Monday, June 13, 2011

Destination Mondays #6

Right after my senior year of high school, my bestie Brittanie and I went with her family to...

Kauai, Hawaii.

Kauai, Hawaii from the plane. 

Kauai, Hawaii, United States

The Island of Kauai, HI

And I'd be a lying fool if I didn't recommend this island to you. As the Garden Isle, it is less populated and less-touristy than The Big Island (and has only 562 square miles of space). After a 5 hour flight across the Pacific Ocean, you'll take another hour flight on a teeny-tiny plane to the small (almost entirely outdoor) airport in Lihue/Kalapakii. Then you take the highway (yes, the one highway) to wherever your destination might be: The North Shore, The South Shore, The West Side, or Coconut Coast...because that is it. There is no where else.

Near the Airport on Kauai in the Lihue/Kalapakii Area.

In the South Shore, I definitely recommend staying at Poipu Beach. There's a great restaurant called The Beach House and the beach is beautiful - and has good snorkeling. You can also go to Shipwreck Beach, so named because the beach is made up of not just sand, but thousands of rounded bits of glass from sparkles and is beautiful in the sunlight.

Poipu Beach on the South Shore.

Photograph 2006: Poipu Beach at Sunset. 

The drive to The North Shore is fantastic...especially when you pass Coconut Coast and start seeing thousands of waterfalls EVERYWHERE you look.

Waimea Canyon, Kauai (on The West Side)
Named "The Grand Canyon of the Pacific" by Mark Twain.

I believe this is Coconut Coast
(Brittanie can correct me if I'm wrong)
But either's in Kauai somewhere. 

More of Coconut Coast. 

On the West Side, along with Waimea Canyon (pictured above) you can check out the Wailua Falls to see this:

Waailua Falls

Depending on rainfall there may be two or even three waterfall spouts. You can hike the trail down to the bottom to see this:

You can hike down the ravine to this waterfall and swim in the cool water
or hike around the see the waterfall up close on the rocky ledge.
Warning: the hike down is steep, slippery, and scary.
But clearly - it's worth it. 

On The North Shore, you can stay at the St. Regis Princeville Resort...which overlooks Hanalei Bay and has the most beautiful view from their pool (or you can just walk through the lobby and take pictures from the look-out, like we did!)

If you look carefully, you can see a waterfall.
This is on the drive to the North Shore.

Hanalei Bay

Hanalei Bay is a beautiful place to lay out and get some sun (not great for swimming, but it's totally worth it). North of Hanalei Bay is Haena Beach Park and Tunnels Beach - which is the best snorkeling ever. The reefs have paths in them that form tunnels for you to safely snorkel through while looking at beautiful tropical fish and baby sea turtles (they were about three feet away playing - it was unbelievable).

Part of the Napali Coast. 

The Napali Coast is just a beach - there's nothing else. 

My personal favorite part of the trip was camping out on the Napali Coast. Not even joking...we went camping on the beach. No electricity, no plumbing, nothing. Just swimming, sunning, walking, and relaxing. 

Photograph 2006: Our Camp on the Napali Coast.

Nothing but beautiful beaches and sights everywhere. 

The mist early in the morning - rare, but beautiful.

My other favorite part of the trip was Ultra Lighting with Brittanie's family friend's business Birds in Paradise. My eyes almost popped out of my head when we flew over the island and into the misty mountains, surrounded by clouds, waterfalls, and jungles. It was like being a bird.

Bird of Paradise. 

Rainbow falling into the ocean.
Photograph 2006: The South Shore. 

The sunsets are always beautiful here.
Photograph 2006: The South Shore. 

If you're looking for a tropical getaway...Kauai, Hawaii is your destination. 

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