Adventures on Kauai

It’s been over a week now since we’ve been back from Hawaii, but I’m only now just making it back to my computer. We’ve been busy moving in to our new house!! More on that to come… first, Hawaii.

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Our belated honeymoon to Hawaii was planned super last-minute, thanks to our crazy move and ER incident. When Nick found out he was able to take leave, I jumped on it and brought up the idea of a trip to Hawaii. We weren’t sure if we could afford it (we were, after all, in the process of buying a house), but after a few quick searches, I had found round-trip plane tickets for $206 and a hotel we could use our credit card points at. Done and done.

We spent 6 nights in Hawaii total, 3 nights on the island of Kauai and 3 nights in Waikiki Beach on Oahu.

First up was Kauai.

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Seriously one of the most beautiful places I have ever been! We loved Kauai so much (Nick had been there a lot as a kid, but it was my first time). We kind of made a mistake in going to Kauai first, because Oahu had nothing on it!

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After all my crazy travel adventures the previous few weeks, I figured I might actually catch a break and have some smooth travel on my honeymoon. Not so much.

After 4 separate delays on our first flight (the plane came in late, then a fire alarm went off, then the jet bridge broke, then a medical emergency… come on, seriously?! Who does this happen to!?), we nearly had heart attacks as we sprinted our way through the Oahu airport, cut everyone in security, and begged and pleaded with several nice airport employees. Thankfully, apparently all airlines suck, and our next flight was also delayed, which was the ONLY reason we made it on. Barely.

When we finally landed on Kauai, I was one happy camper.

An old friend of Nick’s met us at the airport to give us a true Hawaiian welcome, leis and all.

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She also let us borrow her truck, which was much, much, much appreciated, and made our 3 days there ten times easier. Thanks, Brenda!!

We headed to our hotel, the Kauai Marriott Resort, and immediately changed into bathing suits, shorts and flops, before heading out to explore the resort and beach. Ginger Pina Coladas were consumed immediately.

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That night, we headed to Plantation Gardens for dinner. Sadly, I didn’t take any photos, because we had some of the best food of our whole trip! I was so happy to finally be on vacation, I kind of forgot about my phone and camera. The best part of the whole meal was our ahi poke appetizer, which was the most delicious stack of raw ahi tuna, seaweed salad, avocado and cucumbers with a mango sauce. Yum. We also had an arugula salad and 2 fish dishes and loved everything. The fish of the day was monchong, a Hawaiian white fish we had never had before! We will definitely go back next time we visit (and there will be a next time).

The next day, we grabbed a quick breakfast at our hotel before heading north to hike up Hanakapi’ai Trail. Fresh papaya, croissants and the most delicious macadamia nut coffee (we brought some home, too!).

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Hanakapi’ai Trail was amazing. It was a 2-mile hike up cliffs, mini waterfalls, lots of rocks and through a river, to a secluded beach.

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Now… I am not a good hiker, like, at all. I’d consider myself to be in pretty good shape, but I have terrible balance and coordination. This hike was hard. Like, I thought I might die a few times. And as it turned out, someone had died there the day before. In fact, they have tally marks scratched into a sign with how many people have died up there. Comforting.

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That being said, once I got over the initial being a baby, it was a really fun challenge and I had a great time! It ended up being one of my favorite things we did the whole trip. The views were gorgeous and it was so peaceful and relaxing to be in the middle of nowhere.

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There were a few other people on the trail, but it was by no means a crowded tourist trap.

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Up the rocks we go! Turns out it’s a lot easier to go up them than it is to come down. Especially since everything was wet from a quick morning rain shower.

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Pretty waterfalls!

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Once we got to the beach (which was not much of a beach at the time, with the tide way up), we stopped for a picnic before heading back down.

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Apparently kitties sense I’m a cat lady, because they even found me out in the middle of nowhere! Of course I gave in and gave them all the meat and cheese off my sandwich!

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After the hike, we went to the beach for a while, then headed back to the hotel.

That night we met up with Brenda to watch the sunset (which we kind of missed because we were so busy chatting, oops!) before dinner. We brought some wine and Brenda brought us some sushi– all dressed up!

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We got carried away catching up and nearly missed our dinner reservation. Luckily they still let us sneak in late. We ate at The Beach House in Poipu. Once again, I forgot the camera (I got better at this towards the end of the trip), but we had another amazing meal. We started with crispy calamari sticks (I looove places that cut it into strips) and a Kauai-grown beet & Gorgonzola salad that was out of this world. Since we were a little full from dinner, we just ordered one entree– a miso-marinated white fish (another local fish I can’t remember the name of!), and then added some crab cakes on the side. Everything was amazing and we pretty much had to roll ourselves out the door.

The next day we booked a kayaking trip with Outfitters Kauai. The trip included kayaking up the Wailua River, then a hike through the jungle up to the Wailua waterfall.

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It was another great day of adventure!

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I surprised myself and was an expert kayaker (err… everyone else just sucked). We totally left everyone else in the dust!

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The hike was not nearly as treacherous as the day before, but still just as cool. Kauai is known as the Garden Island, and it definitely lives up to its name– super green and lush!

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We stopped at the waterfall for lunch before kayaking back, and snapped a few pictures. Nick convinced me to get in the water, but man was it cold!

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That night we went to a luau! I mean, when in Hawaii… get dressed up in flowers and do the hula! Except I didn’t really do the hula. But I did watch some other people do it!

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The luau was at Smith’s Tropical Paradise, a family-run 30-acre botanical garden with every kind of fruit tree and bird you can think of!

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When we arrived, we got on a little trolley for a tour of the property.

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Once all the tours were over, they dug up the pig that had been cooking in the ground all day. Then it was time to eat! These was a huge spread with all kinds of traditional Hawaiian foods including kalua pig (delicious) and poi (eww).

Dessert included lots of tropical fruits, rice pudding and coconut cake!

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After dinner, we headed to the theater and watched a whole slew of different Hawaiian, Polynesian and Asian dances, including, of course, the hula.

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(source)

The next day was, sadly, our last day on Kauai. Since we had to check out by 10 am, we decided to just stay at our resort for the day. We alternated between the beach and the pool all morning and got way too much sun.

Before heading to the airport, we went to Duke’s to grab some lunch. Duke’s is a chain, but still said to be a must-eat in Hawaii (they have them on a few islands). We both had fish tacos, which were delicious! We wanted to try to go back for dinner when we were in Oahu, but never got the chance.

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After lunch, we changed out of our bathing suits and headed to the airport to fly to Oahu!

We absolutely loved Kauai. It’s not very touristy at all, and there is a ton of ourdoorsy stuff to do. If sitting on the beach, drinking all day, is your kind of vacation, Kauai may not be for you. But if you like adventure, nature and beautiful scenery, it definitely can’t be beat!!

Oahu adventures coming soon…


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