Kaua'i, Hawaii

Waimea Canyon

June 12, 2012           Waimea Canyon on the southwest side of Kauai was our first stop after leaving the airport.  Known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, the 4 lookouts in the Park provide dramatic panoramic views.  While not as large as the Grand Canyon at 10 miles long, 3500 feet deep and 1 mile wide, it’s just as spectacular and a lot greener.  At the top lookout, which overlooks the Na Pali coastline, the scene was incredibly beautiful.  Hiking trails are available in this park, but this is not the type of hiking we can tackle any more, so we weren’t even tempted.   

Po'ipu Beach
Our next day started off with a morning snorkel at Po'ipu Beach.  We had been told the park would get crowded and the winds would build up more in the afternoon, so we followed the advice and arrived early.  The snorkel area was small due to the waves but we still spotted a nice variety of tropical fish.  This beach is perfect because it offers a little bit of everything; it has swimming on the left side, snorkeling to the right side and body boarding or surfing to the far right.  During our visit the surf was 3-6 feet and there were a number of surfers getting nice rides.  

As we arrived, we had noticed a Craft Festival, with music, set up on the park next to the beach.  Finished with our snorkel, we went over to check things out.  A number of vendors were selling jewelry, clothing and home decorating items, but there was also one selling drums.  Enjoying some delicious Pad Thai from a local restaurant and lychees from one of the produce stands, we listened to an impromptu concert by a group of men playing on a variety of drums.

Next on Alan’s priority was a trip to the Kauai Coffee Plantation.  Heading straight to the tasting area, we started sampling the dozen plus varieties available.  Narrowing it down to a couple of finalist, we made our purchases—Kauai Blue Mountain and Red Catuai Peaberry.  At 3,100 acres, this is the largest coffee plantation in the U.S. and creates a picturesque scene with the coffee plants overlooking the ocean.

Out of Lihu’e we headed inland to visit the overlook for the Wailua Falls.  The lookout provides a perfect spot to view the 85-foot falls.  If you’re feeling adventurous you can hike down a trail about ¼ mile back down the road from the lookout to get down to the bottom of the falls to take a swim.  We decided we weren’t feeling that adventurous, but we enjoyed just hanging out and watching the White-tailed tropicbird swooping around the Falls.

As we drove north, we took a turn outside the town of Wailua to visit the Oppaeka’a Waterfalls lookout, at 151 feet this is another beautiful overview.  Across the street, from the parking for the lookout, is the Kamokila Hawaiian Village.  They offer outrigger canoe trips, tours and kayak rentals.  We didn’t take time to take advantage of their offerings but perhaps another day.  

Arriving at our stop for the night in Kapa’a, we took advantage of the hot tub and pool at our hotel and enjoyed a very leisurely afternoon and evening doing absolutely nothing, very nice to do sometimes.  The Eastside Restaurant in town provided excellent fish dinners along with entertainment.  Alan indulged in the macadamia nut encrusted mahi mahi with pesto mashed potatoes and I had the mahi mahi with pickled vegetables and a lemongrass aioli.

The following morning found the Java Kai restaurant in town serving Haiwaiian coffee (who would dare serve anything else here), fresh bakery items and smoothies made with fresh organic fruits.  What a perfect way to start our day before moving on to Princeville.
White-tailed tropicbird

At the top of Waimea Canyon

Overlooking Na Pali from top of Waimea Canyon

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