Hawaii – Kauai
Last week, I recapped Maui, the first part of our trip to Hawaii. Today I am continuing with our second island, Kauai where we spent the most time. It was hard recapping this all in one post!
This post contains affiliate links. A portion of this trip was provided at a discount, but all opinions and tips given are my own and truthful.
Day 5 – Fly to Kauai, Spend time at hotel beach + pool
After landing in Kauai we headed towards our hotel, the Marriott Courtyard. After checking in, we enjoyed the pool and hot tub area before walking down the beach to grab dinner. And, our hotel sent us this yummy fruit. Y’all, if you ever go to Hawaii, make sure you eat so much pineapple, it’s so good!
Day 6 – Waimea Canyon + Poipu Beach
We made the drive over to Waimea Canyon which was beautiful. This canyon is known as the Grand Canyon of Hawaii. It’s not nearly as large, but still very amazing. We did the Canyon trail hike which took us to the Waipoo falls. We got there early enough that we had the trail nearly to ourselves. The viewpoints weren’t as nice as some you could see by car, but still had a good lookout as well as the waterfall at the turnaround point. We loved this hike and after the hike did another very small hike, followed by a picnic in a park area and then more quick stops to get better views of the canyon.
After our hike we went to Poipu Beach. We both did some snorkeling here, I got to swim some “laps.” I guess technically they aren’t laps when you are in the ocean, so more like freestyle swimming. After hanging out in what I called the kiddie section because the water was so still, I realized there was an area of beach with huge waves. So Colby and I joined all the body boarders. It was so much fun!
Day 7 – Napali Coast Excursion + Luau
The Napali Coast is on the NW side of Kauai and can only be seen my helicopter or boat. This was the first and only excursion we did. It was a Sail + Snorkel tour with Holo Holo tours. We set out in the morning on our sailboat and it was about an hour trip by boat to the coast. Once we got there, we saw a pod of dolphins which was definitely the highlight for me. We snorkeled for around 45 minutes before heading back. We had a great time and thankfully there was no seasickness involved. Their lunch was so yummy and the drinks were quite delicious too. We were so glad we chose to do this tour!
That night we did the Smith Family Luau. This luau was on 30 acres of land which was amazing. The whole area was completely gorgeous and we spent quite awhile walking around. Similar to the Maui luau, after the pig reveal and dinner, they put on a show which was spectacular. I loved that they included fire and was quite impressed by all the talent. Overall we had a great time here. We could have spent hours alone walking around enjoying all the greenery and the beautiful peacocks too!
Day 8 – Kalalau Trail Hike + Queen’s Bath
Whew this was our longest hiking day and we each used two pair of shoes (hiking and water). The Kalalau Trail hike is the most popular and well-known hike in Kauai. It is hard and amazing at the same time. It was so, so, so muddy. The first half was uphill with the first stop at Hanakapi`ai beach. A majority of people turn around at the beach, but there is another 2 mile uphill hike to get to an amazing 300 foot waterfall. It included crossing lots of creeks and at times what felt like was rock climbing, but we made it. The water was way too cold for me, but Colby enjoyed and we realized we had to get down the way we came up. We were exhausted and I clocked in at 10 miles round trip, of course half of that being uphill, in mud. To say we were excited to see our car at the end of this day was an understatement.
We heard that Queens Bath was very dangerous, but a must see. It’s an area of lava rock that meets the ocean water. There have been many deaths there, but it’s also a well-known attraction on the north shore so even though we were exhausted we made a point to stop by. We stayed out of the dangerous part and headed to the safer area and yes after watching people jump in and seeing how strong the currents are, it was obvious to us while the death rate is high in that area (see last picture).
Day 9 – Wailua River Kayaking + Hiking
On this day we rented a Kayak and then headed to the Wailua river. We kayaked down the river to an area where we went on another (very very very muddy) hike which took us to the Wailua waterfall, a 200-foot waterfall. After playing in the water there we hiked back and kayaked some more before finding more cliff jumping areas! We had so much fun. The kayak trip was a little rough, but we survived and treated ourselves to our first (and only) shaved ice of the trip!
Day 10 – Fly to Oahu
After enjoying breakfast at the hotel, yoga, lounging around, packing and dodging some rain, we headed towards Lydgate beach before heading for the airport.
Our tips which I also shared on the Maui post
- Get the Kauai Revealed book — it’s so helpful and gives you all the inside tips you need
- Bring water shoes and a rain jacket. You will need both.
- Bring goggles/snorkel
- Lightweight water bottles during hiking are a must! These are a good option. Bring lots of water and snacks. You will need them
- Get to hikes earlier for best parking options
- We were grateful to make several Costco stops both for groceries and gas. You can’t beat the prices, so if you have a Costco card, make sure you bring it.
- Bring an underwater phone case. You will be glad you did. We got this one and loved it!
- Hotel – I mentioned it above, but we stayed at the Courtyard Marriott Kauai. This hotel was on the east side, which was a great place to stay. It made for a convenient home-base between the south and north shores and we absolutely loved our stay at this hotel. We could watch the sunrise from our beds, which can’t be beat, and loved the pool area. They also offered breakfast and dinner, as well as full bar service with meals all day, games on the beach and inside, free parking, walking distance to many restaurants, a fitness center, complimentary Mai Tai’s every day, and more. The best part is their price is much more affordable than many of the other hotels. We can’t say enough about this place!
- Car Rental – We booked through Discount Hawaii Car Rental and had such a good experience. The nice part was we could watch the rates and if the rate dropped (which it did) we could re-book at the lowest rate. They offer car rentals in Maui, Honolulu, Kauai, Kona, Hilo and Molokai car rentals. We also used them in Honolulu and again, had a great experience and got the best price there too.
Have questions? I would love to hear from you via email or comment below and I will get back to you!
I didn’t start sharing our traveling adventures on the blog until the end of 2013, but you can see some of our vacations below as well as how to travel on a budget here. Next up I’ll be sharing my recap on Kauai and Oahu!
- Pacific Northwest
- Western Caribbean Cruise
- Hilton Head
- South America: Argentina
- South America: Torres Del Paine
- South America: Lake Region
- South America: Santiago + Coast
- Costa Rica: Manuel Antonio
- Costa Rica: Santa Teresa
- Costa Rica: La Fortuna
- Las Vegas
- Caribbean Cruise – Grand Turk + Dominican Republic
- Caribbean Cruise – Aruba + Curacao
- Colorado Ski Date #2
- North Carolina