I have been going to the island of Oahu since I was a child and to me it’s the most magical place on earth. Over the years we have visited the other islands Maui, the Big Island of Hawaii but Oahu remained my favorite. Having just experienced the beauty and serenity of Kauai, it now comes a very close second to being my favorite of all the Hawaiian Islands. I was truly blown away by the spectacular beauty of this island and surprised by how laid back but also lively it was. Every night crowds of people would gather to watch the sunset at Poipu Beach and also to see the endangered Sea Turtles that rest here every night. In addition to the turtles there were often seals seen napping on the beach (they are also endangered )
OUTFIT IN FIRST PHOTO
We stayed in a perfect little house in Poipu (the south shore) about a two minute walk from the beach. As much as I love a resort hotel, being in a fully stocked house with a giant wrap around lanai to relax on with a cup of coffee in the morning and a glass of wine at night was perfect. Also, since we have a teenager and they need to eat all the time being able to keep food stocked in the house simplified things for us. In all honesty I didn’t have any notable meals in Kauai – I took some tips from a few different Kauai travel guides on Pinterest but was not blown away by any of them. That’s not to say that there aren’t good places to eat on Kauai we just didn’t experience them during our short stay.
I will, however, say that the Farmer’s Market at Kukui’Ula was fabulous and the happy hour at Merriman’s was really good – the Mai Tais, poké and taro hummus are worth going back for. Also, oddly enough, we had a great Indian dinner on our last night. We tried to get into Keoki’s which had a 45 minute wait so we wandered deep in the same strip mall where we found a cluster of little restaurants. We opted for “The Indian Place” a darling and delicious little hole in the wall. They don’t serve alcohol but welcome you to grab a bottle at the market a few steps away.
The Glorious Na’pali Coast
We had a pretty packed itinerary for only a five day trip and although we’re so glad we did see so much of the island I would have liked one more beach only day, which is what we did our first day. Day two we rented a private boat for a tour that took us on a five hour ride up the Na’Pali Coast which was absolutely breathtaking. We came across a pod of 300 hundred dolphins that rode along our wake so it was a very up close and personal experience with dolphins in the wild.
We also stopped to do some snorkeling where we swam with sea turtles and the most colorful fish. We also visited numerous caves and waterfalls along the way. To do this on a private boat is quite pricey but I would say most definitely worth it!
Roadside fresh fruit stand in Waimea
Day three we did the mountain tube ride through an abandoned sugar cane plantation. The tour includes a shuttle ride through a private farm where you learn a little about the history of the island including why they no longer grow sugar cane. There are a few stops for views of waterfalls and Mount Wai’ale’ale and of course photos. Then the fun begins with a ride through canals built in 1870. It was a good time but in my opinion not necessarily a must- do. The landscape was definitely beautiful and if you do go I recommend checking out Wailua Falls on your way back to town.
We spent our final day in Kauai on the North Shore which was about an hour and 15 minute drive from our house. We bought tickets to enter the park in advance (they limit the daily visitors so I highly recommend booking in advance) There’s a designated parking lot to leave your car in and then theres a hop on/hop off shuttle that will drop you at multiple points.
We took the shuttle all the way to Na’Pali Coast State Wilderness Park where we hiked and spent time on Ke’e Beach. The views were incredible however, my favorite part of our time spent on the north shore was at Hanelei Bay. We set up camp right by the pier, the water is absolutely perfect, its quite shallow so you can walk out forever and it’s a great spot to learn to surf – thanks to my 16 year old I quickly learned jumping off the pier is a lot of fun too. You can park at the beach and walk into the village – we tried to get a table at Kalypso (it was recommended by a local) but we were in a rush to get back to Poipu before dark so we didn’t get a chance. I will definitely split up my time next time Im in Kauai and spend a few days on the north end.
Taking in the plumeria in our VRBO garden.
Sunset at Poipu Beach
I hope you enjoyed this little peek into our getaway to Kauai – feel free to ask me any questions about my experience/recommendations!
Aloha -Zia xoxo