Magical Kauai

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I had the privilege of visiting Kauai for seven amazing days, and did it ever exceed my expectations. Kauai has so much to offer, whether you’re a honeymoon couple wanting a romantic getaway, or friends or family traveling together wanting adventure or some downtime. From hiking, waterfalls to all types of water activities, Kauai has everything.

When we arrived at Kauai airport, you immediately know you are in a paradise, with its warm breezes and the smell of the ocean. The airport is small, and it's very easy to get around; a short walk straight to baggage claim and we had our luggage.  Upon exiting the airport, across the street are the shuttle buses for rental car pick-ups. It’s a short 1-minute ride to the car rental counter. On Kauai, a rental car is a must as a means to get around.  It’s extremely easy to drive on Kauai, as there's pretty much one main road in each direction. Once we picked up our rental car, we were off to check into the Hilton Garden Inn Kauai at Wailua Bay in Kapaa.

When we arrived at the hotel, we were greeted with cold towels, a Mai-Tai drink and a bottle of water. It was a bit humid out, so that was a perfect welcome. We had a room which overlooked the ocean and Lydgate Beach Park. Our room was wonderful, with a king size bed, a sitting area with a table & two chairs, a microwave, mini-fridge and coffee maker. It was very clean and recently renovated with new linens, decorations & furniture-- a great, affordable hotel.

The hotel offers a full buffet breakfast every day for approx. $25 per person, which can be pre-paid with the room rate to save a little more. The hotel offers two average size pools as well for guest only, it never was crowded so always felt like our own private pool. Just a 1-minute walk right in front of the hotel is Lydgate Beach Park, it features a protected swimming beach & picnic area, great place to spend the day.

Kauai has many sightseeing areas such as Opaekka falls, only a 10-minute drive from Kapaa, or Wailua Falls, which is about a 30-minute drive down a little curvy country road. The falls are beautiful, but the road is a little narrow. We also experienced the tubing adventure, which was beyond my expectations: tubing down the old sugar cane canals in an inner-tube, down rapids and through dark tunnels & watering holes. This is an experience everybody must try once, as it was one of the best highlights of our trip.

We drove around the island including to the North side, which is Princeville,where it can be rainier, but it’s a beautiful drive with lots of little beaches you can stop off at along the way. We had the opportunity to visit & experience several Hawaiian delicacies, such as Moco Loco at the Kauai Kookies bakery, Banana coconut cream pie at Gaylord’s restaurant & frozen sugarloaf white pineapple from the Farmers Market.

After five incredible nights at the Hilton Garden Inn, we headed to the Marriott Kauai Resort, which is part of TravelStore's Signature resort collection and includes complimentary full buffet breakfast daily, a $50 resort credit & possible upgrade at time of check in. When we checked in we received all the amenities including an upgrade to an oceanview room.

The room was older, you could tell the linens and decorations were recently updated, but the room still felt a bit tired, and the bathroom was quite small.. Short of that, however, the beautiful resort made up for the older room.

The resort was amazing, with a huge koi pond outside the reception area, and the resort-style pool was huge with lots of chairs and sitting areas. The beach was also amazing, swimmable and very large. Snorkeling wasn’t too good, as there were lots of waves, but paddle boarding & kayaking was very popular. The resort has several restaurants on property. One of the more popular was the poolside restaurant, where you could enjoy the buffet breakfast, as well as lunch, dinner and daytime snacks. The Kauai Marriott is a great location, with shopping & several restaurants nearby and  within walking distance.

Over all, Kauai is a beautiful island, and good choice for a Hawaii vacation, all the more so for anybody looking for adventure & relaxing time. I highly recommend a car rental, that way you can see more of the island on your own time and take in the beautiful beaches, the amazing sites and make wonderful memories. See you in Hawaii.

Tracy Wedde