We saved our pennies and took a big trip for our 10-year anniversary. We spent about a year planning the the whole thing. It was neat to see how we started out not knowing which island we wanted to visit and eventually had narrowed it down to staying on the north shore of Kauai with our whole week planned. Thanks to the grandparents for taking care of our kids while we were gone. It was a fantastic trip and the perfect spot to celebrate our anniversary. Here is a full trip report.
Monday – We flew out on a Monday. It was early.
We landed in Lihue, got our rental car, and drove to Princeville where we checked in to the condo. 101 Pali Ke Kua, the perfect spot for us!!
Here was the view from our condo
And a view down the coast looking at our condos (beige ones in the back)
It was rainy, so we went down to Hanalei for a quick dinner, picked up a few groceries and went to bed early that night.
Tuesday started out with a beautiful rainbow in the morning.
Then we drove back to Lihue for a helicopter tour. We opted for a full island tour to help us get oriented. It was pricey but worth the money. We saw a ton of waterfalls that were all flowing since it had been raining the past couple of days. We took the go pro but when we got there we realized the battery was dead.
Here are some of the views from the helicopter.
After we were back on solid ground we stopped for lunch at Hamura Saimin, a noodle place in Lihue where all the locals go.
Then we went to Wailua Falls
Then we stopped at the Kileau lighthouse briefly on our way to Secret Beach
Here is secret beach. It was massive, remote, and empty. Perfect!
It was below a large rock cliff that bordered the entire beach. The only bad thing about the beach was that there wasn’t much shade unless you were right by the rocks, which was kind of far from the water.
We hung out there for a couple of hours and then headed back to Hanalei to hit a farmers market to pick up some fruit. Our favorite were the apple bananas (small and sweet!) and star fruit.
That evening we had dinner at the Dolphin in Hanalei. It was yummy! Jennifer started her tradition of pina coladas with dinner.
We took this picture of Hanalei bay on the way to dinner
Wednesday was our hike day. We got up early and headed to Ke’e Beach to hike the Kalalua trail along the Napoli coast. This was the higlight of our trip. We hiked two miles to Hanakapiai beach, then two miles up a valley to a Hanakapiai falls, a 300-ft waterfall. So an eight mile round trip. Totally worth it.
Here is a view of the beach we are headed to
The currents are very strong there
Here is a panorama of the beach
There was guava everywhere on the trail, it smelled amazing. The trail got pretty muddy and slippery, and we fell several times. Eventually we found some hiking sticks that helped tremendously. Jennifer hiked in her chaco’s and I hiked in my Keen’s. Both were good choices due to the mud and frequent creek crossings.
We came across these huge stands of bamboo
We crossed the creek several times. All the crossings were well posted with flash flood warnings but none of them said “Turn around don’t drown!!”
The end is in sight
Finally we made it. It was hard to get the entire falls in the frame. You really needed a wide angle camera.
The water was cold but it felt great after the long hike!
That’s me sitting behind the waterfall. When we first got there, there were two other couples and neither had gone swimming. I was determined to swim so I took a little dip but didn’t stay in long. After that, another couple arrived and started swimming and went all the way to the waterfall. After that everyone started getting in more once they saw others doing it and it was safe. I followed them over to the waterfall.
We dried off, ate some lunch, and took a final picture before heading back.
There are some pretty incredible views all along the way
We booked it on the way back and were pretty exhausted when we got done. We thought about swimming at Ke’e beach but it was crowded and we were tired. We headed back to the condo and walked down to Hideaway’s beach to chill. This ended up being our favorite beach which was great because it was also the closest.
I tried snorkeling for the first time and saw some cool fish
I watched “The Pulse” before dinner while Jennifer was getting ready.
That evening we went to Hanalei for dinner and ate at Kalypso’s. It was good. They also served pina coladas.
Thursday we just chilled out at the beach. We went to Tunnels beach in the morning. It had amazing views and the best snorkeling of the trip. We saw lots of cool fish and a sea turtle. The only downside to Tunnels was it is a long walk from the parking lot but definitely worth it.
We stayed there until early afternoon then stopped at Sushi Girl on the way back to Princeville. We grabbed a sushi burrito and a poke bowl and ate it at the beach.
Then we went back to Hideaways for the rest of afternoon.
We watched the sunset at our condo and enjoyed some wine
That evening we went to Bar Acuda, a tapas place. They happened to also serve pina coladas. The food was excellent.
We ordered a salad
North shore honeycomb, an apple, and goat cheese
And a scallop on mash potatoes
On Friday we booked a guided trip up the Wailua River. We kayaked a couple of miles then hiked about a mile to Secret Falls. This is a very popular adventure and although it wasn’t as rewarding as the Hanakapiai falls, it was very cool in its own right and we had a great guide.
It was a leisurely hike through a lush river valley
Here is a picture of us in the waterfalls with the go pro. Kind of blurry
This was a really neat swimming spot and the water wasn’t as cold.
On the way back, we stopped at another lookout and used our selfie stick. I tended to focus on taking the picture and forgot to smile
That evening we got “dressed up” for dinner
This was our actual anniversary so we had reservations at Kauai Grill at the St. Regis. It was outstanding. The interesting story on this place was that the charges didn’t show up on our card for about 2 weeks. We thought they had given us our meal for free but no such luck. Here was the view before dinner
And our view from dinner
We started with some complimentary champagne
And then had some cocktails
We had a salad, the steak, the mahi, and dessert
After dinner, we went through the lobby and they were making leis, so we joined in
Saturday we had breakfast at the condo. Not a bad view
Then we took a walk down to Queens bath but the surf was too high to go on the rocks
We saw these neat walking palm trees
Then we watched the A&M-Tennessee game which lasted forever. After the game, we went back to Hideaways beach for the afternoon. Then we watched the sunset and had dinner at the Hideaways Pizza Pub. Jennifer did her evening ritual of yoga.
On Sunday we got up and drove to the other side of the island to visit Waimea Canyon which is called the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. I wore my Aggie shirt since we won.
At the very top of the canyon, the road ends around 4000 ft and there are some great views of the ocean and the napoli coast.
After that we went through Hanapepe for lunch. The Disney movie Lilo and Stitch is supposedley based on this little village. We got some yummy passion fruit lemonade.
And had some sushi
We went to a coffee plantation
And then stopped on the south shore at Poipu beach. It was crowded but still pretty awesome. This particular beach is rated the best beach in the US.
We got some fresh juice for the ride home. Jennifer got watermelon juice. It tasted like you were drinking a watermelon.
We drove through the Tunnel of Trees Road
We made it back to the condo and had leftovers for dinner, then walked to the St Regis for drinks at sunset. An old lady stole our seat outside, so we got some comfy chairs inside.
Monday we packed up, grabbed some souvenirs and headed to the airport.
We made it home on Tuesday morning and handed out our gifts. Hannah loved her hula outfit. She is only allowed to wear it at home for obvious reasons. We brought them some sand in a bottle and she said she was going to pour it in the backyard and hula on it.
Here is our ranking of restaurants in case anyone is going to visit
- Kauai Grill at St. Regis
- Bar Acuda
- The Dolphin
- Hamura Saimin
- Japanese Grandma
- Sushi Girl
- Hideaway’s Pizza Pub
- Chicken in a Barrel
We also had lots of good coffee, fresh juice, and smoothies at sevearal roadside juice stands. And stopped in for ice-cream a couple of times at Pink’s in Hanelai.
Well that’s it. We wish we were still on vacation. It was a great trip and we would recommend it to anyone.