What I Learned From Visiting Kauai

Top 5 Things to Do in Kauai

  1. Visit Waimea Canyon  (Hike Canyon Trail)
  2. Visit Na pali State Park (Hike Kalalau Trail)
  3. Go on a boat tour/snorkeling (Book Captain Andys)
  4. Tour the indigenous sites via the Shaka Guide app
  5. Visit Kokee State Park and hike the Awa’awaphuhi Trail

If you ever consider going to Hawaii try going off the beaten path and visit the island of Kauai!  There are 3 main islands that tourists go to: O’ahu, Maui, and Kauai.  Maui where I have been is very similar to Kauai and is for nature and outdoorsy people but a little bit more crowded.  I have never been to O’ahu but I hear it’s very commercial and similar to SoCal.  As you can see, there are many options when visiting Hawaii  so I thought that creating this post was essential! For my top 5 things to do, we only actually did 3 out of 5 for reasons below and lack of time!  If I had to come up with a dream itinerary this would be it if we had more time and things had gone perfectly.  We also did plenty of other things like coffee tours, farmers market, beach trips, and eating at some good restaurants.

We decided to stay on the north side of the island because we found an affordable Airbnb.  I would highly recommend choosing a side of the island that is closest to things you want to do.  Each side of the island differs greatly in terms of climate, remote-ness and if I had to do it over again I probably would have stayed on the south end like Poipu or Wimea.  The north side of the island (near Princeville) is cooler than most places and a tad remote.  This place is where people like to stay if they are visiting the highly popular Kalalau trail.  We totally planned on doing this but we quickly became disappointed upon finding that the trail was closed indefinitely due to storm damage. We tried the next best option to see the Na Pali coast park which was taking a boat ride but the time of year we went (Late November) the ocean was too choppy to go on that side of the island.  Lesson Learned: check the weather and time of year before you go to places!

One of my favorite areas to visit was Kokee StatePark and Waimea canyon.  There are tons of trails to do in this area and it was impossible to do everything in one day.  We also were about 45 minutes away from the park so it made it hard to do an early start.  The weather was absolutely beautiful on the southern end of the island, perhaps even a little too hot and sunny in some parts of the trail and rainy/cloudy on other parts of the trail.  You really never know what you’re going to get on this island which could also be said for Maui!  Some of the hikes we went on, we actually got a pretty good view of the Na Pali coast.  We ended up doing 2 or 3 mini hikes throughout the park and tried to fit everything in before the sun went down.  I would have loved to stay near the parks to go back another day.  One trail I really wanted to do was the Awa’awaphuhi Trail but it was an all day hike.  

Our host gave us this app to download called The Shaka Guide.  I would highly recommend this app if you are ever going to Hawaii.  This app has different driving guides that act as a GPS and directed us to different places (waterfalls, hikes, native landmarks) to visit and learn about and restaurants to check out.  The thing that I loved the most about the app is that along the way to different places the app would tell folklore stories and history of the island.  It’s so important to me that when we visit places we learn about the culture.  I learned that Kauai was the last island to join the kingdom of Hawaii in 1824 after much resistance.  After visiting the island I can why because there is a deep connection to the ancient heritage .  In the city of Wailua, I loved visiting ruins of old Hawaiian temples (heiau), sacrifice sites , and birthstones where all kings of the island were required to be born.

All in all, Kauai was a great place to visit and I would love to go back to see some places I didn’t get a chance to on this trip!IMG_3290IMG_3242img_3167

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