Personal post – HAWAII – part I: Kauai

This post is well over due!

Today, I am sharing photos from my trip to Hawaii in October/November 2018. Hawaii had been on my bucket list for quite some time. After a busy wedding/family photo season, I knew I wanted to take some time off in another country, especially that I was going to be stuck at home all winter long due to major hip surgery in mid-November.

After asking around, my husband and I decided to explore two islands: Kauai and Big Island. Today’s post is about the first part of our trip – Kauai. If you have been to Kauai, you know two things: one, it is incredibly beautiful; two, it is incredibly expensive. I’ll get back to the beautiful part in just a sec. But the prices. The PRICES! First, the value of our Canadian dollar is so terrible that you can expect a 1.5x increase in everything you purchase there. Because it is an island, one that is not quite exploited, resources are more limited, which makes accommodation and food more pricey than other Hawaiian Islands. This is why we decided to skip the pricey hotels and go on a camping adventure! Olivier packed all our camping gear in a big duffle bag, and we each had a carry-on for our clothes/supplies.

We first arrived at Lihue airport, on the south-east part of the island. Our first night was at a hotel nearby as we landed quite late. We then decided to stay at a Lydgate State Park, on the east coast, about 15 minutes north of the airport. For this campsite, we had to reserve our camp ground, which was about 50$ per night. Our site wasn’t directly by the ocean, but it was close enough that we’d see the waves from our picnic table, and we’d fall asleep to the sound of waves crashing into the shore. Kauai is very humid, so there were really intense rain storms at night – luckily, our tent was brand new and weather sealed! I really enjoyed waking up early (no need for an alarm, the dozens of chickens made sure to get you up around 5am), drinking coffee my husband had prepared, and treat myself to a bowl of Lucky Charms as I watched the sun rise by the ocean. While on the East coast, we made sure to eat tons of amazing poke, as well as delicious fried chicken, from Pono Market. We also decided to treat ourselves to a once-in-a-lifetime experience: a helicopter tour of the Island. This is not something we would usually do, as it is extremely expensive, but wow, we are so glad we did! Going on a helicopter with no doors was essential as I did not want to deal with reflections when taking photos! And man, it did not disappoint. The views were so surreal, as if we had been transported to the era of dinosaurs (this is where they filmed Jurassic Park!), Oli and I could barely believe we were seeing such beauty. Flying over the island allows you to see parts that are inaccessible by foot/car, including the lush forest filled with endless waterfalls and the rugged Napali Coast. So if you plan on visiting Kauai, please, please, please, plan a helicopter tour –  it is worth every single penny (many, many pennies). See photos at the end of this post!

We then headed west, and we decided to camp at Polihale State Park. If you read about Kauai, you undoubtedly heard about this place. However, getting there is not the easiest route, which is why we rented a Jeep Wrangler. We had to drive on gravel for about 30 minutes, then, potholes grew bigger and bigger as we approached the beach. The bumpy road was well-worth semi-dislocating my hips, as the views were simply breathtaking. There didn’t seem to be any “official” camp spots left, so we just planted out tent in a sandpit not too far from the ocean. The ocean here was so much more powerful than what we had seen in the rest of the island. I was semi-afraid to actually go in the water, while local surfers ran into it like there was no tomorrow. Also, important to note that there is NO shade at this beach, so if you plan on staying here, make sure you have an umbrella or else you’ll rapidly bake in the sun. The sunset and sunrise at this location was so stunning, as we were surrounded by the mountains at the edge of the Napali Coast.

All this to say, if you want to visit Hawaii and experience the less-touristy side of things, Kauai is your best bet. There are tons of hiking trails, the vibe is laid back, and you get to experience the island almost like a local. If ever you want more details or tips, please feel free to message me! I hope you enjoy these photos!