Thursday, January 11, 2018

Travel Post - Kauai, Hawaii Vacation + a few travel tips while travelling pregnant on Kauai!

Ahhh exactly one year ago, I was enjoying a lovely 2 week vacation in Kauai, Hawaii! I have never been to Hawaii at all before this trip, so I cannot compare Kauai at all to any other island in Hawaii; but, it was an absolutely beautiful island and made for such a great vacation! 

Before I get started, here are a few things to know about Kauai:

  • It is the oldest and northern of the Hawaiian Islands and is referred to as "the Garden Isle" because of the tropical rainforest covering most of its surface. Also, making it a popular movie filming destination (there is a Jurassic Park Waterfall on the island!)
  • Each side of the island is a little different and unique - the south side is much more developed and that is where the majority of the hotels and shopping are, the east side has the main shipping port and most industry and businesses here, the north side is much more lush with smaller, quieter communities, and the west side is mainly the Waimea canyon and old town Hawaii areas. 
  • The island is fairly small; but, because of the huge canyon there is one main highway that circles the entire island. The further north you drive, the road can get very small and windy making driving a little precarious as there are no lights at night time (we had an unfortunate encounter with a family of wild boars at about 2 a.m. when we were finding our house!)
  • The tides and water changes with the seasons and knowing this will help you plan activities - in the Winter the North shore the tide is very high and with huge swells and is very quiet on the South side, and in the Summer the bigger waves are on the South side with the North side of the island being much quieter.

As there were 9 and 1/2 of us travelling together (I was pregnant still...), we opted to rent a house instead of hotels and we picked a much quieter area of the island that was far less touristy. We stayed on the North side of the island, about 10 minutes north of the beautiful town of Hanalei. 

If you prefer a quiet vacation spot, this would be great; but, if you want to be in the action and near shopping, I would highly recommend that you stay on the South side of the island! We did stay on the North side during Winter meaning not all the beaches near us were safe to swim in; but, with a short drive we found many that we loved on this side of the island! 

The majority of our trip was spent enjoying all the different beaches Kauai has to offer! As we were there for 2 weeks, we ended up with some favorite beaches that we ended going back to a lot! 

-Hanalei Bay ~ this is iconic if you are on Kauai. Plus, in my picture right above, you can see the sleeping Drago in the mountains were Puff the Magic Dragon was created. The family loved this beach as it was perfect for boogie boarding! It is also a lifeguarded beach.
-Ke'e Beach ~ the beach at the very North point that you can drive on the island (ends up being west facing - the very first picture of this post) is stunning. You can see the dramatic Na Pali coast line. This beach was a little tricky as the waves were very high at some points; however, when it was calm enough during low tide, there is snorkelling right off the shore and being pregnant, I did not need to swim far to see turtles! And, the beach is a MUST for a sunset! 
-Anini Beach ~ a very calm shored beach - great for little ones to play in the sand without big waves. Also, one of the snorkelling favorites! Not far off the shore, this beach offers the longest and widest fringing reef on any of Hawaii's islands. This was the first stop the majority of the group went snorkelling and saw a ton of turtles. However, I was not comfortable with the current myself. 

These were our beaches we went to multiple times! A couple honourable mentions include: Lydgate Beach Park ~ this beach is great for kids! Very really cool as it had 2 rocked in protected swimming areas! It had a smaller one for little kids, and a bigger area for everyone else. Kalapaki Beach ~ you can access this beach through the Marriott hotel and it is beautiful! It is a protected cove beach from a large break wall farther out. It is great for kids to play in the sand or paddle board, etc.

There was lots of activities everyone wanted to do on the island; but, being pregnant, I was a little more limited in the activities that I was able to do, but there was still a lot of fun things I was able to do!

Here are some activities that were safe for pregnant women other than the beaches (and everyone else!) that I really enjoyed:
-Going on a Helicopter Ride ~ Yes - this is totally safe when pregnant and there are lots of companies to chose from! Kauai is a must see from the air - you really get a true look at the craters, canyons, waterfalls, beaches, the coast lines - it's just gorgeous! (And, while it is pricey - I was not able to go on most other excursions and I need to do 1 adventurous thing on my vacations!)
-Going to a Luau ~ we picked the Luau Kalamaku that had an amazing show, good food, and a train ride around the whole plantation prior to the show. 
-Visit Farmer's Markets ~ we absolutely loved touring around Hanalei (and a few other cute little towns), so when we saw that they have Farmer's Markets every Saturday it was a must! So much amazing local fruit, food, and lots of goodies! 

-Food Trucks and Local Food ~ so I'm pretty sure my sister-in-law and I needed to make a stop for a fresh coconut every day! We had one close to our house that we always stop at! We also grabbed lunch at a few and I have to say, The Fresh Shave for shave ice was a must stop for us! 
-Check Out the Must See Spots ~ we drove the entire Waimea Canyon and the views from the multiple stops were stunning. We actually drove through the clouds on the way up and it was so cool! On the way to Ke'e Beach there is also a Dry Cave to go inside and check out! We also enjoyed the stop at Opekka Falls. 
-Mini Golf and Chocolate Tours ~ there is lots of botanical gardens on Kauai, so it made such a gorgeous mini golf stop! I didn't personally do the chocolate tour; but, it was on my to-do-list (we had someone with a chocolate allergy so that would have been slightly cruel of us...)

Now, there was some really fun activities that most of the family got to partake in; but, being pregnant I could not! I still wanted to mention them though if Kauai is your to-do list! 

-Tubing with Kauai Backcountry ~ everyone loved this! You go through the old irrigation channels and there is lots of tunnels and the area is just beautiful! It was a hit!
-Boat and Snorkel Tours ~ I love snorkelling tours so I was really sad I could not partake. Of all the tour companies, there is only 1 that will take pregnant women and they will only do it in the Summer months. I understand as the water is really rough and everyone got off the boat feeling a little sea sick. But, they got to see dolphins, whales and tons of turtles and the snorkelling was really good! 
-Hiking ~ now this is a personal choice; but, Kauai is really wet and the hikes can be pretty dangerous. As much as I wanted to hike and see the island, I did not want to take any chances and neither did anyone else in the group want me to do that! 

It's actual really common now to take a Babymoon vacation and it's really common to take a babymoon in Hawaii. A lot of locals were super sweet about the baby bump and mentioned it's a great trip to give the baby some Aloha. 

Pregnant or not, Kauai is an absolutely gorgeous island! There is a good balance of relaxation and adventure, and you can be as touristy or un-touristy as you prefer on vacation! Loved this trip! What's the next Hawaiian island should we try?

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