This is gonna be a long one so grab yourself a tropical drink and get comfy!
This past week my family and I vacationed on the beautiful island of Kauai. We have all been to Hawaii before (except for the children) but this was a first at Kauai for many of us. At first my husband said "Don't even bring your camera!" Naturally, in 2018 we have a tendency to be more behind a screen than we are enjoying the moment in front of us. I kindly ignored this advice and brought my camera along with me but honestly did try to relish in each experience so sorry if these aren't the photos you were expecting!
This sick van was our ride for the week. Apparently this is like the only type of van on the island because I felt like everywhere we went I was walking up to the wrong van lol.
First place we stayed was at a timeshare right off of the beach. The best part was this completely open balcony to lounge in.
Downstairs, through a lush garden of flowers and palm, was the pool area, no deeper than 4ft. This was the best thing I could have asked for when it comes to the kids! They were able to swim and go down the water slide with minimal stress on James and I. Half of the pool was also a baja shelf that started at a few inches and gradually deepened to the 4ft section of the pool. We didn't spend a whole lot of time here but the times that we were just too exhausted to hike down to the beach, it was a great second choice.
On day 3 (I think?) of our trip, we took a boat ride down the Wailua River via Smith's Kauai. This boat ride was only $25 for adults and $12.50 for children so it was super affordable! There were hula dancers that performed on the way up and a tour guide that shared history about the river on the way back down.
After a short 5 minute walk off of the boat, we hit Fern Grotto! Fern Grotto is a beautiful cave with hanging sword ferns that used to be the place of marriage for the ancient peoples and tourists alike. Today, the cave is no longer safe to tour because of falling rocks from the mountain side, so we stayed at a safe distance and listened to our tour guides sing for us the Hawaiin Wedding song.
I unfortunately got a couple of nasty bug bites up here but it was totally worth the visit! And hello, look at this beautiful backdrop for my family!
The view walking back to the boat! Hawaii did not fail with the views.
After our boat trip we worked up quite the appetite. That seemed to be a theme on this vacation... we all took turns being hangry. lol.
We stopped at a highly rated restaurant (per Tripadvisor and Yelp) called Kauai Family Cafe. They are a filipino restaurant which is right up our alley. My mom had the Seafood Sinigang and my husband and I had the Kare Kare. The service was slow and when we walked in, the lunch specials were sitting out uncovered so we went with cooked to order meals but they did not disappoint! You know I couldn't leave Hawaii without a good food pic. Sarap!
Speaking of food... can we talk about all the chickens in Kauai!? You think there are a lot of pigeons in San Francisco? Think again. There are chickens EVERYWHERE in Kauai. Seriously. Everywhere. The roads, the taco bell drive thru, the air port... everywhere. Lol.
Next stop was 'Opaeka'a Falls. This spot was a short 2-3min drive from the mouth of the Wailua River. We stopped at a small parking lot (littered with the above chickens) and walked down the path on the side of the road to see the falls. Unfortunately this is as close as you can get from here but with the kids, we weren't looking for a long hike anyway.
Right across the street from the falls lookout, you get a panoramic view of the Wailua River. I wish I would have took a panoramic shot of this with my camera but I'm trying to be present! Remember? lol I did take a shot with my iphone of the river though.
(Totally exclusive, rare iphone shot on the blog below ↓)
In this image you can see the little huts in the right hand corner!
The best part of any tropical vacation is the beach! These photos were taken at Hanalei Beach which is on the North Shore of the Island. One of the most beautiful beaches I've been too! Not crowded, no rocks or coral, and no crazy waves that knock you off of your feet.
My brother in law making fun of my mom for hiding under the umbrella! That sun was no joke though! I think we all were sunburned at one point by the end of trip.
On our last full day we visited the Kauai Coffee Farm. This tour was completely free! Walking up, you can see the names of visitors past that have signed their names on the tree planted at the front. I felt bad for the tree though and didn't add our names :(
We grabbed a few souvenirs here and James got a free double shot of espresso with one of his purchases!
Just down the ramp from the tasting area and cafe, we were lead on a half hour tour through part of the plantation. It. Was. HOT.
As you can see from the sign, one tree provides just one pound of coffee. These trees are harvested only once a year, between September and December. This plantation has over 4 MILLION trees!
After the coffee farm we stopped at Wailua Falls.
Our plan was to hike down to the base of the waterfall but the easier route had been fenced off. With two small kids, we really didn't want to be hopping fences. The longer route was a bit of steeper hike so we decided to pass. You can see the teeny tiny people down below though, who did end up making the hike down to the base.
I didn't bring my camera along every day of the trip and there was tons I didn't capture but overall we had a very memorable trip. If you are ever thinking of visiting Kauai there are tons to do that are budget friendly but I will warn you that most things are very expensive! In comparison to Oahu, it wasn't too much more expensive, but on Oahu there are far more things to do and you have a lot more options.
That doesn't make Kauai any less magical or beautiful though. It really was paradise. 10/10 would recommend adding to your list of places to visit.
Aloha, friends. And mahalo for visiting!