Written by Karen Hill.
We have just returned from an incredible vacation to Kauai, HI. Many Mahalo’s to Joy, Tom and Danielle for their incredible help in planning our perfect trip. My husband and I are celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary this year and had vowed 25 years ago that some way some how we were going to celebrate one of our anniversary’s in Hawaii. Oh was this worth the wait…but now I think it should be annual!
We chose Kauai for the rest, relaxation and peacefulness. We stayed on the Southern Shore in the Waimea Plantation Cottages. This one-of-a-kind oceanfront resort with historic plantation cottages amidst a Coconut grove are reminiscent of the way Hawaii used to be. Each historic cottage, is fully restored with modern amenities and conveniences. It reminded us so much of home and family gatherings over Lake Michigan, but with palm trees instead of pine trees. We chose to shop at the local grocery store for our essentials when we first arrived and it worked out perfect for us. Our location had the canyon behind us and the ocean in front of us so it was understandable that we chose to utilize all the amenities our property had to offer. We woke in the morning, walked a few feet to our beach chairs and watched the sunrise with a cup of Kauai’s famous coffee. In the evenings; after a hard day of playing, we lounged on our porch, fired up the BBQ, enjoyed a glass of wine and watched some spectacular sunsets. Those were truly our favorite things and we highly recommend them both!
The canyon (nicknamed rightfully the Grand Canyon of the pacific) is a wonderful adventure first thing in the morning. The sun rises with you as you ascend to the top and you look down over the 3000’ gorge. The colors, waterfalls and amazing scenery are absolutely majestic. Very humbling to us simple folk. We chose Safari Helicopters to give us a more intimate experience and it is well worth the money.
We rented a Sebring convertible for our travels throughout other parts of the Island, but I recommend a convertible jeep for the next guy. Some tricky terrain that you absolutely don’t want to miss on the SW side called the Barking sand beach. It is the most perfect spot to watch a sunset, but the 5 miles of dirt road are best if you have an off road vehicle – otherwise enjoy the roller coaster ride and sing loudly through the canyon, you will not regret it!
While in Hawaii everyone knows you must attend a Lau. Talk with your concierge early and make your reservations. We chose Kalamaku in Lihue and it was wonderful. The staff was very courteous, food was great and the dancing and show are very fun.
We spent most of our days touring other beaches and locations on the island. Believe it or not, each beach offers something different in regards to color, texture, comfort of the sand, color of water and surf. You must get to each to experience the full pleasure. Our favorite for body surfing and privacy was Kekaha Beach. Po’ipu offers a rocky (reef) entrance but the most amazing variations of blue water that I thought were only available in the Caribbean. You may also stumble across large turtles swimming in coves and a monk seal sunning himself and posing for the cameras. The North shore is incredible with its vast lush green grasses and huge displays of blooming flowers (due to daily rainfall). The beaches are a bit crowded but very kid friendly.
Our best recommendation would be to get off the highway (it’s only 2 lanes anyway) and explore on your own. You will never be able to see everything on your first trip anyway, so find something unique that will make your trip your own. The homes, culture and kindness of the Hawaiian people allows for an amazing vacation destination. The whole experience heightens your senses, revives your body and soul to love deeper and appreciate all life has to offer. Aloha!