My mom and I went to Kauai for a little rest and relaxation...and some adventure of course! I was so busy at work prior to the trip I had only planned one thing - the zipline tour. But on the plane ride over I sat next to a guy from Kauai, and read a little of my guide book and we managed to string together a really great weekend!
We arrived on Wednesday night, about 7:30pm and no one warned us about how dark the island is! When I say dark - I mean dark! And to add to the driving experience on these tiny winding roads, it was a torrential downpour. I said this trip was about adventure, right? We checked into our hotel - Sheraton Kauai Resorts, on the south shore - got a great room with an ocean view balcony, and called it an early evening. The guy I met on the plane told me how great (calm) the water was going to be on Friday, so we booked a Na Pali coast boat and snorkel tour online that night before everyone else realize how good the waters would be.
Thursday morning we got up early, had breakfast, and then decided to go for an easy hike along the south shore. We started at the Grand Hyatt Hotel and the trail took us about 2 miles down (heading east) with great views of the ocean and island. We came back after 2 miles, because while the hiking was easy, the heat was unbearable! Remember that calm water comment about booking the boat tour...yeah, calm water mean no winds! Very hot.
After our hike we found some lunch - a Puka Dog of course (had to try one). Then we drove over to see the Sprouting Horn blowhole. We came back to the hotel afterwards and laid by the pool until dinner. That night we ate at Keoki's Paradise.
Friday morning we had our Na Pali Catamaran Snorkel and Sail tour through Holo Holo Charters. We checked in at Port Allen and boarded the boat about 8:30. Just 30 mins in we stopped to snorkel for about 45 mins. Then we had breakfast on the boat and made our way down to the beautiful Na Pali coast. Along the way we stopped near this pod of dolphins. I've never seen so many in one area - really neat. And check out that photo I got - lucky shot! Ok - so back to this coast line - seriously, every minute just got more amazing as we went further and further north! The winds were too calm to sail, so instead we went north a little more, which was fine by me. We turned around to head back just after noon. We had lunch on the boat, and then just sat on the boat with our feet dangling over the edge watching the Kauai coastline as we headed back to port. So relaxing - I could have sat there for days!
Check out our Na Pali Coast and Snorkel Go Pro Video below
We got off the boat about 2:30pm. We knew it was too late in the day to get a good view of Waimea Canyon, but since we were pretty close to the road up there, we figured why not. We grabbed a car snack, and started our drive up. It was about 10 miles along a very winding uphill road. We stopped about half way up at a lookout and got a view, but after that as we kept driving higher the rain got worse and the clouds got lower and lower. By the time we made it to the Waimea Canyon Lookout, at 3,400 ft elevation, it was completely clouded in. We still ran up to the lookout spot, in the rain, and just had to laugh at our "wonderful view"! We continued on the road a few more miles to the Pu'u Hinahina Lookout. Again no view, but it was fun never the less. At least we can say we were there! For dinner Friday date we are at Josseline's Tapas bar & grill. Sangria was amazing and the tapas were even better!
On Saturday morning at 9:30am we were excited for our Koloa Zipline tour! The check-in spot was just a few miles from our hotel In Koloa. After getting our harnesses on and going through a brief tutorial, we hopped in the group van to drive about 10 minutes to our starting point. There were 8 ziplines along the course. On a few of them (the shorter ones) we hooked in normal and could flip upside if we wanted - which was really cool! And then on the others we hooked in at our backs to ride superman style. We highly recommend paying the extra $20 to do the superman harness - a lot of fun! The last line was 2,500 ft long and took almost a minute from start to finish. The guys who led our tour were absolutely amazing. Really did a great job and worked the lines so efficiently. My mom had a blast - and the others on the tour were so impressed that she was flipping upside down with no fear. Go mom!!
Check out our short Go Pro Zipline video as well.
We finished ziplining around noon (it helped that our group was only half full, so we went a lot faster than normal). We grabbed some lunch and then decided to drive over to the east shore in search of some waterfalls. We stopped at the Opaeka'a Lookout for a glance at those falls, and then went to search out Ho'opi'i Falls. There was a metal gate just off the road at the start of the trail, which was then just about a half mile down to the falls. We got down to the gorgeous Kapa'a Stream, and then took a right to wind along a bit further to the falls. There was a second fall further down the trail, but it was getting late in the day so we called it good at one. After making our way back up to the car, we drove to our last waterfall - Wailua Falls. Too bad we couldn't get closer to it, but it was a gorgeous view from the lookout spot. We made our way back South in time for a great sunset. For dinner we decided to try some Mexican food at Tortilla Republic. Not quite the authentic Hawaiian cuisine, but they had good fajitas that hit the spot.
On our last day in Kauai we decided to explore the North Shore. We hit the road about 7:30am and arrived at the North Shore by 9am. On the north shore we drove as far west as we could first, and were then going to work our way back southeast throughout the day. We had heard parking at Ke'e Beach was near impossible, but we thought we would try it out for kicks. Yep - parking was bad. But we got to drive by the wet and dry caves and had fun crossing several of those single lane bridges along the way. Heading back east just a few miles from Ke'e beach we found parking at Ha'ena Beach Park and spent the morning relaxing on the beach. So beautiful! For lunch we stopped at a shopping center in Hanalei - ate and did a little souvenir shopping. After lunch we drove down to Hanalei Bay and enjoyed the beach there for a while. We grabbed an obligatory shave ice afterwards and then started our drove back south. Along the way we stopped at the Hanalei Lookout for a picturesque view, and also the Kilauea Lighthouse. We didn't realize the road down to the lighthouse was closed on Sunday, but we still got a great view from the lookout spot.
The drive back south wasn't bad at all and we got to the hotel around 5pm. We relaxed on our balcony listening to the crashing waves, enjoyed one last sunset and then got ready for our last dinner in Kauai at The Dolphin Poipu.
We ended up really enjoying the south shore. Every one raves about North Shore, and yes it was beautiful and very action packed...but the south shore really had everything we could have asked for! Very quiet and calm, good mid-distance drive between almost everything we wanted to do, and great dinner choices at the Shops at Kukui'ula and the Poipu Shopping Village. Maybe next visit I'll stay on the North Shore and do a full comparison. Mahalo Kauai!
Check out some more photos from this trip here - Kauai Photos
My friend, Barb, and I were working in Los Angeles and decided to take a girl's trip to Oahu for a long weekend. We stayed in Waikiki at the Moana Surfrider hotel. On our first day we started in the morning by going to Pearl Harbor, but the wait to get on one of the boats was over 2 hours. So we decided to come back later. We set out with no real direction, just driving up the coast. We ended up at Ka'ena Point Trial, where we parked and enjoyed a walk along the coast. The views were just amazing, with the waves crashing against the rocks. In the afternoon we made our way back to Pearl Harbor and got a ticket to take the boat out to the USS Arizona Memorial, which was definitely worth the visit! We walked through a couple of the museums and then headed back to our hotel. We had heard about the Mai Tais at the Royal Hawaiian, so of course we had to go get one and watch the sunset. For dinner we found a great sushi restaurant, Doraku Sushi.
The next day we headed over to Diamond Head Crater. We took the trail to the top, which was fairly strenuous, not to mention it was really hot! But the views from the top were definitely worth the effort! We enjoyed hanging out at the lookout for a while, taking some great panoramic pictures, then made our way back down. After that we basically made a whole day out of looking through the guidebook and just working our way up the coast to the North Shore. We stopped at Lanikai Juice, Kailua Beach, Sunset Beach, a macadamia farm and had the best food ever at Giovanni's Shrimp Truck! That night back in Waikiki we ate dinner at A House Without a Key. They had live music and a hula dancer - it was very nice.
On our last day I decided I was going to try Paddle Boarding. I found an offer for a private lesson just down from our hotel and said why not! It was actually much harder than I anticipated...especially with the beach waves! But my instructor was good and very funny (and crude at the same time), so it was a fun experience. I definitely had my share of falls, but by the end I finally started to get the hang of it. I will have to try it again one day...maybe in some calm water! That afternoon we relaxed by the beach, did some souvenir shopping, had another Mai Tai at sunset, and finished our trip off with dinner at the Hula Grill.
Check out some more photos from this trip here - Oahu Photos
My friend Kylee and I took a girl's trip to Maui this year. We stayed at the Westin Maui Resort and had a really great long weekend.
Our first day we took the shuttle to Lahaina and walked around the town for a bit to window-shop, see the Banyan tree and the old prison (Hale Pa-ahao). We took a drive out to Honalua Bay, rented snorkeling gear for the weekend and then drove back to our resort to enjoy the water. We went down the beach to Black Rock and snorkeled around there. Kylee and I figured out we need to work on our under-water signals. I’m not a big water person to begin with and then as we’re snorkeling she starts pointing to something behind me (which of course I take to mean a shark or something – ha), and when I turn around it’s a gigantic turtle. Pretty cool! After some good time in the water we then sat on the Ka'anapali Beach and watched the sunset. There were a few restaurants within walking distance of our hotel and that night we ate at Hula Grill.
The next day we drove to the Haleakala summit. Such amazing views from the top at 10,023 feet elevation! What a contrast it was up there from the hot weather at the beach to the cold air at the summit. That night we got dressed up and went to the Old Lahaina Luau. It's definitely something you need to experience once. We actually had a great time - good food and good entertainment – and our waiter was definitely not bad to look at!
The following day we decided to take an R&R day. We hung out at the resort pool, enjoyed some more snorkeling, and just took it easy. At sunset we watched the Sunset Torch Lighting at Black Rock, and then went back to the Hula Grill for dinner. They had this chili-oil dip with their bread that we were just craving again!
On the next morning we got up early and set out in our car to drive the Road to Hana. Kylee was in charge of the guidebook, I navigated the fun winding roads, and we stopped at all of the waterfalls and lookout spots we could find. That was a fun day! Some of our stops included the Kaumahina State Wayside lookout, Three Bears Falls, hiking up the Wailua Iki Trail to the Falls at Wailua Iki, Lower fall at Pua'a Ka'a State Park, and then the highlight was hiking up the very muddy trail to the Upper fall at Pua'a Ka'a State Park. We met up with a couple other people also trying to find the upper fall, and finally after some very good instructions in the guidebook we made it there. We decided to get in the water and swim to the falls - and on my goodness...that water was absolutely freezing!!! We swam to the falls, snapped a picture and swam back as fast as we could! So much fun! After that experience we continued on our way and stopped at Hanawi Falls, enjoyed the amazing coastline view from Nahiku Road and finally made it to Black Sand Beach. It was getting late afternoon by that point and I didn't want to be on that winding road at dark, so we turned around at that point. We made it back to our hotel and grabbed dinner at Leilani's.
On our last day we drove around the island to meet up with our Molokini Snorkeling Tour. We boarded our boat and enjoyed a great tour of the island - seeing west Maui, the Maui South Coast beach, Haleakala and finally getting a great show from the dolphins. We made our way over to Molokini Crater and snorkeled for a while. We then got back on the boat and they took us to Turtle Bay for some more snorkeling. It took a while but we finally came across some of the huge turtles. One came up for air right in front of me - so cool! What a great end to a great vacation.
Check out some more photos from my trip here - Maui Photos