TRAVEL: 5 Days on Kauai

Back in August, Drake and I took off to the Garden Island to celebrate his birthday and our one-year anniversary. 
Yes, we have officially been dating for one year - a huge milestone for both of us as neither one of us have been in a serious relationship that long! 

But that's not what this post is about. Welcome to Kauai! Here's a quick breakdown on what we did, where we ate, and some tips and tricks to make your next trip to Kauai as easy as possible!

Where to stay: 
Since this ended up being a last-minute trip (like all of our trips, who are we kidding? #NonRevLife), we hopped on AirBnB and found the cheapest listing available. Not an easy feat to accomplish, but we managed to lock down a place that was less than $100/night! This cute little beach loft was exactly what we needed. It's tiny but has everything you need for a quick stay on the island! Plus, it's within walking distance to everything downtown and right by the beach. Waking up and enjoying the sunrise on the beach was one of my favorite features of staying here!

Use MY LINK to sign up and save $40 off your first trip on AirBnB!

What to eat: 
Here's an insider hack for you - AS SOON AS YOU LAND, GO TO COSTCO AND STOCK UP ON BREAKFAST AND SNACKS. You will save so much money by just buying those food groups for the time you are on the island. We had Jimmy Dean Protein Bowls almost every morning and were full, satisfied, and ready to tackle the day. It ended up saving us a lot of money AND time!

Since we stayed in Kapa'a, we ate a lot of local restaurants there - Kauai Juice Co, Street Burger, Wailua Shave Ice, Bubba Burgers, The Local, and Mermaids Cafe were all fabulous locations. Fun fact - it was on this trip that I discovered a loophole in my seafood allergy. For the first time ever, I realized I could eat raw fish. Once it's cooked my allergic reaction kicks in, but sushi and poke bowls are all fair game! Isn't that amazing? It absolutely blew my mind once I figured this out.
Another favorite we stumbled across was the Aloha Juice Bar up in Hanalei. The special of the day? A 1/2 papaya filled with dole whip and topped with coconut flakes. OH-EM-GEE. It was so damn good.

Honestly, I just recommend eating all the fresh fruit and seafood you can while you're on the island and you can't go wrong!

What to do, where to go:
First off: rent a car.  Preferably a Jeep. It's a lot of fun, and in order to properly explore the island, you'll need a reliable form of transportation.

Plus, just driving around this gorgeous place is satisfying enough. Pull over when you spy other cars on the side of the road - there's probably a secret beach tucked away nearby! Explore and see where your drive takes you.

However, some must do's absolutely include:

Waimea Canyon. And here's an insider trick - when you make the drive up the mountain, go straight for the Na'Pali Coast! The view is much better the earlier you go, before the fog rolls in. We learned that the hard way - this was as good as a view we could snag before we had to leave.
A foggy view of the Na'Pali Coast... 
We ended up taking the Waimea Canyon Trail to Waipo'o Falls and wow - what a workout! Be sure to pack quality hiking sandals or boots - you'll be traversing muddy terrain and steep inclines. My old Teva's have gone through a lot, but it was on this hike that the bottom sole on the left sandal tore off! I made do and was able to complete the hike, but my feet were in pain at the end of the day. Well worth it for these views though.

Queen's Bath. Get here as early as possible - the tiny dirt strip for parking fills up fast! The first time we headed out there we were unprepared for the line of cars just waiting to snag a spot. If it's full, you'll more than likely fall in line with other cars and have to wait until someone comes back up to leave. Also, be prepared for a tiny little hike down - so once again, pack those trusty hiking sandals!

My favorite moment from this spot was when Drake and I came across this pool where five sea turtles had wandered into! They were just casually swimming about, unaware of the excitement they sparked in their audience above. It was a magical moment.

Take a food tour! We went on one with Tasting Kauai, and it was such a relaxed and enjoyable experience. They have several options you can choose from, but based on our schedule and days on the island, we ended up going on the Hanapepe Walking Food Tour. We got to sample from so many local businesses and personally meet the business owners and learn their story.

And that wraps up the major highlights from our Kauai trip! Be sure to stock up on sunscreen (I was vigorious on applying and re-applying and I STILL got burnt), enjoy all the roosters wandering around, and know that no matter what you end up doing, you can't possibly go wrong on this gorgeous island. Mahalo!

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