Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Highlights from our trip to Kauai

Kauai is one of my favorite islands. The first time we visited it 13 years ago, it was magical. I couldn't believe how such a small island could be so beautiful and have so many attractions. We love Kauai but it actually wasn't our first choice. We wanted to go to the Big Island. We decided to go to Kauai instead because of Tristan. There would be too much driving required on the Big Island and Tristan would not enjoy it as much.
We spent three days in Kauai. I was able to rent us a private cottage in Kapa'a by the coconut coast. Coming from Waikiki in Oahu, this was a big change. It turns out that Kauai is a bit too country for me. Lol. The cottage we stayed at had occasional ants, cockroaches, and we had wild chickens and geese living under and just outside our cottage. The vegetation around us was like living in a rainforest. There were tons of banana trees, orange trees, papaya and avocados trees, passion fruit trees, aloe vera, and other tropical plants I couldn't identify. I finally saw a green gecko when I opened our front gate. Geckos are very common in Hawaii but in Oahu we never saw any. We arrived at sunset and then it got dark fast. It got super dark! The only thing you could see in the dark were the stars. That part I liked, except when I had to go pee in the middle of the night.

Here are the highlights from our trip in Kauai:
  • You have not truly stargazed into the night until you do it on a pitch dark island.
  • Places are hard to find due to lack of streets signs. We kept missing the turn to our cottage and it took us three attempts before we got it right. Jean-Louis remembered it was the post with the reflective stickers. I was looking for the short banana trees. We also got lost on a hike (read below) and we couldn't find a restaurant.
  • 13 years ago, we stood an inch away from the Spouting Horn. Now, we have to view it from a fenced in ledge 10 meters away and 10 feet above.
  • You know the chicken population is out of control when they are blocking traffic in the Walmart parking lot. Also, did you know that chickens can jump and climb trees?!?!
  • Big Save and Walmart were our most visited stores. For the best deals, go to those!
  • The Smith's Garden Luau was everything I had hoped for. The Garden was beautiful, the food was delicious, and the show was educational and entertaining. We were told to eat until we were tired and not stop when we were full :) That's what I did!
  • Tristan really enjoyed the train ride at the Kilohana Plantation. It doesn't matter where we are as long as there is a train:) I saw rambutan trees for the first time and we got to feed the boars.
  • There are so many scenic drives in Kauai. Waimea canyon was amazing to see again. When Tristan gets older, we would love to hike inside of it. I hear some of the hikes are difficult.
  • We tried one hike with Tristan but we made a wrong turn and then ran out of time on our hike so we had to turn back. We were looking for the Berry Flat Trail in Kokee State Park but it was not connected to the road.
  • Polihale Beach Park was one of my favorite beaches but we had to turn back since we didn't have a 4-wheel drive and it was also pouring rain:( We drove less than three minutes away and we were back in sunshine and dry ground. Yup. Then we saw a double rainbow. Welcome to Hawaii!
  • The only beach we went to was Poipu. Last time we were there, there was a sea lion on the beach. This time, there was a sea turtle. It had a playground and is a good place for swimmers, snorkelers, and scuba divers. We made it in time to catch the sunset.
  • There was one more beach I wanted to check out that was recommended for small children. Lydgate Beach Park was only a three minute drive from our cottage but since Tristan did not finish his breakfast, we could not go:( Sometimes it sucks to be the parent.
  • We had a blast biking along the coconut coast in Kapa'a. I can now join all the other parents with small children by highly recommending this as an activity to do in Kauai. The path is as flat as a pancake along the coast and it's just beautiful! Rent your bikes from Coconut Coasters.
  • A new Shrimp Station opened up in Kapa'a so we tried the garlic shrimp and coconut shrimp. It was yum! Not sure I would call them shrimp since they were more like huge prawns! I was a bit bummed that we didn't get to try the shrimp from the shrimp trucks near the shrimp farms on the North shore of Oahu but this experience made up for it :)


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