Kauai Recap: Days 6 & 7

Previous Kauai Recaps: 

Day 6: Wednesday, December 28

So as you read in my last Kauai recap, days 4 & 5 were intense! Over the course of two days we hiked around 25 kilometres. 25 very technical, muddy, hilly kilometres I might add. We woke up tired and SORE on Wednesday. After a decent sleep-in, I think until about 8 or 8:30am, we definitely took our time getting ready to leave the house. We made breakfast and coffee, read our books and just kind of lazed around the Air BnB. This is one day where I really wish we’d had a condo on the beach – I honestly don’t think we would have left the condo / beach in front of our condo this day if it wasn’t for wanting to go to the beach…

We started by driving south to Poip’u Beach because I really wanted to do some snorkelling and had read online and in my book that it’s a great beach for that. Because we didn’t get there until about 11am it was SO BUSY. I did go in the water for a bit (Eric was not at all interested because it was so so busy) but it was honestly impossible to snorkel with so many people there so I gave up after about 15 minutes and we hit the road to find another beach.

We decided to go back north because we love the north end more and it seems less busy than the south. So next we found ourselves at Donkey Beach. The only thing with the north side of the island is the waves in the winter basically mean no swimming, so we sat in our chairs and read our books.

You can really see the waves in this photo!

Full disclosure, Donkey Beach was not the nicest beach and I probably would not recommend going there. There was a lot of garbage and the sand wasn’t very nice…

After about an hour sitting at Donkey Beach we headed back down the road and hit up the Green Pig Food Truck before settling in at Kealia Beach, which is right across the road. I had a super super delicious pulled pork sandwich!

Eric built this amazing chair in the sand at Kealie Beach, ha ha!

 

After another hour or so at Kealia Beach it was already almost 4:30pm so we decided to head back to Kapa’a and hit up the little Food Truck market on the north end of town, we had been meaning to go there for ages. Good thing we got back when we did because they were just starting to close up so we got there just in time to get some dinner.

Goofing around while waiting for our food 🙂

Yummy fish taco’s! They were so good!

I honestly don’t remember what we did after this. I think we probably just retired back to our Air BnB as we were still pretty tired from the hiking the day before and we were ready for bed!

Day 7: Thursday, December 29

This was our last full day in Kauai and actually our flight left at 10:45pm on the evening of December 29. One of the best things about our Air BnB is that we were able to do a late checkout for a small extra fee, so we didn’t have to checkout until 8pm! It was SO nice. When we went to Maui we also had a redeye flight home but we had to check out by 11am meaning we were feeling quite icky and tired by the time we got to the airport.

We started off the last day with a walk along the beach to see our last Hawaiian sunrise of the trip.

Since we loved the north so much we decided to drive north for the third and final time on this day. The plan was to go to Ke’e Beach, however the weather was really not that great as it was sprinkling on and off so on our way north we ended up stopping in Hanalei to rent kayaks and kayak the Hanalei river.

It was like a scene out of Jurassic Park. I half expected there to be dinosaurs along the edge of the river 🙂

After kayaking we had lunch at yet another food truck, Hanalei Taro.

Eric had a taro burger and I had the Kalalau bowl, which was Kauai pork and this special salsa with salmon in it (that we saw everywhere) over poi. I also had a yummy mango smoothie.

We then continued to drive north to Ke’e Beach but by that time it was around noon and the beach was packed. There was no parking to be found. If you want to go to Ke’e Beach when you are in Kauai go EARLY! The parking lot is tiny and it is a busy little beach!

So we headed back to the beach we hung out at on Christmas Eve, Lumaha’i Beach.

The weather really was not great. Very windy and sprinkling on and off. So we sat on the beach, drank beer, read our books and watched the waves crash. There were actually quite a few people there just to watch the waves. The pictures don’t do them justice but they were huge and so neat.

After a couple of hours we packed up and headed back to our Air BnB. We spent the afternoon packing, cleaning up the rental unit and I went and gassed up the car and vacuumed it out – it was so full of sand!

Once that was all done we hopped on the bikes and biked to the famous Bubba’s Burgers! We had heard so many people talk about it we knew we had to eat here at least once.

And after sharing this food from Bubba’s we also had to make one last stop at our very favourite place…

My bangs are ridiculous in this picture. Ha.

That cajun shrimp though…. seriously. SO good.

After eating we loaded up our stuff and headed to the airport. On the way there I stopped to pick up some Hula Pie because I was determined to have some before leaving Kauai!

By this point I was in a bit of a food coma from all the good food we’d had that evening so I only ate about half of it 🙂

And then we were off!! It was really nice to have two super relaxing days in Kauai after a few busier days at the beginning of the trip.

I will do a full blog post comparing Kauai to Maui later as I know a lot of people have asked for my thoughts on that 🙂

If you have been to a Kauai, please leave your BEACH reccomendations in the comments because I do feel one place we really struck out was finding good beaches. Or all the “good” ones were just soooo busy! Maybe it was the time of year we were there too? 

Have you ever had Hula Pie? 

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Kauai Recap: Days 4 & 5

Previous Kauai Recaps: 

Day 4: Boxing Day (Monday, December 26th)

These two days were definitely the busiest days of our trip as we completed two huge hikes back-to-back. But let’s start with Boxing Day. On Christmas we decided that we were going to get up early the next day and head to the Waimea Canyon. I knew that I really wanted to go for two hikes in the canyon and it is one of the top things to do on TripAdvisor for Kauai. So we got up in the morning, had breakfast at our Air BnB and we were on the road around 8am to head to the canyon.

It actually took over an hour to drive to the canyon! As we started winding up the road we stopped at a lookout to check it out. It really was incredible.

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We finally made it to the top of the hill and stopped in at the Koke’e Lodge where we bought a trail map and got directions to the Awa’awapuhi TrailClick here to read the post where I blogged in detail about this hike and shared LOTS of pictures, I will only share a couple here 🙂

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It was a beautiful hike through mostly thick forest. Very very muddy and slippery! But the real amazing part of this hike is the view at the end.

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3,000 feet above sea level. Pretty darn incredible.

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The really tough part about this hike is that you’re actually hiking downhill the whole way out to the viewpoint, so the way back is mostly uphill, which was super tough. We were both breathing hard and sweating a lot. The entire round trip hike was about 6.5 miles or just over 10km and took us about 3.5 miles total including 30 minutes or so at the view point.

After we were done the hike we headed back down the road and we were going to do another hike but we both ended up feeling pretty tired and hungry and not really in the mood for another hike. However, we did stop at one more beautiful view point of the canyon and did a bit of an off-road hike which was both amazing and slightly terrifying 🙂

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See more pictures and read more about this hike in the bottom half of this post about our day at Waimea Canyon!

Once we were done in the canyon we started heading back east to our next destination; Kauai Coffee Plantation!

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It was pretty cool. I wish it had worked out for us to take an official tour of the plantation but tours were at 2pm and 4pm and we got there at 3pm! So didn’t want to wait around for a whole hour for the next tour. We ended up walking around a bit by ourselves and then getting four bags of coffee to take home – some for us and some for our family.

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I think the Kauai Coffee Plantation is worth a visit if you are a fan of coffee and in Kauai!

We also were hoping to go to Kauai Beer Company for dinner and drinks on our way back but it turns out they were closed on Monday nights, so we headed back to Kapa’a and got takeout from The Shrimp Station instead. We LOVED the Shrimp Station and ate there three more times before going home 🙂

Here is a dark photo of us eating our Shrimp Station takeout on the floor in the bedroom of our Air BnB because that is where the TV is but we were wayyy too dirty from our hike to eat in bed!

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I honestly don’t remember what else we did that night… probably not much since we were pretty tired after our huge hike and busy day! Also because of the time difference we were going to bed around 8:30 – 9pm each night and up around 6:30-7 each morning.

Day 5: Tuesday, December 27

So I distinctly remember waking up on the morning of the 27th and being quite sore from the hike and laying in bed and saying to Eric ‘should we relax today or should we do the other big hike we want to do’ and Eric saying ‘we might as well do the hike’ and I said ‘well we have to get going then’. So up and out of bed we were and we got changed and were out the door asap. This was the one morning we ate breakfast out as we stopped for bagels and coffee at the Small Town Coffee Bus on Kapa’a as we headed north. The plan for today was to hike the Kalalau Trail at the north end of Kauai.

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The Kalalau Trail is the #1 thing to do in Kauai according to TripAdvisor and I am soooo glad we got there early. We arrived at the trailhead at around 8am and the parking lot was already getting pretty busy. We got one of the last few parking spots left. Also, the hike was long and tough so I’m very glad we got an early start. On our way back around 1pm in the afternoon there were people who were just embarking on the hike and planning to do the same 5ish hour trek we had just done, I would not have wanted to be in their shoes in the heat of the afternoon!

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This hike was GORGEOUS. Photos literally do not do it justice. I’d love to go back one day and hike the entire thing and camp on the beach.

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It was also muddy and mucky and crazy technical!!

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After making it to Hanakapiai Beach, we rested for about 30 minutes and decided to go ahead and keep hiking into the jungle to Hanakapiai Falls. Suffice to say, this hike was INTENSE and included clambering over boulders and multiple stream crossings, but the falls were gorgeous and worth every step.

For many more details and pictures on this hike click here to read my full post!

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Once we got back to Ke’e Beach I immediately cracked a cold beer and then immediately went for a swim in the ocean, which felt AH-MA-ZING!

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After that we decided to head back to our place as we were very dirty and very sweaty and desperately needed showers. We drove back to our Air BnB and had the most amazing showers ever and then just relaxed and read for about an hour.

After we were rested up and cleaned up we hit the road again to visit Kauai Beer Company. We had missed it the day before because it was closed on Mondays and we always try to visit breweries when we travel. Eric collects growlers!

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We got a bunch of tasters (those are 4 oz each!) and a bit of food. It was perfect after our long hike. The beer was soooo yummy after that hike as well.

You can read more about our experience at Kauai Beer Company here! When we got back to Kapa’a, Eric got Shrimp Station again. Seriously it’s so good!

Then we basically went to bed early because we had hiked around 25 km / 15 miles in two days and we were BEAT. The last two days were definitely going to be for mostly relaxing!

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Kauai Recap: Christmas Day

You can read about our first two days in Kauai here

On Christmas Day we slept in a bit, until about 8 am, and then got up with a plan to borrow two bikes from our Air BnB (one of the best things about it was that it came with bikes!) and bike the Ke Ala Hele Makalae Trail, which means ‘The path that goes by the coast’. Here are more photos and information about our amazing Christmas Morning bike ride!

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It was sooo beautiful and the absolutely perfect way to start off Christmas Day!

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The bike ride was 8-miles round trip and took us about 1.5 hours with stopping for photos.

Once we got back to our Air BnB we made a huge and amazing breakfast including mimosas and sangria.

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We also skyped and chatted on the phone with some of our family.

Around 10am we hit the road. Our big plan for Christmas Day was to visit the Koloa Rum Company. We always try to do wine / beer / alcohol tours and tastings if there are any in the area when we travel. They are some of our favourite things to do!

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We managed to get there in time for the last rum tasting of the day. The lady who hosted it was soooo awesome and fun, we had to take a selfie with her 🙂 I usually don’t like rum very much but I loved the coffee rum!

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We ended up buying four bottles of rum total! I was super nervous about them all getting home safe and sound, but they did. Even though the TSA agent did inspect my suitcase and move the rum to a different spot so I had a slight freakout when we got home thinking they’d confiscated it!

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After the rum tasting we drove further south on the island to Port Allen where we grabbed a late lunch at a little hole in the wall shrimp restaurant.

On our way back from the south we stopped in to see the famous Wailua Falls. They were pretty amazing and you can just drive right up to them, which was cool.

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And honestly by the time that was all done we got home around 5pm and we were pretty tired. We originally had Christmas Dinner reservations at a nice restaurant in Poipu, but once we realized we were a good 40 minute drive one way (further with traffic) drive from Poipu we decided to just stay in for our Christmas Day dinner. We had some of the food we’d bought at Costco, a few drinks and watched another Christmas movie and then went to bed early.

It was definitely a very different Christmas Day than what we’ve ever experienced before but it was also really, really nice to be away and spend the day just the two of us celebrating Christmas while also not really celebrating Christmas in the traditional way.

How did you spend Christmas Day this year? Have you ever traveled for the holidays? 

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