I’m honestly a little hesitant to write this post because of how jealous I’m going to be of myself four days ago. We spent the last week in Kauai, and it was amazing. Mike is an accountant, and he just wrapped up busy season, and April is a relatively slow month at my job, so we try to take a trip around this time every year. Since this is our first year living together in LA, we decided to take advantage of our proximity to Hawaii and go to Kauai! We’d been to Maui before, but this was our first time in Kauai.
If you’ve traveled to Hawaii before, you know one thing: it’s EXPENSIVE. The interesting thing is, once you’re there, it’s not horribly overpriced (except for milk and pickles. Not sure what the deal is there, but I was shocked by those sticker prices). But getting there and getting situated can definitely be hard on the pocketbook.
I was on Expedia every day for several weeks trying to make heads and tails of our options. I’d find a hotel that looked great on Expedia, but I’d go to TripAdvisor to find that the reviews were less than stellar. The pictures on Expedia were often deceiving as well – I recommend checking out actual traveler pictures on TripAdvisor. Hotels will always put their best (and sometimes ANCIENT) foot forward. You can never tell how up to date or photo touched the pictures are.
Overall, I’m truly happy with the experience we had. The rooms were clean, the pool was exactly as pictured on Expedia. The restaurants were surprisingly good for hotel food. The only thing I wasn’t thrilled about was the customer service. I’m not sure if that’s specific to the resort, or more of an island vibe. I’m a bit type A (understatement of the year), and move at a click. They were definitely more laid back and didn’t always have the answers to our questions. It wasn’t enough to put a dent in our experience, though.
The best part was the hotel was ON the beach – we were literally twenty feet from the ocean. You don’t always get that at more moderately priced resorts.
Before our trip, we bought this book called Kauai Revealed. It’s available for Kindle as well. We used a book by the same author for Maui, and loved it. Our experience was highly enhanced by his tips, tricks, and secrets of the island. Before you do or plan anything, I HIGHLY suggest purchasing this book. We were able to visit the most magical beaches that were nearly empty because they would otherwise go unnoticed.
We also purchased our ProDive Dry Top snorkel gear ahead of time – we’ve gotten a little grossed out by the idea of sharing snorkel gear. Besides, if you have the space in your suitcase and the storage space at home, you’ll easily get your money’s worth – we would have spent more renting gear.
We planned a few excursions while we were there. The first was Smith’s Family Luau. This was recommended both by locals and by the book I mentioned. The gardens were beautiful – there were peacocks roaming about! The food was good, and the performers were extremely entertaining. Our experience here was a bit tainted because our first time at a luau was on Maui, and it was truly magical. I’ve come to understand that our Maui luau was a different type of experience and not quite as traditional. In the way of traditional luau’s, Smith’s does stand out.
The absolute highlight of the trip was the speedboat tour we took of the Na Pali coast with Na Pali Experience. We took the Morning Magic tour, and I can’t speak highly enough about it. We floated in a pod of dolphins – there had to be 20 or 30 of them. If you go, definitely take the morning tour – they said dolphins are harder to see in the afternoons because they wake up for the day and start their hunt. We dropped anchor and snorkeled, and we toured the coast and got an up close and personal look at some of the extraordinary caves. It was incredible. Not to mention, so much fun being on a speedboat! This is a MUST DO.