Hawaii was never really on my "Must See" list, I always thought it was too common, too popular, too touristy! Although Kauai is the least touristy island, there were still lots. Almost every car you passed was a rental car!
Flights dropped down to $480- something in May for the week of my birthday in October. So we just went for it! Flights did drop another $40-$50 a week or so later, so i'd reccommend watching them for as long as possible.
We tagged along with my dad and step mom, nice because renting a car sucks, and renting a car while under the age of 25 REALLY sucks. It's also nice to travel with people because you can split the cost of the condo, groceries, etc.
Our flights were from SLC to LAX and then from LAX to LHU - Lihue airport. For some reason the flight to Kauai was SO long! It was only 5 hours, and remind you that we just did a 10 hour flight to London back in March. We just had a rough go, plus it was really cramped!
We finally arrived in Lihue late at night, I think it was like 12am their time, so to our bodies it only felt like 9pm. Which was good because we were already exhausted from traveling! We were all starving, because our flight ran out of food. I actually bought the last wrap and I was starving so I of course ate it without sharing...
The Lihue airport is really small, and open. The baggage claim opens right up to the outside and you could feel the humidity almost immediately!
Once all of our baggage arrived safely we picked up our rental car and headed to Princeville on the north shore. Also, we apparently missed the memo because EVERYONE rented either a Jeep or a Camaro.
I'm not sure why this flight was so hard on me, but I was completely exhausted. Plus I get car sick easily so I was a little nauseas from the flight and then to sit in the backseat of a car for another hour or so was rough!
Once we got to our condo it was past midnight, and I never slept so good! Except the next morning at like 5 am I awoke to the sound of chickens, and roosters, and it was funny at first.. If you've never heard of this you're in for a treat. Kauai has been TAKEN OVER by chickens! They blame it on a hurricane that hit in the 90's - they had some wild chickens but not like they do today! The hurricane blew chicken coops all over the island and let all the chickens out and they have since grown out of control.
Besides waking up to the worst alarm ever, pictured above, it was so gorgeous. When we arrived it was already dark and so we didn't get to see much! So after breakfast we left the condo to go exploring. We pulled over where there were already like 3 or 4 cars and hiked down this little trail and found the most gorgeous view! It was just screaming "Welcome to Hawaii!"
There is something mind-blowing about watching the ocean crash against the rocks, its an extremely powerful force of nature!
After this we drove a little further into Hanalei Bay - here they have a shopping plaza, all sorts of food, amazing wall art, and this is also where our tattoo parlor is.
I'm always down to try new food, especially when traveling. But when you're stopping at a little roadside shack I feel like its okay to play it safe! I had the chicken teriyaki it came with white rice and a pasta salad, mediocre but it did the job of keeping me alive. Alec got a burger, because well, he's Alec. This guy ate a burger in France - yes you all may eye roll with me!
My dad ordered Spam Masubi - if you've never heard of this no worries. I had never either! It is spam, sushi rice, wrapped in nori or seaweed. Like a sushi roll, with Spam.
This is one of the walls I fell in love with! It was in a narrow alley so it was hard to get even this wide of a photo. There were so many different walls, there was one in a building that all the way up and down the stairs was this huge dragon. Will someone come do that in my house?!
This is a church that is right by Hanalei Bay, super pretty, and different.
After our exploration we headed back to our condo to soak in the hot tub. Unfortunately the hot tub was filled with people, and am I the only one who doesn't like to sit in a tub with strangers? Sara and I hung out in the pool drinking our Hawaiian beer - which was good, good meaning everyone else loved it but i'm not a beer drinker so no matter what it would have been just bleh to me.
That night my dad made chicken teriyaki, and to be honest it was probably 100x better! In my utterly biased opinion.
WOOT WOOT! IT'S MY BIRTHDAY!
The next morning we decided we would do a kayaking tour, we went through Wailua Kayak Adventures. They reccommend that you pick up a sandwich for lunch across the street and bring it along, the sandwiches were pretty expensive, as is all food in Hawaii.
This tour was so amazing. Your kayak down the river, lucky me I had Alec and we've kayaked together before, so he already knew he'd be doing most of the work! Plus I was the birthday girl so..
Once you finish kayaking down the river, it gets a little tight with foliage. I think I would have been more freaked out if there were a lot of bugs but it was so gorgeous! Our tour guide was also HILARIOUS, i'm awful with names so I might have to go through some GoPro footage to see if I caught it anywhere. But seriously, he was so funny, and nice and a native! He knew so much about the island and language, he always told us several times about how he once went 70 MPH in a car and how it was the most terrifying thing of his life!
We all hopped off the kayaks and now there is a small hike, and i'm not a hiker, so if i'm saying a small hike it really is a small hike!
We finally arrived to Secret Falls. This waterfall was UNREAL. So pretty, really cold, but so pretty! We waded into the water, it wasn't very deep, but we only stayed in the water a minute! There were a lot of people here, a lot of chickens, but I can't imagine how packed it could be. They recently passed a law that only a few companies could conduct tours here, so it wasn't nearly as busy as it could have been!
I highly reccommend this tour to anyone on the north shoe of Kauai!
Once we finished up we drove back up to Princeville, we wanted to check out Queen's Bath before it got to dark. We had seen YouTube videos of this gorgeous place, and it was conveniently about five minutes away from our condo! Also Queen's Bath is #3 of #25 things to do in Princeville on TripAdvisor.
It's a pretty steep walk down, and slippery, the rocks are wet and I was in sandals from kayaking. I would recommend to wear better shoes! It was low tide and the water was so calm, please note that they have a rock before you go down there with a sign that says "this is how many people who have died here" and tally marks. It can be extremely dangerous!
I'm not even sure how far down you can get during high tide, but low tide was perfect. There were families swimming in the Queen's Bath, you could see SO many fish. So of course we jumped in, how many people can say they swam in this?! I mean probably a lot but still. Such a cool experience.
Oh, and there was this random little bird that just hang out with us. I thought he had cool hair so we become friends.
We were able to watch the sunset from Queen's Bath and it was so gorgeous. I literally cannot thing of another word to describe the places of Kauai.
We went back to our condo and got ready for dinner. I've had a sushi birthday dinner since I was sixteen, and being on an island I wasn't going to lose this tradition now! We went to The Dolphin Sushi Lounge - while you wait they have outdoor tables that you can order drinks and appetizers, and the Piña Colada's were DELICIOUS. I wish you could see it more but my friend Mindy made this adorable shirt for me last minute that says "Birthday Girl" - definietly going to rock it for many years to come.
After sushi we talked about going out to a bar, but I was just so incredibly tired after the full day of exploring that I decided not to. But don't worry, Sara made sure I took a shot of Patron anyway!
The next day was a beach day! The best days, we hung out on the beach, I found another bird friend, and just soaked up some sun.
Across the street from this beach was a little cave thing, kind of creepy, plus i'm not a big fan of small spaces, or the dark. Somehow Sara suckered me into crawling, literally crawling, into the dark abyss. I mean we had our flashlights on our phones but that doesn't light up much. I immediately thought of The Descent, a horror movie from years ago about an abandoned cave that these creatures live in, anyway people die, no happy endings. Luckily, we made it out alive!
After this fun little adventure we headed to get our tattoo's! I found Jessica on Instagram, her work is amazing. She is based out of Blue Tiki Tattoo, which is in the Hanalei Bay plaza I was talking about. If you're ever on the north shore, and want a tattoo, go see her! She's so sweet, and did a killer job.
For some reason my arm swelled up SO big! I don't know if it was the humidity, the placement, or what but I gotta say, this was the most painful tattoo i've gotten to date!
I woke up the next morning with body aches, a swollen, bloody tattooed arm, and chills. The previous day we were joking about how my bird friend from the beach gave me the bird flu, but now I was certain it was happening.
We started driving to the south shore for our last day, its amazing what a difference it made! It seemed very dry, and it was definietly warmer down there. We couldn't get into our condo just yet so we did lunch, probably the most expensive lunch ever, the food and alcohol prices in Kauai will never cease to amaze me!
Whatever I had came on full force that evening. A cold/flu thing put a cramp in our final day in Kauai. I mostly slept, hoping to get over it so I could enjoy something in the south shore, but I was so miserable!
After we returned home we heard of several other people who had recently been to Kauai and caught a cold/flu bug. So the moral of this story is to take some vitamin c pills with you I guess?
All in all Kauai is a gorgeous island, lots to do if you're an outdoorsy person, not a lot to do if you want nightlife or are a city person. This is where me and Alec differ. He loves the beaches, and the sun. I'd rather run around rainy Portland, or London, learning about all the history! Although I am this type of person, i'd probably go back to Kauai. I feel like I need to give south shore another chance!