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Hawaii Travel Guide: Living the Kauai Dream

May 20, 2016

kauai travel guide

As such a clear birthplace and place of creation, Kauai is inherently and deeply transformative. People are drawn to the island and what is embedded into their hearts and bodies is the way it feels to be there… It feels alive and feels like an oasis. The volcanic mountains are dramatic and humbling, telling a story of manifestation and activation. The clouds are often dynamic, constant reminders of the powerful energy embracing the island. The waves are beautiful and unpredictable, setting boundaries for us on the sand.

On Kauai, there is an abundance of adventure, delicious and healthy food, chickens (they’re seriously everywhere), and kind community. Accommodations vary from totally isolated and surreal camping to very comfortable beach front hotels like Ko`a Kea Hotel & Spa. One of my favorite parts about traveling out of the city is that I tend to spend a lot of time being barefoot and this seems like a good indicator that I’m happy with what I’m doing. I love the freedom and playfulness, and I found plenty of that on Kauai. Here are my favorite spots on the island – Enjoy!

Adventure & Views

Kalalau Trail – A stunning hike along the coast above brilliant turquoise water and lush jungle. We were join by rains about half way through and weren’t sure that we were going to be able to cross the river on our way back due to flash floods, but took the chance and were so glad we did. The hike was totally muddy and hilarious, over tree roots and crossing streams. A perfect adventure for the day and definitely an enticing tease for the rest of the 11 mi Kalalau Trail. We parked at Ke’e Beach hiked the first 4 miles past Hanakapi’ai Beach to an epic waterfall. The Blue Room (cave) is next to the trailhead and also a popular spot to visit.

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Tunnels Beach – Fantastic snorkeling spot. Watch out for shallow reef during low tide.

Waimea Canyon – Gorgeous canyon where dinosaurs definitely live. Hike Canyon Trail to Waipo’o Falls. We camped at the strangest campsite at Kokee State Park, but want to give it the benefit of the doubt and say it’s not always empty and creepy. We were on a mission to see the viewpoint at the end of the road in daytime and it was worth it — Check out both Kalalau and Pu’u O Kila Lookouts. Pu’u O Kila is at the end of the road and worth the extra little drive. Mornings are much clearer.

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Queens Bath – A short hike down to an epic swimming spot. Be careful of high surf and strong waves.

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Secrets Beach – Normally not safe for swimming, but it’s a beautiful stretch of infinite golden sand.

Hanalei Bay – For surfing, sunset and all things relaxing.

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Delicious Food

Kilauea Fish Market – Best seared fish tacos.

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Papaya’s Natural Foods – People love the Reuben wrap.

Oasis on the Beach – Delicious burgers and sweet potato chips.

Red Salt – Very creative, enjoyable fine dining with high quality ingredients, great service and beautiful presentation.

Potions – A must stop for amazing herbal kombucha and unexpectedly good Indian food.

Farmer’s Market –  Anaina Hou in Kilauea, located next to the mini golf. Everywhere you look there’s fresh fruit and epic home made delicacies.

Art Cafe Hemingway – Run by super sweet owners, this local favorite has great vibes to enjoy a long dinner with friends.

Places we didn’t go but will next time: Postcards, Raw Living Foods, Mermaid Cafe, Greenery Cafe, Fresh Bite Kauai, Healthy Hut, Bar Acuda, Hippie Cafe, and Hanalei Coffee Roasters for Breakfast.

Accommodations

Ko’a Kea Hotel – Picturesque location right on the beach with plush rooms and fantastic service. Very welcoming accommodations that we would recommend fully for those looking for a more luxurious option. Home of Red Salt, one of the most loved fine dining options on the island.

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Camping at Polihale Beach – Down the very long beaten path, you find an amazing stretch of white sane beach beneath the cliffs. Don’t tell the rental car company.

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Wellness

Kauai Farmacy – Entirely wonderful tea blends made on a family farm.

Feel Better Kauai – Your best option for Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture by Karu.

 

As Lead Experience Designer at Yogascapes and Wildsoul, Leah seeks inspiration from epic nature and beautiful gatherings that connect us to delicious food, warm community and creative expression. Leah designs thoughtful and unique experiences that deepen holistic connection to self and planet. Leah’s personal practices are informed by an exploration of movement and balance as a dancer, rock climber and acroyogi. Leah is a student of herbalism, Ayurveda, Swedish massage and African dance and loves to find hidden gems as a world traveler.

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