Friday, October 7, 2011

Day 196: Hawaii Here I Come! (Travel Tips Appreciated)

By the time you read this I'll be in Hawaii, GETTING IT (ahem) MY HONEYMOON ON!  

We're spending one week on the Big Island and a second week on Kauai.  Neither Michael or I have been to Hawaii before, so we're pretty psyched.

Oh, and in case this wasn't clear... the "no-mirrors" project isn't over.  I have 169 days left before the curtains come off of the looking glass.  I might pack a few extra bedsheets to cover mirrors in Hawaii, but somehow I don't think it will be hard to focus on other things.  Who wants to count the pores on her nose with a landscape like this outside her window??
Kauai.... can't wait!!!
Oh... one request:  Since Michael and I are both new to Hawaii... do any of you have advice for what we should do during our trip?  The more affordable the better... :)
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  1. congratulations on your new marriage! i'm a reader who's been enjoying your project for awhile.

    i spent a month on the big island a few years ago. my main suggestion would be not just stay on the dry side of the island (kona)---visit the wet side, too! it is lush and gorgeous. pahoa is a fun little town; check out the warm pond nearby (ahalanui park)... volcanically-heated water just by the ocean! or kehena black sand beach (fyi: it's clothing optional) to hang out with some locals, especially on sunday. you could also pay your respects to pele at the volcano; watching the steam rise up from the lava hitting the ocean is a sight to see! you're watching earth being made. on your way to/from the wet side, you could stop at mauna kea; the view of the sunset from the top is stunning.

    if i were going to kauai, the number 1 thing on my list would be hiking the kalalau trail on the na pali coast! it's supposed to be incredibly beautiful and very challenging.

    have a wonderful time!

  2. I've never been to Kauai, but I've been to the Big Island many times. If you are into light hiking, the Thurston, Nahuku Lava Tube Walk in Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park is beautiful. You could also check out Akaka Falls state park. As for beaches, Hapuna is great, but lots and lots of people there. If you are looking for more remote locations, I'd check out Kua Bay in Kona. Makalawena Beach in Kona is by far my favorite, but there is no car access and 20 minute hike over lava flats to get there.


  3. You know something that's totally free that you can do on a honeymoon...

  4. Hi Kjerstin!

    Congratulations on your wedding and marriage!

    I lived on the "wet side" of the Big Island for one unforgettable year. I agree with the Big Island suggestions above and offer the following additions:

    1. If you go to the Kehena beach area (along the magical Red Road), there is a very special place to stay called Ramashala. My dear friend Justin built it in 2002-2004 and it's pretty extraordinary. Here the link:

    One thing about that part of the island (Puna)-- there is NOTHING touristy there. It's very raw and not everyone's cup of tea. But I fell in love with every bit of it!

    2. The whole drive up the Hamakua Coast--through Hilo, by the stunning Waipio Valley, up through Waimea--is painfully beautiful. I used to cry almost every time I drove around the soft rolling hills of Waimea.

    3. Way up at the tip is the little town of Hawi (pronounced "Hah - vee"). It's pretty charming as a destination. However, the drive up Hwy 250 to get there is also one of the most beautiful drives I've ever experienced.

    Oh, lastly, the "warm pond" that Stacia mentioned (Ahalanui Park) is a very special and healing place. That's down in the Puna area and not too many miles from Ramashala and Kehena beach. But again, it's real Hawaii over there--nothing fancy or polished. :)

    Can you tell that I LOVE the Big Island.

    Have a beautiful time.

    Your reader,

  5. Check with yoru htoel I bet they have great idea...and maybe try listening to a time share presentation sounds crazy but often they give free gifts cards for dinners at nice place/ CONGRATS!!

  6. be sure to go to poipu beach on kaui!!!! quite beautiful...

  7. WELLLLL, having only been to Kauai once (and that was with YOUR {ie. Kjerstin} parents and
    Peter), I must say that everything we did on that island was fun and amazing and delicious.

    We did a kayaking trip that you would both enjoy and if I recall correctly, it was not
    all that expensive (or probably none of us would have done it) idea where, but you
    could ask your Mom & Dad -- perhaps they have better memories than me for details like that.

    Have a blast!


  8. Hike the Kalalau Trail, at least the first two miles to a beach and a side trail to the waterfall that starts with H (as do about half the words in Hawaiian!)

    The trail to Kalalau Beach is rather a long hike, about 11 miles one way as I recall, and a bit challenging in places, but it's Shangri-la once you get there, with a waterfall dropping right onto the beach and ginger-scented pools to bathe in. At certain times of the year you can ride a zodiak (inflatable boat) to get there, if the surf isn't too rough. That way you could visit Kalalau as a daytrip. (And plan to make the hike with camping equipment on a future anniversary trip to Kauai!)

    Another nice dayhike is the Awaawapuhii Trail that goes down to the tops of the Napali cliffs.

    Best wishes for a harmonious marriage!

  9. My #1 favorite excursion was ocean rafting along the Na Pali coastline. I did the small raft. We snorkeled a bit and saw green sea turtles, which was awesome! We went in and explored a sea cave -- very cool! The small raft can land on a remote beach along the cliffs of that most spectacular coastline. There are large rafts too that are covered (for shade) and have "facilities", but I preferred the smaller one. Bring sunscreen and a hat with a string that goes under your neck so it doesn't blow away. Lots of fun!

  10. be sure to go to poipu beach on kaui!!!! quite beautiful...

  11. Here are me/John's favorite places and things to do in Kauai (I wanted to put this in a beautiful card and give it to you as a gift, but law school has devoured my life/free time) I hope these suggestions are helpful!
    Mermaids Cafe (East Shore)--super healthy and delicious lunch (great fish sandwiches, wraps and excellent salads/stir frys). Across the street is a really delicious Indian restaurant that isn't in the blue book. Highly recommended! (it looks a little sketchy, but I promise it's delightful).
    Plantation Garden (South Shore)--excellent drinks (lavender pina colada is incredible) and beautiful scenery. the restaurant and bar are set in a huge orchid garden and there are several koi ponds. John and I have sneaked into the Hyatt to go swimming afterwards (they have a huge and usually empty pool with water slides and tunnels!) but the last time we went with my brother in tow we got busted. I say it's still worth it :)
    Tidepools (south shore)--very expensive but delicious and worth it.
    If you want to go surfing, I definitely recommend Hanalei bay. On a calm day, it's pretty do-able to get the hang of it in a few hours and it's so fun!
    Guided river trips--when I went with my family, we used Outfitters Kauai (in the blue book). They do a really great 2 mile kayak trip and then it's a short hike to an incredible waterfall.
    Kipu Falls--this place can be packed with locals who give you dirty looks, but it's also gorgeous and fun to sit and watch the waterfalls.
    My favorite beach of all time: Barking Sands Beach on the west shore. It's a haul from north shore, but it's unlike any beach I've ever been too. It's incredibly long and almost completely deserted. Quite romantic, although there were some sketchy looking locals in the parking lot when we were there (no biggie, though).
    Maha-ulepu Beaches (south shore), quiet, more deserted than most on the south shore and good snorkeling on calm days. The dunes on the farthest point of the beach have great views and make for a pretty sunset stroll. Not sure if they mention this in the guidebook, but the road into the beach is a bloody mess (full of pot holes and NOT paved, i.e. muddy slop, just FYI. It can take 20-30 minutes to get there from Poipu because of the road).
    Donkey Beach--a little hard to find (you have to go down a path and then wind around to the right for a while--better directions are in the book, I promise) but worth it.
    Tunnels Beach (north shore) DO IT!
    Ke'e Beach (north shore) Can be a little less crowded than Tunnels, and there's an awesome waterfall on the left as you drive there from Hanalei.

  12. I cannot thank all of you enough for your amazing suggestions! i'll report back soon on the adventures we chose. :)

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