Archive for March, 2011

March 30, 2011 by, Emily

If you are from the mainland, then you might have noticed that there aren’t many flights heading directly to our island. For some airlines, flights to Kauai were cut back because of hard economic times and the desire to save fuel.

Well, that is all about to change!

Starting this month on the 27th, Alaska Airlines has started offering three flights a day to our island! The flights leave from San Jose or Oakland and are non-stop right to Lihue. This is a great opportunity for them to get a bit of extra income and for you to come and visit. I look forward to seeing more positive economic turns for Alaska Air as the year unfolds.

Have you ever heard of the Jungle Valley Adventure Tour? Well, it’s a tour given by Princeville Ranch Adventures, and includes a little bit of everything. If you are traveling with older children, then this just might be the activity you’ve been looking for!

Included in this tour is a bit of hiking, some kayaking, and even a zipline or two. So if you are bringing your kids, make sure that they are wearing comfortable shoes, a swimsuit underneath their clothes, and that they have an extra change of clothes in the car in case they get wet or muddy. You should also ensure that your entire family is wearing sunblock, a hat, mosquito repellent, and is carrying some drinking water.

Now to the fun part! The tour starts out with a hike to a beautiful mountain stream. While the hike isn’t too strenuous, make sure your entire party is in good physical condition before attempting this tour. Once at the water, you will board kayaks and paddle through the lush tropical forest to Uluhe Fern Ridge. The kayaking leg of this adventure is never over an hour long and is a great deal of fun.

At Uluhe Fern Ridge, each member of the tour will be given the opportunity to zip down two ziplines that are both over 400 feet long. For those who are afraid of heights, this part of the tour is optional, but I highly recommend trying it at least once. It’s an exhilaration that you simply can’t get anywhere else. Then you will get some time to relax near the magestic waterfalls where a picnic lunch will be served. Before and after lunch, there will be time to swim, relax, or use the ziplines, and after the tour is over, you will wish you could do it all over again!

Recently, the entire United States had a national holiday called Presidents Day. During this time, we celebrated two of America’s greatest presidents and were given a day off of work to enjoy it. Well, on Kauai, we also had a long weekend for President’s Day. And, luckily for us, Kauai has more than just Presidents.

For many hundreds of years, Hawaii was not a part of the United States. In fact, we were a sovereign nation ruled by a royal family, and therefore we have a lot of extra holidays that the rest of the United States doesn’t get.

This month we get to celebrate Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole Day. It is a great holiday for Kauai natives and visitors alike because there are always fun things to do. For instance, this year there is an entire week of festivities, with something everyday. While I have not attended many of these activities, I can tell you that the few I have attended have been fun.

Last Saturday there was the 42nd annual Prince Kuhio Long Distance Canoe Race. That is always fun because sometimes a friend of mind competes. While he never wins, it’s fun to watch the different legs of the race and go to lunch with everyone afterwards.

I was tempted to go to the free ukulele lessons on Sunday, but I ran out of time in the evening and had to cancel. Instead I went out with my boyfriend on Wednesday to a “Talk Story” about the area and culture, followed by lunch. While I already knew most of what was said from my studies of our island’s history, it was a fun distraction and a good time to listen to an interesting story teller.

Today, I got the day off work and was able to spend some time hanging out with my friends. Then tonight, there is a full evening of entertainment scheduled at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa. While I don’t know everything that will happen there, I am really looking forward to spending more of the holiday with my friends and seeing what the Hyatt has to offer. And then tomorrow there will be the Prince Kuhio Commemorative Ceremonies at Prince Kuhio Park. I’ll probably go to that too. After all, how often does one get to celebrate a truly great man with an entire week of fun?

Want to stay somewhere that looks and feels like home? Well, you could always stay home. OR you could come to Kauai and stay in one of our nice vacation rentals. One of the best rentals, Pali Ke Kua 236, has an interior that screams comfy. It’s perfect for a vacation getaway.

Amenities for this specific vacation rental include free high speed internet, a TV with DVD player, a washer/dryer unit, and a fully equipped kitchen. The home looks out onto the ocean and there are great views of the local golf course as well. Plus, if you want some privacy, having your own private residence on the island is a great idea.

There are windows everywhere, so you will always have a great view. And this place is perfect for inviting another couple along to share in the adventure. There are two master bedrooms with two full private bathrooms, so each couple gets their own private suite. The rest of the house is laid out to provide space, comfort, and convenience.

If you and your spouse want to get away from it all and bring some friends with you, this is the perfect location to visit. Plus, at only $150 per night, you can’t afford not to stay in this beautiful home.

Did you know that we have a natural history museum? Well, we do! When I was a little girl, I used to love experiencing nature. My father would take my brother and I camping, hiking, and on “nature treks.” And on these “nature treks,” he would give us a list of things to look for and we would compete to find them and draw them. It was my favorite thing to do.

Well, now children of all ages can have fun with nature at the Natural History Museum. There are exhibits of all kinds, information about everything Kauai has to offer, and fun activities for kids. There are also outings into Kokee State Park and tour guides to give each area a personal touch.

For native families, school children often get to go to the natural history museum since there is no charge for students or teachers. But for visitors, there is a donation box requesting $1 a person. The museum is open every day of the year from 10am to 4pm, so no matter what time of year it is, you will be able to visit and enjoy a wonderful outdoor experience.

If you have kids, this is definitely a great place to visit.

If you are going to be in town tomorrow, March 19, then I highly suggest visiting Poipu Beach. There is going to be a free artisan fair going on, and it should be great!

This artisan fair happens about four times a year, and March is the first of 2011. There will be over 40 artists from Kauai with their art displayed for viewing and most of them sell their pieces right there on the beach. From handcrafted trinkets to beautiful jewelry, it will be a great place to pick up a few presents for your loved ones. Plus, there will be wood carvings, oil paintings, and intricately patterned linens.

Last year, they had live music and great lunches available for visitors. I picked up a few lovely pieces for my home and one great wood carving for my brother’s birthday. And spending the afternoon looking through the art with my friends was well worth the visit. It’s so great to see so many local artists come together in one place.

Well, for those who want a bit more information about the tsunami hitting Kauai, I should be able to help you out. It was a bit crazy around here right after the news hit about Japan, and everyone was scrambling to protect their homes and property. Now, however, I can safely say that everyone is okay.

Kauai was the first of the Hawaiian Islands to be hit with the waves, a little over 6 feet tall and dangerous. Here is a little known fact: tsunami waves aren’t like normal waves. Not only are they quite a bit bigger, but they also have the tendency to wrap around an island, hitting it from all shores. This tsunami was no different. Each of our unprotected beaches was hit, and for hours the plethora of waves continued to pound our coasts.

The residents of many Kauai towns were evacuated on Thursday night and early Friday morning. From my house, I could hear the civil defense sirens sounding the alarm every hour until the first waves hit around 3am. But the evacuation didn’t last long. While several of the harbors were flooded and a few homes and businesses, the cleanup wasn’t bad and most businesses are back open.

Fortunately, no real damage was done. There were some minor inconveniences and some bad weather, but our island was relatively unscathed. Within a day, almost everything was back open again and day-to-day activities commenced. I couldn’t even get out of work. ☺ While it was a day that we will all remember and mourn for the devastation in Japan, I am thankful that it wasn’t worse here on our small island.

March 11, 2011 by, Emily

Wow, I guess I got that massage just in time. For anyone reading this who is wondering or concerned, my family and I are fine. School days were canceled today anyway for a furlough day, and several families were evacuated just in case, but my house was high up on the island and didn’t get hit. And while I don’t have a lot of time to write at the moment, I did want to let everyone know that, so far, the damage hasn’t been as severe as was expected after the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan. I can let you know more in a few days.

Until then, all of our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Japan after this horrific natural disaster.

I’ll admit that I don’t have the most stressful job in the world. In fact, I love my job, I love my writing, and I love the new guy in my life. I’m doing quite well. But even with all of that, stress gets to me. Deadlines sneak up on me, the house needs cleaning, and family problems build up and explode sometimes. When those times come, I like to sneak away for some “me” time.

One of my favorite things to do is to visit a spa and have all of my stresses massaged away. Here on Kauai, there are several resorts, health clubs, salons, and day-spas that you can visit, and I’ve gone to quite a few of them. While I love to feel comfortable in my environment and I have a few masseuses that I really like, I also love to try new things. Spending time at different locations that specialize in different styles is so rejuvenating.

Yesterday, I needed some time to relax, so I got a facial and a heated pohaku massage. My facial was great, causing my skin to feel soft and renewed. There is just something about add circulation in one’s face to make life’s stresses drain away. And if you have never had a heated pohaku treatment, can I just say that they are wonderful. The masseuse uses hot stones and places them on overly strained muscles, relaxing you and relieving any pain you may have. Plus, it’s all natural!

I truly believe that residents and tourists alike should have a spa treatment once in a while, and here on Kauai we have the best facilities. With the lush tropical setting all around, everything is relaxing. This is also a great idea for those who want to get married on the island and need something to do the morning of the wedding. After all, a relaxed bride is a happy bride!

Okay, I realize that I have written about this before, but it has been awhile and the ziplines deserve extra attention. They are one of the most unique and exciting things about our island, and I think every tourist should try ziplining at least once.

Now that the rainy season is ending and spring has begun, zipline tours are becoming more popular than ever. Not only do you get a brief 4-wheel drive tour of the lush tropical back areas of the island, but you also get to start a high flying adventure!

Of course, they don’t just let you onto the zipline course without some safety equipment. Kauai Backcountry Adventures provides everything you’ll need to zip from mountaintop to mountaintop. You’ll be hooked up with a helmet and harness, and the tour guides will check that harness regularly. Then you’ll be away, soaring above the valleys below and spotting the secret places of the island that only the wildlife has visited.

The last time I went on a zipline tour was last year, if I remember correctly, and we went pretty early in the morning so some friends could get to work. We checked in and were handed our equipment, and then we headed out half an hour later. The trip to the zipline starting point didn’t take too long and they had a tour guide talking about the island the entire time. The ziplines were awesome and we stopped for “lunch” (which was really our breakfast) about halfway through at this great picnic area near a natural pool. After an hour or so working our way through the lush growth, the cool waters were welcome. Then we continued with the rest of the tour and ended up back where we started. It was great!

So if you want to go on a great adventure over the tropical landscape of Kauai, I recommend the ziplines. Just remember to bring comfortable shoes, as you will be hiking sporadically to get to a few of the zipping points, and don’t go if you are afraid of heights!

If you are planning on stay on the north side of the island to avoid any construction traffic, then I have a few ideas for you about where to stay. I highly recommend a vacation rental, like Mauna Kai 8A, because they end up being cheaper than hotels and provide you with privacy, your own kitchen, and a lot more freedom.

Mauna Kai is a series of condos in Princeville where tourists can come and stay the week for around $1000. If you are bringing your entire family or vacationing with another couple, this seven day stay will cost you far less than a couple of hotel rooms. Plus, you get a fully furnished home away from home to use while you’re here and free wireless internet for your computers.

I personally like condo 8A in the Mauna Kai series because there are two bedrooms and two bathrooms, plus a sofa bed for extra bodies. Two bedrooms provide enough space for a family or two separate couples vacationing together. And two bathrooms means that no one will ever have to fight over bathroom time during your stay. The beds are soft and comfortable, and the bathrooms both have showers as well as the typical bathroom accommodations.

The living areas are also nice and arranged to provide an open feel. The kitchen has a lot of counter space, so cooking any meal is easy. Plus, it is fully equipped with everything you’ll need to make food at home. The living room and dining room have both been decorated to be modern but comfortable, giving enough space for all visitors to the house. And there is a lanai with seating for everyone and a working BBQ for grilling up fish or steaks.

The condo is nestled into a lush, tropical landscape, so you will be reminded of the beauty of the Garden Isle whenever you peer out a window. And since the condo is located in Princeville, you have quick access to beautiful beaches, shopping centers, great restaurants, luaus, and any number of fun activities. You won’t have to travel far to experience the best that Kauai has to offer.

March 2, 2011 by, Emily

A good Kauai vacation is something that people dream about, but lately the island has been a bit less dreamy for the residents. The Wailua bridge project is taking longer than expected, meaning that lanes on the highway are blocked and traffic is a nightmare sometimes. But never fear, dear tourists, I have a plan for you.

Kauai is still the ideal vacation getaway destination, but now you must plan ahead. Figure out what you want to do while on the island in advance and which activities you cannot leave the island without accomplishing. Then figure out where on the island those activities take place and find a vacation rental or hotel room there.

Why the planning in advance? Well, if you are planning on driving all over the island during your stay this month, chances are that you will get stuck in construction traffic for long periods of time at least once or twice, especially if you plan on traveling in the evenings. But if you stick to one part of the island, then you will have a wonderful vacation and never face long traffic lines.

I recommend staying on the north side of the island. I live up here, so I know that there is a lot to do and enough activities to keep even the most ADD personality busy. We have surfing, snorkeling, swimming, boating, cycling, hiking, biking, horseback riding, tours, sunbathing, great restaurants, fun shopping centers, exciting luaus, and much more. Anything you have been dreaming of doing on your Hawaiian vacation can be accomplished on the north side, and then you won’t have to drive through traffic.