You guys, I miss Kauai so much. Being back in New York in 20 degree weather is making me realize just how much I hate winter, hate being cooped up in my apartment, hate being cooped up in the office- in that order (just kidding- I hate them all equally). It’s been hard to even write this post because it makes me so sad not to be there. WOE IS ME.
Kauai is absolute paradise. Known as the garden isle, it has a population of 67,000 (sparse, perfect) and is approximately 6 million years old (resulting in the most astonishing cliffs and valleys, beaches and dense tropical vegetation). As our helicopter pilot Trevor told us “It takes a lot of years to build beauty like this.” (<–How obnoxious was starting a sentence with “our helicopter pilot, Trevor”, on a scale of 1 to 10?)
We arrived Tuesday just before sunset and immediately noticed the party was on outside on the terrace. We raced to our room to drop our bags, put on acceptable attire (why, you don’t travel in big white sneakers like your aunt Mary Martha from Tampa?), and head straight out to the hotel’s expansive 180 degree deck overlooking Hanalei Bay for sunset drinks and dinner. We stayed at the St. Regis Princeville and this quickly became a tradition every night- running up to the terrace, grabbing a much desired table with gorgeous views of the bay, and waiting for the most epic sunsets. The St. Regis does a champagne sabering every night as well (a nod to a favorite practice of their founder), and as they do, they tell an ancient island story very animatedly (as we quickly realized- it’s the same story every night); it was always great fun and got everyone in the mood for the rest of the evening!
A few highlights from our 5 days in Princeville:
^The hotel pool, where M and I practiced headstands and holding our breath under water like little kids. For the record, he would probably urge me to confess that I can’t do either exceptionally well, though like the insecure child I still am I demanded an A for effort. The hot tub was also a favorite. As always.^
^The beach on Hanalei Bay, where we wiled away many hours reading books and looking for crabs. Plenty of coral and fish for the snorkelers in our midst (The guy next to us emerged from the water with his snorkeling mask on one day and proudly proclaimed “YOU GUYS, IT LOOKS LIKE MARS IN THERE”. I think that’s an endorsement)^
^ Hiking the mind-blowingly beautiful Napali coast on our second day. It is an 11 mile path in total and typically takes hikers 2 days to do; but most stick to the first 2 miles to a hidden beach and the 2 miles back, as it’s a rigorous 10/10 in terms of difficulty. Proud to say that all of my stairmaster skilllllz served me well as I felt like I was flying through it. It felt so good to be warm, active, and surrounded by such beauty. The coast is absolutely immaculate and the views from the hike were superb. Pro tip: Next time I would bring a backpack as I had to makeshift a beach bag into one and tie it to my arms with little room for circulation as it was full of water and snacks, haha- but I would do it again in a heartbeat. Plan to arrive at the trail head between 8-9 am to get a spot.^
^More views of the breathtaking Napali coast^
^Our awesome wrangler!! My favorite car ever. We cruised around a ton with the top down, listening to weird Hawaiian radio and discovering new beaches at every turn. Loved it so much, highly recommend renting a car out there, particularly a wrangler so you can drive offroad!^
^The roads are gorgeous. I took a ton of pictures that basically look like this, which we all know are imminently frame-able. 😉 ^
^Friday we took a helicopter tour of the islands with SUnshine Helicoptor and despite the death stares we received when we rolled into the safety demonstrations 10 minutes late (like can we live?! We were on holiday time okay!), we had an EPIC time up there. I am terrified of heights so frankly I was low key scared out of my mind all morning, and clutched M’s arm in a death grip as we floated up, up and away. But minutes into it I had gained my courage and thought it was absolutely amazing. Would totally do it again and thought the views, particularly in the later afternoon with the sun reflecting off of the water, was just exquisite. Such a treat to do something like that^
Not pictured but not forgotten
Tropical Taco – the most incredible, insane fish tacos. They are SO BIG and SO DELUSHUS. 10/10, would eat again (and we did; like every day. Not mad about it)
Kilauea Lighthouse & Wildlife Refuge – A beautiful lighthouse (the Westernmost one in the US!) and bird refuge where you can take binoculars out at your leisure and roam the grounds as really great bird experts tell you what you are looking at. Loved this so much. I was overwhelmed at all the birds. “Look- there’s an albatross!” I gleefully told my husband. “You’re an albatross,” he responded. True love, you guys.
The roosters. Kauai is known for its wild chicken population (brought by the European settlers because of course they brought something as random as chickens to a place where you can get the best fish everywhere you go). The actual story is cooler and involves a hurricane freeing all of the chicken fight chickens at once and allowing them to roam free and populate the island. Whichever you believe, the chickens are a hilarious addition to the island.
Our lovely friends from Sacramento that we met and had a serious friend-affair with the last 2 days of our trip. They were the best and our last night on Kauai was especially fun because of them. Love you guys!