Life has been exciting over the past few months. Most importantly, we celebrated our last just-the-two-of-us holiday season with beloved family and friends, short trips together, and one long trip to Hawaii for a baby moon.
I’ll start by saying this Hawaii trip was a last minute thing. Oliver and I usually take a trip every February to a new place, but this year we procrastinated after finding out we were expecting. Once we decided we definitely wanted to take a trip, we pondered between somewhere in the Caribbean or Hawaii. Let me just say, I love the Caribbean islands. But, I’ve been before and believe it or not, that little illness that you heard about on the news several months ago–Zika–is still a thing down there…not exactly ideal for a mama that is six months pregnant. So, we chose Hawaii. Kauai, Hawaii.
Kauai, “The Garden Isle” is such a whimsical little island. It’s the
smallest of the Hawaiian islands. There is a road that covers the island from the northeast side to the southwest side and in the populated areas (and some not-so-populated areas) you can find fresh fruit and vegetable stands lining the road. Talk about heaven! The rest of the island is essentially rainforest that you have to hike to for viewing. Or, you can jump on a chopper and travel across, but I have a chopper phobia. Sorry, Ol. Kauai is also the only Hawaiian island that has zero predators, so chickens are everywhere! I won’t lie, I would like to have one as a yard ornament.
Where We Stayed
The island of Kauai is so diverse in the sense that the northern and central parts of the island are basically rainforest, and the southern and southwestern parts of the island are all sunshine and beach. We knew this going in and we wanted to experience both, so we booked our stay at two different places.
For the first leg of our trip, we stayed in Princeville at the St. Regis. This resort is on the northeastern side of the island (rainforest). Occasional showers blew through daily, but they didn’t hamper our time. This location allowed us to hike the Na Pali Coast, a must-see in my opinion. The St. Regis is a tropical resort with the sophistication that you would expect on the mainland. Pulling up, we received lays and fresh guava juice from the exceptionally friendly and
helpful staff. This hotel, by far, had the best views. We looked out on the Hanalei Bay nestled within the Na Pali coast. We had our first meal on the island at The Kauai Grill located in the resort, and I would highly recommend to individuals whether they are staying at the resort or not.
On the south side of the island, we stayed at Koa Kea located in Poipu Beach. This resort was completely different in terms of ambiance and overall feel. St. Regis had more of a regal, old school feel while Koa Kea had a much more modern, elegant, zin character. I will say this resort appealed to me more than the St. Regis. Small things, like toiletries that they provided and the amenities carried this place a long way. Quality is most definitely a priority to the staff at Koa Kea. This resort is much, much smaller than the St. Regis. But, I think this plays to it’s advantage. Some of our favorite things were our private lawn with lounge chairs overlooking the ocean, the sunsets, the pool, and the chic rooms of course.
What We Did
There is so much do to on this island. We definitely didn’t cover all of our bases, and I’m not sure we could cover them all if we took another trip. My favorite activity was hiking the Na Pali coast. It was challenging (at 6 months pregnant), but totally do-able. The views were unreal. We went to the Kilauea Lighthouse and saw whales breaching in the water. We snorkeled and saw so much aquatic life. We beached, naturally. We traveled to the far west side of the island to see Polihale Beach, the longest beach in the entire state of Hawaii…while there, we saw the largest waves I have ever seen. We also visited the “mini Grand Canyon” or Waimea Canyon as it is formally called.
What We Ate
Naturally, as a pregnant person, I’ll tell you the food was my favorite part of the trip. Fruits and veggies have been my favorites for a while now and Hawaii is the place to be for those. Everywhere you went, there were acai bowls, fresh papaya, guava, coconut, mango, lychee, avocados, pineapple, citrus, and so many others. I also LOVE fish, and the tuna and monkfish were excellent on the island. Before I cover any of the restaurants (which I failed to take pictures of…because, hunger) I want to give a shout out to the Makana Terrace at the St. Regis. Every morning on the buffet, they had fresh pancakes and waffles with coconut syrup. I could’ve brought home gallons of coconut syrup. My mouth is watering right now just talking about it. OMG.
We especially loved The Lanai in Koloa. So much that we visited twice. Our favorite dish was the Miso Fresh Catch which is a lighter take on chowder. It’s made with coconut milk. YUM.
I loved Japanese Grandma’s Cafe in Hanapepe. The sushi was so good, and they make fresh healthy juices to go along.
Bar Acuda in Hanalei was a great tapas style restaurant with a cozy atmosphere.
JoJo’s Shave Ice hit the spot for a sweet treat. I’m not sure if it was the heat from the Waimea Canyon or the sweet tooth, but the shave ice on top of macadamia nut ice cream is, just, really, really, good.
And, any road side stand we stopped at did not disappoint. We stopped at so many it’s hard for me to narrow them down, but fresh fish and produce is readily available all over the island, so you really can’t go wrong!
This trip is one for the books. I don’t think I would change a single thing about our vacation. From the things we did, to the food we ate, it was exceptional. If you plan on visiting, my highlights in this post are a must!