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Hawaiian Islands-Kauai

Updated: Feb 12, 2023

As all the Islands deserve a post in it of itself, this one I am too excited to write about. Kauai is truly a magical place. A land of dreams if you will. The energy here makes you feel like you can achieve anything in the world. Whatever your heart desires. That's just it. It somehow shows you the depths of your heart and spirit. This is most likely due to not being nearly as developed as Oahu and retaining its lush greenery. Here is why you should either call Kauai your home or pay a visit to reset your soul.


Hotspots:

-Kalalau Trail: So I did the first half of this to the beach. Which is Ha'ena state park to Hanakapi’ai valley. I could have gone a few miles further to see the waterfall but unfortunately got to the park later than expected and did not want to run out of daylight. While a few miles doesn't sound like much, it really is with all the switchbacks. This hike is not maintained very well and is very strenuous. Please bring water, snacks and take breaks when you need to. It is worth it though. If you want to do the full Kalalau Trail, you need to reserve a camping permit in advance to go beyond the waterfall. It is rated as one of the most difficult trails in the world. Back to the one I did though. Get there as early as you can to avoid crowds. Also, beware. This is one of the muddiest trails I have ever been on in Hawaii. It got to a point where I was considering just sitting down and pushing myself to slide back down to the starting point. You will definitely need hiking sticks here and really good gripping/waterproof or mudproof shoes. I heard the waterfall is quite cold but worth seeing. It does get crowded quickly too though. After the hike, cool off at the beach

right next to the start of the trail. Surf was a little rough in December but nothing crazy if you stay close enough to shore. Its beautiful too. BRING MOSQUITO SPRAY. Holy crap did I get eaten alive out here. Get sweatproof if you can. You need to reserve this hike. They turn around almost 400 cars a day. You will meet at a shuttle location, park your car (no cost), and ride the shuttle to the park. You could drive it too if you make your reservation to include parking. Here is the link to reserve your spot, they open 30 days in advanced to your desired date: https://gohaena.com/



-Cacao Bliss and Mindfulness Snorkeling Tour Princeville: First of all Princeville is adorable and very well the place I would love to make a home. It has a cute central shopping center with tons of art galleries, restaurants, shops, and a grocery store. Here would be the meeting location for the excursion Cacao Bliss & Mindful Snorkeling Tour - Airbnb. Led by Patrick on my day, you are guided into a remote beach through a beautiful trail and then underwater for meditation. I cant say enough how this transformed my life and spirit. The cacao is amazing and available for purchase. You came back basically feeling like you did a factory reset on your life and soul. I couldn't wait to get home a game plan all my plans for the future. I was actually excited about life from this. You also start seeing the magic of the water and nature can be. Surrounded by lush trees and lava rocks, I recommend this excursion if you are choosing to incorporate mental and spiritual practice into your trip. Don't know why but the below reminded me of Bali. It was the back drop of our meditation. PS, do this hike down barefoot like Parick does. You will feel more connected:


-Sleeping Giant Hike: One of the easier hikes on the Island. Kind of. It is a steep hike up if you are entering from the west side. It is the easiest entrance though and the most time saving. I had to get back down quickly for a spa appointment so I didn't get to make it past the picnic tables. Which you are not supposed to go past anyway but that is where people say you have the best views. It is dead silent on this hike. I went at 9am and saw 3 people total on my trail. It was getting a little bit busier as I made my way back down but nothing crazy. You will need a hiking stick to help with the steepness but I felt this was a great hike if you are trying to fit in a shorter excursion for the day. Tip, my masseuse told me that there is a spot between the rock and the two trees in front of it pictured below. It is known to be a energy vortex and it is said to give great clarity into whatever you are asking the universe for. You definitely feel an energy shift the moment you walk through here. I mean the entrance to the hike alone feels like your entering Pandora. Spend some time amongst these gorgeous pines and do not rush through this piece. Heads up, there is not a lot of parking so really try to get there early so you can grab a spot. I think there is 5 or so parking spaces total.



-Limahuli Garden and Preserve, National Tropical Botanical Garden: I cant express it just look at the picture below. This is considered to be where some of the ancient Hawaiians first walked and built their homes. Its a beautiful and sacred land so please respect it as such. To feel even more connected to their spirit, try walking around in the grass barefoot. I felt like I was in South America in a remote jungle somewhere walking through here. You can hit this on the way to the Ha'ena state park so I recommend doing this same day if you want to. It only takes about an 1 hour to 1 hour 1/2 to get through. You do need to make reservations in advanced here too but I was having a little trouble with their site. Feel free to call. The people are really sweet there:


-Blue Hawaiian Helicopter Tours: Okay so I learned here that I am motion sick when it comes to flying in a helicopter. However, the sights were unreal. Most of which you wouldn't be able to see on your own. The pilots are very kind and give you great history to the land. You can also pay extra to sit front row. They take your picture for you and sell it at the end to you. Pro tip: just have someone take a picture of you in the helicopter to save money. I do feel the front seat was worth it. You were able to see more. This is also a great way to see all the sites Kauai has to offer in one sitting. You also see Waimea Canyon which I did not get to hike but will next time! Book in advanced though because these fill up quickly. Also, I prefer seeing Na'Pali coast this way rather than by boat. I was told by the locals that the seas on this coastline are rough especially in December and many people become seasick.






Other Hotspots:

-Waimea Canyon: Grand canyon's sister. This hike is beautiful I heard but I did not get to do it. If you do, let me know how it goes!


-Hanalei: Great spot for art galleries, restaurants, and shops. I highly recommend The Hanalei Bay Dolphin restaurant for fresh Poke! Plus, you may have a furry little lunch buddy with you. They love it here if you show care and respect to strays. Lots of cats.


-Downtown Kapaa: LOVE. THIS. PLACE. So many cute boutiques, wellness and spiritual shops, restaurant and more! They have an Art Walk there the first Saturday of every month. The vendors are so cool and the street food is great. There is also live music. Grab a bite to eat right at sunset at Sam's Ocean View. Tell Leilei I sent you.


-Kauai Hot Yoga: Great way to decompress and release all the aches and pains from your flight. Such a great spiritual connection here and sister Harper will make you feel right at home! They have mats you can rent.


-Surf Lessons with Kevin: Yet another great experience from Air BnB. Learn to surf with Kevin. He is happy to do 1 on 1 or with groups. It was just me and him on the water that day while his wife stood ashore capturing every moment of your experience. I will absolutely go back and do this again. Its a workout but well worth it and Kevin makes sure you do not leave unless you successfully get on the board at least once. Book your experience here: https://www.airbnb.com/experiences/2732272


-Kauai Society of Artists: I did not get a chance to make it over here but if you love art, I heard this was one of the top galleries to go to on Kauai. It features artists all over the island and I was told by a local it is well worth visiting. Let me know if you go!


Where to stay and transporation:

-I stayed at Kauai Beach Resort and Spa. Keep in mind this is the hotel. There is another section right next to it called Kauai Beach Villa right next door so careful to not confuse the two. This had to be one of my favorite hotels on the Hawaiian Islands. The grounds are just beautiful and the beach is breathtaking. I do not believe this beach was private so I'm sure you can get to it without staying but I do not know the official name. All I know is you can walk right out of your suite onto the beach for a full moon bath. The spa here is glorious too. I did a Lomi Lomi massage and I felt spiritually integrated for the rest of the trip. The restaurant on property is nice but I feel you can find much better food throughout the island. They also have a coin/card laundry on site.

-If you can, try and grab a vacation condo, villa, or airbnb. Having a Kitchen or Kitchenette on the islands will help you greatly when it comes to saving money. Food here is very expensive and it will save you tons if you can cook your own. Even make your own coffee. There are plenty of grocery stores throughout the island especially Lihue.

-Transportation is the usual Turo app. See my Oahu post for details. You can easily catch an uber from the airport to your hotel but ubers to the rest of the island are scarce and pretty much non existent. Be prepared thought for your driver to pick you up barefoot, They love not wearing shoes on this island. It fits the laid back worry free attitude.


Other Tips:

-Like all Hawaiian Islands, be sure to constantly apply mosquito spray and sunscreen. Also, have a poncho ready in case inclement weather arrives. Kauai is considered the wettest of the Islands but even travelling during rainy season, it maybe rained 1 or 2 days, 5-10 minutes a pop. The trade winds help greatly here.

-RESPECT THE LAND. You know this from my other posts but truly, please care for this island as you would your own home. The natives are kind here and are willing to befriend you if you come with an open heart, mind and spirit.

-The airport is not very big or commercialized. If you do not have TSA precheck, you need to get here 3 hours early. Do not be shocked if there are delays and do not uphold them to the same expectations you will have at JFK. They are small but very quaint airport. I would take this one over JFK any day.




Kauai is a beautiful place filled with adventure and nature for all. Its inclusive Ohana type attitude will make you want to live here forever. As the saying goes, when the Island is ready to receive you, she will call you. Just like she called me. I hope you hear her calling soon. When you do, be ready for an experience of a lifetime. Her world awaits you.


Buen Viaje,

Tiff





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