Another week another sunburn. Week two in Kauai started out on a great note with a sunrise adventure. I went to work with Zachary on Sunday and got a chance to explore Hanapepe while he flew skydivers and tours for the day. I found a small place called Little Fish Coffee on Yelp and figured I would check it out. Who doesn’t love coffee, sunshine and great breakfast, right?
I had about a half hour to wander before anything in Hanapepe was open on Sunday, so I ventured to the Hanapepe bridge, which I was told is how a lot of the children get to and from school each day.
The surrounding area featured small shops and run-down homes that looked well-loved and well-lived. A look into the real island living experience outside of the hotels and resort tourism.
When Zachary was done at work we ventured to the home of Kauai Coffee. With over 4 million coffee trees to tour through and an unlimited supply of free samples, this place was right up my alley. It was interesting to see their process and see how coffee plays a role in Kauai living.
The rest of our lazy Sunday involved a trip to Costco. We had lunch in Kapaa at Art Cafe Hemingway, a Key West inspired building dedicated to its namesake, it was a great spot for a cup of coffee and a quick game of checkers before heading home for a lazy evening.
Monday Zachary and I went for a wander to a hidden place called Queen’s Bath. Tucked behind a series of condominiums, these natural lava pools were a sight to see.
The water was crystal clear and in the distance shone a beautiful green, but unfortunately due to high tide was not our swim spot for the day. After an unexpected panic attack or two (on my part), we stopped in Hanalei at Pink’s Creamery for their famous Hawaiian grilled cheese featuring pork, pineapple and cheese. The grilled cheese lacked cheesy goodness for this Wisconsin girl, but the fresh fruit smoothie was fantastic!
Tuesday morning was my turn to head up into the sky. While the clouds covered most of the island, there was room on a Sky Tour and I to subdue my motion sickness for a short flight over the south and west parts of the island. While we didn’t make it to the north and east sides, I managed a few photos of the Robinson owned area of the island, Waimea canyon and the coveted Napali coast.
The Napali Coast lies between the two dead end roads that would otherwise connect completely around the island of Kauai. The Kalalau trail is the 11 mile hike for those adventurous enough to brave what is known as one of the more difficult trails on the island. This vacation, I am not, maybe one day. The first two miles of the trail lead from Ke’e beach at the end of the north shore Hanakapai’ai beach in the valley of Napali.
Honopu beach partially pictured below is the site of numerous films including Pirates of the Caribbean, Six Days Seven Nights, King Kong and even a Beyonce music video (so holy ground).
Overall, the Napali coast is definitely a sight to be seen. With its green cathedral pointed cliffs covered with a dusting of iron clad dirt, the haze of the clouds made it feel like we were flying through a painting.
The white domes are home to NASA and their satellites that they use to conduct research on the island. They are accessible by the Waimea canyon drive we did last week.
After the Sky Tour, we went back to Hanapepe town, the home of Lilo and Stitch, to visit Talk Story Books, the farthest west book store in the United States. I picked up Julia Child’s My Life in France for the plane ride home.
We then headed to the Kauai Museum.
It was an educational experience about the history of the island, how it came to be and some of the traditional legends from Captain James Cook to King Kamehameha.
It highlighted Kauai’s past of growing and exporting sugar cane, encapsulated moments of Pearl Harbor and their current traditions of celebrating Polynesian culture.
After an already fulfilling day, we continue the fun at Luau Kalamaku. Hosted on the historic KiloHana plantation, this all-inclusive show featured tales, song, dance, fire (lots of fire), and a spread of traditional food including pork pulled from the ground just the day before, taro (a root turned into paste used for use like sauce), white fish, purple sweet potatoes, and more traditional dishes that embraced their cultural influences such as Chow Mein and jasmine rice.
The highlight of the night, aside from the amazing banana cream pie and coconut rice pudding for dessert, was the show. A spectacular flare of song and dance, it chronicled of Hawaii’s history from start to finish. A must-do for any of you looking to visit Kauai or Hawaii in general.
Wednesday we had a rather relaxed day compared to our Tuesday adventure, as we spent a good amount of time at Secret Beach. Nestled below the lighthouse we visited last week, Secret Beach is just a short drive down Kalihiwai road. It was a steep muddy hike to and from the beach, but with a few breaks to stop and take in the hillside view, I made it back to the top in one piece.
Thursday proved to be a wandering/errands day and we chose to wander more of Hanalei. Proving to be my favorite little town on the north shore, we did a bit of shopping, paid a visit to Kauai Nut Roasters (which offers enough free samples to make a meal), and took a break at Hanalei Coffee Roasters, where I had one delightful Iced Thai coffee.
Friday Zachary had a few early morning flights, so I opted for the sit around the house and blog morning. The laziness extended itself into the early afternoon as the rain took over the skies and we opted for movie night.
Saturday was another adventurous day exploring the north shore, as we headed back toward Hanalei. We made another visit to the Wapoli’i Church in the valley and just in time to notice the start of the Saturday morning Hanalei Farmer’s Market. A stroke of luck in my opinion.
With a few vendors and a plethora of island grub, I opted for my much coveted fresh coconut. It was my goal since day one of my time here to drink/eat something from a coconut. Don’t ask, it just was.
Well today was the day folks. Not only was this $4 delight freshly whacked open before my eyes, but I was given a straw to drink the water before returning to have my precious coconut further whacked in order to consume the delicious meat. A true highlight of my morning!
The Hanalei valley is truly a sight to be seen on a clear day.
We continued our 11 mile north shore adventure with a tour book Zachary had on hand that shared ancient legends and how the island took shape by the hands of the gods.
I didn’t take many photos along the way because I was too busy taking in the beauty with my own two eyes, but we managed to stumble upon the lovely Limahuli Botanical Gardens on our way back along the north shore. A mere $20 for us two students, the Garden offers a mile walk built into the valley and highlights a copious amount of Kauai plant life, native and migrated. Near the start of the north shore side of the Kalalau Trail and next to Haena State Park, the garden is one of five National Tropical Botanical Gardens in the entire state of Hawaii.
Local items like bananas, tangerines, mango and coconut palms could be found.
What I think should be the Hawaiian state flower, bird-of-paradise was featured in a small garden dedicated to local flora, including the actual state flower, Hibiscus, and the plumeria.
Outlined by the Limahuli Stream, the Garden climbs up the valley and into a forested area that highlights both local and invasive species of trees and plants.
Needless to say, the views were incredible on this clear day, and the beauty of the garden around us was picturesque.
Below is the Hala, or tourist pineapple, as I mentioned near the lighthouse last week. My favorite part was the exposed rooting system that made it look like it was balancing on a mere pile of sticks.
We ended the more than memorable day and week with a batch of infamous Peterson margaritas, made with fresh-off-the-tree limes, and a relaxing dip in the hot tub.
Another adventurous week in Kauai in the books. I’m looking forward to what week three brings and based on the weather reports from home, I’m not looking forward to my flight home on Friday!
Cheers to paradise!