Travel Diaries

Hawaii Diaries #2 – Exploring Kapaa, Chickens Galore and a Costco Visit

Hawaii Rocks. It was nice to finally see it in the day time after a day of travel. The goal of day two was to get more acclimated to the island but it turned into a day of Exploring Kapaa, a small town on the east side of the island.

I started the day early as I am today. It’s real easy to wake up at 4 A.M. local time here when you’re from the east coast. After all, it’s 9 A.M. my time right now and I never sleep in late.

The sun hadn’t come up yet and the roosters were making noise. Did I mention there’s tons of chickens in Hawaii?

Seriously, these guys and gals are everywhere. You can’t drive five minutes without seeing chickens by the side of the road.

I figured it might be worth walking down to the shore to see if I can experience a nice Hawaii sunrise. The sound of roosters crowing greeted me as I stepped outside in my shorts and walked down to the water.

The place we’re staying at is a one minute walk away from the ocean so that’s awesome. The warm weather is great especially since there’s snow back home right now so you can see where I’m coming from!

It was rather dark when I got to the shore so I picked some rocks and sat down to wait for the sunrise.

Kauai shore

The beach is just a few short steps away but I didn’t want to go to one without my wife so I just sat there and listened to the waves as the sun came up on the other side of the island.

No sunrise for me but it was still nice to hear the waves and feel the strength of the water as it crashed against the waves.

The wife was up when I got home. We did our morning routine and got going.

The first thing we did was go back to Alamo and exchange our Jeep. There was some light traffic in the morning as there’s really only one way into Lihue. It wasn’t too bad though and we also got to see the tree tunnel in the day light along the way.

The tree tunnel is a natural “tunnel” of old eucalyptus trees that surround you as you travel between Poipu and Lihue. I’ll have to try to get a picture before we leave but it’s always busy on that road.

The drive between Poipu and Lihue takes about 30 minutes with traffic. Kauai is rather small so no two places are too far away.

I did find out one thing this trip already. I’m just not a Jeep guy. I felt like I was in a tank driving that thing. It was high up and the ride just wasn’t comfortable with the car shaking a bunch as we drove. There was a big ass wheel hanging on the back that blocked my rear view. Also, the car had no amenities like a USB cable or automatic doors or windows. It just wasn’t a pleasant driving experience.

We got a nice Hyundai Elantra instead with a rear back up camera and apple play. That meant I no longer had to depend on my wife to give me directions so she could nap while I took us to our next destination, Kapaa!

We didn’t plan to spend the day exploring Kapaa but it seemed like there were some good food places there and we were both hungry. Plus it wasn’t too far; about a twenty minute drive from Lihue.

Kapaa is a cute little town on the east side of the island with some nice restaurants, food trucks, shops and a beautiful ocean side area.

Art Cafe Hemingway was our destination for brunch. It’s a Hemingway themed cafe with a French and Hawaiian food mix. Weird thing to find in Hawaii but the reviews were good. The location was right across the beach so that was a nice plus too.

It was already in the high 70s and the sun was coming out as we sat down in the restaurant. One thing I will say about Hawaii is that everyone is extra friendly. Random people will say Aloha and people just seem happier and less dour than our northeast counterparts.

I think it’s probably the weather as it was beautiful out.

The food here was excellent and I will especially call out their lemonades as one of the best I’ve had. We might come back just to get the ginger limeade my wife had with her brunch. My wife is a big fan of crepes and she said her Nutella strawberry crepe was delicious. You can see the amazing limeade in the picture as well.

I had a ham and cheese croissant that was quite good as well. The place comes highly recommended and we’ll likely return if we have a chance.

After we got our eat on, we walked across the street to the Kapaa beach park. There’s an awesome paved path we took that runs parallel to the beach.

The weather was perfect, warm with a nice breeze and the views were amazing. It was one of the best parts of exploring Kapaa and we will be sure to return before we leave.

Exploring Kapaa

The path itself is quite long and the views are great. We didn’t actually finish it and plan to come back and rent bikes another day.

There’s a few bike rental stores at the start that make this really easy. You’ll run into a few small beaches along the path as well as plenty of nice views. You’ll also find plenty of chickens there too. They’re everywhere!

We were pretty sweaty after our walk so we went back into town and stopped at a place called The Spot for some frozen yogurt.

We’re normally chocolate people but decided to go with something fruity due to the island setting. The flavors were delicious and the passion fruit sauce was the star. The thing was also real pretty too!

After that, we did some shopping in the town. There’s a variety of cute stores there and my wife even picked up some earrings at a glass store.

They’re these cool dichroic glass earrings. They’re blue if there’s no light passing through them but turn shades of orange when light moves through them. It produces this really cool effect as they swing on your ears through movement. It’s something we haven’t seen before and we might have to buy some as gifts before we leave because they’re really neat looking.

The plan after exploring Kapaa was to hit the Costco but a sign on the way back to Lihue called for a pit stop. The sign told me that Opaekaa Falls was 2 miles away if I turned right so I turned right.

There was a nice overlook on the way. It was a good way to see the Waimea river which runs through the island.

There’s one thing you quickly realize about Kauai. It’s that pretty much everything around you is beautiful. You can pull off the road and just look out and and see amazing vistas like this one.

Hell, even driving between towns sometimes take your breath away as you take a turn and see mountains surrounded by clouds. It’s just a really beautiful place.

Also, if you didn’t believe me about the chickens. Here’s the group that greeted us at this overlook.

Look at all those guys and gals!

We moved on to the falls after this and those were nice too.

It’s definitely a see it but don’t spend too much time there type of thing. There’s a lookout area and a parking lot but the actual falls are pretty far away. There’s also another nice view of the Waimea river there too.

After this quick pit stop, we got back on the road and hit the Costco.

The place was packed!

One thing to know about Hawaii is that groceries are EXPENSIVE especially the many things you can’t get locally. Things like raspberries were $10.99 for a 12oz container at Costco so that gives you an idea of what to expect. Still, it’s definitely worse at other stores so it makes sense why Costco was packed.

I passed on the raspberries I can get at home and tried some fresh mango. Fruit really does taste better on the island when it’s fresh. I’m not a mango fan but this one had a light flavor and a fantastic texture.

Costco’s prices are better than other stores but still more expensive than back home. We picked up some Kirkland bottled water that cost about double what it does back home. Other things were pricier too.

We got some basic things so we can have the option to eat in when we want to save a bit of money.

The Kauai Costco also had some local items but for the most part, the selection was similar to what you get locally.

I did however pick up a nice red Hawaiian style short sleeved dress shirt. It has turtles on it and it was $19.99. Thanks Costco for making me look like a tourist!

After Costco, we went home and hung out for a few hours until dinner.

Dinner was at Kukui’ula Village Shopping Center. It’s a nice little upscale shopping area a few minutes away from Poipu. There’s a bevy of restaurants, some stores and even a few art galleries.

I wore my new Hawaiian shirt and it was pretty comfortable. I can see why people down here rock the casual short sleeve look.

We stopped at long’s, the CVS of the island to pick up some stuff and then walked around before dinner.

Dinner was at Eating House 1849, a modern Hawaiian restaurant. The space was rather cool with a nice open kitchen that you could see into and I enjoyed watching the food get prepared as we talked and waited.

I had my first chance to try island poke here and it wasn’t anything out of this world. The fish was fresh but the flavors weren’t there. However, the entrees we got were both very good especially my mustard grilled short rib.

That thing was freaking delicious and the portions were ample.

After that, we split a chocolate souffle which came with some ice cream from Lappert’s, a local ice cream place.

It was delicious and a perfect way to wind down a beautiful day. We might stop by the Lappert’s location just for the ice cream another day.

At this point, it was around 7:30 P.M. and went back to our place and basically just went to sleep. We’re still clearly not on Hawaii time as evidence by the fact that I’m up at 4 A.M wring this blog post.

I don’t even know if it makes sense to get on Hawaii time since we’re not night people. We want to make sure to make the most of the daylight so going to bed early and rising as the sun does makes sense to us.

Today, the plan is to explore the local southern beaches before our afternoon sunset dinner cruise on the Na Pali coast. I’m excited!

There’s still plenty of Hawaii to come as we’ve barely done anything but I’m already enjoying the island quite a bit.

Related : Hawaii Diaries #3

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