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Our next Hawaii trip…dreaming of Kauai in 2015

Our only trip to the Garden Isle, Kauai, was back in January of 2010. We went with Steve’s parents, older brother, and sister-in-law and had a fantastic time! It is literally the most stunningly beautiful island. It’s always been my dream to return some day, but the airfare to Kauai was always the most expensive out of all the four major Hawaiian Islands and so we’ve chosen to visit other islands over the past few years. Because of some lucrative Hawaiian Airlines credit card sign-up bonuses and bonus miles transfer from American Express, we’ve recently gotten enough miles to get us to Hawaii and back a couple of times; so of course we chose Kauai for our redemption! We’re leaving in February to early March 2015 for my birthday week! (Does a little dance). We’ve always enjoyed staying at condos or vacation homes on our Hawaiian vacations, so finding the perfect place from the many beautiful Kauai rentals is something we look forward to doing.

Me on the beach in Kauai back in 2010

Of course we are not the only ones who flock to Hawaii during the cold mainland winters…and even though the date is far away I was not surprised to find out a lot of condos are almost fully booked, with the best priced with ocean views going first. I have my work cut out for me, but I am open to the challenge! I’ve had my share of trying to get the best luxury deals for less, so I actually look forward to it! I have the option of redeeming some points for the Grand Hyatt Kauai (for which the cheapest garden view room is going for 500/night during our time frame) so I may just do that…but I also like the convenience of a kitchen and free parking so I’m leaning to finding something in the condo realm.

In the meantime, here is a mini report with photos of our week-long family trip to Kauai back in 2010:

We had a fabulous time exploring Kauai! We stayed at the Waipouli Beach Resort for 4 nights, and then at the Sheraton in Poipu for another 3 nights. I’ve always been a fan of the split stay (if you do it right) so we may do it again on this trip!

The Waipouli Beach Resort is a large sprawling complex located in Kapaa, it’s upscale and outfitted will all the conveniences of home. It has an amazing pool area with a lazy river and water slides…we felt like kids again!

Enjoying the waterslides at the Waipouli Beach Resort

Early in the mornings, we would catch the sunrise since the resort faced east. They were nothing short of amazing!

Sunrise. I took this with a canon rebel xsi and wide angle lens.

Loved the beautiful tropical flowers on Kauai.

We began our days with breakfast, sometimes we’d cook in our condo (well, Steve’s fabulous mama did most of the cooking)…or we’d head out to eat!

“What’s for breakfast, mom?”

Eggbert’s is a Kauai favorite for breakfast!

Delicious side order of Portugese sausage fried rice at Eggbert’s.

We spent a lot of time at different beaches all over the island, with the North Shore beaches, Lydgate beach park and Poipu beach as our favorites.

At Lydgate beach park. The chairs came with our condo, one of the benefits of a vacation rental vs hotel.

A vintage-y shot I took at Haena beach on the north shore.

Steve’s mom also loves to take pictures. It was too bad the north shore beaches had too much high surf to swim.

An amazing rainbow at Poipu beach! I swam out with a waterproof camera to take this shot.

This was in Poipu, not sure if it was baby beach or not…but it was awesome!

I shot this at sunset on one of the westernmost beaches…a horseback rider on a beach in Kauai…looked amazing!

Us on the beach near the Grand Hyatt.

We also did our fair share of eating throughout our stay. We had the delicious burgers at Bubba’s Burgers more than once and we splurged on dinner at Hulikau Lanai, Roy’s and Merrimans….YUM. We also ate a few local specialties, like Hamura Saimin, and Shrimp Station which were great as well.

Bubba’s burgers. I really liked the teriyaki burger with cheese.

At Shrimp Station….spicy shrimp!

We saw our first monk seal! We saw them a lot on Kauai…at least 3 sightings on 3 different beaches.

We took our first helicopter ride, and it was the most amazing thing we did on this trip! I was able to get these beautiful pics from our ride in the air on Blue Hawaiian Helicopters.

The waterfall scene when the helicopter lands in the movie, Jurassic Park. I just about died when they played the theme song when we flew by. Coolest thing ever!

The ruggedly stunning Napali Coastline which you can only view from air or boat…cars do not go there.

Lush greenery on the mountainous cliffs. Did you know it rains on the top of Kauai more so than anyplace else on earth?!?

Stunning!

Aerial view of Waimea Canyon

We also visited Waimea Canyon back on the ground…

Waimea Canyon, the grand canyon of Hawaii.

We also ran into a lot of these little fellas…

Roosters were everywhere!

I had my first taste of kulolo, a local treat made with taro, sugar, and coconut milk. I would say it has the texture of Japanese mochi (rice cake) but with a sweeter flavor tinged with coconut. It’s not bad!

Kulolo

We purchased the Kulolo from the Sueoka Store, which shares the same name as my sister-in-law! Think we should have gotten a family discount!

Keepin’ the family business alive!

We’ve missed you, Kauai…

Can’t wait to see you again next year!

Until we meet again!



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August 9, 2016 - 12:06 am

Melinda - Beautiful pictures! Beautiful story!
Your pictures in the helicopter are amazing! Did you use the canon rebel for that too? Was the ride shaky? How did you find taking photos in the helicopter!?
We are considering this tour!

October 28, 2016 - 5:16 pm

- Hi Melinda, sorry for the very late response! Sometimes I don’t get my blog notifications, I’ll need to work on that.
But, thank you! Yes I did use a Canon Rebel xSi (older model) and I mostly used my wide angle 10-22mm lens to capture every detail of landscape from the helicopter. It was definitely challenging, not so much the shaking, but the glare from the windows. If you do a doors-off tour then it will probably not be an issue (but it will be scarier!). I was lucky to be seated at a window seat in the back of the chopper so I was able to hold my camera lens right at the window and tried to fight off some of the glare. I also used a circular polarizer filter on my lens, which may have helped a bit. It reduces glare on the surface of water so it may have helped with the window glare as well. Oh and try to wear dark colors because white or lighter colors will reflect of the windows more. Otherwise, I highly recommend this tour and it was one of the best (but pricey) things we’ve done on Kauai! Thank you for reading!
Su-Lynn

December 15, 2016 - 10:45 am

Debbie - Hi! I love your trip reports. We reserved a condo at the waipouli beach resort. Did you reserve on the outrigger site or vrbo?
This is our first time visiting Kauai, I have been reading blogs and am concerned about negative reviews of Kapaa.
Would you please give me an honest assessment of the resort and town, favorite places to visit and best restaurants.
Thank you very much
Debbie

December 28, 2016 - 10:06 pm

- Hi Debbie, Thank you so much for reading! Back when we stayed at the Waipouli Beach resort we reserved through their website. We didn’t know about VRBO back then but now we do! I would definitely shop around on VRBO as that is where the best prices are, but make sure to read reviews about the unit you’re renting. The town of Kapaa is not as bad as people say it is. I mean, you are on Kauai and it’s a beautiful island! The resort is beach-front but the beach fronting it is not that swimmable IMO but just a short distance away, is Lydgate Beach park which is beautiful and has a lovely swimming beach. Kapaa has many convenience factors – supermarkets, restaurants, drugstores, etc. so you are never going to be far from anything. People say it takes away from the local feel but to be honest that doesn’t really bother me at all. It’s not a huge island so you can to more secluded areas within 30 to 45 mins (traffic depending). Kapaa is very convenient as you can head north or south within reasonable time. Kapaa does get it’s share of traffic though but that is true for most of the island. The north shore (Princeville/Hanalei) is also quite congested on the one main road going through as well. I would not sweat your decision to stay in Kapaa as the resort is beautiful and has all the conveniences of a luxury hotel. You are even within walking distance of restaurants which is nice. We really like the Pono Market for poke and take-out local food. Also Eggberts, Kountry Kafe, and Tip Top Motel for breafkast/brunch. I’ve also heard good things about J20. We liked fine dining at Merriman’s and the new Roy’s 1849 Eating House in Poipu is suppsoed to be great. I’d also check out a farmer’s market or two. There’s lots to eat and do on Kauai! I would not miss a visit to the Waimea Canyon, a visit to Hanalei Bay, beach time at Tunnels, and if you can, a helicopter or boat tour to see the Napali Coast. Amazing! Also enjoy visiting the Kauai Coffee Company when out there. Have a wonderful time! – Su-Lynn

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