Ready for more about my vacation to Hawaii? Just to refresh your memory, our first week was spent in Maui. It was a whirlwind of fancy hotels, nice beaches, whale spotting and twisty shoreline drives. I loved every second of it, so it was going to be hard to beat. But we tried anyway. After six perfect days in Maui we flew to Kauai.
Our time in Maui was hectic and full, so our goal for Kauai was to slow the pace a bit and relax. I've been to Kauai before and I always tell people that it is the definition of paradise. Where Maui feels fancy, Kauai feels laid back. All the buildings and roads are a little old in a charming way. Nothing is sleek and modern, but beachy and rustic instead.
Chickens are everywhere on Kauai, as common as pigeons or squirrels in other places. Charming, right?
Like in Maui we stayed at a beautiful condo. This one was even better than the one in Maui with 20 foot ceilings and a wrap around porch. It was in the little town of Princeville which is tucked right up next to Hana Lei (the most beautiful town I or anyone else has ever been to). My sister and I ran the two miles from our condo to the St. Regis Resort which sits on the spectacular Hana Lei bay. I think it is safe to say you can trust a fancy hotel to pick a great beach.
Princeville is on the north side of the island, which it turns out is the rainiest part of the island. February is the rainiest month in Kauai, so we had to work to dodge raindrops. One day we planned to be at the beach all day on the north side, but were rained out. We headed to Poi'pu beach on the south side instead, where, luckily it is usually blocked from the rain of the north. While we were on the beach a monk seal and a giant sea turtle crawled out of the water to sunbathe. We were happy to share our patch of sand with them.
Our group ended up snorkeling on a northside beach another day. It was beautiful and...rustic.
Kauai has some great hiking with trails twisting along the faces of the coastline cliffs. We decided to hike a path out onto one of the jutting fingers of the island. The hike was dense with dry fern bushes which scraped almost all of the skin off my legs. Other than the aggressive ferns--which by the way I always thought were fluffy and innocent--the hike was breathtaking. Standing at the top of the peak at the turnaround point of the hike, as we looked down into the canyon we'd been climbing over, a tiny speck floated through the vastness. Eventually we realized that tiny speck was a helicopter!
After our hike we ate at one of my favorite restaurants of the trip: Kalaheo Coffee & Cafe. If you are ever in Kauai, check it out. The coconut shrimp appetizer it to die for.
On our last day in Kauai we spent a few hours in Kapa'a. We ate at the Ono Family Restaurant (another good place to meet your coconut syrup quota) and had some shave ice at Hee Fat General Store (if you go, try a little li hing mui shave ice--it's a salty, sweet plum flavor). We also rented bikes and rode along the four mile coastal path. This is another thing I definitely recommend doing. Slowly cruising along is the perfect way to see a lot of beautiful beach up close. For us, it was the perfect way to end our trip. A melancholy sendoff with time to take in every last drop of Kauai.
We had a spectacular time in Hawaii. It is the vacation I wish upon everyone. If you are at all considering a trip to Hawaii, just go. Work out the details later. No matter what, it'll be worth it. I promise.
If you have any questions about where to go or what to see, I am happy to answer them (or ask my brother-in-law for you). Please leave 'em in the comments!