Happy Humpday, friends!
I know it’s been a minute, I’ve just been easing back into things after my incredible trip to Kauai, Hawaii. It’s hard to think that just a week ago I was sitting on the beach eating fresh fruit and looking out at crystal waters when LA has been so chilly and rainy lately! Though I don’t totally mind it, I do miss waking up in the gorgeous Garden Isle and planning adventures to see it all. I’m counting the days until I can go back and I hope someday you get to go, as well! Keep reading for some of my favorite spots & highlights from my trip 🙂
Where to Eat:
Jojo’s Shave Ice (Hanalei) – For shave ice the size of your face, aka a classic Hawaiian treat, you’ll have to come to Jojo’s. Their syrups are all-natural and homemade (legitimately) and the shave ice is so finely shaved it almost tastes like ice cream. Speaking of, make 100% sure you get the macadamia nut ice cream on the bottom. You can thank me later.
Savage Shrimp (Koloa) – Guys. You have to come here. The garlic shrimp is an absolute must plus the Aloha Shrimp with coconut rice – my advice? Get both and split ’em. You won’t regret it!
Hanalei Bread Co. (Hanalei) – Do yourself a favor and come here for the most delicious Coconut Iced Coffee you’ll ever have. It’s the perfect afternoon pick-me-up. The food & pastries also look amazing, though I didn’t get a chance to try them!
Monico’s Taqueria (Wailua) – If you’re looking for some good old-fashioned mexican food, come to Monico’s. We sat at the bar and had the garlic shrimp quesadilla and tacos before our flight home and it was so good. The service was phenomenal too, you can tell the locals come here!
Kilauea Fish Market (Kilauea) – Two words: Ahi. Burrito. We split one of those and one of their famous ahi wraps on our first day and I couldn’t have been happier. These are so worth the price and are also the size of texas, so come hungry!
What to Do:
Hike the Na Pali Coast to Hanakapi’ai Falls – A hike through the jungle in the rainiest place on earth? Sign me up. This 8 mile roundtrip hike was quite possibly my favorite thing of our entire trip. I can’t even begin to describe how lush the coast is, how blue the water is, or how beautiful the views are. If 8 miles sounds daunting (though I will say the waterfall at the end is the best reward anyone could ask for), cut it in half and do 2 miles down to the beach and 2 back.
Waimea Canyon – Whether you hike or not, this unbelievable “Grand Canyon of the Pacific” is not to be missed. We did a hike down to Waipo’o Falls, which admittedly kind of kicked my butt, but it honestly didn’t take that long and the views are so, so worth it. Just be wary of stepping too close to the edge!!
Kilauea Lighthouse – This gorgeous spot on the north shore is also a wildlife refuge. You can see Hawaiian birds in their natural habitat and look out over the turquoise waters of the Pacific and Kauai coast. Keep an eye out for whales – we saw 2!
Hanalei Farmer’s Market – The fruit and vegetables on Kauai are incredibly delicious and exotic. Though you can get them at the grocery stores, I recommend going to any one of the markets on Kauai (they have them every single day somewhere on the island except for Sundays!). Some of my favorite things to buy – Sarah’s Tropical Granola, taro chips, apple bananas, fresh juices, passion fruit, passion fruit, zapote (these are my new favorite!) and papaya.
Spouting Horn – This is an awesome spot pretty close to Waimea Canyon where you can stop to see the blowhole where water comes up through a natural lava tube. I’ve never seen anything like it!
Queens Bath – This was one of my favorite spots on the entire island. Located in Princeville, it’s just a short hike down to these volcanic rocks that in the summer create little pools to relax in. The waves were too big to swim while we were there, but you could walk around on the rocks that wrapped around the coast and watch the waves. A bonus? Come for sunset, it’s so beautiful, just leave and hike back up before it gets too dark!
Beaches to Visit:
Hanalei Bay Beach – This was the beach we went to the most and I wouldn’t have it any other way. From your beach chair you can look out on the Na Pali coast and take in the views that are so gorgeous, it almost looks like a movie set. This is also the perfect spot for surfing since the waves aren’t too big, but if you’re not looking to shred some gnar, dipping in for a swim is pretty perfect, too 🙂
Shipwreck Beach – Down near Poipu, we visited this one on our way back from Waimea Canyon. Because it’s next to hotels, it’s definitely more crowded, but it’s pretty cool to watch people jump off the giant cliff into the ocean. The waves were also bigger here than other places on the south shore, so it’s a good one for body surfing.
Tunnels – Another one up on the north shore, this beach is great for snorkeling and a favorite of surfers. You’re at the base of the mountains along the Na Pali coast, which makes it even more epic, but there are also tunnels, or lava tubes, from the underwater caverns that lend themselves to exploring!
Anini Beach – If you’re looking for some good snorkeling, you have to come here! This beach is narrow but super long and super gorgeous. We saw all kinds of fish (including the Humuhumunukunukuapua’a!) and even a sea turtle! The waters here are a bright turquoise and so clear, I’d recommend it in a heartbeat even if you’re not into the snorkeling thing.
Where to Stay:
I was lucky enough to stay in a condo in Princeville near Hanalei, and I’m so glad I did. Though the resorts are beautiful and tend to be on the south shore where the sun shines a bit more (did you know Kauai is the rainiest place on the planet?!), I think the beauty of this island is that it is less developed than the others. Where Hanalei is on the north shore, it feels more like you’re experiencing Kauai more like a local. I also think the views are a bit better, but I might be partial now! I would also say the a condo or rented apartment is the way to go. There is a ton of fresh fish, vegetables and fruits on the island so cooking homemade meals is an amazing way to taste them!
Alright y’all, that’s it for now! Hopefully you found this guide helpful if you’re planning your own trip, or even thinking of going to Kauai. Pin this page and return to it later when you’re creating your itinerary 🙂
Be back soon!