The island of Kauai is one of my absolute favorite places to be in the world. My husband and I first went for our honeymoon, and I’ve been twice more since… once even out of the blue for WORK! We’ve often thought of moving there “someday”, whenever we get tired of the grind and a much slower pace calls. I also have a theory that the first island you visit in the Hawaiian Islands becomes your favorite, because the scenery is breathtaking and the overall feel is calming. And then you remember, I’m still in the United States.
I cannot say enough good things about Kauai. It’s called the “Garden Isle” for a reason, and describing it as “lush” is an understatement. Succulent greenery, glittery blue, surf-ready waves, luscious flowers… join me as I reminisce.
Something I learned…
There are wild roosters ALL over the island due to Hurricane Iniki in 1992
So, Kauai is a colorful island with colorful… roosters? Yep, sure is. The story goes, that when Hurricane Iniki hit, the force of water was so strong that it toppled over chicken coops. This let maybe hundreds of chickens and roosters loose, and now, some reports estimate there are thousands of feral chickens on Kauai. They’re literally everywhere, foraging at beaches, grocery store parking lots, or the side of the road. But like any wild animal, they don’t bother you if you don’t bother them. I love that this unique, quirky story belongs to Kauai.
Something I ate…
Red sea salt, coconut peanut butter, purple potatoes, and lots more
Kauai is very remote, as told from a factoid on a bag of chocolate-covered macadamia nuts: Hawaii is the most isolated inhabited land mass in the world. Kauai is 2,390 miles from California, 3,850 miles from Japan, and 4,900 miles from China. (KauaiFunFacts.com)
So, one may wonder about the food (because, I’m always thinking about food). Is it mostly imported? What’s “local” besides coconuts, fresh fish, and chocolate-covered macadamia nuts? Well, here’s a few delicacies I ADORED and took home when I could:
- Hawaiian Red Alaea Sea Salt – an accidental creation when ocean met dirt.
- Coconut Peanut Butter by North Shore Goodies.
- Purple sweet potatoes – slightly sweeter and tangier than your standard orange ones.
- Fresh ahi tuna… not just a little morsel on sushi. Whole slabs of it.
- Moonfish (Opah) – common catch of the day: white, flaky, and great on tacos.
- Kauai Coffee – I toured the farm and still order the Vanilla Macadamia Nut blend online regularly. No creamer needed!
- Lay’s Tangy Carolina BBQ chips – devastated these aren’t sold on the mainland.
- Kauai Mud Pie, available only at The Olympic Cafe. It is a one-of-a-kind treat consisting of coffee ice cream, chocolate ice cream, macadamia nuts, chocolate syrup, and whipped cream… need at least 4 peeps to finish it!
Something I felt…
What a more peaceful life looks like: lazy days, tranquil setting, and less “stuff”.
On one particular dreamy day in Kauai, sipping cocktails on a patio, hubs and I imagined what it would be like to move here. Could we break into the real estate market and live off rentals? Would one of us find an engineering job? Could I make it as an entrepreneur (pipe dream) and make a living on creativity? The entrepreneur dream was inspired by these amazing candles at Island Soap & Candle Works, which eliminates at least one potential business line for me. No way I could compete; these candles are life-changing!
We were particularly drawn to this dream because in a weird way, it would force us into simplicity. No doubt, Kauai’s landscape lends to the tranquility it exudes. But more than that, it takes less than 3 hours to drive around the whole island. Anything else is a boat ride or plane ride away. Wherever we went, there was no rush. Even when the main highway, Kuhio, gets jammed at all hours of the day, there’s little honking. There’s no speeding past each other, because you can’t. You’re either taking the two-lane highway to the “wetter” side up north (Hanalei, Princeville) or the “drier” side down south (Koloa, Waimea). So all that’s left to do, is enjoy the ride as you glance over, notice the ocean about 20 feet away, and try not to drive into it as it sneakily lures you in.
Wrap Up: Kauai is everything it’s amped up to be
Quick reality check—the two downsides about Kauai from my view are: 1) the rainy season is VERY RAINY, and 2) how long it takes to get there… from anywhere in the world.
But all things considered, it’s totally worth the trip. The locals are some of the friendliest, sweetest people you’ll meet. It’s easy to get lost in their native ways, like how they preserve the Hawaiian language, protect the nearby island of Niihau, and much more to stay true to their heritage. There’s a new beach to explore along the Kuhio Highway every 5 minutes. The island hasn’t been fully commercialized and won’t be for a long time, considering that per code, no building can be taller than a palm tree.
The beauty here, in this faraway land, is endless.
Thank you for letting me wax poetic about my all-time favorite travel spot. There’s so much more to tell, but I’ll leave that to you to discover.
What would give you a full mind, belly, and heart in the next city you explore? Follow more of my “invitations to” adventure at the top right of the page: Home > Travel+Bug.