It was a shock when another one of my friends, Keith, wanted to come visit Hawaii. (that was a joke, of course my friends wanted to visit!) Since it is hard to have family and friends visit without bringing them to the same iconic places, we decided it would be fun to visit another island...Kauai! Since he loves nature and hiking, it seemed like the perfect island for him to visit. Keith flew into Oahu and we spent the next day exploring the north shore and a few other places that he had to see on that island. The day after the brief Oahu tour, we hopped a flight to Kauai. I have great luck on Priceline finding hotels. I used to find the hotels with Name Your Own Price but then I moved on to Express Deals under Priceline and I liked that better. I had never used Airbnb or VRBO before and I still not did not want to do it when Keith explained it to me. He assured me it would be better than a hotel and it would be the same price as Priceline, if not better. I kept telling him to just get a Priceline but he ended up finding a two bedroom, two bath condo right on the water for the same or possibly cheaper price than Priceline. The view in the morning when I woke up was below...
I had to give him credit, he did a great job. Full kitchen, wifi, great amenities and right on the Pacific Ocean. The condo was near Princeville toward the northeastern section of the island. Kauai is a very green island because it rains the most out of all the Hawaiian islands. Because of all the rain Kauai looks is a very vibrant green and full of vegetation. Life is a little different on this island, a little slower. Most of the stores and restaurants closed at an early hour so it was especially good we had a kitchen at our condo. There was a trail right by the condo that led down to Turtle Cave. The owner of the condo left directions on how to get down to the cave. There are different times to hike down to it due to the tides but we went down anyways just to check it out.
Pictured above was the view on the way down. It seemed that everywhere we looked was another breathtaking image and photos did not do it justice. When we got to the bottom we could not go into the cave because the water was too high but we were able to get a glimpse of it. The volcano rocks we were standing on were black and when we stopped for awhile, we noticed black crabs crawling around on the rocks.
One of the most amazing parts to Kauai is the NaPali Coast. The NaPali Coast is along the northern area of Kauai and the only way to access it is to hike there or to take a boat to the area. There are no roads along the NaPali Coast, which helps maintain its beauty. Keith and I signed up for an excursion where we took a guided tour to the NaPali Coast by boat from the western side of the island. We started out on the boat and headed north but after a few minutes the guides decided to turn back due to the rough waters. The downfall of attempting to see the NaPali Coast during the winter months is that the water is very rough and the waves are much higher. The guides felt it was unsafe to travel that route, which was unfortunate because we were so excited to see the coast from the water. We took a detour that was still a very beautiful experience.
There are parts of Oahu that made me feel like we were in Jurassic Park but this island had that feeling x1000.
We took a quick stop at a a dock with lots of boats that was very picturesque.
While we were boating we were also able to see some whales that we followed for quite some time! We even got to see some breach out of the water! As much as we were bummed that we missed out on the NaPali experience, we still had an amazing time taking in those sights...the NaPali Coast would have to wait for another trip unfortunately, by boat anyways.
After our boat excursion ended it was close to sunset. We headed to Waimea Canyon, which is called the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific". I had never been to the Grand Canyon at this point in my life so I was excited to check out the Pacifics version of such an awe striking landscape. Photos that we took once again did not seem to do it justice which may have been the time of day we headed to see Waimea Canyon.
The sun was going down and we were pretty cold due to the elevation and the wind up at the canyon.
The next day we decided to go and do a hike along the beginning part of the NaPali Coast past Hanalei Bay area. Keith is an avid hiker so I was a bit worried about hiking with someone so good at hiking but he was an awesome hiking partner. Our plan was to hike the Hanakapi'ai Trail to the Hanakapi'ai Beach and then continue to the waterfall. This was a two mile hike to the beach and then two miles to the waterfall, so it was an 8 mile hike roundtrip.
The drive to get to the hike had a few places that we had to pull over and stop to take photos.
We started out on our hike and the view was unlike any other I have seen before.
The photo taken above is right from the hike towards the beginning and in the distance is the NaPali Coastline. Right before we made it to the beach we had to walk through a "river". The river flows right down into the ocean and when it is raining it is very dangerous to walk through the river due to the current. Several hikers have lost their lives not listening to these warnings and then the current has taken them out to the ocean. Some of these hikers were never found but I do not think any swept away survived. Hawaii is a beautiful place but it is also a place that people need to take the warnings seriously.
The photograph above was taken when I was standing right in the middle of the "river" with such dangerous potential.
Right past the river is the beach! We had made it two miles!
Next we were off to THEE waterfall of Jurassic Park. The spray from the waterfall was freezing cold!
The trip back four miles took me a little bit more time than the way to the falls. I did not wear the appropriate hiking shoes and going through the water made some blisters a little bit worse but it was all worth it in the end.
Don't mind the arm in the photo above!
After the hike we headed back to Hanalei Bay and did a quick walk around the bay before a little bit of rain set in, which is a common occurance on that island.
We then headed to one of the hotels on the bay to have dinner and watch the sunset.
The next day we ended up going to the Kilauea Lighthouse. It was shut down for construction, so we could not go into the lighthouse but we could see it from afar.
We also went to visit Queens Bath, which is a very popular spot to visit. Just like many other places on the islands, Queens Bath can be a very dangerous place. Many people head too close to the waves that are breaking on the rocks and they get swept off into the ocean to their death. There was even a marker on the ground that people added marks to for each life taken from Queens Bath. We got close enough without putting ourselves in harms way. The waves were huge that kept breaking right on the rocks.
It was such a fun trip and I was sad to see Keith go! I always wish we had more time everywhere!