Kauai, Hawaii

If you’re visiting one of the many Hawaiian Islands for the first time, I highly recommend going to Kauai first. It is the quintessential Hawaiian getaway!

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When I decided I had the funds to pull off a trip to Hawaii, I was so excited and grateful, nothing stood in my way! It was the longest flight I had ever been on too. So, lots of excitement and nervousness on that first trip there. I thought, “what is all the fuss about?” 

Well I found out, and it definitely lives up to all the hype!

We arrive at the Lihue airport and it’s dark. Tired but still so excited, I have all the energy I need to get to the car rental place and wait for what seems like forever. I just want to get my Hawaii on man! Finally getting squared away with the car we are going to be driving all over this island, I still haven’t had the pleasure of seeing it in the daylight yet. The carload is me, my husband, and a couple that’s been our longtime friends, several suitcases and bags (I definitely overpacked) with my new iPhone in hand, guiding us to our beach bungalow we booked several months back. 

We arrive all in one piece, dragging my heavy ass overpacked suitcase up a flight stairs to our temporary digs on this tropical island so far away from home. I loved it!

We stayed at the Kiahuna Plantation & Beach Bungalows in Poipu. It was like a little apartment with all the cute island decor, ceiling fans and louvers on almost all the walls to let the winds blow through to cool you. I was in no way used to the humidity in Kauai and I became thankful for the ventilation strategy.

Fast forward to morning. I’m finally struck with the lush beauty of this place. They don’t call it the garden island for nothing. Yep totally worth all the hype. Let’s get our Hawaii on!

What you must do in Kauai

Go chill on a beach – Duh! Our beach was Poipu Beach. Which was wonderful, with calm shores and warm waters. Plus our accommodations included a spot in a chair or on the nice grass if you just want to admire the ocean without the sand. Check out Glass Beach as well It’s in Eleele.

Poipu Beach
a seal on our beach!
Glass Beach

Spouting Horn – You have to go see the Spouting Horn shoot water into the air. This whole section is fenced off so you can’t get down to it, and for good reason once you see it.

Allerton Garden – This is a can’t miss seriously! These botanical gardens are one-of-a-kind.

It’s like an art gallery in a secluded tropical garden. Take the tour and learn so much about the island. You even get to sample some peculiar fruit.

These trees were used in the first Jurassic Park film!

ATV rides – Right up my alley! We booked ours with Kipu Ranch Adventures and it was awesome! You can pay to drive your own choice of ATV or ride with the guide. Your group travels together all over the ranch property with the guide and learn more about the area and the Hawaiian culture in general. Our guide was fun and the best damn panoramic picture taker I’ve ever seen!

Pretty bamboo on one of our hikes during the ride

Waimea Canyon – Drive up this windy spectacular canyon and discover at the look-off a great view of the famous Jurassic Park waterfall featured in the first film. 

The air on top was a little more like home with the higher altitude and cooler temperatures.

They call it “the Grand Canyon of the Pacific”.

Jurassic falls!

Luau – You have to do the Luau, I’m telling ya. There are a few to choose from but we went to the Smith Family Luau. It was a great first Luau to go to. They have their very own botanical garden in which you will ride around in a trolly to marvel all the glorious lushness that is Kauai

Drive around the island – I know it seems like a lot but you can get around pretty quickly as it is not very big or densely populated. Even if the speed limit never gets above 50 MPH. Go to the northern shore if you’re not already staying there. Specifically Kalihiwai Beach at sunset is amazing!

Kalihiwai Beach – northern shore
Trees lining a road like this means it leads to royalty.

Poipu Shopping Village – Check out the shopping and dining here.

  • Anuenue Cafe – Has the best breakfast and their own coffee brewmaster. Eat out side in the covered patio and watch the chickens fight over dropped crumbs.
  • Puka Dog – You must try the Puka Dog. It’s unique twist on a hot dog & bun with several choices of Hawaiian sauces.

I’d love to go back to Kauai someday, it’s the perfect Hawaiian Island. 

Maybe I will after I’ve been to a couple of the other islands.

Author: Tasha

Natasha Hansen is an adventure and travel blogger. Check out her site at gaddingandgallivants.com

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