Visiting Hawaii was always a dream of mine, so when Christian was randomly browsing flights and found some cheap flights to Kauai and we decided to go! It was perfect because that was the week of my birthday, and we didn't really get to celebrate Christian's birthday in July. This trip was going to be a present for both of us! I always knew I wanted to visit Kauai first because it is known as the "Garden Island" and is great for people who want to be in nature. The island was even more beautiful than I could have imagined. In this blog post I will talk about what we did, ate and saw while we were in Kauai!
Where We Stayed
We had a change of plans while we were in Kauai. Our original plan was to stay in airbnb's for the first half of the trip, then camp. We decided we didn't want to camp and booked hotels for the rest of the trip! We were looking for cheap hotels, but were very pleasantly surprised what we got for our money since Hawaii is notoriously expensive.
1. Islander on the Beach- The first airbnb we stayed at was a condo on the east side of the island in Kapaa, right on the ocean! The condo was located near a lot of restaurants and shopping making it very convenient. It was also close to the airport!
2. The second airbnb we stayed at was a beautiful five bedroom mansion on the north end of the island. We had a private room and access to one of the best pools I've swam in. This place was so relaxing and zen. It gave off a vibe as if I were in Bali. There was staff at this location that were for hire if you wanted a massage, a private guide or a yoga class.
1.Kauai Shores Hotel- The first hotel we ended up booking ended up being right next to our first airbnb on the east end! That was ok because we enjoyed the area, and usually were out exploring all over the island anyways. The hotel was very nice for the relatively cheap price! We had a nice room, pool, hot tub, and were located right next to the Lava Lava Club restaurant.
2. Courtyard By Marriot at Coconut Beach- This was one of my favorite places we stayed, and it is located on the east end of the island as well. This resort was beautiful! There's a beautiful pool and hot tub overlooking the ocean! We got free Mai Tai's upon arrival, and there is yoga on the beach every morning.
What We Did
Christian and I wanted to squeeze in as much as we possibly could while we were there, so we decided to rent a jeep so we had total freedom to explore. We chose a jeep wrangler so we could take off the roof! This whole trip we decided we mostly wanted to be in nature, whether that be hiking or going to the many beaches.
1.The Sleeping Giant- The first hike we went on was The Sleeping Giant because it was right near our airbnb on the east end of the island. We didn't know a lot about it, and actually ended up taking the wrong trail! We thought we were taking the trail that led you to the waterfall, but we took the Nounou trail and LOVED it! It is a moderate hike and got quite muddy at times. There were so many amazing views, but once you get to the picnic tables make sure you keep going because the views at the top are spectacular!
2. Ho'opi'i Falls- We met some friends at The Sleeping Giant, and we all decided to do one more hike to see a waterfall. Someone told us about Ho'opi'i falls and we decided to do that! There are actually two waterfalls and it's a very short hike to both. The first waterfall isn't safe to swim in, but hike a little more to the second one and it's a perfect place to swim!
3. Waimea Canyon Trail- This trail was another moderate trail that has amazing views of the Waimea Canyon. The Waimea Canyon is a must for everyone visiting Kauai because it's so beautiful. The Waimea Canyon is 3,000 ft deep and known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific! At the end of this trail you will come across two waterfalls, which one is safe to swim in!
4. Kalepa Ridge Trail- This was by far my favorite hike, but the most terrifying. This hike starts right at the Kalalau lookout and is about 1.6 miles. I found out after we hiked this that it isn't a legit trail. This offers beautiful views of the Kalalau Valley the whole way, and has the most amazing views at the very end. However, this should only be hiked if you're experienced because the drops are around 3,000 feet down. I started freaking out towards the end because the path ended up only a foot wide with drops on either side!
5. Queens Bath- I LOVED Queens Bath! It's a short, muddy hike that can be quite dangerous at times. Always check the warnings and do your research before you go. Once you reach the end, you'll come across Queens Bath. Queen's Bath is a tidal pool carved out of lava rock. Christian and I swam, jumped off rocks and had such a blast!
1. Poipu Beach- This is an amazing beach that is perfect for snorkeling! It is located on the south end of the island, and is absolutely beautiful. Christian and I snorkeled for hours here, then ate at the restaurant right next to the beach. This is a family friendly, safe beach because there are lifeguards there 7 days a week.
2. Polihale State Park- This place was one of the coolest experiences I've had! Polihale is located on the west end of the island, and can be pretty difficult to get to. You have to take a 3.5 mile dirt/rock road to get to the beach which can flood at times. We went to this beach two times, and both times we practically had the beach to ourself! Be careful swimming here because there are riptides and strong waves which can make it very dangerous.
3. Hanalei Beach- This beach is located on the North end of the island, and was my favorite beach to go swimming. The waves were relatively calm and the water was warm. We went on a very cloudy, rainy day but it was still fun! There is a cute town with lots of restaurants and shops right off the beach making it a perfect day in Kauai!
My birthday was right in the middle of our trip, and I knew I wanted to do something special. Christian and I decided we wanted to take a catamaran tour to the Napali coast. We researched some tours and decided on Blue Dolphin Charters, which was the best decision we made. You meet at the south end of the island, and end up taking the catamaran all along the west end of the island until you reach the Napali coast. They offer breakfast, lunch, drinks (including alcoholic beverages) and snorkeling gear. This was one of the best experiences I've ever had and I highly recommend you do this!