Kauai and Oahu

Of all our vacations, this was definitely the most stressful, but also, probably our favorite thus far! So this trip begun on a stressful note from the moment I got to the West Palm airport! I arrived at PBI to find out that my Southwest flight to LA was delayed and I was going to miss my connecting Delta flight from LA to Honolulu (yes, I got two separate flights due to wanting to get the best points/miles value for each leg of the trip). Southwest said it was due to a mechanical issue on the plane and rather than rebook me on another flight, they thought by the time I got to Atlanta that the mechanical issue would be solved. Well of course that didn’t happen! When I got to Atlanta, I found out that they cancelled my ticket on that flight and rescheduled me as standby on a flight going from Atlanta to Denver and then to LA. However, since I was on standby, I ended up not getting a seat, and therefore, no longer had a flight to LA!! Therefore, Scott had to book me a last minute ticket on Delta to get me to LA 10 minutes before I was supposed to depart for Honolulu. Long story short…somehow (don’t ask me how), it all worked out and I made my flight in LA to Honolulu! Phew!

Now, for the weather during our trip 😦 Everyone had told us not to check the weather because it will say rain every day, but that it will only rain for a few hours each day and only on the rainy side of each island. WRONG! lol It rained every day and all day during our entire trip except for the first two days in Oahu. Therefore, each day we had to rearrange our plans, find new hikes (because the ones we had planned on doing were too muddy and slippery), re-schedule excursions or forget an excursion altogether, and I couldn’t bring my good quality Canon many days due to all the rain! Furthermore, I accidentally left my Canon’s battery charger in the outlet at our hotel in Honolulu and therefore, wasn’t able to use my camera the whole time we were in Kauai!

Lastly, our flight from Kauai back to West Palm was also cancelled after sitting on the plane for about an hour and we didn’t get to fly out until the next day and we were on  different airlines and separate flights :(. However, even through all of this chaos, we managed to have one of the best trips of our life and I have mentioned everything we had planned on doing and what adjustments were made below. This itinerary was amazing and I hope you can enjoy it as much as we did when you go visit Hawaii!! We also really hope to visit the Big Island and Maui soon! We have heard great things about both, but with the weather, we weren’t able to visit a third island due to having to reschedule our excursions and constantly make new plans each day.

Day 1: On your first day you should explore the Waikiki/Honolulu area! There is so much to do and see in this area and hey- it’s the sunny side of the island! We stayed at the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani http://www.princess-kaiulani.com/ and loved it! It was great because it was in the heart of the Waikiki area and walking distance to so many restaurants and bars (we loved Maui Brewing Co. down the street). You also get access to the Westin Moana Surfrider Hotel right across the street which is located on Waikiki beach by staying in the sister property. I also recommend checking out Arvo Cafe! https://www.instagram.com/explore/locations/1027561246/arvo/ It’s so adorable and has so many great healthy eats! There are also two hikes that are closeby to the hotel-Diamond Head and Koko Crater! Diamond head is paved and a relatively short and easy hike. Koko Crater takes much longer and has “stairs” (1,048 steps). The stairs are actually part of an old railway system that used to be there. Before we started this hike I had read quite a few reviews and to be honest, thought it would be relatively easy since it had stairs and wasn’t a rugged trail. It was only 1.5 miles round trip and so I thought this would be one of our “easier” hikes as we hike often. However, I was wrong! This hike will have your legs shaking by the end of it and make sure you bring lots of water! We did this hike at sunset and I think it’s a spectacular hike for it! To read more about this hike, I recommend reading this blog post https://www.journeyera.com/koko-head-stairs/

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Koko Crater stairs
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View of sunset from about half way up the koko crater stairs
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View from the top of the Diamond Head hike
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View from our Balcony at the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani
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View of the pool area at the Moana Surfrider hotel


Day 2:  For our second day in Oahu we scheduled the 8 a.m. horseback tour of  Kualoa Ranch. I HIGHLY recommend this tour! You get to see so many movie locations and they were even filming a movie while we were there! Plus it is private land so you can only see it by doing a tour and it is just stunning! After this, we did the Crouching Lion’s hike! OBSESSED! This was our favorite hike on Oahu that we did! The views are amazing and it gives you a good workout, plus, there is a pink swing across from the trailhead by the water so you can clean off and then relax in the swing 🙂 The trailhead is a little confusing and we don’t want you to make the same mistake we did so when you get to the trailhead there will be a sign that says do not enter and no trespassing, but people do this hike all day long each day! When you see this sign, you know you’re in the right place (also most of the hikes in all the Hawaiian islands have a sign like this). When you start hiking upward you will come to an open space where you can go left, right, or slightly left- make sure you take the slightly left path that immediately has an incline. Also, if you have the alltrails app this helps A TON and will ensure you are on the right track! After this hike, you can head to the pink swing and rinse off 😀 We then drove to get a pic at the infamous Oahu swing located at 53-936 Kamehameha Hwy Hauula, Hawaii. After this, we were going to do the Kuliouou Ridge hike, but it started getting cloudy and looked like it could rain at any minute on that side of the island so we decided that we didn’t want to get stuck in a storm or mudslide so we drove back to the hotel and relaxed by the pool and then decided to get dressed up and take some pics at sunset. This ended up being the best decision ever because the sunset that night was UNBELIEVABLE. See below if you don’t believe me 🙂 There really is nothing like a Hawaiian sunset!

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half way to the top of crouching lion
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the pink swing across the street from the crouching lion trailhead
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sunset at waikiki beach at the moana surfrider hotel
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crouching lion views
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sunset
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sunset at waikiki
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sunset with my love
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the pool and sunset at the moana surfrider hotel
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kualoa ranch tour
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kualoa ranch tour
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kualoa ranch tour


Day 3: 
 So this was the day we were supposed to go skydiving but because of the weather, it was cancelled 😦 We rescheduled it for the next day, but it was cancelled on that day as well so we never did get to go skydiving with Pacific Skydiving 😦 However, I would definitely recommend this company if this is something you want to do and they have a 100% safety record by the way 🙂 Because we weren’t able to go skydiving this day, we decided to drive to the northwest shore regardless and explore the town of Haleiwa. Here, we went to the Coffee gallery, haleiwa bowls, and Anahulu’s shaved ice which I highly recommend all of them :). Next, we drove to Laniakea Beach (turtle beach), but the waves were so big that they weren’t letting people in the water and plus it was freezing and so windy! We also didn’t see any turtles on the shore 😦 We then drove to Waimea Bay to encounter the same problems so we ended up going to Sharks Cove and we were so glad we did! The water was a little bit warmer and we saw SO many unique and colorful fish! Unfortunately I don’t have pictures of the fish, only videos 😦 However, if you go to my personal instagram, you can watch the video here: https://www.instagram.com/p/BghyPDUh4_d/?taken-by=chelsea.fetter. I also definitely recommend water shoes for Sharks Cove as you will be climbing over a ton of sharp rocks to get there! After this, we were going to do the Puu O hulu hike (pink pillbox) on the way to the Makua Cave hike for sunset, but again the weather did not allow for this. However, here are the notes I took for the Makua cave hike- The hike starts just past the very well known “Makua Cave” on Farrington Highway. The cave is nestled into the mountain a few hundred yards above and to the left of the more popular “Makua Cave”.  Instead of parking in the pullout by Makua Cave, drive about 30 seconds further along the highway and park off the road immediately after the 15 mph speed limit sign. The trail starts pretty much right there.  There looks to be a trail going right of the cliffs edge but it is just a dead end.  If you do this, backtrack and continue going up, where you will find another trail going right towards the cliffs edge and towards the ocean.  Follow it for about five minutes and upon veering left around a rock face, you will arrive at Upper Makua Cave.  (There’s actually two caves, the first being rather small but the second fairly large.)

Since we weren’t able to do this hike, we did Manoa Falls trail instead and we were not disappointed with this hike at all! You will literally feel like you’re in the middle of the jungle! Look at the pics below!

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Day 4: We drove to Hoomaluhia Botanical Garden first thing in the morning and it did not disappoint! It is absolutely stunning! However, everyone takes pictures at the entrance standing in the middle of the road, but they are no longer allowing this. Instead, you have to stand on the grass to get pictures at the entrance 😦 It was sprinkling at the time of our pics, but they still turned out great despite the overcast skies! We then drove to do the Pillbox hike at Lanikai Beach  kayak to the mokes islands with Kailua Ocean Adventures, but it was pouring down rain when we got there and unfortunately, we were not able to do either of these. However, the manager at Kailua Ocean Adventures told us to do the Makapuu lighthouse trail and then to head to Cockroach Cove. We were so glad we did! The turtle in the picture above is from snorkeling at Cockroach cove. It was stunning there and if you love rock climbing, then you will love this spot! We were supposed to do the Wiliwilinui trail this day as well, but again the weather prohibited us from doing this, but Cockroach cove made up for it! Check out the pics below of Hoomaluhia and Cockroach cove!
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Hoomaluhia entrance
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Making sure I”m on the grass
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So pretty here!
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Cockroach cove!
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Day 5: On this morning, we flew to Kauai where we stayed at the Sheraton Kauai resort which I highly recommend! http://www.sheraton-kauai.com/?SWAQ=958P We were supposed to go straight to the Kalalau trail after we landed (2 miles in the path leads you to hanakapiái beach), however, it was pouring down rain and we were not able to do this. We actually weren’t able to do this trail during the entire time we stayed in Kauai because of the weather and it being located on the rainy side of the island 😦  However, here are the notes that I had taken for this hike-The trailhead is at Kee Beach, on the northwest side of the island. Two miles in, the path leads you to Hanakapi’ai Beach, the perfect spot to take a rest and cool off. However, this beach can be dangerous at high tide — be very cautious if you swim or enjoy at a distance. Climb the rocks on the north side of the shore to discover a secret beach with large caves. (Hike early and bring lots of water and some snacks. This trail, though intensely beautiful, is also quite strenuous. Be aware of steep climbs, slippery rocks and fresh red mud. Wear comfortable clothes and strong shoes.)
Hike to and swim at the Hanakapi’ai Falls: Two miles further up the Kalalau trail on the Na Pali coast is the Hanakapi’ai Falls, a 100-foot waterfall that flows into a deep pool. The thin path is mostly unmaintained and is prone to flooding after a rain, so be cautious. The hike leads you through a bamboo forest, crosses the river multiple times, but can become quite challenging as you make your way up toward the falls. However, there are various places to stop on the way to cool off in lava rock swimming holes or rest in the shade. When you finally come to the massive falls, the trail opens up into a place words can’t describe. It’s like a movie scene out of Indiana Jones. The only sound you hear is that of rushing water. The light is subtle. White, long-tailed birds fly high above. It’s as though you have entered prehistoric times. After you get past the unfathomable and overwhelming beauty, strip down and go for a swim. Float on your back and look up into the falls. Swim under the falls and sit in the cave, looking out through the rushing water. Bask in the moment. (Tip: there are various small pools and falls further down the trail. Stop off and hang out there, too, for a private pool party.)
Even though we weren’t able to do this hike, we were still able to see the Kilauea Lighthouse (see below).
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Also, since we weren’t able to do the hike, we drove to Waimea Canyon instead and did the Waipoo falls trail. This is the perfect place to visit in the rain as the hike is not very steep or muddy and relatively easy. Also, again, I highly recommend the alltrails app to make sure that you are on the right path at all times! This trail can be sort of tricky in places. Below are some pics from Waimea Canyon and our hike 🙂
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Day 6:
 So the next day we were very nervous about our helicopter tour with Jack Harter Helicopters being canceled due to it being cold and overcast and looking like it could rain at any minute, but we were able to still go out and this ended up being the highlight of our ENTIRE trip even on a non-clear day!! If you go to Kauai, a helicopter ride is a MUST! I can’t imagine going tehre and not seeing the island from the air! You get to see the whole island in the hour you’re up there and so much of Kauai is inaccessible by foot. Also, Jack Harter helicopters is the only company that does doors off rides and again, I think this is the ONLY way to go! I can’t imagine having the doors on and not being able to feel the clouds, air, and water and see the beauty you’re surrounded by clearly! Here is the link to his tours: http://www.helicopters-kauai.com/tour.htm 
After this, we hiked the Awaawapuhi Trail- our favorite hike during our entire trip to Hawaii! Just so you know what you’re getting yourself into- I would watch these youtube videos 🙂 https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=awaawapuhi+trail+on+kauai
However, you don’t have to go out on the ledge like my husband did and they do in these videos. I stayed behind just before the ledge because I couldn’t stand the thought of walking a ledge about 3 feet wide with a 5000 ft drop on each side. The hike before this ledge part at the end is very easy though and through a forested area. The views at the end are spectacular and second to none! We were so lucky on this hike too because it was raining and foggy throughout the entire hike and when we got to the ledge, my husband hiked it in the fog and about 5 minutes later all the fog went away and left us with the most jaw-dropping views of the Napali Coast! We met people that had been waiting 3 hours + for the fog to lift so we were very fortunate! Here are pics of our helicopter tour and this hike below:

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Day 7: Because of the weather on this day, we actually just stayed at the hotel and relaxed and took in the amenities the hotel had to offer. In the evening, it stopped raining and we were able to go out at sunset and get some pretty awesome pictures that I’ve posted below 🙂
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Day 8
: This was our second favorite excursion day next to the helicopter tour! I can’t tell you enough how much I recommend Blue Ocean Adventure Tours!! I also recommend doing the morning tour so that you have the best chances of seeing wild life! We saw 100s of dolphins and several whales! We also saw manta rays and sea turtles! This trip takes you through sea caves, along the napali coast, and lands at a beach where they take you on a mini hike and let you snorkel. If you get seasick however, then I would recommend Captain Andy’s tours because Blue Ocean Adventures takes you on old retired Navy boats and you go extremely fast and you sit on the edge of a raft-style boat while holding on tightly to a rope to stay in the boat. After this, I would recommend doing the St Regis for drinks at sunset 😀 I posted our pics from the tour below:

 

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Here is the link to their website: http://www.goblueadventure.com/ and their instagram page here: https://www.instagram.com/goblueadventures/ Also, for videos of this tour and the helicopter tour check out my personal instagram page here: https://www.instagram.com/chelsea.fetter/

Day 9:  So we were supposed to do the Kipu Ranch Adventures in the morning, but the morning tour got canceled and we ended up doing the afternoon tour which worked out perfectly! The sun ended up coming out in the afternoon and it turned out to be a gorgeous day! We LOVED this tour! I had never been off-roading before on an ATV or in a UTV and loved it! We loved our guide and learning about the history of Kauai as well as getting muddy and taking in beautiful scenery! I posted our pics of this tour below:

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Day 10: On our last day the weather could not have been more beautiful! Therefore, we spent most of the day relaxing at the hotel and enjoying the pool and beach, but in the afternoon we drove up the east coast of the island and explored some of the local towns and beaches. One of our favorite spots was the town of Kapaa and going to Wailua Shave ice as well as Olympic Cafe! This cafe is located on the third floor of a building and has great views of the mountains and a spectacular menu!

 

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View from Olympic Cafe
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Taking in our last day and the beautiful weather

 

Well, I hope you enjoyed this post and that it provides some valuable information for your upcoming trip to Hawaii! Don’t forget to follow https://www.instagram.com/blissfulblondeadventures for more posts, pics, and trips! Mahalo 🙂 Until next time Hawaii…

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