KAUAI! It’s about 30-40 minutes away from Oahu and I had to visit. Now that I have all this free time after finally completing my Army journey, this was the PERFECT time to travel.
My friend and I booked the earliest flight at 5am and landed in Lihue, Kauai at 5:36am. Probably because we are crazy— but needless to say, we were exhausted. But in order to make the best of the trip, we knew we had to gather all of our hidden strengths together and drive to our first spot: Hanalei Bay.
We picked up our rental car and drove to our first destination: Hanalei Bay. First of all, don’t you just LOVE that name?! It’s so beautiful. And the bay itself did not disappoint. Gentle rolling waves, beautiful backdrop of waterfall-filled mountains, and the infamous Hanalei Pier.. Breathtaking.
Second stop: Wailua Falls
If you Google Map ‘Wailua Falls’, it’ll take you to the top of the waterfall. There are few parking spots on a dead-end road, usually full. But it’s got a pretty quick turnover rate- so be patient! The roaring/powerful waterfall makes it absolutely worth the wait.
Third stop: Koloa Rum Company
We were really embracing this whole tourist thing for sure.
First tip: make sure you sign up for the rum tasting room as soon as you arrive to this spot. It fills up quickly! As you wait for the rum tasting room, check out the complimentary train that takes you around the property. Unfortunately, we missed the last ride so we ended up walking around and checking out the shops nearby. And doing impromptu photoshoots on the train tracks. 😉
The rum tasting room was fantastic. You get to taste different types of Koloa rum (for free), and even make your own Mai Tai!
That’s right. I made that! And it was deeeeelicious.
Remember how we caught the 5AM flight? Yeah… after we had those few drinks, we were TIRED. We went to the hotel and knocked out for an hour or two. Once we woke up, we decided to lounge around the beach, eat good food, and pass out for the night.
We were determined to get the most of the Na Pali Coast (without strenuous exercise, meaning, no hiking). Which means, there are only two other ways to experience the Na Pali Coast. Helicopter vs. Boat. Recently unemployed? Boat, it is.
There are several boat tours you can choose from— we chose Blue Ocean Adventure Tours. The small boat seats 12 people so it’s rather small. But that’s perfect, because you get to speed through multiple small caves throughout the coast and the captain will drive the boat through multiple waterfalls. The sights were absolutely gorgeous and snorkeling in crystal clear waters with ginormous turtles was something we will never forget. After hours of exploring and snorkeling, the crew provided us with pineapples with li hing mui powder, and it was the perfect way to end the tour. And of course, the pods of dolphins swimming around us was absolutely perfecto.
Second stop: Waimea Canyon
The road to Waimea Canyon is a winding one. So be prepared to slow down and enjoy the drive. The mountains are truly magical! Once you’re at the lookout, take in the view. It’s really a one-of-kind!
Third stop: Queen’s Bath
Queen’s bath— a popular tidepool on the north side of Kauai. Popular. You know what that means. CROWDED! Try to avoid the weekends, and try to get there in the early AM. There are few parking spots near the entry to the hiking path; if it’s full, be patient, the spots are a revolving door. Don’t park in any other spots- you WILL get a ticket.
The short hike down to the tidepool is totally doable for any age. Just take it slow since it can be a bit muddy/slippery. Once you’re at the tidepool, keep your eyes peeled for honus! There are sea turtles everywhere out in the ocean.
After a full day of adventure, we PTFO (passed the fuck out) once again.
SLEEP IN. Sleeping in never sounded so good… We caught plenty of “z’s” — and woke up, ready for a relaxing day.
First stop: Kauai Coffee Company
So many samples of coffee! Self-guided tour! This is completely worth it if you’re a coffee fan. You can sample fresh coffee peaberries and purchase bags of Kauai coffee for a good price. The coffee farm itself is ginormous, but the self-guided tour takes you through a short route through the farm.
Second stop: Poipu Beach Park
Surprisingly, one of the most famous beach is also famous for wildlife visiting the beach to say hello. Actually, to rest. 🙂 Three cutest monkseals climbed onto the warm sand to rest their eyes.
A relaxing last day with plenty of sun, making friends with beautiful creatures, and learning about Kauai coffee— I’d say it was a great way to spend the last day.
Kauai is a destination I’d visit over and over again— this jungle island, the Garden of the Isle, has so much natural beauty to offer, I know every visit would be a different experience. Until next time, Kauai. ❤