Destination Kaua'i: Experiencing the 'Garden Isle'
August 1959 marked Hawaii becoming the 50th State of the United States. This was just 62 years ago. September 2021 I was so very fortunate to have the opportunity to spend a week on the island of KAUA'I. Although I didn't have to provide a Passport to travel, there were requirements for entry into Hawai‘i that were much more involved than showing a Passport. After all we are still inside the Pandemic's grip. Last year I had planned my trip to Kauai in the month of May, but by April 2020 we were already in a lock down.
This year, 2021, I was determined to make my Kaua'i trip happen. Fully vaccinated and additional accrued vacation time added, and I was ready. At approximately five million years old, it is the oldest of the Hawaiian islands. I am not really fond of lots of rain and humidity. Kaua'i is of the wettest spots on earth, with an annual average rainfall of 460 inches!!! Knowing it was the greenest and most lush place in Hawaii, I really had to get over my ideas of how I thought my 'hair' might react. As soon as my feet touched the grounds of Kauai, I felt the spirit of ALOHA in the air. I stayed in the town of Kapaʻa, located on the East side of the Island. I highly recommend this location for your first trip there. The lodgings are much more affordable, restaurants and stores are plentiful and it's perfectly located in the middle of the North & South shore. This allowed me to plan excursions on both the North and South shore with less time on the road at one time.
Wednesday, September 22, 2021
Most of these pictures posted here are taken with my very first GoPro, the Hero 9.
Mermaid Cafe was my first destination after arriving to the island. Some things I planned, but others I just stumbled onto. This one was a lovely surprise. It's hole-in-the-wall sidewalk cafe in Kapaa, Kauai that has attained cult status. A favorite is the Ahi Nori Wrap, which I'm holding there in the picture. It has seared ahi, brown rice, cucumber, nori, wasabi cream and shoyu, rolled in a spinach wrap. You can add avocado to it if you prefer, but my stomach and avocado have a love/hate relationship unfortunately. It was still BOMB! Next I visited a local Farmer's Market where I bought my bananas for the week plus a ripe and delicious Papaya!
The next spot I visited before checking in to my Airbnb was Hoku Foods Natural Market. Their mission is to serve the Kaua`i community by creating a fun, clean, helpful place to buy affordable healthy products that support the lives of people, creatures and mother earth. Hoku definitely provided me yummy natural nourishment that I snacked on throughout my trip, including ginger, nuts, breads and a natural protein bar.
Thursday- September 23, 2021
My first morning in Kaua'i I headed to the North shore of the island to an Airbnb 'experience'. The title 'Enchanted Forest Bath' clearly caught my attention. Elaine and her Mom Mariela hosted myself and a group of 4 close friends: Sarina, Dee, Parkash and Miriam, also from California. The forest bathing experience was located in a 86,000 mahogany tree plantation on a 300 acre property. Kauai happens to have the largest Mahogany Forest in the world. Elaine led us through breathing/stretch meditation during our 4 mile hike through the mahogany forest. Everywhere we looked it was green, lush and vibrant, with a magestic backdrop of beautiful, green mountains. Our destination was a stone dam river/swimming hole. The historic dam was completed in 1880, during the height of the sugar plantation era, to help connect farmers to water. The landscape was gorgeous. It definitely was stunning! Elaine told us it was one of the many gems Kauai holds, and it did not disappoint. It was a lovely experience I recommend to anyone that visits the Island.
Friday- September 24, 2021
My most exciting excursion was my Snorkeling Tour on a 60 ft. Sailing Catamaran. I headed to the South Shore in the town on Eleele and arrived by 6:30a. There were about 30 of us on the tour. We were hosted by a fabulous Captain and 3 amazing Crew Members. We explored beautiful waterfalls, snorkeling and the majestic Na'Pali Coast of Kauaʻi. Honestly, I was most worried about getting sea sick, but I took 2 non-drowsy Dramamine Ginger capsules and stayed mainly out on the deck letting the fresh air and the views mesmerize me and take me to another realm of reality. I recommend a Catamaran vs. a Raft tour for sure. You stay a bit drier and if you're fair skinned like me you appreciated the shade. Though I did wear a full wetsuit the whole time like a dork!
The Na Pali coast was majestic and breathtaking. After we docked the ship and disembarked I was on to my next adventure. The Waimea Canyon, the Grand Canyon of Kaua'i. Truly an amazing and gorgeous view I won't forget.
Saturday - September 25, 2021
This was my most favorite experience of my trip to Kauai. The strip of sand is narrow on this beach, but the main attraction here is underwater. There was an amazing variety of colorful fish to see. I woke up early, rented the snorkel gear and headed back to the South shore to Lawai beach, in Koloa, Kaua'i. If you're familiar with Poipu beach, it's right next to it. The woman that rented me the snorkeling gear told me to put 'The Beach House' in my Google maps and wished me a lovely adventure. I spent 4 hours there. So surreal and memorable.
That evening I went home, and got ready to have a date with myself at the Kukilau Lanai restaurant. I enjoyed a sampler 3 fish entree, that included Ono, Walu and a Swordfish. Walu, also known as Escolar, was most definitely my favorite of the 3. I also had a Ginger Martini that was splendid. My waiter must have felt bad for me or was a bit flirty because he sure did give me alot of individual attention during my meal. He asked me what I was doing for the rest of my trip, so maybe that was a hint. I've never been good at picking up cues, LOL!
Sunday- September 26th, 2021
This was the last morning with Kaua'i, The Garden Isle. The sunrise was the reminder that I had to head back to the Mainland later that day, back to the city that allows me to afford to visit such a Paradise. I fell in love with the Island of Kaua'i and would love to return soon.
Next Island in Hawai'i I will visit will be Maui, 2022. I believe biannually Hawai'i will have my heart and soul. I never understood my cousin Jamie Lee's fascination with Hawai'i until I saw it and experienced it for myself. I never felt alone during my trip, not once. I met and engaged with couples, families and individuals that kept me company in the moments I thought I was going to be alone. The Island's many Blessings to me. Mahalo Hawai'i and Aloha!!
The tiny tropical island of Kaua'i has kept herself charmed, mysterious and unconquered.
Stay beautiful, unique and inspired
--Erika Lee Kline lives in beautiful Pasadena, California. She is fitness minded & enjoys hiking, biking, paddleboarding and wall climbing. She is a fully embodied Empath, a human rights advocate, ballroom/Latin dancer, a student of human behavior and an MI Practitioner. She is a Pediatric Diabetes Nurse working in Los Angeles at a Children's Hospital. You can find her on Clubhouse, TikTok & Instagram.