Are we there yet? At the time I started this blog post, nope, not yet! My family and I planned an exciting adventure at Kauai in order to go to an annual Kung Fu seminar. Yes, you read that right. My family currently owns a Wing Chun school in Atlanta and this year decided to meet with fellow students from California and Germany and train in the beautiful Hawaiian Islands. Sounds like a good idea right? When I started this blog, I wasn’t quite sure I believed that…
Me, being the constant adventurer that I am, decided to utilize a buddy pass from one of my best friends. This has been successful for me in the past, and has taken me to some amazing places like France, Portugal, and Brazil. But it seems like everyone else in the entire world ALSO had the same idea as me. Which caused me to have an unbelievably horrible travel experience to AND from the Island.
My Flight Experience to the Island
First, let me take a BIG breath. My travel to Hawaii started at 8:00 AM E.S.T. in Atlanta, GA. After successfully making my way through the airport, I found myself at my gate for the 11:30 AM connection flight to LAX. Everything was peachy. I was ready to board the plane, then WHAM. A woman, who I believe was doing hard core drugs in the bathroom, decided to come to the gate at 11:26 to board the flight. After behaving erratically and scaring a wide variety of children, the airline employee decided to let her on the plane. Unfortunately for me, she took my seat. This later led to me being bumped off the 12:30 PM and 1:50 PM flight to LA, great huh? And, after finally making it on the 3:00 PM plane, I ended up missing my flight to Hawaii by 5 minutes. Yes, FIVEEE minutes. (A similar situation also happened to me on the way back.) *Sigh*
I wasn’t the only one having issues with flights either. My family, who had standard airline passes, flew into Houston for their connection to Lihue, Kauai. After making their flight to Houston from Atlanta, their flight got delayed due to maintenance issues. Fast forward one hour, they finally were able to take off to Paradise. But guess what? Their plane had to make an emergency landing in LAX due to a medical emergency. Fast forward ANOTHER couple of hours and arriving in Honolulu, they missed their flight to Kauai. Go figure. And these types of stories were heard all over the airport for other travelers trying to go to “paradise”, which my cousin said was surely due to “Mercury being in retrograde”, or whatever (if you believe in that kind of stuff). Fortunately for me, I have family in California, and was able to stay with them in L.A. until my flight to Hawaii the next morning.
- Don’t use a buddy pass when flying nationally unless the person you got the pass from has been with the company for a long time.
- Make sure that you are seen and NICE to the attendants at the airport- they have all the power.
- If you can’t utilize a buddy pass, try booking one-way flights to your destination. It lowers the cost when booking last minute.
Out with the Bad, in with the New
Okay, to be honest, the first part of my vacation was super shitty. On the way to the Island, someone had a medical emergency and caused most of the passengers to go on high alert. Thankfully, the crew on my American Airlines flight was well prepared and helpful and was successful in calming the situation. Finally, we landed, and I RAN to my family’s car screaming “Aloha Bitches!”…Super inappropriate, but who can blame me?
When you land in Kauai, you arrive in the city of Lihue. It’s a quaint “downtown area” that has great shops and low key buildings. One thing that I really enjoyed about this island, is that everything is low to the ground. You won’t find any high rise buildings or dense cities.
(Tip: the island doesn’t offer Uber and Lyft services. Taxis can be expensive, so it’s better to rent a car for your stay. But be warned, gas is expensive.)
What is Kauai?
This island…is beautiful and breathtaking! There isn’t one place that you look at and don’t want to snap a photo. Kauai is the oldest of the Hawaiian Island chain and has some of the most unique geographical and natural beauty of any island on earth. Known as the Garden Island, Kauai is also rated as being one of the wettest place on earth and has an average annual rainfall of over 36.5 feet. However, the island of Kauai is complete with deserts, rainforests, beaches, swamps, and mountains. Late August through September is the hottest time of the year (the average high during the summer months reaches 85° F). But, on the other hand, January is the coolest season and has an average high of 78° F, which makes it a perfect place to visit year round.
1. The island is over run by Chickens and Roosters. Make sure to close your windows and stay in a place that has strong walls…they are EXTREMELY loud. Especially at 4 and 5 AM.
2. The sun is very strong on the island, however, be mindful…there aren’t a lot of street lights around the island. Be extremely careful driving at night!
3. Driving from one side of the island to the next can take a long time. This is because there are no major highways and there are low speed limits.
The food, is sooo goooood…but you have to do some research. Like any other American tourist destination, everyone recommends that their place is the best, so make sure to look at the menu online before driving around the island. Another thing to be cautious of is that dinner is EXPENSIVE, so select your restaurant wisely. I have listed my favorite eateries below to hopefully help you make your decision.
- Lihue- Kauai Beer Company and the Fish Express
- Hanalei- Kalypso Island Bar and Grill, Sushi Girl, and Kitchen in a Barrel
- Princeville- Tiki Iniki and the St. Regis Bar
- Kapa’a- Street Burger and Tiki Tacos
Night life is kind of limited on the island (from what I’ve seen). Maybe it’s because of the laid back atmosphere or because you can’t see in front of your face once the sun goes down. However, there are some cool spots that you can check out in the major “cities”.
- Lihue- Rob’s Good Times Grill and Nawiliwili Tavern
- Hanalei- Tahiti Nui
- Princeville- Tiki Iniki and Happy Talk Bar
- Kapa’a- The Local Bar and Oasis on the Beach (the strip also has some other cool spots)
Due to the great outdoor spaces, there are MANY different things for you to do on the island.
Recommendations: water ski, paddle board, surf, snorkel, swim, ride a boat, parasail, sky diving, zip lining, shopping, hiking, walking botanical gardens, and helicopter tours. Not adventurous enough? Try doing a ATV ride in places were Jurassic Park was filmed. Maybe you’ll see a TREX! One thing’s for sure, you’ll never get bored, no matter your age or preference!
1. If you’re looking for a good Luau, try Smith’s Family Garden Luau beyond Coco Palms or Luau Makaiwa at the Coconut Beach Marriott.
2. Need a bigger thrill? Try out Queen’s Bath, The Blue Room, Turtle Cove, and Lumahai.
Apparently, those things “weren’t enough adventure for me”…said the universe. In addition to all of my excitement, I also became acquainted with a “King” or Chief of Atooi while having lunch with my mother and a German friend. This eventually led into me and my entire immediate family joining him and his daughter on a private boat ride around the island. Amazing, huh?!
(Tip: The Kingdom of Atooi, which translates into the Light of God, was known as the Polynesian Kingdom of Hawaii in the 1800s and is now the ancestrial name of the current state of Hawaii. Atooi was the also known as the ancient nation was a part of The Royal Union of The Pacific Nations located in the Polynesian Triangle. This triangle was later recognized and formed after foreign intervention by King Kamehameha III. In 1898, the Territory of Hawaii went under USA rule and then finally became an official state in 1959.)
Kauai is a “raw” and untouched island. It has a unique aura and “attitude” that is honestly hard to describe. Never have I gone to a place and felt so close to God. This island is a paradise, and the people that inhabit the island know it. Everything is highly preserved and protected by everyone. Being there really made me think about my life here on the “main land” and how stressed we get with little things. Life is precious, and we have to enjoy every moment and appreciate how beautiful the world is. So, even though my trip started off making me feel like I was in Hell…I found peace and serenity in Heaven.
Kauai, you truly captured my heart.
Aloha and Mahalo,
Want to learn Wing Chun? Check out the link below: http://www.iaw-atlanta.com/
Information on the Nation of Atooi: http://nationalunitygovernment.org/content/kingdom-atooi-nation-hawaii-unification-ceremony
Information about Kauai: http://www.kauai.com/
(All photos and content created by the Girls Point of View Team ©2017. All Rights Reserved.)