Kauai is known as the Garden Isle of Hawaii. True to its name, the island is surrounded with scenic beauty that is lush and pristine. It's one of the more quiet of the Hawaiian islands where everything flows at a slower pace. But don't mistake this for an island that is boring. Far from it! Last December, my husband and I made a week-long escape to Kauai. Surprisingly, it was a bit chillier than I expected but that didn't stop us from doing the requisite lounging by beach. Kauai has numerous beaches and among the popular ones that we checked out were Poipu Beach, Donkey Beach, and Maha'ulepu Beach (this last beach is actually very secluded and difficult to get to so be warned!). We were also lucky enough to catch an up-close sighting of an endangered monk seal basking in the sun at Poipu Beach.
You can make your trip to Hawaii as relaxed or as active as you want. We opted for a balance of both. So besides beach bumming, our itinerary included an ATV tour through a private ranch/jungle where we got to see where movies like Jurassic Park and Indiana Jones were filmed. Also memorable was our helicopter tour of the entire island and a visit to a chocolate plantation where we got learn about the process of chocolate-making and sampled different varieties of dark chocolate (scroll to the bottom of the post for names of these tours).
Of course, no trip to Kauai is complete without seeing the rugged Napali Coast, the Fern Grotto, and the Weimea Canyon (labeled the "Grand Canyon of the West"), whether it's by boat, helicopter, or car.
We were also going to do mountain tubing down a river passing through an old cotton plantation. It sounded super fun but unfortunately, I fell sick towards the end of the trip. So it was a bummer that we couldn't go. Ah well! As they say, always leave something for next time...
|Frolicking on the beach!|
|A contemplative moment with a friendly stray dog|
|Sampling local fruits at the Steelgrass Plantation|
|I finally got to see what a cacao tree looks like. These cacao fruits are the source of chocolate!|
|All set for a rough, tough and muddy ATV ride through a private ranch and jungle|
|This scenic backdrop is where movies like The Descendants and Jurassic Park were filmed|
|This is a part of the road called the Tunnel of Trees|
|Breathtaking vistas from the helicopter tour|
|A view of the rugged Napali Coastline from above|
Chocolate plantation: Steelgrass Plantation (www.steelgrass.org/chocolate)
Helicopter ride: There are plenty of different companies that offer this but we loved the Blue Hawaii Helicopter tour company
Tip: You can't get around the island without a car as public transport is limited. So a car rental is highly recommended.