My Faves: Kauai Part 2

 

Way back when I told you about a few of my favorite things Kauai has to offer.  Here’s a few more.

#7 Kayaking the Wailua River and Hiking to Uluwehi Falls

The Wailua River was one of the most scared places on the islands to the ancient Hawaiians.  Kayaking this sacred river and hiking through the forrest to have a swim in Uluwehi Falls is a must do while you’re on Kauai.

Since we had zero kayak experience, we booked a tour through Wailua Kayak Adventures.  We did the morning tour and went with them because they’re the first tour group out on the water, so we started out with the river all to ourselves.

I’m usually too nervous to do adventurous things, so I was pretty proud of myself for kayaking the river, even though I know it’s not really that adventurous.  I think if Michael and I were on The Amazing Race, we’d do decent in a kayaking challenge.

The guide was full of interesting information and took us on a route through the remains of ancient Hawaiian gardens.

And, of course, we got to swim in a waterfall.

#8 Jojo’s Shave Ice

The best shave ice I’ve had on any of the islands!  Get the Colada Special.  It’s a combination of pina colada, banana colada, strawberry colada, vanilla colada with a macadamia nut ice cream centre and haupia cream topping.  So good!

#9 Kalalau Trail, Na Pali Coast State Park

Originally, the plan had been to hike from the Ke’e Beach to Hanakapi’ai Beach and then on into Hanakapi’ai Falls.  Once we got to Hanakapi’ai Stream and saw the crowd of hikers on its bank watching other foolish hikers struggle to cross it in waist deep water, that plan changed.

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The trail has a reputation of being dangerous, and when the stream is above your knees, it’s not safe to cross.  I didn’t fancy getting stuck on the other side or swept out to sea trying to get back across it.  Michael wasn’t too impressed when I made him turn back, but he felt better when we reached the trail head and saw that they had closed it due to poor weather conditions.  At least we had got to hike part of it and see some stunning views of the Na Pali Coast, which is more than the late arrivals could say.  Moral of the story is, start early and check the website for updates before you go.

I am really glad we got to hike the part that we did, and hopefully I’ll get the opportunity to go back and hike into the falls.

#10 Kauai Nut Roasters

Delicious macadamia nuts with so many interesting flavors!  My faves?  Coconut kona coffee and coconut pineapple li hing.  They also have pecans, walnuts, and almonds too.  Oh, and I did I mention they have free samples?

#11 Maha’ulepu Heritage Trail

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I think this was my absolute favorite thing we did on the trip!  One of the most stunning stretches of coastline I have ever seen.  I couldn’t get over the color of the water.  Just gorgeous!

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Starting from Shipwreck Beach, the trail runs 2 miles each way to Ha’ula Beach.  You start out on a lithified sand dune and continue on to secluded coves with interesting rock formations, and even through sacred heiau ruins.  Walk it all, or turn back at any time.  You won’t regret it!

#12 Glass Beach

As an avid beach comber, who was taught from a young age to look for sea glass when walking on the beach, and I heard there was a glass beach on Kauai, I knew I HAD to go.

When we arrived, we actually thought that we were at the wrong beach.  The pieces of sea glass are so small, they really look like sand!  They may have been tiny, but if you looked closely, you could find blue, red, and pink pieces.

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And there just so happened to be a monk seal sunning himself while we were there too.

BONUS:  Of course doing a helicopter ride and seeing waterfalls are also great ideas!

Have you been to Kauai?  What are some of your island favorites?

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My Faves: Kauai Part 1

In March I traveled to Hawaii for the fourth time.  This year,  Michael and I went for two weeks so we spent one week on Hawai’i and one week on Kauai.  We hadn’t been back to Kauai since the first time we went to Hawaii, and on that trip we were only there for three nights, so we didn’t do it justice.

Plus, you can never have to much Hawaii, really.

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Kauai is amazing!  There are so many things to do and beaches to explore, and it’s a smaller island so it’s very quick and easy to get around.  A rental car is a must.

In no particular order, here is part one my favorite things in Kauai that you should check out if you find yourself on the island.

#1 ‘Anini Beach

Beautiful beach on the North Shore.  Crystal clear water.  There was also a view Kilauea Lighthouse on the cliff off in the distance, which we had been planning on visiting but couldn’t because it was temporarily closed.

#2 Waimea Canyon State Park and Koke’e State Park

Waimea Canyon has been called the Grand Canyon of the Pacific.  The park offers numerous lookouts with stunning views.

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If you continue on through Waimea Canyon State Park you end up in Koke’e State Park which also has some amazing lookouts offering views of the Kalalau Valley.

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Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t the greatest when we were there so we didn’t end up hiking as much as we had planned and some of our views were obstructed, but we were lucky that the mist cleared at the Pu’u o Kila Lookout that we were able to see down to the coast.

#3 Poipu’s Beaches

Poipu offered some delightful beaches, close to restaurants and beach gear rentals.  We spent some time at Poipu Beach Park and were lucky enough to spot some monk seals coming ashore here.

I also unintentionally swam with a sea turtle here!  One poked its head out of the water nearby while I was swimming and I was super excited!  I was also slightly terrified that a shark might be nearby looking for lunch.

#4 Hanalei Valley and Bay

More beautiful scenery from.  There’s a lookout of the Hanalei Valley where you can see the taro fields.  A little further down the road a fabulous view of Hanalei Bay, but there’s nowhere to stop, so drive slow around the turn and take it in!

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Of course, you can also walk along the beach at Hanalei Bay or take surf lessons.  And be sure to check out the Aloha Juice Bar.  I had the most delicious caramel macadamia nut milkshake from there.

#5 Eat Tacos

If I could only eat one food for the rest of my life, it would be tacos.  Kauai seems to love their tacos too, as it seemed like there was no shortage of taco restaurants.  Check out Island TacoTiki TacosAl Pastor Tacos, and Monico’s Taqueria.  Yum yum!

#6 Salt Pond Beach Park

A great place to relax or go for a swim.  For us, it was convenient because it was on our way back from Waimea Canyon and we stopped here for a swim, but it would be a great beach to spend the day at!

Stay tuned for part two of my Kauai favourites!

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!