Kauai was the next and final stop on our Hawaiian adventure (Maui being first). We chose Kauai as our second island for a number of reasons – the #1 being it was the most recommended by friends and family. And they were right, everything about it was absolutely breathtaking!
Kauai, the Garden Isle, is lush, tropical, and stunning. It’s also the oldest in the chain of Hawaiian islands, making it that much more mesmerizing. At one point during our boat ride along the Napali Coast, I looked at Vishnu and said, “God really knew what he was doing, huh?” Basically, imagine being plopped into the middle of Jurassic Park. That’s Kauai! I loved how untouched it felt (only 20% of the island is accessible by car) compared to more commercial Maui. Vishnu and I decided Kauai is worth a second visit and that we’ll be back to see more it in a few years.
In true Parita fashion, I’m going to share where we stayed, what we did, and what we ate. And as always, if you have any questions, feel free to email me!
Note – Vishnu and I are behind in life and haven’t downloaded the pictures on our SLR yet. What you see in this post are pics from my iPhone! I didn’t want to delay this post any further, so for now, this is what you get!
WHERE WE STAYED
We stayed at the Koloa Landing Beach Resort in Kauai, and you guys, this place was incredible and HUGE. Honestly, upon entering and checking out our new digs, I felt like it was way too much space. But nothing we could do at that point but enjoy it.
The villas are spacious, beautifully decorated, and equipped with the best appliances. Luxurious to say the very least.
In terms of location, this was much better than where we stayed in Maui…probably because the island is smaller. The shorter drives were much appreciated.
The only drawback to this resort was that a lot of the property was under construction during our stay. Fortunately, we didn’t experience any noise issues. It just took away from that resort-like feel.
WHAT WE DID
This was our first adventure in Kauai, and I loved it for so many reasons. First, I got us the best seats on the boat (the very front), so we felt each and every swell! Second, the Napali coast is GORGEOUS. Seriously, there are no words. It’s one of those places that you have to see to believe and appreciate. And third, we saw a mama hump back whale come up and out of the water! That was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen, and it happened about 100 feet in front of us. AH-MAZING!
The dinner portion of the cruise was good (nothing to write home about though). They cater to vegetarians, so they’re winners in my book regardless!
So here’s the thing. These helicopter tours are expensive….VERY expensive. But Vishnu (and my cousin) convinced me that it would be well worth our hard earned money. And they were right! This was one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life (second only to sky diving!). This special tour lands in front of Jurassic Falls, made famous by the movie. Again, this is something you can’t really explain in words. It was such a special experience, especially because there are so many parts of Kauai we didn’t have access to by car. HIGHLY recommend this if you can/are willing to dish out some $$$.
Since our helicopter tour was early in the morning, we had all afternoon to explore. Vishnu’s mom’s family manages coffee estates in India, so we thought it would be fun to visit one in Kauai. While it was a real adventure, we liked trying different kinds of coffee, tour the estate, and eating coffee ice cream. This certainly isn’t a must visit place, but if you have time and want to do something relaxing, this is it.
This was our last stop before heading to airport, and what a special way to end our trip. We made it just in time to sit through a short religious event and receive blessings from the priest. For those who follow the Hindu religion, I highly recommend making time to visit this monastery. The grounds are absolutely beautiful, and there’s a special energy that surrounds this place…so peaceful!
WHERE WE ATE
The Juice Bar at Living Foods – The fruit in Hawaii is just a tad bit sweeter than it is in the on the mainland, so when we saw a juice bar close to our hotel, we had to stop. Again, my FIL’s smoothie was the winner! If I remember correctly, it was called the Tropical Delight. YUM!
Pietro’s Pizza – If you’re looking for true Italian pizza, this place is it. Vishnu LOVED Pietro’s while I found it to be so-so. I like my pizza smothered in sauce and evenly covered in cheese, while Vishnu appreciates unique ingredients in smaller quantities. Depending on what kind of pizza you prefer, this place could be right up your alley.
Tortilla Republic – We went here for lunch and found it to be pretty decent though nothing special. The menu has several options that cater to different tastes, preferences, and diets. My vegetarian tacos were tasty, while Vishnu’s quesadilla wasn’t flavorful enough.
Keoki’s Paradise – If Mama’s Fish House was a winner in Maui, Keoki’s Paradise was the clear winner in Kauai. The fish everyone (but me) ordered as their main dishes was apparently perfection. My FIL said the way they prepared it was very tasty and special! Although the highlight of the meal was Hula Pie – Oreo cookie crust, macadamia nut ice cream, hot fudge, and macadamia nuts. This place definitely got a thumbs up from our clan!
Kauai Beer Company – We ate here for lunch on our last day in Kauai, and surprisingly, everyone loved what they ordered. Personally, my roasted veggie sandwich on French sourdough was filling and delicious. Even Vishnu’s jalapeno turkey sandwich looked really good!
And that, my friends, was our adventure in Kauai!
Overall, Hawaii was a super fun escape from freezing Chicago, and I can’t wait to return and see even more!