Kauai Travel Tips for Couples + Photographers

Kauai is the best of all the Hawaiian islands – when we tell anyone about Hawaii, we’re going to tell them about Kauai. Going there in June was the best vacation we’ve ever been on and we’d do it again and again.

We put together this post to help you if you’re vacationing there (or considering which Hawaiian Island to choose!).

ACCOMODATION

If you’re wondering which area to stay, we stayed in Wailua and were so thankful we did. It was beautiful, with access to the best food and supermarkets. We would stay there again and again, but the other location we’d consider would be Hanalei. We made the 45 minute trip up multiple times for the coffee, beaches and views.

We stayed at a condo booked through VRBO.com. We chose it because we wanted a quiet place with an ocean view and a large lani (porch) so we could watch the sunset eating dinner. It was what dreams are made of – we couldn’t recommend it more (plus it was a reasonable price for the area!). Here’s the view from our lani!

FOOD

Best Cafe

Where do we even start?! We are 100% plant-based (vegan) and we had more beautiful, colorful, wholesome and life-giving food than ever before. People warned us it’s difficult to be a vegan in Hawaii, but NOT in Kauai, as we found out!

Whether you’re vegan or not, you will love our favorite place to eat. It’s called Eat Healthy Cafe, and is 100% plant-based. We loved it so much we ate their every. single. day. Our favorite meals were:

  • Tofu Scramble (best thing I’ve ever eaten! We got it with tempeh bacon + asparagus)
  • Avocado Toast (huge serving, simple + perfect).
  • Not-So-Simple Acai Bowl (with peanut butter, chocolate chunks and chia seeds)
  • Chocolate + Coffee Kiss Smoothie (perfection).
  • Pina Colada Speciality Bowl (the perfect dessert. This was even better than the Acai bowl!)
  • Cookies ($2 each and we had at least 10 during our stay!).

 

Best Shaved Ice

Shaved Ice is a huge thing in Hawaii. If you ask us, it’s a genius invention to get money – it has no nutritional value and is just ice and liquid fruit juice. BUT… we HAD to try it. We only got it once, but we went to the #1 place in Kauai – Wishing Well Shaved Ice. The best thing about this place was the COFFEE – we got Cold Brew (even though it’s $5!) with Mac-Nut milk and simple syrup. WOW. Best coffee we had in all of Hawaii!

Best ice-cream

Vegan ice-cream is one of the best things invented. It trumps dairy ice-cream any day (no stomach cramps, and you’re full of all the nutrition and protein that comes from plants!). We walked by The Spot one day and decided to give it a try – we didn’t need to eat lunch that day! You choose a base (that day was coconut ice-cream or banana ice-cream) and three other things to mix in (I chose Strawberries, peanut butter and more banana). It was AMAZING. Camron got the Oreo Bliss! Dairy options are also available.

Best Mexican

This has to be its own category because Mexican is ultimate. We researched this one a lot, and the afternoon before my birthday we went to Verde. Free chips, salsa and $3 margaritas later (happy hour!), we enjoyed the veggie tacos. I feel like if you’re a meat eater it would be an awesome experience.

BEST ADVENTURE SPOTS

Waimea Canyon

This was one spot we were so excited to see and it didn’t disappoint. When we walked up the path we saw a fence to the left and jumped it (super easy!). We spent way longer there then we intended – it was my (Athena’s) birthday and we wanted to get to the Na Pali coast lookout. But the colors and textures and smell – everything about it was amazing.

Get on the road to Pu’u O Kila Lookout and pretty soon you’ll see a turn-out with an amazing view of the waterfall!

Pu’u O Kila Lookout

This view was hands down the top 3 most beautiful landscapes we’ve ever seen (our glacier in Alaska + Taft point in Yosemite are the others). We can’t even tell you how much it took our breath away. It was worth every minute of the drive out and we’d do it again and again. We barely took any photos while we were there – we were too captivated by the view! If you do anything in Kauai, go here.

The captivating view of the Na Pali coast would be even better seen on a boat tour, but we didn’t want to front the $$ for that this trip! But definitely recommended!

BEST SUNSET SPOT + SWIMMING BEACH

Hanalei Bay. Hands down. This is not just the most beautiful place to watch the sunset, with surrounding mountains of the Na Pali coast. But it was also our favorite spot to swim. We swam there as much as we could – it gets pretty busy but it’s a nice busy –  makes you feel like you’re on vacation 😉 We’re not super into swimming at secret beaches – we prefer swimming in water that has other people in it (I guess it’s because I (Athena) grew up in the shark-infested waters of Sydney!).

If you do anything, go and watch the sun set IN the water at Hanalei Bay!

GOOD PHOTO SPOTS

We thought we’d throw this one in if you like driving to places specifically for the photo opportunities!

Hanalei Bay Lookout – this is on the left side of the road after you drive past The Westin Princeville (oh you’ll see it – it’s mega fancy!). We went on a sunny day, but it was too bright. We went back on an overcast afternoon and the soft light was much better for a photo!

Hanalei Bay view – keep driving and on the right (on a huge, sketchy bend) is a turn out for cars. There’s an amazing view of the bay and the mountains of the Na Pali coast.

The Taro Fields – when you are on your way to Hanalei Bay, you drive over a one-lane bridge (Hanalei Bridge) and then turn left onto a ‘local-traffic only’ road (Ohiki Road). It has a beautiful view of fields that we LOVED. We went during the day and it was too bright, so went back at dusk so I could drink my coconut!

BEST GEAR

This is for the photographers! We used our Canon 16-35mm f2.8 wide lens for most of the trip! We LOVED having a wider lens for the epic landscapes (+ selfies). We barely pulled out our 85mm the entire trip. It was all about the wide!

If you want to know more about Kauai, we love Jaci Marie‘s blog and Elana Loo’s travel guide.