Kauai. The garden island. Although I have a special love for my island of Oahu, I have to admit that Kauai has to be my favorite. I have yet to travel to the other islands, but have had the good fortune of going to Kauai three times. However, this visit was unlike my other visits! Me and 10 other friends planned a little weekend getaway. We rented an AMAZING condo up in Princeville that overlooked the ocean and had a perfect little path that led down to a quiet, remote, picture perfect beach. The water literally took my breath away. The crystal clear water was a haven for snorkeling and playing in the waves (& surfing, for those of us who actually knew how to do so).
A couple of us left early Friday morning, to start the adventure as soon as we possibly could (while the rest of our group was working & being responsible adults)! As soon as we landed, and boarded our 8 man SUV (LOL, we looked like such tourists…) we stopped at a well recommended (via yelp) lil breakfast spot that boasted of its local favorites and beautiful view of the ocean. After fueling our hangry selves, we made our way to our beautiful condo on the north shore where we unloaded & settled in.
At this point we were ready for more food. Classic. We found a highly rated acai bowl place and stopped to try it out. Unfortunately, these were probably the WORST acai bowls we had ever tried. There are a ton of amazing places on Oahu to find great acai bowls (Haleiwa Bowls, Diamond Head Health Bar, Island Brew, & Coffee Gallery just to name a few), so our standards were pretty high. We ended up paying around $12 for the smallest and most disappointing bowls we had yet to try. But, we stuck with our motto “We are in Kauai” which was to remind ourselves we were on vacation and thus appreciated & enjoyed everything. Which truly, was not hard to do!
After this, we cruised up the coast a bit & found a beach to stop at. We ended up at Hanalei Pier, and of course jumped off into the water. We stayed here for a while and played in the waves until we met up with some of the rest of our group. We finished the day with dinner in town and some relaxation back at the condo.
The next day, with the rest of our group having arrived, we were ready for a day full of adventures! I started off the day with an amazing 4-5 mile run around the golf course/coast that we stayed on. It was such a beautiful morning & I was pleasantly surprised with the level of friendliness I found from the fellow morning exercisers! Every single person said hi or waved! Once I got back, I found everyone ready to go & waiting on me to leave. Oops. But as we were about to tackle the Na Pali coast, I had no need to get ready or shower off.
Na Pali Coast Hike
If you have never done this hike, YOU MUST. It is an 11 mile hike to the very end, so a 22 mile round tripper. We didn’t venture the whole thing (you really have to prepare for that kind of a feat) but we went about 4-5 miles in to the water fall, where we jumped in and refreshed our sweaty & overheated selves! The water was absolutely freezing (which I made known to everyone within a 10 mile radius), but after such a long hike, it felt amazing. We were able to swim over and under the waterfall which was incredible. The last time I was here the waterfall was so powerful, we weren’t even able to get close because of the force of it. So this was quite a treat.
After finishing the roughly 8 mile hike, we were famished so grabbed some lunch in Hanalei town. We then headed back to the condo where some of us surfed, some laid on the beach (my activity of choice), & some lounged up in the condo. We ended the night with a delicious Italian feast & a super restful night’s sleep.
The last day, we woke up & went into town to grab some breakfast and coffee at a local spot. We then headed to the beach in front of our condo where we surfed, snorkeled, & played in the waves. It was a picturesque day, which made it even harder to fathom leaving.
Pu’u Poa Beach
After this, we headed into town for our last lunch all together. A couple of people left on an earlier flight, while the rest of us headed to the other side of the island to enjoy the incredible Waimea Canyon.
As we continued up the road, we attempted to catch a glimpse of the Na Pali coast but it was covered in a thick layer of clouds. We did however make it to the top which is apparently one of the wettest places on earth! Crazy! The temperature difference was insane. Many of us threw on sweaters/flannels. After catching all the scenery we could, we headed back down to Poipu to grab one last dinner together before we had to head back to our little island of Oahu. The last meal was incredible though. I finally got to eat the burger I had been craving ALL trip long. It was a bacon, arugula, grass-fed beef burger with tomato jam & chipotle aioli on a GLUTEN FREE BUN! You better believe I finished every single last bite.
Unfortunately, our trip had come to an end so we headed back to the airport, dropped our car off, and waited for our short 20 minute flight. And with that, we headed back to another paradise. It’s crazy to think that I live in such a beautiful place where most people come to vacation or honeymoon. These incredible places are such a short trip away and I feel so undeserving to get to experience it! Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would be living here. But it just goes to show you can make anything happen that you dream!