Just for You... Reviews by Lissete



Wednesday, November 03, 2010

The Garden Isle

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page. ~St. Augustine

We have visited both Maui & Oahu before, but this was our first time in Kauai. I had heard that everything was way more expensive in Kauai, but I was pleased to see that their gas was cheaper than on Maui. We averaged about $3.70 per gallon on Maui. Here on Kauai we pumped at about $3.40, plus the Costco here has a gas station. Prices for everything else was, for the most part, on par with Maui. Since it is the hub, Oahu, did have slightly better prices.

I had originally reserved a car through Costco/Alamo for $339. I lucked out on Priceline again with my bid. I received Hertz at $151 for a compact. I don't know if it's actually a compact, but we received a Chevy HHR. The car was very comfortable & roomy. It was also spotless! The cleanest and ding free car that we have ever gotten in Hawaii. I will definitely be reserving with Hertz again.

We were very lucky with the weather the entire trip. Including here in Kauai. We did get a bit of rain here and there, but mainly either overnight or early morning. I was told by a local resident that early morning is the best time for it to rain. Just get it over with and move on. Sounds good to me! As expected, we did get more rain while visiting the North Shore.

We stayed on the South Shore near Poipu. I rented a cottage through VRBO. Once again, the cottage was fully equipped and was very comfortable. No A/C, but there were ceiling fans and a floor fan as well. The cottage is surrounded by foliage, which helped keep interior from getting too hot. Very nice linens and plush towels were supplied. Arriving at night was an adventure though. D had to pull in with the passenger door right next to the front door of the cottage. Once the motion sensored light went on, I made a mad dash for the front door. Why? Because right off to the side of the driveway, there was a nightly nightclub for frogs! Remember this? And this? Need I say more? Fortunately, they did not congregate too close to the cottage.
We both found Kauai to be quite similar to Upcountry Maui. It was very quiet. No nightlife, per se, as everything shuts down pretty early. You can't go anywhere without seeing chickens & roosters. The roosters here obviously cannot tell time either. They would crow at any time. I think they figured that eventually, they would get it right. Fortunately for us, the ones near the cottage were on island time as well, so my sleep was not affected.
The best way to see the beauty of this island is by air. We did a helicopter tour over Kilauea Volcano on the Big Island, so decided on a fixed wing tour this time. We chose to fly with Wings Over Kauai, and were not disappointed. This is a family run operation and they strive to show you a good time. Bruce is the pilot and Ellen is his wife. Fabulous people, full of Aloha. I sat in the co-pilots seat. Since I suffer from motion sickness, they felt that I would do better up front. I also had my relief band, and I did very well... if I do day so myself. I didn't move a muscle though because I was afraid that I'd hit or touch something that I wasn't supposed to. The tour was AMAZING. The weather was incredible with nary a cloud in the sky. The entire tour took about 70 minutes and we circled the entire island. I do not hesitate in recommending WOK, not only for a great tour, but for customer service and attention to safety as well.

We took a day to see Waimea Canyon, the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. We stopped at all the look-outs. Beautiful! We did a few of the easier hikes as well. I would suggest to anyone planning on hiking anywhere in Kauai, to bring a pair of shoes that you do not mind throwing away at the end of your trip. That red dirt is impossible to remove and you wouldn't want to ruin your brand spankin' new kicks! Depending on how long you stay at each look-out, if you just do the drive, you can probably be done in about 2.5 hours. We took a bit longer because we were in no rush plus we hiked a bit.

Waimea Canyon
We love touring historic homes and palaces. We've visited the mansions in Newport, Vizcaya in Miami, Cà d'Zan Mansion in Sarasota, Scotty's castle in Death Valley, Hearst Castle in San Simeon, The House of the Seven Gables in Salem & 'Iolani Palace in Honolulu. Now we can add Grove Farm to the list. We thoroughly enjoyed the tour. Our guide was very friendly and informative. We took a leisurely 2 hour tour of the main house, George's cottage & another cottage plus the gardens & grounds. I highly recommend this tour to anyone. I don't think that it's appropriate for young children though. The suggested donation is just $10 pp.
Ha'ena Beach park
As for beaches, we enjoyed Poipu Beach Park. We generally always had Keoneloa Beach all to ourselves. Except for the surfers and the boogie boarders. We enjoyed watching them too! Maha'ulepu coastline is a hidden gem So hidden, that I thought we would never get there. We had a long rough ride in our compact car and will only return if we rent a more sturdy car. I think it took us over an hour to travel just a few miles. Maybe we were just too cautious because of the rental car.

On the North Shore, we enjoyed Tunnels Beach for snorkeling thanks to the huge reef. We also liked Ha'ena Beach Park, no reef protection here so the waves are pretty forceful. We enjoyed just sitting and watching the waves or reading or napping or...you get the picture.

Dinners on Kauai were mainly just pupus during happy hour. We went to Kalapaki Joes 3x. Once to the one in Poipu and twice to the one in Kalapaki. The menu at the Kalapaki location is larger but the restaurant in Poipu is nicer. On my birthday we saw Sashamon play at the Kalapaki location. He played with a band whose name escapes me, but they were GREAT together It was a great evening! I know that the concert was put on specifically to celebrate my birthday ;-) We averaged about $30 including drinks during Happy Hour. Except on my birthday of course when we spent quite a bit more.

Pizzeta in Old Koloa Town also has a nice Happy Hour Menu. We had Large stuffed mushrooms, Mozzarella Sticks, Baby Back Ribs Appetizer, a slice of pizza, a Mai Tai & a beer for $21 plus tip!

Mark's Place is in an industrial area in Lihue. It's worth trying to find it. We were ok because D had his handy dandy GPS. Plate lunches are well priced and very good too. We ordered the Chicken Katsu and Beef Stew for less than $8 including rice & mac salad. It was more than enough for both of us.

Ok, I didn't think I would mention a hot dog. Especially a $6+ hot dog. I am not a hot dog fanatic or anything but I absolutely loved the mild sauce & mango relish at Puka Dogs! Their bun was nice and soft, their hot dog? Eh, it's a hot dog... oh wait, an Polish sausage! The Lilikoi mustard is pretty good too. They only sell Lemonade to drink. for $3 & change you get a cup packed with ice, half a lemon and water. Tasted like plain water.

I always intentionally leave something to be done, just to insure that we return. Next time, we definitely want to kayak the Wailua River. Hopefully, next time will be in the near future.

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