Kauai, HI (Bienveberg Honeymoon part 2)

September 29, 2015 by NJPainter

A short plane ride on the afternoon of the 8th day of our trip led us to…
KAUAI!

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We stayed at an airbnb in Anahola (just north of Kapaa) for the first few days and absolutely loved it. It was about 40 steps to the beach and the caretaker stocked our room with fresh pineapples, papaya, avocados and starfruit everyday.

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One thing I did not know before visiting Kauai: it is full of roosters. Like in the way that New York City is full of pigeons. They’re everywhere.

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Day 2 in Kauai was dedicated to Waimea Canyon. We drove up the mountain and parked at a number of the lookouts they had along the road which these pictures will do no justice to:

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We saw the clouds start to roll in a bit towards the middle of the afternoon but didn’t worry too much before embarking on the Awa’awapuhi Trail; a 3+ mile hike downhill into the valley to (what is supposed to be) a spectacular vista of the canyon, Napali Coast mountains and ocean.
Google said this was what awaited us at the end of the trail:

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As we hiked the clouds continued to thicken but we kept passing by hikers who were on their way back and raving about the view. “Keep going!,” they said. “It’s incredible!”  So onward we hiked.

But when we reached the end, the weather was not on our side.
(This is the exact same lookout point at the photo above).

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Oh, well!
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The hike was still nice.

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The reward waiting at the bottom of the mountain was shave ice (rainbow with macadamia nut ice cream, obviously) and fresh ahi and salmon poke from Ishihara Market. This meal was about $12 and one of the best we had on the whole trip.

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The next day we decided to take it easy and just drive.
We stopped at the Kileauea Lighthouse…

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Hanalei Valley Lookout:
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Queen’s Bath; a natural tide pool surrounded by lava rock which was really cool but WHO IS SWIMMING IN THIS?!:

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[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TC7q8_xNDwY]

The town of Hanalei Bay:
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And we ended the day at Anini Beach; the most magical of all places:
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On day 10 we tried our luck at the Napali Coast again and did 8 MILES on the Kalalau Trail. This infamous hike can be 22 miles round trip if you go all the way and is supposed to be one of the most dangerous (and rewarding!) in the world. We did the first two miles in and then took a two mile detour off the main trail to Hanakapi’ai Falls. Then we had 4 more miles to get back. We are not experienced hikers by any means… and this trail can be muddy, steep, slippery and force you over rushing rivers where your only bridge is a wet rock, but it was incredible!

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[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3a6Gbb9DY4]

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It was dirty, sweaty and hard but so, so worth it.

We were supposed to go kayaking in the Wailua River on day 11/Friday of our week in Kauai but there were a bunch of hurricanes lined up in the Pacific making the waters too high and rough. The kayak trip was canceled so we had a morning of leisure, grabbed some smoothies and drove our Jeep over to the river/falls lookout point:

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Intending on starting and ending our Hawaii trip at fancy hotels; we moved over to the Grand Hyatt in Poipu for the last 3 days of the trip. But I sort of wish we hadn’t because this hotel was just OK in my opinion. (I left a tripadvisor review here – buckle your seatbelts).

On day 12 we had booked a boat tour of the Napali Coast (we couldn’t get enough!) and woke up before the sun to get there only to discover that that trip had ALSO been canceled due to a lightning storm the night before.

“I know some pirates, if you want to still go out on the water,” said the lady behind the desk.
“HA! Yeah no thanks,” I said.
But naturally, Barry’s interest was peaked.

It’s a long story but what followed was one of the weirdest, wildest afternoons of my life where I thought multiple times that I might die WHILE knowing we were in the midst of a once in a lifetime experience.

“Pirates” are essentially locals with unlicensed boats. And when I say “boat” I mean glorified inner tube. Our pirate was Chief Rob; a large Hawaiian man with a doobie who knew that coastline like the back of his hand.

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Life lesson from Barry: “When someone offers you a ride on a pirate ship to a untouched beach that you can only otherwise reach by a death-defying 11 mile hike, you take it.”

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DOgKVt32XyY]

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4BCCqVHqMO0]

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gh1GfJ7EnSg]

He was right. It was amazing.

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[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4gkyNlXudb8]

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We wandered into sea caves, hiked up the coast, washed off in the waterfall, met some naked hippies and ate our snacks on the beach and (luckily) the boat came back for us.

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That’s pretty much it! Our last few days were spent poolside. With good drinks and good books (and good company).

Looking through my photos after the trip, I realized I had so many of these:
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The best part about Hawaii was that you were constantly surrounded by what it had offer. It’s landscape enveloped you no matter where you were.

We were bummed the trip was over… but in true Hawaii form, a rainbow appeared on our drive over the airport to bid us adieu.

KAUAI RECOMMENDATIONS

TO STAY:
Anahola Airbnb
*Like I said, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend the Grand Hyatt – however I would recommend staying part of your time on the south side of the island, where it rains a little less.

TO EAT:
Caffe Coco
Banana Joe’s (get the frosty)
* Kalalea Juice Hale
Anahola Cafe (It doesn’t look like much but these were the best ribs I’ve ever had).
* Mermaids Cafe (Tacos of all kinds!)
* Art Cafe Hemingway 

TO DO:
* Waimea Canyon / Kokee State Park
Awa’awapuhi Trail (but check the weather first!)
* Kalalau Trail
* Napali Coast boat ride (with unsanctioned pirates at the helm that drop you off at Kalalau Beach) – get in touch with Chief Rob’s nephew; Ikaika Kam.