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Two weeks ago Ryan and I went to Kauai to celebrate our 5 year anniversary! Although our anniversary is not until October we had more support during the summer time. We looked into going to places like Dominic Republic or Costa Rica, however with the Ziki in those places we opted for Kauai, Hawaii. And we had a blast!
I am going to share the things we did, some reviews on the adventures and general thoughts or tips that might be helpful for your stay in Kauai. A friend of ours recommended the book “The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook” which is where we started to find out about all the sights and adventures we might want to do. It really was a helpful book and has an app too.
We arrived to Kauai late Saturday evening. We thought it was pretty neat that the baggage claim was outside. We soon realized that many things were outside or opened to the outdoors in Hawaii. Sadly, our luggage didn’t make it to Kauai with us due to a tight connection we had. The airport staff were great in taking our information down and gave us a stellar toiletry bag. Our bags were delivered the next day around noon.
Sunday was our first full day on the island. We wasted no time. We started exploring the area. We stayed in Princeville, which is up north in a condo we found on Homeaway.com. It worked well for us and two of our favorite gems we found were within walking distance from our condo. More to come on those later.
We started by driving a bit more north where we stopped at some pull offs. They, of course, all had some great views. We quickly learned about the wild chickens! We found this awesome rocky area where we hiked around a bit.
After that we headed over to Pedal ‘N Paddle to grab us two snorkel sets for the week. We heard this was a must because you never know where you will end up or what will be in the waters. For $20 a week it was well worth it! Marissa, one of the workers there, was extremely helpful in letting us know where good places to snorkel were depending on our experience and the weather. Pedal ‘N Paddle also offers other rentals such as bikes, paddleboards, kayaks and camping gear.
We decided to go check out one of the snorkeling spots Marissa shared with us that was walking distance from our condo. (I’ll tell you right now- people in Hawaii give you directions based on landmarks because often times you cannot find them with GPS. In some situations I will do the same so that you can actually find what I am sharing. This is one of those times…) If you are up north on the island head to St. Regis resort, which will show up on the GPS. Just a bit short of you running into the end of the road and running into St. Regis there is a tennis court on your right. Literally, immediately after the tennis court between the tennis court fence and a fence for a parking lot there is a dirt pathway. It has a warning sign. That is how you know you are in the right place.
Follow that path, which is a bit steep and slippery if wet. It is an awesome little walk that leads to a beautiful, almost secluded beach. We only saw two couples down there the whole time we were there.
We ended our first night in Kauai by going to the Grand Hyatt Luau. When reading the reviews it said if it was indoors it was a bust, but outdoors was amazing. With a tropical storm going through our luau was inside. We, however, still thought it was amazing!
The wait was not too long. We walked in at 5pm for them opening the doors at 5:45pm although it didn’t seem like we were there for 45 minutes. Maybe we started entering before 5:45. You get a shell lei and either a Mai Tai or fruit punch when you enter. Water was waiting on the tables. We sat in long tables with other groups of people where the end of the tables were facing the stage to support no one’s back being to the stage.
While everyone got settled they had traditional body painting and poi ball (think yarn balls on end of ropes) lessons along with venders selling fresh leis, artwork and jewelry. This was also a great time to connect with the other guests at our table. All while servers are refilling unlimited drinks for everyone and music played in the background.
They would come on and tell us a bit about the culture of the luau, how they prep the food and how different cultures created the Hawaiian cultures. It felt very casual and unrushed. For me it was hard to catch everything being said because of the noise and the indoor sound system, but I was able to catch enough to get the gist of things.
The food was set up in buffet style with two lines. We then had hostess show tables out in an organized manner which seemed to go by very quickly. The choices and amount of food were great! They had four types of meat, tons of fruits and veggies along with a large dessert table. It is an all you can eat kind of style.
Personally, my favorite was the chicken and the fruits and veggies. Ryan was persuaded by our table members to make sure he tried the pio (taro root) which is a Hawaiian classic apparently. It is the purple looking paste stuff. Our table mates, Hawaiians from another island, shared that in this case you dip your salty meat into it.
The main show then started where dancers, male and female, showed us stories through songs. Again, the announcer came up to share information with us. It was a very interactive show!
If your birthday is the same month as the show, if you are there on your honeymoon or celebrating your anniversary you are sure to be included in the show. But if you don’t fall in any of those categories you aren’t out just yet. They choose people to participate randomly as well.
Although our luau was inside they still did some awesome things like the fire dance! Which was Ryan’s favorite part. Ryan is not much of a show guy, but he enjoyed this show which says a lot. After the show all the performers are out to meet and greet and take photos with. We thought this was a great way to start our week in Hawaii!