Because having a baby entitles you to indulge a bit in your last few months as a couple, the husband and I decided it was time to book our next trip. HAWAII. Kaua’i to be exact. Believe it or not, in my 30-some years on this earth and after the countless trips we’ve been fortunate enough to take, I hadn’t yet been to Hawaii. We considered it year after year, but changed destinations each time due to the cost. We could book a week in Mexico for half the price! And that’s exactly what we did, if you’ve been keeping up with my posts 🙂 I wouldn’t trade those adventures for anything, but we figured now was as good a time as any to pop my Hawaii cherry. Or pineapple, whatever.
We decided on Kaua’i because we kept hearing, “It’s gorgeous. You’ll love it.” We were also looking for a relaxed, slow-paced vacay spot and apparently this was the island for that. We booked a flight for November, just as we were entering my 24th week of pregnancy and Michael’s birthday week. What better way to celebrate?!
After about a six-hour direct flight, we arrived at our hotel – – the Kaua’i Marriott Resort in Lihue. It is BEAUTIFUL there. A very nice hotel with an incredible pool and outdoor space, which is adjacent to Kalapaki Beach. Kalapaki is a public beach, but it sure feels like your own private beach when it’s just steps away from the hotel grounds. We spent the first couple of days relaxing at the resort, exploring the onsite restaurants and nearby amenities. It’s our usual M.O., except this time one of us couldn’t get too carried away with drinks on her first day… Day 2 of past vacations isn’t usually my best day, if you know what I mean.
On day 3 we decided it was time to explore the island, starting with the North side. And what better way to see the gorgeous landscape we heard so much about then via a drop-top Jeep Wrangler!? Which you should note is THE car of choice for any and every Hawaiian tourist. Who’s from out of town? Us, over here, confusing our white Jeep with the three others parked nearby.
Our first stop was for some coffee and breakfast in Kapa’a. We found ourselves at Java Kai, which has this beauty on the menu. I’m a sucker for a good acai bowl.
After some wandering on foot, we continued north up the coast toward Kilauea. We heard there was a pretty viewpoint there overlooking a landmark lighthouse. What we failed to think about (which we often do while on vacation) was to check the schedule for this famous site. The lighthouse was closed that day, but lucky for us this view is accessible all the time.
After Kilauea, we moseyed on to the famous Hanalei Bay. I can’t say enough about how beautiful this area is. We could have stayed for days. The bay is breathtaking and the beach seemed to go on forever. We took our time and walked the length of it, back and forth. The best time with my best friend.
Since we already traveled this far, we figured we’d keep on going! (Forrest Gump reference? Anyone?) We ended up at the north-most point you can drive to, Ke’e Beach, which is the start of the Kalalau Trail. Only equipped with flip flops, we didn’t actually make it on the trail. Even with some prodding from Michael. He was sure we could make it a little ways in with sandals to see the view, but I wouldn’t be convinced as I saw other hikers coming out of the trail head, mud up to their backs with *proper* hiking shoes and gear. I may regret not being more adventurous, but at least my bump, my bum, and I stayed intact.
The next day we explored the East side of the island; the Waimea Canyon and Napali Coast. This might be one of my favorite days to date. I’ve already used the words “beautiful,” “gorgeous,” “breathtaking,” etc. so I won’t repeat myself. But just know you’ll never see anything like this place. It gives you all the feels.
After the long morning drive, we were starving. Luckily we happened upon Porky’s Kaua’i. A pretty well-known food truck on the island serving hot dogs, Hawaiian style. This is the #2: a beef hot dog with sweet onions, pineapple relish, and Kalua pork piled on top with sauce. Um, yeah. Did I mention I was pregnant on this trip?
We spent the rest of the day on the South side of the island, in Poipu on the beach. And unfortunately this is the only photo I took. Cute little beach with a sand bar. A little windy, but a lot of fun. Watch out if you’re digging in the sand! Families to the left and right of us both had some good-sized crabs crawling out of their homes to say hello.
More exploring the next couple of days: Hanapepe Town, Opaeka’a Falls, the Kaua’i Coffee Plantation, Wailua, and more beach time.
This was one of our last meals in Kaua’i. Drove to Mark’s Place in Lihue. Don’t let the small, unassuming restaurant in a business park fool you. This is “Mark’s Famous Mixed Plate” and oh my God was it good. Chicken katsu, teriyaki beef, beef stew, rice, and mac salad. I die.
Safe to say, I loved Kaua’i and now I know why Hawaii is one of the most popular vacation spots in the world! You just can’t beat the picturesque views, the incredibly friendly locals, and the crazy good food. The colors, the smells, the warm breezes… there’s nothing like it. It may take us a little while to get back here after baby, but at least I have motivation. There’s five more islands to explore 🙂
Coming soon – – tales from my eventful third trimester and the arrival of baby!