I have a confession to make…I don’t like to trying new things. So when I bought my round-trip ticket to Kauai to stay with a friend I’d never met in person before, it made me nervous! I had a complete panic attack the first night there – full tears and everything 🤦🏼♀️ I kept telling myself “how the heck can you be complaining about being in Hawaii right now?!” I just felt silly. So I sat down, listened to my Headspace app & played with their really cute pup. It wasn’t until I got a full night’s rest after running on only 5 hours sleep that I woke up and really appreciated where I was. Here’s my happened during my first Kauai vacation:
Hanalei + North Side
I was most looking forward to seeing Na Pali during my trip to Kauai. We were supposed to go on a zodiac tour of the Na Pali Coast, but unfortunately due to all the flooding, the boats were all in use shuttling people and supplies from the North Side. While I was bummed we couldn’t go up the coast, it was definitely for a good cause. Since Hanalei and the north side of the island got hit the hardest during the flood, we decided to drive up for the day to check it out and see if we could help. My friend’s husband lifeguards so we met up with him and his fellow lifeguard homies in Hanalei.
Sink holes still opened up, homes collapsed, water receded. We saw first-hand what the flooding had done and the devastation to these homes. Hanalei Pier was no longer a pier since the water was still so far out past the end of the pier. We even saw a water bison (or maybe a buffalo – is there a difference?? haha) getting shuttled from the north side to the beach by a jet-ski! Lucky for us, there was still plenty of things to do in Kauai during the storm aftermath. We dropped off our supplies to the lifeguards and grabbed some lunch, we headed back home and hit up a local hotel pool just before the rain started to come down again.
Making Hawaiian Lei’s
Since the weather was still gloomy and wet, we had to find other ways to entertain ourselves. What better way to keep busy than with wine, flowers and friends?! We called up Ivory from The Lei Collective and decided to try making some flower haku lei’s. I’ve seen these all over Instagram and couldn’t wait to make my own! Turns out it’s WAY harder than I expected, but still a ton of fun. We prepped our flowers, fillers and wine glasses & started weaving.
About two glasses of wine into crafting, I started to feel like a master weaver. 😎 The bigger, the better in my opinion so I opted to make my large and pink. After finishing up our flower lei’s and eating a tasty dinner, we took some photos. Our friend pulled out her bus that she converted into an Airbnb and we crammed in for a super cute photoshoot sesh. You can see all that awesomeness below.
Okay guys, true story, I’ve never actually been to the Grand Canyon. But if I did, I would image something similar to Waimea but far less green haha. Thursday was one of the first days the weather forecast looked pretty good during my Kauai vacation, so we took advantage! We decided to travel west toward Waimea Canyon and Koke’e State Park lookout. We left pretty early in the morning to try and beat the rain if it was coming, headed up the long windy dirt road and arrived at Waimea.
The only word I can use to describe the canyon is breathtaking. I know that’s cliche but it looked like something off a postcard! It was so vast and green, with waterfalls, rivers and wildlife. The weather was perfect so I decided to throw my drone in the air (obviously) and get some videos of the canyon. Even the photos I took don’t do it justice, but you can see them below!
After Waimea Canyon, we drove a bit further up the hill to the Koke’e State Park lookout. It overlooks Kalalau Valley and part of the Na Pali Coast and I was so happy to finally see it in person. There was even a bit of fog/clouds lingering down in the valley which made for some epic photos! Unfortunately that part of the island is a no-fly zone so I couldn’t drone the lookout like I had hoped. But I managed to get some quick shots from the lookout!
Sun at Poipu Beach
We drove back over to the west side on Friday to chase some sun before I had to hop on my plane home. After getting to Poipu, I was in total shock when we made it down to the sand. IT WAS FINALLY SUNNY OUT!! The water was clear and blue just like you expect Hawaii water to look like! I squealed with excitement, slathered on some sunscreen, threw on my mask and jumped in the water with my GoPro. We only stayed for about 2 hours before it was time to head to the airport, but I took full advantage of my first snorkeling time on the island!
When it was time to pack up, we headed back to the car where I had already packed up my luggage and changed quickly into my plane clothes. Yesssss, I still had sand in my pants but whatever, I finally got to get in that water! 😍 My friend dropped me at the airport and when I walked up to check in, I got hit with the dreaded news. “Your flight has been delayed.” I had honestly been expecting this because of the weather throughout the week, but it was totally sunny out so I was shocked and bummed. Long story short, I was delayed 2 hours and didn’t arrive at LAX until 2:15 am. Luckily, I have some pretty amazing friends who were still willing pick me up, but I was so incredibly happy to be back on the mainland.
Back to Reality
My trip to Kauai was seriously a roller coaster. The weather didn’t cooperate, I had a couple minor anxiety attacks and only touched the ocean twice. But all of those things are what helped make it unforgettable for me. I’ll never forget how incredibly green the WHOLE island was! And even though I came home with 19+ bug bites as souvenirs, I’m still glad I went and experienced it all.
While I was bummed about the icky water during my trip, I’m headed to Oahu in June for my next trip! I can’t wait to see how different the islands are and compare them both. I feel like Oahu might be a bit more my speed 😉
Kauai is still struggling to recover from its massive flooding. If you’d like to contribute to the relief efforts, head over to their GoFundMe page and DONATE HERE!
You can check out my video from the whole week below 👇🏼 Shot on a GoPro Hero 6 & DJI Mavic Pro!