Kauai, HI: South + West Shores

 Greetings from the Waimea Canyon in Kauai!

Greetings from the Waimea Canyon in Kauai!

Dates Traveled: 12/26/16 – 12/31/16

Hello, dear friends!

As promised in my Kauai Part 1 post, I am back to share with you all the food and adventure there is to enjoy in the South and West Shores of Kauai. I loved every inch of Kauai but the South and West Shores were my absolute favorite with their relaxing beaches, delicious food, and fun hikes! Our time spent exploring Poipu, in particular, is my favorite memory of Kauai by far. 

After a day of hiking the North Shore, Tejinder and I decided to spend our second day on the island doing absolutely nothing on shores of Poipu Beach. We drove from Kapa’a to Poipu a few times and the road there is simply beautiful. Rain or shine, it was one of those roads that made me stop and marvel at the beauty that was around me.

 Soaking up the sun in Poipu!

Soaking up the sun in Poipu!

Known as a local town, Poipu is best known for their golden sand crescent beaches where visitors can enjoy snorkeling, swimming, boogie-boarding, surfing, and of course, relaxing. It was the perfect place for us to rest our legs after a long hike. Poipu Beach itself offered lots of parking, picnic tables, and plenty of sun-kissed sand to lay on. The shoreline was clean and, though the waves were a little rough the day we went, Poipu Beach is a great spot for kids. Pro Tip: if you have swim shoes, bring them with you because there are some rocks on the ocean bed that could cut up your feet.

Tejinder and I found a spot on the sand and posted up for a few hours reading our books and enjoying the view. It was the epitome of mad chilling.

 Bluffs of Poipu Beach

Bluffs of Poipu Beach

 A momma and her chicks!

A momma and her chicks!

I realized I haven’t mentioned this yet but Kauai has large population of roosters and they enjoy roaming around anywhere and everywhere. They don’t want your food or to bother you but rather just want to say “Aloha”! 

After relishing in our laziness for a while, it was time for lunch so we hopped into Sheeba, our Jeep, and made our way to Makai Sushi. There was a bit of a wait when we got there but at that point, we were so used to “island-time” we did not mind at all. I ordered the unagi roll because I love unagi, and Tejinder enjoyed his spicy tuna roll. Each roll was pretty sizable and were topped with the trifecta of sauces: unagi teriyaki, spicy yogurt, and wasabi aioli. There was some serious umami action happening!

 Talk about a sushi roll!

Talk about a sushi roll!

Not too far from Poipu is the small town of Old Koloa. We walked the strip of souvenir shops and picked up a few things to take home with us before heading back to Kapa’a.

In Poipu, we also found a beautiful coast line hiking trail that lead to a cave! Starting at Shipwreck Beach, we followed the coast line for about 2 miles until we reached Makauwahi cave. We literally had to crawl into the cave through a tiny whole on the side which we would’ve missed had it not been for the tiny sign marking the entrance. The cave itself is actually a sinkhole and offers a glimpse of the island’s history. Tejinder and I joined a free guided tour where we saw interesting fossils and artifacts while appreciating the magnificence of Mother Nature’s ability to create a sinkhole that once housed wildlife and foliage that has now gone extinct.

 Views along the trail to Makauwahi Cave

Views along the trail to Makauwahi Cave

A few helpful tips to know beforehand:

  • Stay along the coast. The trailhead is super confusing and there are no marked signs in the beginning so your safest bet is to stay along the coastline. 
  • Where high socks to avoid sandy feed. The first part of the trail is on sand and we all know how sand can get everywhere.
  • Don’t wear your favorite hat on the trail. Since it is along the coast, it is super windy.
  • Be sure to apply sunscreen as the trail is mostly exposed.
  • Be mindful of what you leave behind. The trail cuts through sacred lands so be sure to bring all your trash back with you.
 When your hiking trail suddenly ends in the middle of a gold course.

When your hiking trail suddenly ends in the middle of a gold course.

 Makauwahi Cave

Makauwahi Cave

On our second to last morning, Tejinder and I actually slept in which is something we rarely ever do. Ahh, the island life! Our day started out with a sweet and filling macadamia nut sticky buns from Passion Bakery Café. Oh man, I could eat those sticky buns all day! After fueling up on sugary goodness, we packed Sheeba up for the long drive to Waimea Canyon.

Waimea Canyon is known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific which is something I cannot confirm because I have not been to the Grand Canyon…yet. Nevertheless, the expansive views of the canyon at the look out spot will simply take your breath away. Pro Tip: be sure to bring a jacket with you because at 3,400 feet above sea level, it is super windy up there!

 Waimea Canyon lookout

Waimea Canyon lookout

After snapping a few pics and taking in the views, we made our way down to the town of Waimea when we saw a sign for a Market Sale. While Tejinder was shopping for souvenirs, I followed my nose to find the Shrimp Station where they prepared shrimp in every way you can imagine you'd think Bubba was in the kitchen. I ordered the shrimp burger with fries and it came with papaya ginger tartar sauce. The sauce was the perfect blend of tangy, spicy, and sweet notes that made my taste buds do a happy dance. Shrimp Station, if you are reading this, please bottle up your papaya ginger tartar sauce so and send it to me ASAP!

 The best thing to happen to shrimp and tartar sauce!

The best thing to happen to shrimp and tartar sauce!

A quick two minute drive from the Shrimp Station is the Waimea Pier. We walked along the pier enjoying every minute of our time there while also trying to forget we had to go back to reality.

 Waimea Pier

Waimea Pier

I was reflecting on it recently and I think Kauai was the absolutely perfect way to end 2016. It was a really rough year for me as I learned to live with my anxiety. If you never had to fight the battle against mental illness, let me tell you, it is really exhausting to manage your internal and external demons while living a “normal” life. During our time in Kauai, I was more relaxed and at ease than I had been all year long. I almost forgot what it was like to live without worry and it was beautiful. I brought that energy of ease and relaxation with me into 2017 and can happily say that I am better today than I thought I could ever be. I have a hunch that 2017 is going to be a great year and I am excited to take you with me for the ride!

 

xoxo, EK