picture of it.  Besides the kalua pork at the luau we went to in Maui, the huli huli chicken is probably the most Hawaiian thing I ate.

Other delicious things I ate in Kauai include the fries at Trees lounge, a Snickers ice cream bar, an Oreo ice cream latte, and sweet potato ravioli with a lemongrass cream sauce from the Hukilau Lanai.

We stayed in an oceanfront room at the Aston Islander on the Beach on the Coconut Coast near Kapaa.  Despite not having an elevator, this hotel is great value for your money!  We were oceanFRONT and it was still our cheapest hotel (all our other hotels were oceanview).  It was so nice having breakfast on our lanai, and hearing the waves when the patio door was open.  I was a little nervous about this hotel as our travel agent had told us it was a twenty minute walk to get food since the hotel didn’t have a restaurant.  The internet made it seem like there was food closer than that, so we decided to give it a try, and we weren’t disappointed.  The Coconut Marketplace was practically on top of our hotel and it had different shops and eateries and a general store so we had lots of food options.

I loved Kauai and I look forward to returning one day!

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