Ahh, Kaua’i – my favorite place on earth! This travel post is a bit delayed – we took this sunbreak trip back in November. I usually update my blog chronologically but due to a very busy winter, I didn’t get a chance to go through my images until there was a foot of snow outside my window last week. I’m so done with the multiple “winter blasts,” thank you very much.
Our previous trip to the Garden Isle was for our 3rd wedding anniversary and we hiked the stunning Kalalau Trail; our trip prior to that was for our wonderful wedding. Although both trips were absolutely amazing, both were very busy. For this trip, we decided to make minimal plans (which is very unlike me) and see where each day took us. We had the best of both worlds – leisurely visits to our favorite spots and fun, new adventures.
Hawaiian welcome; Multi-colored hibiscus; Wave mosaic; Plastic water bottle litter; Cribbage on Polihale; Dragonfruit; Cribbage and Chuck’s pakalolo t-shirt; A romantic couples photo
One of our Kaua’i traditions is to visit Polihale State Park for our first beach day. We’ve always been able to count on it being dry and sunny on the West Side of the island if it’s raining elsewhere.
Footprints on salt-soaked Polihale Beach
Artist rendering Kaua’i
Another favorite spot of ours is Maha’ulepu Beach on the South Shore – so ruggedly beautiful.
Perfectly windblown sand at Maha’ulepu
See if you can spot Chuck hiding in the cliffs
Silhouette above the churning sea – I was too chicken to get closer to the edge
We returned to Polihale that evening with our homemade tropical drinks for a sunset cribbage session.
Prior to our wedding trip to Kaua’i several years back, Chuck and I “honeymoon registered” for a helicopter tour of the island. This tour has always stuck with me as one of the most beautiful adventures ever and I wanted to experience it again. As we had before, I flew with Jack Harter Helicopters in their ‘doors off’ Hughes 500. I highly recommend this experience. Awesome.
Celebrating diversity with Jack Harter Helicopters; Prepping the copter
To prepare for the journey, I bundled up Hawaiian-style (long pants and a fleece) for the wind, removed my jewelry, and tied my hair back to ensure every piece of me stayed inside the aircraft during the hour-long tour. Needless to say, I had my camera clicking frequently and had to keep reminding myself to ‘stay in the now’ and just soak up the breathtaking scenery.
Above the eucalyptus Tree Tunnel
Waimea Canyon – the largest canyon in the Pacific
‘Waimea’ is Hawaiian for ‘reddish water’
Flying over the Na Pali coast is my favorite part of the tour – the razor-thin cliffs, lush valleys and pristine beaches are absolutely stunning.
Na Pali open ceiling cave – a hollowed out lava tube
Our anniversary hike to Kalalau Beach a few years ago is definitely one of my top 10 life experiences – it was awesome to get another perspective of the trail and the scenery from above.
Kalalau Beach and the cathedral cliffs
A look back at the spires and Kalalau Beach
Hanakapi’ai Valley and Hanakapi’ai Beach – you can see the Kalalau trail zig-zag up the cliff on the right-hand side
Sun-filtered North Shore beaches
Over Makua (Tunnels) Beach
Due to recent rainstorms, there were countless waterfalls flowing down the pali.
Crescent-shaped Hanalei Bay in the distance
The Weeping Wall
Above Wailua Falls
We enjoyed a lot more beach time than usual…
Storm surge on Donkey Beach
Black and white water
Dendrobium orchid; Donkey Beach self-timer; Colorful plastics collected on the beach; Beach swing; Slightly Stoopid concert selfie; Java; Chuck and his new cat friend on Larsen’s Beach; My favorite healthy treat – açaí
Kealia Beach coconut
After spending a few days staying on the East Shore, we headed north to my favorite little town, Hanalei. We spent our time riding our cruiser bikes, stand up paddleboarding, visiting the farmers market, and pining over Hanalei real estate (I was doing most of the pining).
Wai`oli Hui`ia Church and my cruiser bike
Chuck wistfully watching a launching fishing boat
Stand Up Paddleboarding on Hanalei Bay
Balancing on my board to take a picture
For Sale property for which I was pining for
Trip Details –
Where we stayed:
I used my favorite booking site VRBO.com to find two new spots in Kapa’a and Hanalei – we loved them both!
Where we ate:
Java Kai, Kapa’a – My very favorite açaí bowl and Maui coconut mocha.
Pizzetta, Old Koloa Town – Umbrella drinks and fantastic Kalua Pork sandwichs.
Verde, Kapa’a – Our new favorite Kauaiian mexican place – they put aioli on their tacos!
Tiki Tacos, Kapa’a – Our 2nd favorite mexican place.
Keoki’s Paradise, Koloa – Fantastic happy hour – kalua pork spring rolls and dangerous mai tais.
Hanalei Pizza, Hanalei (located next to Big Save) – I highly recommend the Wild Pig pizza.
Hanalei Gourmet, Hanalei – We hit up this spot on each Kaua’i visit – good burgers and drinks.
Hanalei Coffee Roasters, Hanalei – Formerly Java Kai, this was our Hanalei morning staple.
Kalypso Island Bar and Grill, Hanalei – My 2nd favorite açaí bowl on the island.
Bubba’s Burgers, Hanalei – We love watching Hanalei life while eating their burgers and shakes on their picnic tables.
Bar Acuda, Hanalei – For our last night, we splurged and went for a fancy dinner of tapas.
Tahiti Nui, Hanalei – We spent our evenings here enjoying their lilikoi margaritas, music, and local characters.
Some images available for purchase here.
Until next time, Kaua’i – I’ll be dreaming of you!