For our honeymoon we went to Kauai for a full 7 days, I’m starting to write this blog post on the plane and I still can’t believe its already over. Check out how cute our family send off was Saturday night:
The trip started with an awesome bang as we got upgraded to a Dodge Challenger for our honeymoon (thanks Budget!). I think half the fun for Paul on this trip was getting to drive that car. Can you see the huge smile on his face? I have to admit I was a little scared at first when it was pouring ran, but then I got used to all the power that bad boy had and was having just as much (okay almost as much) fun as Paul.
The very first thing we did was head to a beautiful church called St. Catherine’s in Kappa, HI for mass.
I loved that before mass started they invited all visitors to stand up and then presented them with necklaces made out of sea shells as a welcoming gift. In my opinion it was one of the most unexpected welcoming gestures I have ever witnessed. I was very thankful to the beautiful and peaceful start to our trip. It is also where I took one of my favorite photos of the trip. This is a picture of the bell outside, after mass when the rain had subsided.
Kalalau Trail & Hanakapi Ai Falls Trail
Paul and I decided to hit the ground running on Monday and head out tackle the Kalalau Trail followed by Hanakapi Ai Falls trail which compose the first four miles (2 miles each) of the 11 mile trail along the Napali Coast. However, to go farther than the falls you must plan on camping and have secured a permit about a year ago. I love hiking, but I am always more than fine with going back to the running water luxuries of my hotel though, thats for sure!
Lets back track though… for breakfast we ate at a small bakery in the town of Kappa called Passion Bakery and Cafe. We split a Mango French Toast Muffin. Looks better than it tasted, but I loved the mango filling.
I also had 1/2 an jalapeno mozzarella egg sandwich and ate the eggs out of the other half. Although I expected a croissant bun, it was delicious, loved the jalapenos.\
At the trail head we geared up with lots of water, granola bars, and bananas which pretty much made up our lunch. Paul had been hiking in Kauai before so he thought he knew the ropes and convinced me that all we would need on the 8 mile roundtrip hike was water shoes. So I got to put on the only water shoes that we had found in the stores this time of year, my awesome web toed ones.
The trail was pretty dry until Kalalau beach, which I apparently didn’t take a picture of. When I hike I get kind of side tracked with getting to my destination. It was a nice day though, not too hot or humid and a little overcast.
Heading back to the falls is a much different terrain, much more tropical jungle feel including huge bamboo trees (which is actually a type of grass apparently), muddy paths, and streams to cross over.
The hike felt way longer than 2 miles and when we got there we literally plopped down and ripped open our granola bars while we enjoyed the mist coming off the falls. Once our hunger was tamed we started taking pictures.
We thought about joining others and swimming but neither of us wanted a one way ticket to chaff zone so we skipped the dip in the water since it wasn’t quite warm enough to sun dry.
On the hike back we saw other people with their water shoes hanging from their backpacks, which is what I would recommend to anyone hiking all the way to the falls. Regular shoes for the first 2 miles and water shoes for the second two miles. The water shoes are perfect once you start going back to the falls but our feet were crazy bruised up at the end from the wearing them during the dry part.
Our reward at the end of the hike was my first ever fresh coconut. Paul didn’t want to get one because he had one before and didn’t like it, I am SO happy I decided to ignore his protest because it was so so so so good!
The juice tasted like a slightly sweet coconut flavored club soda, it was DELICIOUS. Paul even said it tasted a million times better than the one he tried before. Then after your done drinking the juice they whack it in half with a machete.
Then they pull out the coconut meat for you to enjoy. The coconut meat isn’t sweet at all, but instead has a distinct nutty taste to it. That’s when it hit me, although coconut is often marketed as a tropical fruit or fruit flavor, it is really a huge nut (hence the name cocoNUT, I know I’m super smart.) This totally reinvented coconut in my mind and eyes, I LOVED it.
Afterwards we took a dip in a nearby beach then headed out to find dinner. We settled on a cute little place in our guide book called Cafe Coco. The owner has a passion for gluten free vegan food made with local ingredients so they had a lot of options that I was excited to try. We started with the potstickers made with banana chutney and tofu with mango sauce.
For dinner we both had the Jamaican Jerk Chicken which sat on top of mashed purple sweet potatoes, in a bed of coconut sautéed spinach, and was topped with mango relish. Yum Yum! (Our dinner also came with a small appetizer salad which was also delicious.) It was the perfect end to an amazing and adventurous first day in Kauai.