on a lighter note: kauai

Recently, I was asked about “can’t miss spots” on the island. (Hi, Nina!) This is the first attempt to answer that question. As you will see, it’s not very specific. There is more to come.

Our first trip to Kauai was also our first trip together – we had chosen it in part because neither of us had been there before and we could discover it together. (And yes, you could also read into it that neither of us had been there with anyone else, so no ghosts awaited us.)

We bought the obligatory Ultimate Kauai Guidebook – it’s a good book, and I recommend it.  While we did refer to it for ideas that first trip, we were mostly in exploring mode.

Dusk falls about the same time (7:00 – 7:30) year round in the islands; they are in the tropics, so there is not much seasonal variation.

We landed as the sun was setting, and walked out of the airport into the fragrant night air, ready for an adventure. Over the next week we would drive every mile of the main island road, explore many side roads, and push the limits of our decidedly not-four-wheel-drive rental car.

We found many of our favourite spots on this first trip, but it has taken more visits to explore them, and each time we go, we discover something new.

This is my soul home.

I am drawn to Kauai – to her natural beauty, to the rich spiritual traditions of her people, and to the deep peace I feel there, whether hiking in the rainforest above Waimea Canyon or watching the sun set at Polihele, swimming in the salty warm waters of Ke’e Beach or feeling the rain on my face at Kilauea Lighthouse.

Sound a bit hyperbolic? You might not think so after you’ve experienced Kauai for yourself. Or you might prefer the night life on Maui, the shopping on Oahu. That would be fine.

Kauai is suited for quiet(er) folk.

You’ll land in Lihue, to an open-air concourse. (If you’ve been the islands before, or if your flight came through Honolulu, this won’t be your first time.)

At first, all you’ll smell is the fumes from the jet you flew in on – you might wonder if the flower-scented air was just a tourism board lie. That will be behind you soon.

After you collect your bags, and move away from the airport building, you’ll catch your first breeze of the soft tropical air. Maybe you had a hint of it in baggage claim, but the edge of the building changed it, the other passengers distracted you.

Walking out into the ginger- and plumeria-scented air, you can breathe deeply, know you are here, settle into the island’s embrace.

Find your hotel, get a bite to eat, go for a walk on the beach if you can. If it’s dark, look up. The stars are different in Kauai from wherever you call home.

Lie down, take it in. You are here.


    • I thought JoJo’s was over by Waimea Canyon? Either way, shave ice is reported to be a quintessential island experience. We’ve tried Wishing Well shave ice in Hanalei. While I’m glad we tried it, I’ll take ice cream any day of the week.

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