My husband and I just returned from our 10th anniversary trip in Kauai. We had an awesome time and I got so much info on this board that I thought I'd let you guys know how the trip played out.
We arrived in Lihue at 1pm from Portland, OR after a smooth flight. We waited for our car for over 30 min with Budget. Those who traveled there frequently said it was the longest they have ever waited.
We got our car (Jeep Wrangler)--glad we got the jeep--- and headed to Duke's barefoot bar for lunch. It was a great place to stop for our first meal in Kauai. The food was good but not anything spectacular. Mango BBQ burger and pork sandwich finished off with a hula pie, of course. Fun to people watch and soak in the 'island'. From there we headed to do our grocery shopping at Costco and Walmart. Walmart has a small grocery selection. If you are doing a bulk shopping trip, I would definitely head up to Safeway in Kapaa. We seriously went all over Lihue looking for a decent creamer for our coffee. ;) Loved the selection at Costco and bought stuff to make our own cocktails.
We arrived to the house slightly over tired and grumpy but once we opened the doors of the Hale Naia overlooking Baby Beach in Poipu all of that faded away. Such an incredible house. It is managed by Parrish Collection. http://www.parrishkauai.com/ They have homes for all price ranges. If you have the opportunity to rent Hale Naia, I would highly recommend. They do a great job of attending to any need. Thanks to martik and onesassymom for their guidance in deliberating renting. I went back and forth in renting this house or going with the Hyatt and we did not regret our decision once. The privacy, the view, the space, the beach, all were above and beyond our expectations. Honestly, price difference was minimal for a ocean view at the Hyatt. You will make it up in food costs and tipping. Not to mention the Hale Naia had snorkeling equipment, boogie boards, bikes, and beach chairs in the garage. Everything you would ever need.
We were full from lunch and just relaxed, drinking mai tais on the patio.
A note on baby beach. Honestly, it was our favorite beach on the south shore if you are looking for a quiet, private, non-crowded place to relax and float in the water. I did a little snorkeling there and it was decent as well. It is basically just local young kids and their parents. It was heaven. If you have young kids on the south shore, if you don't go to baby beach, you are missing out. Such a great place for the kids to play in the water. Bring nets to catch small fish. It is off of Lawai Road, public access on Hoona Road.
A great start to a wonderful vacation.
Day 2: Got up early and went across to the street to Lapperts for coffee. (still hadn't found the right creamer---can you say 'coffee snob'? Not the greatest lattes (lukewarm and caramel latte was extra sweet) but icecream was good when we went later in the week. Found OFF Kauai (www.offkauai.com) in the Kukui'ula Village shopping center and got signed up for classes later in the week. More on that later and the crazy work out we both got. It is TRX focused work out if you are familiar with TRX. A must do, if you enjoy a tough work out.
We came home and then headed to Jack Harter Helicopters for our doors off 1 hour tour of the island. INCREDIBLE. (for my husband). I unfortunately had to use the 'aloha' bag provided, for the entire trip. I got a nice view of the bottom of the bag. I'm prone to motion sickness but took two dramamine prior. The problem was the fact I didn't have anything in my stomach when we went up. If you are prone, I would make sure you have a full stomach and take dramamine the night before as well ( a great tip we got from the boat people later). Honestly, my husband said it was the best thing he has ever done...and was repeated by everyone coming off the helicopter. Jack Harter has the timing and organization of their trips down to a science. It was amazing how they would have 4 helicopters lined up and off they went one at a time and then would come back the same...load up another crew and keep going. Jason was our pilot and he was kind, funny, and gave a great tour. Highly recommend. doors off is a must!
From there we headed to Keokis for lunch in the bar. By then, my tummy had settled and we had the best fish tacos ever!! The nachos were great too. Loved Keokis and would definitely recommend as a 'must go' place to eat for lunch or dinner.
Went and shopped at Poipu Shopping Village and had our first shaved ice of the trip.
From there we went back to the house, relaxed on Baby Beach, and then headed to Josselins for dinner.
We LOVED josselins. From the sangria bar to the perfectly prepared tapas with a great fusion of flavors, great island modern atmosphere, and attentive service, it all made for a great dinner experience. We had blackened pepper ahi, roasted summer vegetables with yogurt sauce, and Korean steak. All amazing. Wished we had time to go back for another dinner there. Oh, their thai curry rolls were awesome!
Day 3-8 to come. Tomorrow, NORTH shore beaches and Kalalau hike to the falls which was quite the adventure!! Come back for more!