how to be a tourist in kauai

This visit to Hawaii was very special to me, because I got to meet my niece, Mila! Aside from that, I also got to check out the island of Kauai. Here were some of the highlights:

(FYI, you’ll need to rent a car but don’t let the car rental companies fool you into thinking that you need a jeep. This isn’t the Big Island, so the terrains aren’t that rough. We did just fine with our (cheaper) compact car and got to visit all of these places):

  1. Hop on a boat to admire the Na Pali coast. It’s so beautiful that it doesn’t even look real. We went with Holo Holo Charters. Definitely reminds me of the scene where Moana restored the heart of Te Fiti.

    Na Pali Coast 42
    The Na Pali Coast
  2. Hike Waimea Canyon. There are various trails you can choose, based on distance and your skill level. I found this website to be pretty helpful in choosing. We did the Canyon Trail, which was 3.4 miles, roundtrip. There’s a waterfall at the end of the hike but that last stretch of the trail was pretty steep, with lots of loose little rocks. We skipped it because I didn’t feel like slipping and falling off the canyon that day.
    Waimea Canyon 11
    This is just the drive on the way up to the trailhead
    Waimea Canyon 49
    Halfway up and already exhausted (PC: Ben Song)

    Waimea Canyon 91

  3. Lay out on Hanalei Bay. This is a 2-mile beach, surrounded by mountains. On the day we went, it was pouring but we were hoping it would clear up by the time we got there. It did not, so no laying out for us. 
  4. Check out the 173-foot Wailua Falls. If you’re feeling adventurous (we were not), you can hike down to the base of the falls, but it looks pretty steep and can be muddy. I would say that if you’re around Lihue, then check out the falls. Otherwise, don’t go out of your way. It’s a bit obstructed from the trees anyway. Maybe it would have looked better if it wasn’t so cloudy that day.

    Wailua Falls 5
    Wailua Falls
  5. Taste some rum at Koloa Rum. My favorite was the coffee rum and the coconut rum. Pro tip – prices here are marked up – you can find (most of) the rums for a cheaper price at Wal-Mart.
  6. Have a feast at the Smith’s Tropical Paradise Luau. If you’ve never experienced a luau before, you should. You get traditional Hawaiian food and a traditional Hawaiian music/hula show. Smith is a good one because the grounds are beautiful (you get a tour beforehand), you get to see them take the pig out of the imu (underground oven), there’s a buffet with plenty of seconds, and all the Mai Tais you want to drink.
    Smith Garden Family Luau 12
    Tour before dinner
    Smith Garden Family Luau 41
    Pig straight from the imu (not the same one served later on)
    Smith Garden Family Luau 53
    Guava bread, lomi lomi salmon, kalua pig, poi, mac salad

    Smith Garden Family Luau 80

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