A Romantic Sail Along the NaPali Coast

Since we’ve been married, my husband and I have made a point to celebrate our anniversaries by traveling around the world. Our first anniversary was spent on the amazing beaches of St. John, and for our second anniversary we cruised through the breathtaking country of Norway.

Anniversary Collage

Photos on the left: St. John, USVI; Photos on the right: Norway

Not only did we spend our third anniversary on Kauai, but we also celebrated the fifth anniversary of our engagement along the NaPali Coast. So, what better way to celebrate both important events than to go on the exact same romantic dinner cruise that Cody proposed on five years earlier.

Captain Andy’s is our go-to company for a cruise along the NaPali Coast; seriously guys, we book with this company every single time that we visit the island. For a $109 you are treated to four hours of sailing, great food, free drinks, AMAZING service, a beautiful sailboat, the spectacular NaPali Coast, and a romantic sunset to cap off the night.

Does it really get any better? 

Napali Coast

Napali Coast

No matter how many times we sail the NaPali Coast I am always mesmerized by its beauty. There is no other place like it in the world. Steep, rugged, chiseled cliffs rise up out of the light-teal colored ocean, and the numerous waterfalls cut into the narrow valleys as the sea devours the cliffs from below. The NaPali Coast provides 15-miles of uninterrupted jaw-dropping beauty, and aside from it being slightly windier than we remembered, the day was perfect.

Napali Coast

Waterfall Collage

Incredible waterfalls

Kauai2014-7-1

After cruising the length of the NaPali Coast, the boat turns around and the sails are raised allowing the chance to sail back down the coast. The golden sun slowly sinks in the western sky and the incredible NaPali Cliffs provide a spectacular backdrop for your sail.

As the conch shell is blown, guests are invited to partake in the buffet, which includes: teriyaki chicken topped with diced pineapple, beef with sauteed mushrooms and onions, lemon rice, fresh fruit, salad with papaya dressing, and their famous “sneaky-tiki’s” to wash it all down. Not only was there an abundance of food but the bar was open and the drinks were cold–the “sneaky-tikis” are their own Mai Tai concoction of rum and tropical juices, and they also provide a variety of beer, wine, sodas, and juice. (That $109 is starting to feel like a bargain, right?!) 

Captain Andy's Dinner

Dinner

Maybe all of those “sneaky-tikis” went down too easily, or maybe people were just having a great time, but by the end of the night, as we pulled back into the harbor, the entire boat was singing along to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’.” Smiles, laughter, and conversation filled the air and that’s when I turned to my husband and said, “I think this was our best trip yet.”

Napali Coast

Enjoying a delicious “Sneaky-Tiki”

Napali Coast

Captain Andy's Sail

Happy Anniversary to my best friend, my partner in crime, my knight in shining armor, my favorite travel buddy, my personal comedian, and my favorite description: my sweet husband.

Posted in Hawaii, Kauai, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Giving Back on Kauai

Let’s face it: It’s hard to leave Paradise. Every time we leave the islands, my husband and I are already planning our next trip back. (To be honest, I don’t think he would get me to leave otherwise). This last time however, when we left the islands my heart was a little heavier.

While watching the tourist channel early one morning, there was a segment about a volunteer opportunity at the Kauai Humane Society. The KHS has a program where visitors can take one of their dogs out on a field trip for the day. My husband and I instantly agreed that we should go volunteer; since we were already having a beach day, bringing a dog along would only make it better.

Kauai Humane Society

Kauai Humane Society

When we arrived at the Humane Society we met Buster Brown. A one year old Pit Bull Terrier/Boston Mix who had been at the shelter for over three months and hadn’t been out on a field trip in over a week. His playful disposition in the shelter caught our eye and when we walked over to his kennel he immediately rolled over on his back like he wanted us to tickle his belly (which is EXACTLY what my little boy Dexter the Pug does at home).

I rode in the backseat with Buster Brown as we drove over to Kalapaki beach to play. We quickly learned that he loved to chase Kauai’s “unofficial” bird, aka: the wild chickens (they are everywhere folks!) Please keep in mind that the key word is “chase,” as no chickens were hurt on this field trip. While he enjoyed teasing the chickens, Mr. Buster Brown was a scaredy cat when it came to playing in the ocean. I decided to go for an afternoon swim and Buster Brown was very intrigued as he watched me playing out in the ocean. He never did venture out into the waves, but kept a close eye on my shenanigans. After a relaxing nap on the beach, it was time to get him out to meet potential new parents, and our walk along the Kapa’a beach path was a perfect spot in order for him to be seen.

Kalapaki Beach

Kalapaki Beach

Buster Brown

Buster Brown and Cody

Before we knew it, it was time to take Buster Brown back to the Humane Society. And that’s when this happened:

Kauai Humane Society

What a sweet boy!

Of course, I cuddled with him and let him sleep in my lap, but talk about pulling at my heart strings. When we dropped him off this tender-hearted-fool had to hold back tears as I said goodbye and wished him luck.

We went to the Humane Society to volunteer. We went knowing that there was absolutely no way we could adopt another dog (we already have three waiting for us at home). When we walked out, we left with a new friend, and a heavy heart.

In case you’re wondering, sweet Buster Brown is still available for adoption at the Kauai Humane Society, and I’m crossing my fingers that he gets adopted soon! :)

Would you participate in the “Field Trip program?”

Posted in Hawaii, Kauai, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Third Time is a Charm

With its laid-back vibe, quaint ocean side towns, endless waterfalls, and dramatic geographic formations like the Waimea Canyon and the NaPali Coast, it’s no surprise why they call Kauai the Island of Discovery. And after three visits, I think it’s safe to say that we simply can’t get enough of this tiny tropical island in the middle of the Pacific.

After an adventurous and fun-filled itinerary on the Big Island, my husband and I were looking forward to a relaxing week on Kauai where we could kick off our flip-flops and enjoy our view from the sand.

The condo that we stay in on Kauai is located along the Coconut Coast on the eastern side of the island. Nestled in between Kapa’a town and the ocean, our condo sits adjacent to the Kapa’a Beach path; so every morning (and some evenings) you could find us walking this path, enjoying the weather, the views, and even the tree swings.

Tree Swing-1

TreeSwing1-1

Have you been to Kauai? What’s your favorite Hawaiian island?

Posted in Hawaii, Kauai | Tagged , , , , , , | 18 Comments

The Big Island Roundup

My husband can vouch for me, but for the most part, I like to pack my itineraries from sun up until sun down. My sweet husband is a trooper for hanging in there and having such a great attitude about it all. :) I always make sure to include plenty of beach time so we have a chance to relax, but to be honest sometimes we love getting out to explore.

Oahu

Flying into Oahu

Even with those packed agendas, things don’t always go exactly as planned, and sometimes we simply run out of time. So more often than not, we have places and experiences that get bumped to the next vacation. (Which is completely okay by me, because that means we get to go back sometime, right?) :) So today, I’m starting a new series called: The “Roundup”.

Each Roundup post will include location tips, lessons learned, and things we will change on our next visit. So here goes the first post in our new series, I hope you enjoy!

The Big Island Roundup:

  • Lodging: Due to the sheer size of the Big Island, we would make better use of our time if we split up our trip. I’m thinking we should spend half of our nights on the jungle-y, greener, Eastern side in Hilo, and the other half in the fun beach-side town of Kona. This will give us more time to explore each side without spending hours in the car–Let’s try to avoid reliving our late night dance party in the car if we can help it. 
  • Waipio Valley: I knew we wouldn’t get around to it on our first trip, so unfortunately it wasn’t even added to our agenda. However, next time I would LOVE to take a tour down to the bottom of this Grand Valley. Since we’ll be spending a few days on the Hilo side, maybe we’ll even book a horseback ride down into the valley…

Waipio Collage

Photo Credit: Top, Bottom Left, Bottom Right

  • Volcanoes National Park: I would dedicate a full day or two to this park. There are so many places I would like to hike: Devastation Trail, the Petroglyphs, and Thurston Lava Tube, just to name a few, and another helicopter tour wouldn’t hurt either.
  • Anaeho’omalu Bay: (also called A’Bay for short). It was on the itinerary, but after spending so many hours in the car we just couldn’t bring ourselves to drive TWO MORE HOURS round-trip to check out this amazing sunset:A'Bay Sunset
    Photo Credit

    I know, it would have been beautiful… Next time Big Island, Next time
  • Kohala and Hamakua Districts: TIME. The theme this trip was: we simply ran out of time. Unfortunately there was too much to explore and too little time. These two districts were not even added to the agenda on this trip, but you better believe they will be on the itinerary the second time around. :)
  • Kona Coffee Tour: I can’t believe that we missed checking out the world-famous coffee farms while we were in Kona! We did enjoy our Kona coffee out on the lanai every morning but I wish we would have taken a tour and brought some grindy-goodness home.

Hilo-1

SeaArch Collage

At the Sea Arch in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

What did I miss? What else should I add for our next vacation to the Big Island?

Posted in Big Island, Hawaii, The Roundups, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Life…

LifeQuote

Have a Happy Weekend!

Posted in Inspiration, Travel | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

A Big Island Surprise

While researching the Big Island, also known as the Island of Hawaii, the one description that I read over and over again was that the island was BIG. In fact, all of the other Hawaiian islands could fit within the boundaries of the Big Island–with room to spare. It is large enough that it encompasses 11 out of the 13 climatic zones in the world, and large enough that even after reading about how big it was, I was still shocked at its size while driving around the island.

Big Island Map

Thanks to Big Island Revealed for the above photo.

When you visit the Big Island, you can almost see it all. From an active lava flow, to black, white, and even GREEN sand beaches, from lush rain forests to vast deserts, and even SNOW on the summit of Mauna Kea (yes, I said snow… even in Hawaii). Each area of the Big Island is so different from the next that you never quite know what’s going to be over the hill or just around the corner. And in case you were wondering, you can even spot a zebra while driving down Mamalahoa Highway.

ZEBRA-1

Is that a Zebra or a Donkey??!

With close to four full days to explore, I knew that we would not see it all. In fact, I’m convinced that even with a month to explore we would still not come close to seeing all that the Big Island has to offer. So while planning our trip, I figured that the easiest way to conquer the Big Island was to explore it in regions, which is precisely what we did.

Big Island Map

 

Day 1: A Relaxing afternoon/evening in Kona

Day 2: Exploring Hilo & Puna: a Helicopter Toura VOLCANO, a dip in Ahalanui, a hike through Lava Tree State Park, and getting Loco!

Day 3: Kona: A beach day and a Scuba Diving Adventure

Day 4: Road Trip! Stops at the Place of Refuge, The Southern Most Point in the US, and a Black Sand Beach

Day 5: Morning in Kona and then a flight to Kauai!

When we traveled East and South we were in the car forever! for a good four hours roundtrip each day. We knew that we would do a lot of driving, but our expectations were blown out of the water. And not in a good way. In fact, on our late night drive back from Hilo, we turned to quizzing each other on times tables and having dance parties in the car (Mr. Ro-bot-to, anyone?) just to stay awake pass the time.

Lots of driving and all, the Big Island did exactly what we expected it to do: satiate our thirst to return. And hopefully, we will return VERY SOON.

Big Island Collage

Kona Airport-1

Loved that the Kona Airport was outdoors

As a side note: Pictures and Plane Tickets does not condone drowsy driving. If you’re tired, pull over! :)
Posted in Big Island, Food, Hawaii, Scuba Diving, Travel, Volcanoes National Park | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Ahalanui: A Volcano Heated Hot Tub?

Yes, you read that title right. 

Along highway 137, just south of Volcanoes National Park, is a little gem known as Ahalanui Park. Driving along the quiet, curvy, road you may get lost in the lush, tropical beauty of the area, but if you’re not careful you’ll drive right by the fenced parking lot for this hidden gem. Literally, blink and you’ll miss it. The highlight at this park is the part-natural-spring, part-man-made pool, which is heated to a balmy 90 degrees by the Kilauea volcano bubbling far below.

How cool is that?

While you won’t find a switch to turn on any jets to this natural hot tub, you will find the hot spring nestled in between a thick coconut grove and the bright blue ocean. The man-made rock wall and inlet partially separates the spring from the ocean; however, the interesting design of the inlet allows ocean water to flow into the pool constantly adding new water. And before I go, can we talk about the palm trees for a minute. Those palm trees, there were so many of them! Needless to say, the abundance of palm trees throughout the park provided an incredible backdrop for a lovely afternoon dip.

I’m a sucker for palm-tree lined anything…

Ahalanui1-1

Ahalanui3-1

Ahalanui-1

Anyone up for a swim?

Posted in Big Island, Hawaii, Travel, Volcanoes National Park | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments