Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Top 15 Things to Do in Kauai Part 1 (of 3)

Oh Kauai, how I love thee, let me count the ways.  We had such a lovely time on "the garden isle".  So, since it seems even the spin class I went to today deserves at least a two-part post, we've got another multi-parter on our hands.  And without further ado - some of the top things you should do if you ever find yourself on Kauai! 

15) Eat.  While eating is one of my favorite past times (obviously), it gets the lowest number on this top 15 list because I did not have one single meal that I was impressed with.  Overall, I was very disappointed with the food on Kauai.  We ate at Bubba’s Burgers (burgers good but so tiny), Brick Oven Pizza (pizza fine but nothing special), Garden Isle BBQ (Chinese food that was not impressive), and Chicken in a Barrel BBQ (again, unsatisfying).  My only recommendation for you is to get Hawaiian Shave Ice at Jo-Jo’s in Waimea.  Yum.  Make sure to get the macnut ice cream on the bottom.  

14)  Hike.  Get muddy.   We did 3 other hikes besides the "best" hike which will be thing to do #2 (spoiler alert - it's hike the east trail of sleeping giant).

We hiked the Pihea Trail to Alaka'i Swamp (or we were SUPPOSED to make it to the swamp) and I do NOT recommend this one.  Okay okay, the book and others raved about the swamp part, which is supposed to be this surreal walk through a swamp on a boardwalk.  But we never made it that far.  You can't really tell from the picture but the trail was MUDDY (okay you can tell that) but more importantly, it was STEEP.  Armed with our crappy (traction-wise - sorry Brooks PureConnects!) running shoes, we were in way over our head.  We were mostly sliding down super steep hills and it was scary.  I don't know how to describe to you how terrifying it is to be out of control on a trail with cliffs on either side.  NOT FUN.  So we never made it to the "cool" part. 

Second, we did the Kuamo'o-Nounou Trail up onto Nounou Mountain / Sleeping Giant (again - my favorite hike, so we thought it would be fun to see the same place from a different angle).  This hike was good, just not great.  About 4 miles round trip, but the views aren't as great as the East trail although the hike itself was much more scenic through interesting forest. 

Third and finally, we had a replay of our first hike times a million with the STEEPEST MUDDIEST HIKE OF ALL TIME.  Hanalei 'Okolehao Trail: ugghhhhhh I was pretty much wimpering all the way down "I don't want to do this I don't want to do this I don't want to do this".  The same problems occurred again, but magnified since the trail was even steeper.  Just so slick.  You're just constantly afraid of hurtling to your death.  At one point the trail pretty much disappeared but we continued on because we thought we'd come across something awesome until finally we gave up and turned around.  So the views were lovely, but I'm not sure they were worth the dangerous trek. 

13) Visit the Koloa Rum Factory.  A brand new company but already winning medals at rum competitions (who knew there was such a thing?) for their rums.  

The rum is fairly tasty (at least the dark rum and the spiced rum was - the white was disgusting), but it's fairly pricey (around $30 for a fifth) - but guess what?  The tasting is free and quite informative.  Plus you get to try the most delicious rum cake you've ever had.  And who doesn't like cake?

12)  Drive the whole island.  Stop at every "scenic lookout".  Gawk at the fanciness of the luxury resorts (i.e., The Marriott, St. Regis Princeville, and The Grand Hyatt).  Agree that someday you will be rich enough to stay there.

11)  Visit the Kilauea Lighthouse and the "Spouting Horn".  They're nothing amazing, but they're worth the trip!  Besides, you're already driving the whole island and stopping at every scenic stop (see #12). 

Come back tomorrow for Part 2 of the top 15 sights of Kauai!

Have you been to Hawaii?  Where did you go and what did you see?