We used THIS guidebook by Andrew Doughty while we were in Kauai. It was fairly accurate and easy to navigate. Rental cars on the island are cheap. I’ve actually heard that you can rent a car cheaper in Hawaii than anywhere else in the country. Perhaps it’s because the car companies know you’re not traveling very far due to the size of the islands.
We booked a room at the Whyndam Ka ‘Eo Kai which is on the north shores of the island near Princeville. When we arrived they had leis to greet the women and shell necklaces for the men. After checking in we walked through the resort to our room. When we opened the door we were surprised to find a gigantic time share. It had a full kitchen, washer and dryer, private jacuzzi, a living room, a master bedroom and a gigantic deck that wrapped around the condo and over looked the salt water pool, golf course and the coast. I felt like we were getting far more than we paid for but I wasn’t going to complain! I would totally book another room at this resort in the future.
The food on the island was impressive with most stores and restaurants sourcing local, non-GMO and organic food. Meals were pricey as expected but for a short one week vacation it was manageable.
Here were some of our food highlights on the island:
1. ACAI BOWLS
Acai bowls are packed with antioxidants and made of pureed banana, blueberries and acai berries. They also often add in unsweetened almond milk, muesli and coconut flakes. I personally fell in love with them and devoured one daily. Since returning back to the continental US I’ve mastered them in my kitchen.
2. PINEAPPLE FROSTIES
Pineapple frosties are simply pineapple that’s been frozen and pushed through an “ice cream” machine. It comes out with the texture of soft serve and is absolutely delicious. No sugar or other additives are in this treat. It’s 100% pure pineapple.
3. SUSHI GIRL BURRITOS
Thanks to a friends recommendation, we found this gem. Have you ever eaten sushi and not had your fill? Well nothing fixes the sushi craving and hunger like a sushi burrito. The little shack is a local favorite and the burritos are one of the best things I’ve ever consumed. The shack is located on the north shore near the Na Pali Coast trail head which makes it perfect for grabbing food after a long hike.
4. RAINBOW LIVING FOODS
Rainbow living foods offers organic and raw meals. I indulged in their raw sushi which was made of soaked nuts and seeds rather than raw fish. I was not disappointed. The flavors and texture of this slightly crunchy and salty dish made for an unforgettable memory. You can find their restaurant down a back ally in the town of Kappa. Speaking of Kappa, it also seemed to have the most reasonably priced health food store on the island. The town itself was a nice place to walk around, grab an iced tea or smoothie and do some shopping.
5. FRUIT STANDS
The fruit stands on this island were grim. At least when comparing them with the fruit stands I had experienced on Oahu a few years prior. Nevertheless, they still had some wonderful fruit that we took back to our resort. Pineapple, lychee and papaya were the main fruits I found on Kauai.
It rains ALL the time. Don’t let the rain scare you away form an activity though. Just as quickly as it moves in, it often resolves.
Here were two beaches worth mentioning although there are many spectacular beaches on the island:
1. Legate Beach Park
This beach was not overly impressive for adults however if you have little ones it might be the best beach on the island. There’s a shaded park with one of the largest playgrounds I’ve ever seen. It’s a great place to put up a slackline or have a picnic. The beach itself is “boulder enclosed” which tames the waves form the ocean and offers a perfect swim for children of any age. Ellie spent an entire afternoon building sandcastles, swimming in the calm ocean water and looking for little fish.
2. Tunnels Beach
This is where you can find sea turtles. I personally did not see any but I did find some tropical fish with my snorkel. Again, not to spray about Oahu but I had a phenomenal experience swimming with sea turtles on the north shores of that island. While I’m not one for the chaotic city of Honolulu, the north shores of Oahu at Turtle Bay Resort treated us well. Kauai honestly disappointed me with the sea-life underwater. If you want to snorkel it may be best to book a tour and head out on a boat. Aside from my disappointing snorkeling experience, Tunnels Beach itself was a great place to spend the day, tan and swim. Maybe if you’re more patient than I was you’ll find a turtle or two.
If surfing is something you’ve wanted to try I have some great advice for beginners under our blog post titled “Surfing!”. Kauai was the first place I learned to surf and it was a fantastic experience. I also highly recommend hiking the NaPali Coast. There’s a short blog post about the hike on our website. Additionally, if you’re interested in visiting Kauai’s popular Hindu temple I highly encourage exploring the beauty of their ancient Banyan tree. The visit to the temple is certainly not for everyone but if those types of cultural experiences interest you, it is well worth the tour. You can read more about our visit to the temple under our other blog post titled “A Banyan Tree and A Toddler”.