Just got back this morning from a quick trip. 5 days, 4 nights. Oct 14-18
Day 1: arrived in the late afternoon and picked up the rental car. No real traffic going into Kapaa at about 4:45pm. Some chickens on the sides of the roads just wandering around. Stayed at the newly refurbished ResortQuest Islander on the Beach in Kapaa. Located right behind The Coconut Marketplace. Checked into a 2nd floor unit, garden view. Check out my full review of the hotel under the hotel name. Convenient coin laundry on premises. Great hotel, very quiet, HIGHLY recommend. No chickens there to wake you up in the morning. Got situated and went to go look for a place to eat. Ate at Waipouli Restaurant in the Waipouli Town Center right up the road (where Foodland is). Great, cheap place! When I went, not one tourtist in there. All locals, packed. I had the won ton min which is noodle soup (saimin) with some wontons (not just the skins either), some chunks of chicken, and slices of tonkatsu(japanese breaded, deep fried pork). My mother had the shrimp tempura. There were like, I think, 4 generous sized pieces of tempura shrimp and also a big slice of tempura zucchini on a bed of cabbage and the usual 2 scoops of rice. Hers also came with choice of coffe or iced tea; miso soup or salad. The bill was under 15 bucks. Everyone in there was very, very nice and speedy service on top of that. They don't bring over the bill, you just go up to the cashier and they know which one is your bill. They serve breakfast, lunch, dinner. Picked up papaya and oranges at the Foodland and called it a day. Get the savings card if you are going to be there for a while...otherwise ask to borrow theirs that they keep at the register.
Day2: Didn't get up super early. Requested a 3rd floor unit since I could hear the people above closing drawers, footsteps, and sometimes voices. Just had fruit and stuff in the room for breakfast, gave our luggage to the frond desk (as we were going to be in a new room when we got back) and then took off to Opaeekaa Falls. We then drove down to Wailua Falls. Both of these falls are very easily accessible. No trail involved. Continued on to Poipu to see the Spouting Horn (water geyser) and Poipu Beach. Headed back up to Koloa for some lunch. Ended up just getting a few things at the market there. Headed up to Waimea Canyon. Just a note..on your drives do stop at the places marked "scenic view". We enjoyed them all. Got to the top and enjoyed the view! Came down stopped in Hanapepe on the way back. Nothing was really open and it was even a Saturday. We took a walk on the swinging bridge and then hopped back in the car and headed back to the hotel to rest and freshen up. Stopped at the Kmart in Lihue to pick up some souveniers(big section right in front) and sunglasses (my mother lost hers somewhere along the way). Back to the hotel to freshen up and then went out to dinner at Lemon Grass Seafood Grill and Sushi. Take a pass on that place. Mediocre food at best, mediocre service. Reat my full review in the restaurant section.
Day 3: Breakfast at Eggberts in the Coconut Marketplace in front of the hotel. This place is way overrated in my opinion. Went about 10:30 am, not too busy, 15 min wait. I got the HALF order of eggs benedict ($8.45!). My mother the short stack of pancakes with mac nuts and banana and a coffee. The bendict was very salty. Too much paprika sprinkled on top. The hollandaise was separated. The ham was a big square of processed deli meat. The egg was poached hard, which I didn't request. The egg also looked like it is made in one of those egg poacher pans. The pancakes tasted a bit bland and was very rubbery along the edges. The short stack was $4.50 plus $1.50 each for the mac nut and banana. Overpriced and not tasty at all. Enough rambling about my breakfast. Went back to hotel to chat with the activity person since we were interested in a Na Pali coast tour. He gave us some brochures and prices. Stopped by the activity warehouse in town a bit up the road and chose Catamaran Kahanu(more on that later) for the next day. She offered us 150.00 off of 200.00 if we went to a 90 min presentation over at the Embassy. I declined. We still saved some money by booking with her than if we had booked with the hotel. I also found that she had more accurate info than the guy at the hotel. She did say if we found ourselves with free time and changed our minds we could always call back and she would credit us. We then went over to buy tickets for Smith's Fern Grotto boat ride tour ($20). There is a $2 coupon in most of the books. If you are a AAA member you get $4 off (same as the kama'aina and senior rate). You can buy tickets and use them any day/time you like. Went over to Lydgate Park for a swim. There are protected areas where there are hardly any waves. We went for the fern grotto tour 2 but found the boat to be full so we went back to the hotel to have a fruit snack and came back for the 3pm. The boat was not full at all. Light entertainment on the way, guide narration on the way back. Use insect repellent. I got bit a few times by mosquitoes. It is a short walk from the boat once you dock to the fern grotto. I wore flip flops and was ok...but there were 3 elderly people who chose not to go all the way to the grotto. It is wet and very damp, humid. Can be slippery in spots but is not a strenuous walk. Drove up to Kilauea Lighthouse. Closes at 4 pm, so we couldn't go all the way down ..but you can still get a great view of the lighthouse and see numerous birds from the lookout by the entrance. Freshened up at hotel, went to Oki's Diner in Lihue for dinner. They are open till 3am and serve breakfast all day long. All dinners include chips and salsa, cornbread, mac salad or reg salad, and dessert. Weird combo, but the cornbread is soooo goooood!! We bought more to take back to the hotel. Had chicken wings and my mom had shrimp tempura. It was ok..but the chicken on the salty side. The full order is 8 wings. They have half order on most things. Both came with 2 scoops of rice. The shrimp was on the very skinny side. The dessert was a small square of chocolate cake which was surprisingly good. Not too sweet. 20 bucks total. They seem to do a swift business there. Mostly locals, some tourists.
Day 4: Woke up kind of early as we had a check in of 8am over in Port Allen at Catamarn Kahanu for a 5 hour Na Pali coast tour and snorkel. Boat holds 40 but they only book up to 18. We had 16 plus the captain and the guide. Both locals, born and raised. Small boat, so if you have any chance of getting sea sick this boat is not for you. Pick the bigger outfits since they are better able to skim the waves at a faster pace. The bathroom is a boat bathroom with just a flap secured by snaps and velcro for a door...so if you are not into that either pick one of the bigger outfits that have "normal" bathrooms. The first thing the captain mentioned was that if snorkeling was the main thing on your agenda for the day then maybe you had bettah pick another day. We didn't really care either way...so on we went. We had to take our shoes off and put them in our bags while on the boat. Looks like the other outfits have that rule too. On this boat you gonna get wet, so be prepared. At one point or another everyone on the boat got a splash or 3. Bring water resistant bag, it gets stowed on the floor in a covered area but has a chance of getting damp. Cruised up the coast to Na Pali, guide was informative, the view fantastic! The water was pretty calm on the way, but not calm enough where we could go into the caves. Saw dolphins, lots. Captain slowed down so we could cruise with them. No matter how many times I see dolphins I still get awestruck. On way back..stopped for a swim. Headed to a snorkel spot..but ended up that it was getting too choppy and murky to snorkel. No biggie, I understand it is getting into winter. Headed for the lunch spot and on the way we encountered very, very, very choppy waters but the Captain did a fantastic job of maneuvering the boat. We ate a buffet lunch of rolls, turkey, roast beef, cheddar cheese, some kind of white cheese, lettuce, tomato, pasta salad(yum), lime-corn chips, and cookies(yum). No alcohol on this boat. Juices, sodas. I didn't see water. Guide weaved some stuff out of palm leaves and some of us took another dip in the water. No shower on boat, but there was a hose running so we could rinse off once we got onto the dock. Got back on land at about 2pm. Headed up to Ke'e Beach and Tunnels Beach. On the way we stopped at Tropical Tacos in Hanalei for a snack of fish tacos. One big taco...but it is over 8 bucks and comes with a bit of chips and salsa(spicy) but pretty tasty. Everyone there was very nice. Saw the Waikanaloa and Waikapanae Wet Caves and stayed a bit at Ke'e and Tunnels Beach. Both are fantastic beaches. Be aware that there are no gas stations in those areas. I think Princeville might be the last gas station, I can't quite remember if Hanalei had one or not. Someone please refresh my memory.
I had wanted to eat at the Waipouli Restaurant where we had eaten that first night but it was closed for some reason (must have been their day off as it was still around 8 pm and we had gone there about the same time the first night). We had dinner at Oki's again because we wasted time driving around trying to figure out where we wanted to eat and everything pretty much closes at 9 or 10. Most of the places in The Coconut Marketplace closes at 8. I had a short stack with mac nut. My mom had eggs, hash browns, and portuguese sausage. The pancakes came with coconut, strawberry, and maple syrup, all homemade. The pancakes were very good!! Way better than Eggberts and cheaper too. The portuguese sausage was ok. Better elsewhere. We took back more of the corn bread, it is great for a light breakfast or snack. Watch when they ring you up though...make sure it matches the prices of what you ordered. Tab was about 13.
Day 5: Asked front desk for late check out...they gave me till 4 pm which was perfect. Slept in a bit more...and then headed to Ono Family Restaurant up the road. the are open for breakfast and lunch. Good breakfast; i had 2 eggs, portuguese sausage, fried rice, toast, jam. My mother had the veggie eggs which was
eggs benedict (but i can't remember if the sauce was hollandaise or not) with carrots, chinese cabbage, mushrooms, and zucchini and a coffee. Tab was about 16 bucks. Headed to west side of island to Salt Pond Park. It was not crowded at all for some reason. There is a little protected reef area here also where there are barely any waves. Made for a nice leisurely, swim. Headed to Polihale State Park but never made it there as it started to get to be around the time to check out of the hotel. We hit traffic at about 2:45 going north on 56 so be aware if you are on a schedule. Made it out in time an headed for the airport. There is only one cafeteria-like restaraunt at the airport that sells the usual overpriced, not so tasty stuff so I suggest getting something in town to bring to the airport if you have a bit to wait before your flight. Remember that all fruits have to be consumed or thrown away before you enter the gate area. I am sure there is so much that we missed since this was an unplanned, last minute trip so we will be back in Kauai soon! Sorry this got to be so long...and I think it might sound more like restaraunt reviews more than anything else! Any questions, corrections, rants, raves...please post! Mahalo!