A large part of our trip to Kauai was spent exploring the splendor of the island’s nature. We spent time at various beaches snorkeling, swimming, boogie boarding, and sun bathing surfside. With our condo situated about a mile from Poipu, we spent more time there or at Brennecke Beach than any others.
Poipu Beach is beautiful with a very chill vibe. Every time we went there were Hawaiian Monk Seals and giant turtles sunbathing. The underwater view with snorkel mask was interesting with lots of schools of fish floating about. The rip current was pretty severe though if you swam far enough out and the rocks along the bottom did a number on my legs during the week.
Hanalei Bay was the largest and calmest beach we dipped into. Nothing but soft sand underfoot in all directions and glorious mountain views from the center of the bay. There are little shops nearby with touristy souvenirs and shave ice, an old church with pretty stained glass and adjacent cemetery, and picturesque taro fields to admire. A fifteen minute drive East puts you at the entrance to the wildlife refuge at Kilauea Point with a lighthouse in the distance.
Hideaway Beach on the Northside was fairly secluded when we got to it and, while beautiful overall, the snorkeling was not as good for us as Poipu. It was quite the treacherous decent to the beach holding onto a muddy rope sliding down the cliff.
Maha’ulepu had been a recommended snorkel destination with a cool cave to explore but during our visit the cave was closed, the surf was rough, and signs were posted warning of “high bacteria levels” in the water.
When we weren’t beaching we were often walking about or hiking. Luke and Nate braved the Okolehao Trail near Hanalei – a dirty, muddy experience to be sure, while Christy, Joe, and I walked around the shops and bay in Hanalei. I joined in on an early morning hike up Sleeping Giant for sunrise which was a fun romp through the dark with our headlamps on the way up. And the full group explored the Kalepa Ridge Trail together. On our last night we made the hour trek back out to the Waimea Canyon for a quick waterfall hike, some spectacular views at the canyon lookout, and the most amazing surprise sunset.
We tried to limit the number of expensive excursions on our trip but still splurged on a couple of activities. We went on an 8 track Zipline course through Koloa Zipline, rented kayaks in Wailua, enjoyed a sunset cruise along the Napali Coast, and Joe treated us all to an incredible beach front dinner at The Beach House. Luke and I spent more money than we’d planned on beachside cocktails at the Marriott and lunch out, Street Burger being a favorite.
One of the perks of staying south side was driving through the tree tunnel on a daily basis. We never ended up with any photos or videos of it despite a running commentary throughout the week about how to logistically get the shots we wanted.
Besides the Napali Coast and Waimea Canyon I think the most unique thing about Kauai is the fact that wild chickens and roosters roam the island en mass. We were told chickens outnumber humans 5 to 1 on the island and, supposedly, wild pigs outnumber humans 30 to 1 but we never caught sight of even a single hog.
*all photos taken with my cell phone