OKIINO Life Adventures in Kauai14. January 2016
Kauai, you had me at Aloha. The very first time I arrived on the island I could feel an unexplainable connection with this magical place. I have had the pleasure of traveling to many beautiful place in the world but, the miles of stunning beaches, emerald valleys, sharp mountain spires with jagged cliffs, tropical rainforests, forking rivers and cascading waterfalls made this place an instant favorite. There is a certain mysterious & spiritual element of this oldest island in the Hawaiian archipelago that ignites the explorer in me. I love the laid-back and rich culture, the friendly people, the epic waves, the hikes, the hidden lava pools, the rivers and the beaches. It’s no surprise Kauai is referred to as Hawaii’s island of discovery.
Aloha is especially strong on this on this Island. In the Hawaiian language, aloha stands for much more than just "hello" or "goodbye" or "love." Its deeper meaning is "the joyful (oha) sharing (alo) of life energy (ha) in the present (alo)." I definitely feel that powerful vibe when I’m on the island and in the surrounding waters.
As other surfers can attest, finding waves is always the first priority. The afternoon we arrived, we did just that and kicked off our trip surfing Hanalei Bay. It was past sunset, the swell was building and I was waiting to get a last wave in when a big set snapped my leash and separated me from my board. I resurfaced and my board was nowhere in sight so I had to make a long swim to shore. Luckily another surfer found my board and paddled it to the beach. After this rough start, the rest of the days surfing were completely magical with the highlight being a day riding endless rip able lefts and surfing along side my husband, nephew and an athlete I truly admire, Bethany Hamilton.
During my 3-week adventure my OKIINO leggings helped me effortlessly transition from surf to yoga to stand up paddle to biking to hiking to exploring. On a typical day I would start my morning with meditation then a walk on the beach before paddling out for a surf or heading up the river on a paddle-board. After a little lunch, I’d unwind with yoga or a sunset hike. Loved the luxury of traveling with less clothing with more functionality.
Here’s my travel tips for an epic trip to Kauai:
Be respectful & friendly: my most important trip for traveling anywhere. Your trip will be so much more enjoyable if you learn how to respect the land, people and customs and are friendly to all people. You may also land some invites to once-in-a-lifetime experiences – trust me!
Stay local: rent a house in a neighborhood – we always rent this cool little surf shack right on the beach in Haena. It’s such a difference to experience “living” in the heart of a place vs. being a “tourist” and looking at it from the outside.
Eat local: why wouldn’t you want to experience the freshest best local bounty from the island plus support the local community. You can find a farmer’s markets everyday around the island! Two of my favorites are: the Tuesday Market on the North Shore in a scenic field in Waipa (Hanalei) and the Saturday Kauai Community Market on the South Shore near the Community College that has one of my favorite treats, frozen sweet pineapple, from Hole In The Mountain Farm. Also don’t miss Anahola Granola or the Huli Chicken from the roadside grill.
Rent a car: It’s really the only way to explore all the amazing. We got an insane deal booking through our Costco account. Get a 4-wheel drive if you want to journey far off the path to epic secluded beaches, like Polihale.
Hit the beach: Kauai has some truly stunning beaches for everything from surfing, snorkeling, paddling, swimming and relaxing. A few of my favorites are: Haena beach (South of Tunnels), Hanalei Beach, Secret’s Beach and Polihale.
Have an adventure: This “island of discovery” truly begs to be explored. Hike, bike, surf, fly, paddle stroll your way through the Napali Coast, Waimea Canyon, Wailua Falls, Queens Bath, and Sleeping Giant. My favorite half day adventure starts with an early morning paddle board 2 miles up the Wailua river then arrival at the shore for a 1 mile round trip hike to a stunning hidden waterfall.
Explore the island: Whenever I visit a new place I’m super excited to start exploring and learning about the culture. I have a go to book that I found on my first trip that has been an awesome resource Kauai Trailblazer. Also, I always find the best recommendation come from asking the locals!
Mahalo for reading our OKIINO Life Blog. Stay connected for more adventures soon!