You asked for it, so I’m giving it to ya…
Time for my Travel Diaries: Kauai recap!!
It seems like there are lots of you planning a trip to my favorite Hawaiian island soon, so I didn’t want to waste any more time in putting out a post that includes some of our favorite things we did while we were there for our babymoon/make-up honeymoon in July.
Without further ado, here’s the scoop!
WHERE WE STAYED
After some research and price comparison, we decided to stay at the Sheraton Kauai Resort. We had been heavily considering the Kauai Marriott Resort since I had stayed there before with my family and LOVED it, but after looking at all of our options and considering all the extra costs we’d be incurring, we decided to go with the Sheraton.
TIP: When booking a hotel, especially in really “resort-y” areas, be sure to consider additional costs such as WiFi, parking, resort fee, etc. when looking up rates. One resort may seem way cheaper than another, but once you add in all the extras you could be at exactly the same price (or more) as the more expensive one!
Overall, we were really happy with our choice. We sprang for an Ocean View room (which I highly recommend) and were on the second story overlooking the pool and the beach. If you’re staying here, be sure to sign up for the Starwood Rewards program, as it’s free and you’ll receive a ton of perks such as discounted parking, free upgraded WiFi, discounts on all meals eaten on property, etc.
The Sheraton is located in Poipu, which is on the south shore of the island and tends to be a little less crowded and touristy than the Princeville/Hanalei area on the north shore. No matter where you stay, you can get just about anywhere on the island within an hour to an hour and a half, so don’t sweat it too much as long as you’re planning on renting a car (which I highly recommend.)
WHERE WE WENT (AND ATE!)
Since our days were mostly broken up by location, I’m going to break it down this way and share what we did/ate/saw in every little area we visited.
A small, historic town about 40 minutes northeast of Poipu, just north of Wailua Falls/Wailua Beach. There are so many gems here – shops, eateries and hikes alike – that I definitely recommend visiting!
Java Kai – The cutest little coffee shop you ever did see! In addition to inventive coffee drinks and delicious baked goods, they have a full breakfast and lunch menu and everything I saw coming out of that kitchen looked AMAZING. I fell in love with their Macadamia Nut Latte and proceeded to order some macadamia nut milk from Amazon as soon as I got home to make my own version. There’s also a really cute shop attached to Java Kai called Shipwrecked that has tons of adorable, locally made products that you may just max out your credit card for.
Ho’opi’i Falls – We decided to check out this hike after it was recommended to us by the gal at Shipwrecked (see above.) It’s a nice mellow one, where you hike along the water. We didn’t make it all the way to the big falls (there was some pretty low clearance for us tall people) but we found some little ones that were still cute. It was a good, easy way to get us back into hiking shape since we haven’t done it in a while!
Wailua Beach – Probably our favorite beach of the trip. It’s huge, and wasn’t very crowded when we were there on a Friday. The water was so lovely to just float around in (especially after our hike to the falls), with decent enough waves (not scary, though) for the hubs to try his hand at some body surfing.
Wailua Shave Ice – Our first shave ice (of many) of the trip. I loved how so many shave ice trucks in Kauai were using fresh fruit juices and purees to flavor their ice rather than the heavily dyed/sugary stuff. This was no exception!
The Local – Our only regret here was that we were only there for Happy Hour, which meant a limited food menu to choose from. Nevertheless, we were impressed! We ordered the Deviled Eggs with Crispy Chicken Skin, some French fries with homemade dipping sauces and of course drinks (a delicious coconut water mocktail for me and a Mai Tai for the hubs.) If you caught my Bacon and Goat Brie Pizza with Vanilla Passion Fruit Jam I posted the other week, this restaurant was the home of my inspiration!
Based on my cousin’s recommendation, we hit up Hanapepe on Friday night for their art market/food truck night. Although we didn’t spend too much time here, the town is super cute and comes alive on Fridays. Definitely worth a stop through if you have time!
Our next adventure was up to the North Shore to do some hiking/beaching/exploring. It was fun to see the other more populated area of the island, and there are definitely some gems to check out.
Queen’s Bath – This was recommended to us by a few of you, and I’m so glad it was! It’s such an amazing sight to see and really not too difficult to get to (even pregnant). My advice would be to go on a weekday and go early. We ended up having to park a ways away and hike in (since the trailhead is in a residential area and they have very strict parking rules) and it was a little crowded when we were there, but it was still fun. Also, it’s safest to go when the surf report for the North Shore is under three feet, otherwise it can get a little dangerous! Be sure to look at a map of the area before going, as there are some other “pools” on your way that you can technically swim in, but aren’t nearly as safe.
Kalypso Island Bar & Grill – We had no recommendations for restaurants in Hanalei, so popped into Kalypso on a whim. We sat at the bar and were not disappointed. In fact, Chris had one of his highlight meals of the trip here: Poke and Calamari Lettuce Wraps!
Wishing Well Shave Ice – We most definitely did not miss any shave ice on this trip, and I’d have to say that this one was probably my favorite. Another local favorite, definitely hit it up if you are in Hanalei at any point during your trip!
Anini Beach – A small, fairly secluded beach near Kilauea, we stopped here on our way home from Hanalei and it was lovely! The sand was a tad rocky, but it was very mellow and we enjoyed just relaxing, even if there were no fish to see or waves to surf. A cute little hidden gem if you’re not one for crowds!
Kauai Beer Company – We didn’t spend too much time in Lihue, but we did make the 30-minute or so drive from our hotel one night to try out Kauai Beer Company. I’m so glad we did! Although I can’t say much for the beer, I LOVED their Taro Fries (Cheesy Style!) and the Beet It! Salad was just what I needed after a few days of over-indulgent eating.
Keoki’s Paradise – A fairly “tourist-fied” restaurant that was right near our hotel, it’s basically a Duke’s with a different name. Still a solid place to grab a good seafood or steak dinner, though!
Plantation Gardens Restaurant – A restaurant that looks exactly like its name, we had some good, high-quality local food here and multiple photo ops to boot! It was also very close to our hotel, so we could walk to and from which was really nice.
Brennecke’s – To be honest, this was probably one of our least favorite restaurants of the trip. We thought it was pretty overpriced for the quality, and unfortunately the ocean views didn’t quite make up for it.
Little Fish Coffee – If there’s one thing Kauai has plenty of, it’s cute coffee shops! This one was in walking distance to our hotel and, although they don’t have quite the huge menu selection that Java Kai does, what they do serve is on point. I got a massive green acai bowl and Chris got a smoothie and bagel sandwich. Can’t go wrong with any of those!
Warehouse 3540 – This fun little coop of art vendors and food trucks is technically located in Lawai, but it’s so close to Poipu that I just decided to lump it all together. Be sure to spend some time browsing through the cute shops curated by local artists, and go hungry so you can fill up on Kickshaw’s and Fresh Shave!
Roy’s Eating House 1849 – If you’ve ever been to Hawaii, you’re undoubtedly familiar with one of its most famous celebrity chefs, Roy Yamaguchi. Eating House is one of his newer ventures, harkening back to the old days of Hawaiian cuisine. My fish dish was pretty darn good, but the real star of the show was the hubs’ enormous bowl of ramen. Next time we’ll know to share!
Na Pali Coast
Captain Andy’s Charters – If you’re going to do any sort of sightseeing adventure in Kauai, I HIGHLY recommend a cruise up the Na Pali Coast. If you’re not familiar with it, the Na Pali Coast is the breathtaking, fairly uninhabited west shore of Kauai that has been the set of many popular movies such as Pirates of the Caribbean, Jurassic Park, etc. The only way to access/see it is by (a) helicopter, (b) an 11-mile hike, (c) kayaking in or (d) a boat charter. We decided on the preggo-friendly boat charter and were so glad we did! We chose the daytime Na Pali Snorkel Picnic Sail with Captain Andy’s and it was just perfect. They serve you breakfast and lunch (with all their food made fresh in their own kitchen that morning, straight down to the sandwich bread…so good!) and after touring up the coast, they anchor off and let you snorkel right at the base of those massive cliffs. Quite the unforgettable experience! Just be prepared to get wet 😉 We were absolutely soaked in salt water by the end!
And that’s our trip in a nutshell! Tell me, did we miss anything? We’ll undoubtedly be going back, so please tell me what we need to hit the next time around!