Aloha: is the Hawaiian word for love, affection, peace, compassion and mercy, that is commonly used as a simple greeting but has a deeper cultural and spiritual significance to native Hawaiians. This week I truly found out the meaning to Aloha while visiting Kaua'i. Nicknamed "the Garden Isle", Kaua'i is covered by rainforest on much of its island. Many Hollywood films have been shot near the Na Pali Coast, while the island also offers amazing hiking for nature lovers. Visiting Kaua'i is truly an experience that is life changing.
There are four major geographic areas in Kaua'i that I have listed below. Each area just as beautiful as the next with so much to offer when you visit:
South Shore- including Koloa, Lawai, and Poipu
North Shore- including Princeville, Hanalei, and Kilauea
East Coast- including Kapaa, Wailua and Lihue
West Side- including the towns of Waimea and Hanapepe
During my time on this fascinating island I was lucky enough to take part in many amazing activities. The first one took place in Lihue doing mountain tubing with Kaua'i Backcountry Adventures. During the adventure we were in a tube for about an hour as we floated down the open canals, through several amazing tunnels and flumes engineered and hand dug back in 1870. During our time in each tunnel, we would turn our headlamps on (I would not recommend this for claustrophobic peeps). At the end of the adventure, we were guided to a nearby picnic area lunch and if we wanted to take a dip in their natural swimming hole we were more than welcome to. This is something that is suitable for all ages to take part in.
While I had the choice of either zip lining or kayaking, I went with selecting the Lydgate Farms Chocolate tour. Lydgate is in the area of Kapa'a. Our three-hour guided tour began with a stroll through their gardens, where we sampled some of their honey, and all different tropical types of fruit (many I have never even heard of). We learned all about Cacao and tasted it’s ripe fruit, as well as learning the secrets of turning raw cacao seeds into finished chocolate.
Our tour finished with an extensive chocolate tasting where we tried about 9 different types and had a small fun quiz of what we were tasting. Although the portions were small, we had so much chocolate I actually felt a little sick for the rest of the day. The guide was full of energy and was extremely knowledgeable. Another great spot for kids and adults of any age.
Another bucket list adventure I was lucky to take part of was the Deluxe Waterfall Safari helicopter tour with Safari Helicopters (also in the Lihue area). To say I was nervous would be an understatement, however the pilot had such a calmness about him, within moments I felt completely safe. The tour lasted 60 minutes and we were blessed to view the Na Pali Coast, Waimea Canyon, and so much more from a birds eye perspective all while listening to a beautiful soundtrack while the pilot gave us incredible information about each area we flew by.
Some really fun stops along the way during our days in Kaua'i were stopping at the rum tasting room at the Koloa Rum Company before enjoying the Luau Kalamaku, lunch at the Living Food Market that served local and organic bites, taking part in the Taro Farm Flood Recovery Ecotour, and the Spouting Horn.
A must do while in Kaua'i is the Napali sunset cruise with Holo Holo Charters. This is the perfect cruise for those who want to see the Napali coast and enjoy the possibility of catching the views of a whale or some dolphins but not looking to snorkel. They also serve a wine, beer, and mixed drinks along with dinner and a champagne toast at sunset. This is a 3 hour tour that is seriously the best cruise/catamaran I have ever been on. Sadly, I did not take motion sickness medication because I had never gotten ill on a boat ride and unfortunately was extremely ill half way into this trip. I highly recommend taking some Dramamine out of caution because it is not a memory you will want to miss! There were about four rainbows we witnessed and I know I would have enjoyed it much more if I was not worried about getting sick if I moved my head. That being said the crew was so attentive and made sure I always had anything I needed (which included a bag of ice for my head).
On the last day of our stay we did a downhill Waimea Canyon bike tour with Outfitters Kaua'i. We started at an elevation of 3,600 feet and biked down to sea level going about 25 miles an hour. We made frequent stops to witness the dramatic canyon cliffs, learn about the area, and look out over the majestic Pacific Ocean. The guides were amazing, and although it was quite petrifying at moments with oncoming traffic, the guides always made sure we were safe.
There was a song I learned while I was on the island of Kaua'i called "These Islands" by Danny Couch. The song asks "Have you seen these islands? Have you seen the beauty of the land? Do you know it's people, brothers sisters, walking hand in hand" and eventually goes into the chorus of "This is aloha, This is aloha, This is aloha, This land of Hawaii" and when I left Kaua'i, I can truly say that I felt I knew the genuine meaning of aloha in my heart.
Please enjoy these two video tours of resorts I stayed at while visiting Kaua'i.
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