There are people saying they have no regrets. I am not one of them. For one thing, I absolutely regret not having planned more days on Kauai. Deep, I know.
Straight after picking up our rental car at Lihue Airport we drove up to the Wailua Falls. The curvey road leads right up to them and there is no hiking required. An easy introduction to the island that should already give you an idea of its beauty.
It might not look like it on the picture, but our hotel, Mokihana Palace, was simple and for sure had seen better days. Nevertheless, the view was pretty amazing. We relaxed for the rest of the afternoon and prepared ourselves for the exertion to come the next day: hiking part of the Napali Coast.
We got up early and made our way to Ke’e Beach, the beginning of the almost 18km long Kalalau trail. Doing the whole trail and back would obviously be a multi-day adventure and also requires a permit. We neither had multiple days nor did we plan months ahead to get the usually sold out permits. The alternative wasn’t any less strenous though. We hiked along the Kalalau trail for about 3.5km until we reached Hanakapi’ai Beach. After a short break we decided to go further up the mountains and hike until Hanakapi’ai Falls. We took this decision rather lightly after we completed the first part of the trail in only an hour and fifteen minutes when the suggested time was about two to three hours. The way was steep, muddy and full of sometimes easy and other times difficult stream crossings.
When we finally reached the falls, the sight of it was not only a relief but also stunningly gorgeous. The water falling down 91 meters is cold and offers a more than welcome refreshment after several hours of hiking and climbing.
We enjoyed our sandwiches, rested and took in the views before we started our descent. With the motivation of seeing the waterfall gone and only very little water left, the way back seemed even longer.
Driving back to our hotel we stopped in Hanalei, a cute little surfer town for a delicious burger at Bubba’s and at the Kilauea Lighthouse.
After the endeavor of the day before, we were happy to have a much more relaxed plan for day number three: a Napali Coast sailing tour on one of Captain Andy’s catamarans. Cruising along the coast we got company of dozens of dolphins who enjoyed surfing the bow waves of our boat and even a few spinning out of the water and through the air. And besides the beautiful views of cliffs, mountains, sea arches and pristine beaches we were treated to food and drinks. Only very few things can beat a cold beer on a hot day cruising the ocean.
About half way into the tour we stopped for snorkeling. The water was so clear you could see for several dozen meters. We saw a sea turtle and literally swam through schools of fishes of different kinds.
After getting back to shore we decided to check out Waimea Canyon. While only half as deep as the Grand Canyon, the colours are far more intense and the views are astonishing. There are a few hiking trails but access by car is pretty easy with several lookouts along the way. It’s one of these places where a picture can do the scenery only partly justice.
For our last day on Kauai and actually on all of Hawaii, we booked a kayaking tour along Wailua River with a short hike (approx. 30 minutes) to some waterfalls. Our guide Dantes was easy going and new what he was doing. Paddling up against the stream for about an hour took some effort, but the views along the way were well worth it.
That was our last adventure on Hawaii and our 89th day on US territory by the rules of the visa waiver program. So while this meant that we had to leave our island paradise, we will definitely never forget it and hopefully come back one day.
Getting to the airport we concluded this beautiful chapter of our trip and opened a new one which should start with an incredibly long trip to Barranquilla, Colombia.
Mahalo for keeping up with our travels! We’ll be back with news from Southamerica soon.