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