Link to photos
Kauai was a great place to go. We ended up staying 10 days all in Kauai and all in one place. We managed to see about everything we wanted to and had some time to relax. Kauai was much less developed than we imagined. It was mostly rural and beach access was often a small unmarked trail or road.
We highly recommend "The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook" by Andrew Doughty and Harriett Friendman: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0963942948
We stayed at a bed and breakfast recommended by Liz Hey (A BnB travel agent listed in the guidebook). It turned out to be a great place. It is called Wahi Mana and is located on the North Shore on Aninni Beach. You can see it at their web site: http://www.aloha.net/~anurock. The price was reasonable, $125. It was right on an uncrowded beach. We snorkeled right in front of our place. The cottage was nice and included a kitchen. The hosts were very nice. Breakfast was included also which was a nice selection of fruit and 2 pastries.
We ate a number of meals at our place, so that we could have fun eating out and not feel to guilty. We found some nice places. There are not that many around the island, but there still enough to get lost or waist time at a bad place. We used our guidebook and recommendations to guide us. Here are our highlights:
Zelos Beach Bar and Grill, Hanalei: a place with good food and reasonably prices especially during happy hour. Great view of waterfall from the front deck. Look at the pictures.
Sushi Blues, Hanalei: good sushi, music at night but we missed that.
Princeville Hotel, Hanalei: Pricey, but it was a wonderful place to watch the sunset over Hanalei bay. Check out our pictures.
Roy's, Poipu: Pricey, but worth it. Rates up there with the best restaurants I have ever been to.
Brick Oven Pizza, Kalaheo: Good pizza on the way to the Canyon. We got the massive combo pizza on whole wheat crust. Yumm!!
Cool Cat's?, Koloa: Good happy hour, on the way to Poipu
Blue Dolphin, Hanalei: Spearfish was good, but we didn't like the shrimp. Mixed feelings.
Hanalei Coffee, Hanalei: Good place to hang if there are seats. Pretty good coffee. One time seemed better than the other.
One of the highlights of our trip. Not to much coral, but lots of fish. Tunnels on the North Shore was the best we found. But only one day was calm and very clear. I hear there is more calm water in the summer. The coral was more interesting there than some places. We also saw lots of fish and swam with a turtle. Poipu was pretty good, but more crowded and smaller. Although, there were lots of good fish in shallower water. One day we had chosen to go back to Tunnels. Ended up being to rough, so we just sat and watched the huge waves breaking on a nearby beach.
We tried to go to this local favorite, but ran into problems. The guidebook describes it as nice quiet and secluded. This translates to an unused slippery trail that has a deep river crossing just before the end. There were tons of mosquitos as well (which were mentioned in the guidebook). At least there was another fall in the same trail area that we saw.
Next was time to look at the tourist falls. We drove to Wailua and Opeika falls. Wailua is the Fantasy Island waterfall. They were pretty nice. There were roads going right up to them, but in the mainland they would be much more developed.
The Napali Coast Trail
So you know... Napali Coast is is the series of cliffs and waterfalls that were shown at the beginning of Jurassic Park when the helicopter landed. This trail was an adventure for being on an established trail. It was very muddy, and it rained most of our hike. The rocks had very good grip, but the mud areas and roots were the slickest I have ever been on. The only way to survive is to step exactly in the middle of the trail in the water where there was some stuff on top of the mud. The views were nice of Ke'e beach and of the coast line. The beach at the end was kind of pretty. The waves were pounding the beach, so you could not go in. But it was pretty to watch them. Overall, we remember it as a fun time.
This was nice. You can't go into the Lighthouse, but the area is nice for looking for whales and dolphins. We saw both, but they were pretty far away. There is also a bird sanctuary on an adjacent hill. They lead a walk in that area in the morning, but we did not make it for that.
Everybody should do this. We decided to go for the 90 minute ride on Jack Harter 4 person helicopter; after being on it, I am surprised there is anything less than 90 minutes. Rainy days are fine to, because there are more waterfalls. I got the front seat which was cool. The view of the canyon, Napali coast, and waterfalls is incredible. Look at the pictures. Yes, we saw the Jurasic Park waterfall up close.
We spent a day going to the canyon. From top to bottom it is 3000-4000 foot deep. Almost as big as the Grand Canyon. We did this after the helicopter. The view from the air was more impressive. It might have been better to see the canyon from the road first. It was cloudy at the top, so we did not see the great views looking towards the Napali coast. Oh well.
It rained a lot while we were there. We heard it rained less on the South shore. We also heard it rains less during the summer. The one plus is that the number of waterfalls increased with every day of rain. Not just small waterfalls, but huge 1000 foot waterfalls. One hillside started with one waterfall, but by the time we left, there were 5 1000 foot waterfalls. Very impressive. Good view of it from Hanalei.
Chickens... There are wild chickens everywhere in Kauai. Strange but true. They were pretty too. Evidently the standard variety of chicken bred with the fighting chicken type and made a new very strong chicken that they cannot get rid of.
A great trip overall... Highly recommended.
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