This was our first trip to Hawaii. My husband and myself and another couple both in our 40's from NY decided to give Hawaii a try. We usually stick mostly to the Caribbean just because its shorter and with kids we could not get away that long until now. Kauai was the first stop of 3 islands for this trip.
We spent one week on the island from Oct 18-25 on the South Shore with Parrish Kauai we booked a 2 bedroom house Hale Naia.
We flew non-stop from JFK to HNL on Hawaiian airlines in first class(used points) and then off to Kauai also on Hawaiian. I was a little disappointed in Hawaiian for the reason of in fight entertainment. They listed all these movies they have on every flight and then their Monthly new releases. Well, we went mid October and they still had only September movies loaded on. Also, they did not have any of the movies they claim to have every flight. So, the choice was very limited. Their first class seats are fine but when to compare to United(which we took home) lay flat beds, I got spoiled with United.
We had a full size car booked through Costco for a great rate of $130.00 for the week with tax with Alamo. Our friends had their car booked through Budget and they said they had a terrible experience. The lady was rude, told them there better not be one piece of sand in their car when then get back or they will be charged. Very pushy about all the extra and very pushy about trying to get them to upgrade. We had none of that.
Parrish Kauai- Dealing with them was a pleasure. Mike who was our host was more then happy to help with anything any time of the day. Highly Recommend them.
Hale Naia- Loved, Loved this house. It was awesome. Great Location. Only a couple negatives.. One, was no a/c which probably was not too big of deal but it was HOT the week we were there and humid. We had ceiling fans in the rooms and regular fans which made it work . Also, we were told that we could not leave any windows open do to break ins. This was hard as when we would get back the house was so heated up from being shut all day it took a long time to cool down. Also, the one bedroom was downstairs and they had to leave the window open at night and door otherwise it would have been unbearable.
I won't get it to the day by day blow by blow. but here are some highlights.
Mauna Loa Helicopters - Although, i personally did not do this our friends did and rave about the doors-off and highly recommended this company.
Captain Andy's Southern Star snorkeling trip. - I knew going in you did not go on this for snorkeling but for the crusing up the coast. But, the snorkeling was very poor.. just a few fish here and there. The ship and crew itself were excellent and highly recommend. The food was very good. Now, our group which does not get seasick decide to still take something the morning of since I read about it and we were all glad we do. I would say about 1/3 to 1/2 the people on the boat were sick. According to the crew the day we went out was better then normal. I couldn't image what these people would have gone through if it was rough. By, the time we reached the Napali coast the clouds had come in .. so the view was not as dramatic as it could have been. Also, trying to find a spot where you did not see or hear someone getting sick put a little damper on things. But, that had nothing to do with the crew or ship just luck of the draw.
Hiking - We did 3 trails -
Heritage Trail - We ended doing this in the middle of the afternoon because we waiting for friends to get back from the helicopter ride. It was hot but we still enjoyed it and spent about an hour on the beach before heading back.
Awaawapuhi Trail - We started this trail later then we wanted too around 10am.. Decided to do visit the different lookout along the way up Waimea Canyon. Glad we did that because when we left it was all clouded over and raining. The hike itself was fine. Took us about 1 hour and 25 minutes down and about 10 minutes longer coming back. When we got there we got a clear view of the Napali Coast but soon clouded over. We stayed and had lunch and watched the billy goats walking around. On the trip back up it rained the whole time.
Kalalau Trail - We did the first 2 miles in and then part of our group did the 2 mile addition to the waterfall. We arrive by 7:30am and parking was a non issue. We are so glad we started that early because it was HOT that day and it was not crowed at all. We probably only saw a 1/2 dozen people walking the trail. It was wonderful. It took a couple hours with all the stops and pictures. We hung out on the beach for little while and then attempted to 2 mile up to the waterfall. I had to turn around about 1/4 mile in it was just too dangerous in my opinion. It was thick red mud and my keene hiking shoes were not cutting it. It was taking me forever just to take one step get stable and take another step. The rest of the group continue the trip and my husband and I returned to the beach had lunch and hiked back out. I was shocked at the number of people we saw hiking back out.. it was a mad house and the people doing the hike in white clothes, nice clothes, flip fops, bare feet.. kids on their backs.. Even the first two miles were muddy in places and slippery. It was very hot going back and just had a different experience went all the people on the trail.. so I am so glad I did it early. it was fabulous.
We got back to the car to change into our bathing suites and head to a beach while we waiting for our friends to come back. Sad to see one car with their windows smashed in the parking lot. Unfortunately, there were high seas warning and we could not go in the water in the north shore that day.
Beaches - First, I was surprised how warm the water was, people told me not to expect Caribbean warm but it was...But, I was disappointed somewhat in the beaches in all of Hawaii islands. I was surprised it was hard to find a beach where you can go in the water and have nice sandy bottom for long way out. I felt all the beaches I went in I had to watch where I was stepping the whole time. I do think the Caribbean beaches are nicer then Hawaii in general, that being said we had a great time sitting at Poipu Beach, even had a turtle come ashore right by us. And I really can't comment on the North shore since we only sat at Tunnels etc since the day we were there we could not go in.
Restaurants - really never a bad meal on the island and enjoyed all the places we ate. I think the only one negative was Brick Oven Pizza - i did not mind it but the rest of the group hated it.
Enjoyed our meal at Keoki's, Kaleho Steak & Ribs, Beach House, Merrimans, Joes on the Green,.
Thought the meal was only so - so at Tortilla Republic and Casa Di Amici.
Weather - was hot, not really any tradewinds that week. Only one day of rain hiking for a couple of hours. So, I felt we really lucked out.
Of course as others had said we wish we had more time on the island. The good news we will be back to finish what we started. We are actually think of coming back summer of 2015 with all the kids. Have not decided what two island we will take them to yet.
I want to thank everyone on this board for helping me plan this trip, I really appreciated the opinions and information.