Friday, September 14, 2012

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

Well you finally made it to the Top 5!  You saw #11-15 and you saw #6-10, so without further ado - the top 5 things you should DEFINITELY do if you find yourself in Kauai!

 5) Swim.  Jump off rocks into the ocean.  It’s lovely.  Snorkel at every beach you come to.  See those rocks we're standing on?  We jumped off those, no big deal.  It was fun.  There was a very high rock the young-ens were jumping off but we stayed smart adults and didn't make that leap.  

We also snorkeled at Ke'e Beach (very nice and easy snorkeling - shallow and very calm):

and at Lydgate Park (ridiculously bad snorkeling, but a good swimming spot):

and at Poipu Beach (we saw a turtle here! But a bit rough water-wise):

Again, gorgeous pristine beaches.  Duh, that's why you came here.

4) See Waimea Canyon.  Even if you’ve seen the Grand Canyon (which we have), it’s still impressive.  10 miles long, 1 mile wide, 3,600 feet deep, with beautiful amazing colors.  It’s worth the drive for sure.  

3) Swim in Wailua Falls.  The view from the top is just okay:

But the view from the bottom is AMAZING!  Let's be clear, the "hike" to the bottom is no joke.  Although it's short, it is definitely an "adventurous" hike on the way down, so be prepared.  We were wearing flip-flops and I ended up going barefooted.  Again, hiking shoes would be helpful.  Just like nearly all the hikes it seems, it was VERY muddy, VERY steep, and therefore VERY slippery.  Although it seems the government doesn't endorse this as a "hike" or consider this a true trail (so don't expect to see signs or trail markings) there are ropes in places which help with descent but especially with the ascent. 

It was AWESOME.  And then we got to celebrate our accomplishment with a beer by the same name:

See that girl? That's where WE were standing!

2) Hike to the top of “sleeping giant”.  Although we did several other hikes, this one was by far the best and is definitely a "must do".  This was the "east" hike (of the 3 hikes to the top of sleeping giant), which apparently is the longest and steepest but definitely has the best views.  Unfortunately we did this hike first, so then all the other hikes we did the rest of the week were kind of big let-downs.  We should have just done this hike every single day.

It's about 2 miles each way and fairly steep, but the views at the first stopping point (the picnic table area) are worth it alone.  HOWEVER, the best part of this hike BY FAR was continuoing on to the very top of the mountain, which involved some scrambling up scary rocks and was EXTREMELY FROWNED UPON by our guide book for safety reasons.  So proceed with caution, but cresting the top of that peak was one of my favorite experiences of the whole trip. 

You seriously don't get better views than this:

1) Snorkel at Tunnels.  Okay okay, so this isn't that different from #5.  But while #5 is optional, #1 is not.  If you want to snorkel at ALL while you're in Hawaii, it is highly recommended you snorkel HERE.  While we snorkeled with turtles at Anini Beach and Poipu Beach (but not Tunnels), the snorkeling was so ridiculously awesome at Tunnels and just adequate (to poor really) elsewhere.  Seriously.  It is AWESOME.  

Plus the view from Tunnels ain't half bad either:

You also might get to see a Hawaiian Monk Seal, which is an endangered species, no big deal:

Anything to add to this list?  Ever been to Hawaii?  What's your favorite island?  Favorite activity?