Hawaii equals wonder. Volcanoes, dead and active. Mountains. Waterfalls. High surf and crashing waves. Perfect skies. Sunrise. Sunsets. And the place is that green.So much to do. Sail. Snorkel. Catch a wave. Soar near the heavens inside a helicopter. Yes, you be can Magnum PI. I miss 80s television. Thank you, Amazon and Netflix. You’ve brought some of this back to the world. MacGyver could solve any problem with a potato, screw driver, and a little gasoline.
On Kauai, I thought I’d highlight a few best practices and things to do (not that you need anything, the morning walk along the beach can be epic enough). For this trip, my family ended up renting, which I think is what you do when you go to the island of Kauai. All the islands have five star hotels, arguably the best in the world. But after some digging on VRVO and AirBNB, I found I could get a two bedroom house/kitchen for less than the average hotel room. The islands have a vibrant rental market and the place can make the trip. So, choose wisely. We love to cook and some of the below aren’t as fun without a kitchen:
Farmers Market, This is the garden isle. I found Kauai has better farmers markets than the other islands. There are three or four each week (maybe more, rough count) depending where you are at on the island. Some of the produce can only be found in the islands, which is cool too. Tiny bananas. Purple sweet potatoes. Stuff like that. Also, it’s awesome to have someone at the market use a machete to crack open a coconut, shove a straw inside, and hand it over for easy sipping. I love coconuts. Once you’re finished, they also carve the coconut out for you. You just have to ask. Mix with rice. Yum. Pretty good stuff.
Honey, this is also found at the market (actually, three on my list are). I’m a big believer in buying honey from a local farmer. What you find in the supermarket really isn’t honey. Think scientific experiment with a centrifuge and corn syrup. We’ve been buying honey from various farmers for years. And location and time of year matters. The taste changes. The bees draw from what they have to work with. On the Garden Isle, they have hundreds of ingredients to choose from. Flower of all types. This honey is better than the output of a spell from a horticulture class at Hogwarts. Hermione and Pomona Sprout couldn’t do better. Best in the world stuff.
Eat a Pineapple, I spent 5 minutes explaining why someone should spend 25 bucks on a Kauai Sugarloaf pineapple. He eventually walked away thinking his Costco version was better. I didn’t close the deal. Alas, you don’t understand unless you try. But his loss was my gain. Why have one when you can eat two? Most produce can’t leave the island due to agricultural laws, but pineapples can be shipped (it just costs a bit more). I’m back to the mainland, and I want one right now. Sigh.
Get Pummeled by a Wave, one of the best boogie boarding beaches in the world is at Poipu Beach Park. When I wasn’t paying attention, I had a wave crush me and send me flying. All fun and games until someone gets hurt.
Ocean Boarding/Surf, far harder than it looks. The first time I tried padel boarding, I fell off in two seconds. But why not?
Ke’e Beach, arguably the best view of any beach in the world. The mountains sell it and so does the hike.
Kiss your Special Someone Like That One Movie, From Here to Eternity has this scene where Burt Lancaster kisses Deborah Kerr. This beach is on a different island. However, there is a better one on Kauai. It’s about a quarter mile hike from the road about five miles before Ke’e beach. You’ll find some folks milling about but it’s a sparse beach. But the waves can come up and get you in a moment. One second, you’re basking in the sun. The next, your towel is soaked in salt water. It’s my favorite beach on the island. With how the waves encroach, I wonder if that kissing scene was impromptu and they just went with it. I like to think so. Oh, what a scene. From here to eternity.
Food Truck, skip the restaurants. We leveraged our little kitchen but the food trucks were all amazing. You can find a couple near Koloa. Feed the leftovers to the roosters. There are also a few on the South Shore that are excellent too.
Go On a Hike, Kauai has hundreds of trails. Our favorite was the Mahua’ulepu Heritage Trail along the dunes. Go in the morning.
Waimea Canyon (No, it’s not the Grand Canyon), still it’s incredible. I’d make sure you do this early in your trip. If you’re coming from the states, you’re going to be getting up early anyway (and the roosters don’t just crow at sun-up, they crow all throughout the night). So, if you’re up, take a drive to the canyon before the clouds roll in. It took a few trips to find a clear morning but it’s worth it to see the Na Pali coast.
Yes, there are many more things to do that didn’t make my list. Think doors off helicopter flight, ride a horse through the rain forest, waterfall hikes, coffee treks, long piers, and other crazy hot beaches that are hard to get to. Oh, what an island, sigh, I miss it already. But there is always eternity.
On food trucks, we tried several. All were good. Kauai Food Truck. Pat’s. Chalupa’s Mexican Food.
I’ve had a few folks ask, “Do I need a four wheel drive truck on the island?” Well, that depends on what you are going to do.