Planning your next trip?? Need some fresh ideas? If you love water, adventure, fresh coconuts and well relaxation...come visit the beautiful garden island of Kauai!
I love this island! My daughter lived here for 1 1/2 years so I got a chance to visit here often....so just a few ideas of things to do on the East side also known as the Coconut Coast up to the North Shore. And of course a few pointers of what "not to do" from our local island girl :)
But of course....first things first! Where in the world is Kauai?? See the map above. Upper left corner you will see the island of Kauai with the famous Napali Coast that I'm sure you've seen clips of in movies like Jurassic Park and Pirates of the Carribean! Who knows you may even run into some movie stars or catch a glimpse of some filming while you are enjoying your vacation! (yes last week Pierce Brosnan was standing in line behind me at the airport :) and I ran into Jeff Daniels buying snacks at Foodland ) haha so anyways......what fun things are there to do besides surf??
My friend Sarah's Plumerias
Of course make sure you have your camera always! You just never know when you will happen upon a Kodak moment! There's beauty everywhere! Must start out every morning with a great cup of coffee...my favorites are Java Kai in Kapaa or in Hanalei ...great selection of yummies, even some gluten free items...fresh juices...and other fresh and organic eats. But my favorite cup of jo is at Icing on the Cake, and island Patisserie serving Blue Bottle Coffee (the pour over method) and awesome macaroons!
A little windsurfing?
So now that you've had your coffee lets get moving! Oh but, tip #1 from my "island girl "....there can be alot of traffic on the high way so be aware of all the merging lanes and use them! and be careful on the roundabouts...and well if someone is curteous and lets you go...give them the "shaka sign" and if you dont know what that means?? click here, to look it up :)
One of my fav beaches above... north shore, Tunnels Beach. (Makua) named such because parts of the reef here have many arches and tunnels..Having an inner reef as well as an outer reef makes it a perfect spot for snorkeling and diving...amazing views of the lush majestic mountains, tropical palms and ironwood trees.
Now that the cup of Kona has really kicked in! how about an adventure?? for the brave... visit Princeville Ranch Adventures offering ziplining, horseback riding, hiking, kayaking and more. And if you dare to Zip and Dip? ask for Josh! He's awesome and hilarious...if you're a bit on the nervous side, if its your first time Josh will have you laughing and at ease in no time :)
A little hike up to the "Blue Room" Cave
Near the end of the road on North Shore is one of Kauai's hidden treasures... The Blue Room the sunlight shines through the clear waters creating an amazing hue of blue that lights up the cave. Its a little bit of a hike up off the road and then down a slippery slope to the wet cave entrance..my kids went down there one time with there guitars and had a little jam session, my island girl said it was amazing the way the sound projected...okay well you dont have to hike down there carrying your instruments but bring your waterproof camera! for sure! :)
Anyone for a little BBQ'd eel?
Care for a little spear fishing? My son above, caught this huge eel! Said it was a fighter and took two of them to swim back with it to shore..but made for a nice bbq later that evening...if your into seafood! Well if you dont feel up to fighting with an eel? There are plenty of good places to eat on island :)
Helpful hint #2 when asking for directions from a local and they say "oh its on the Makai side"? means ocean side. If they say its "Mauka side" means mountain side.
Fresh Awapuhi makes a great addition to your shampoo :)
If while hiking you happen upon something that looks like the plant above? Grab it and add it to your next shampooing! Its hawaiian Awapuhi (wild ginger) pleasantly aromatic...just squeeze it and out comes an exotic sweet smelling gel! Our friend Sarah gave us these as a treat! along with the best tasting mango Ive had!!
Now after all this talk of hiking and strenous activity ready for lunch or dinner? For our last night out in Hanalei me and island girl :) ate at a Brazilian and Mexican place called Neide's. Awesome nachos! and the shot of tequila wasn't too shabby either! But...what makes it best is these two sauces above....hahaha if you dare to try the one on the left..you just ask for the "Ghost sauce" and your in for some fire!!! go easy....just dab a little at first...its a killer. I know!!! but great flavor you just have to try it...and sit outside...the view is glorious! waterfalls and lush green mountains...ahhhh I miss it already..
Of course...what is a vacation for me without visiting the local bead shops! I love Divine Planet in Kapaa and Hanalei and this trip I happened upon this awesome jeweler's destination! Crystal and Gemstones in Hanalei. Lots and lots of very cool stones! Lots of druzy's and rare finds...I believe Randy said his wife is from Brazil and so are alot of the collections there...
a must stop for any one who loves to make jewelry like I do!!! and if you pop in, say Hi to Randy for us!
And of course, if there's a lighthouse around?? Im there...remember I love lighthouses.....so nostalgic...and romantic! Here's Kilauea Lighthouse....
Helpful hint #3....please...I know that everything is picturesque, but PLEASE when driving up to north shore and you see the waterfall right off the road??? DO NOT STOP to take a pix!! we totally almost rearended a jeep last week that completely stopped to snap a shot.!!! My island girl said "please put that in your article!!!" she said it happens ALL the time! so be safe....dont let a little excitement ruin your lovely vacation..
Yes flowers like these are everywhere!!! maybe pick one and wear it in your hair....then you will really feel exotic :)
Island Dogs play fetch with Coconuts! :)
yes the dogs here play fetch with coconuts....well of course! you are in Kauai!
Rainbows and Waterfalls by Heather Hathaway
Remember rain is frequent, that is how the island stays so green...so be prepared to see plenty of rainbows! Oh and I almost forgot....Farmer's Markets are frequent too! You must go! Pick up a copy of 101 Things To Do, Kauai at the local market there should be a Farmer's Market Guide as well as a ton of ideas (well at least 101) of places to go and things to do!
"King Kong" Mountain Range
Well hope you found this helpful and enjoyable :) and tip #4??? WEAR SUNSCREEN! especially on the first day...the sun can get pretty intense and you will be miserable if you get burned the first day :(