Travel Diaries

Hawaii Diaries #4 – ATV Tour, Poipu Beach and Spouting Horn

We were up early in the morning to head to our ATV Tour. My wife booked the early morning ranch tour with Kipu Ranch Adventures.

I was feeling a bit better after my seasick adventures as we drove over. The sun was just rising as we put on our gear and listened to the rules.

My wife was looking cool in her ATV gear.

It was rather chilly in the morning so we brought rain jackets. They give you a scarf to keep and it’s definitely worth wearing since you don’t want unknown mud in the mouth.

They took us to the ATVs after we geared up. 

The ATVs can seat up to four people. The reason we chose Kipu Ranch was that they allow you to switch drivers at each stop so we could both get some driving done. 

They make the first driver do a loop around the parking lot to get some basics down then line you up before the ATV tour starts.

ATV Tour

My wife started as the driver as we got going to the first stop. The road was mostly flat here and a little bit muddy. At this point, the sun started coming out above the mountains so we popped off our jackets.

It was another beautiful day. We’ve been pretty damn lucky with weather so far as every day has been sunny without much rain.

The ATV tour includes a few stops. At each stop, you have the option to switch drivers and get out and listen to the tour guide talk about the location.

The discussions mainly deal with the many movies shot here or the owners of the surrounding land.

It makes sense since a lot of the views are beautiful. Movies like Tropic Thunder and Pirates of the Caribbean have shot on location in this spot.

The trail starts to curve and get a bit more bumpy past the first stop. I was in the driver’s seat now and noticed that the people before us were lagging the main group.

Suddenly, the guide behind us who makes sure everyone is doing well swerved ahead of me and sped ahead. I came up to a hill to find the three cars in front of me reversing.

Apparently, we lost the trail and missed a turn off. It seems like it’s important to keep pace with the lead driver or that can happen; who knew!

That leads to one of the problems on the tour. There were about a dozen ATVs there and the pace is definitely dictated by the ATVs in front of you. If you get stuck before a slow driver, prepare for a slow slog.

The good thing is that they switch up the rotation so you’ll sometimes be in the back and sometimes in the front.

After we got back and made the correct turn, the ride became quite bumpy. There are bumps and divots in the road that showcase some of the fun terrain we’ll be driving through.

Honestly, I was quite surprised at the level of difficulty of this ATV tour. I was half expecting flat terrain but this second part already added a bunch of spots that had the car at moving at odd angles. At this point, I really began to appreciate the power of an ATV. These things can move through awkward land like nothing.

We caught up to the group and found a road leading down and the guide showing us what not to do!

You can see the road getting a bit more rough from here. There’s a big drop ahead with some divots and mounds.

My wife took over as we headed down the tricky to navigate hill.

We drove for about a minute before stopping again for a bathroom break.

Therein lies another small issue with the tour. The driving is fun but the stops are a bit too frequent. It’s nice to stop and listen about the land, take pictures or take a bathroom break but I want more driving! The driving is fun!

Speaking of pictures; the views here are gorgeous.

We got some homemade banana bread and water at the next stop which was after a little uphill portion. The bread was a small portion but quite moist and delicious.

There was more background about the land. The ranch is HUGE and there were some nice views of the island.

From here, the drive gets a bit more challenging. The road was muddy and there were massive mounds all over the place.

There were more changes in elevation and the mud was splashing all around.

One thing I will suggest is to wear some stuff you’re not afraid to get dirty. The mud goes all over the place and it’ll definitely get on your clothing.

There were a few more stops as we made it through this area.

I would definitely say this was the most fun part of the trip. The road became challenging and the ATVs shook and moved around but still cut through the landscape without much trouble.

There are certainly parts where it seems like the car is slipping and that worry of a crash seeps in but you recover and move on.

At this point, I was even more surprised by how challenging this ride was. There’s a lot of spots where there’s nothing stopping you from a steep fall over the side of the road. There are also spots that move you about in the car like nothing.

It’s pretty damn exciting and fun!

The next spot was the raiders of the lost ark rope swing area. We walked down a very muddy slope and got a chance to swing on the rope if we wanted.

They didn’t suggest jumping in the water since the water was gross. However, it was neat to take a swing in the same area as good old Indy.

In fact, a lot of this ride feels like a movie. There are spots where you’re surrounded by vegetation and driving behind other ATVs where it feels like some war movie. There are spots where you hear the birds around you in an area covered by greenery where it feels like you’re driving through Jurassic Park.

You can definitely see why they shoot a lot of movies here. This place is beautiful.

As I mentioned before, the order you’re riding in changes as you move past the stops. I found that riding behind the guide in front was the best since your pace wasn’t limited as much by the people behind you.

There are definitely spots where you fall behind the group if you’re riding in the back but they do a good job of making sure no one gets lost. Still, I found myself enjoying the ride the most when I was two cars behind the leader. Otherwise, the pace can get a bit stop and go.

Besides the views of the land, you’ll see some animals too. It is a working cow ranch so you’ll spot plenty of cows on the side. They were summer cows. Some were black, some were brown.

There was even a spot where the cows were in the road and we had to heard them past a little bridge.

There were also a ton of birds and peacocks too. Our good old chicken buddies were there too.

The drive before the last stop took us up a big hill with beautiful views of Hawaii to one side. That side also had a massive sheer cliff drop-off and no guard rail. It could definitely present a challenge for those who are very afraid of heights.

The final stop had some beautiful views of Kipu Kai beach.

This beach is only reachable by sea craft so we likely won’t get there but it looks quite beautiful from up here. There’s a lot of nice spots in this tour where you see many things you won’t see anywhere else.

After this stop, I got back in the drivers seat and took us down the mountain and back to the starting line. At this point, I tried to hit as many puddles as possible with the right wheel to get my wife as dirty as possible.

It worked pretty well.

Overall, this trip was pretty great. The views are awesome and the driving is extra fun. We’re even thinking of doing another one in the north if we have time because of how fun this was.

There are some spots where the pace is slow and a bit too many stops but the trip is still worthwhile if you’re in the area.

If you’re a worried driver then maybe take the wheel for the first two stops then switch with someone who’s more confident and switch back after the Kipu Kai beach stop. It definitely gets much harder after the first two stops.

Overall, the ATV tour was a huge success; we loved it and had a ton of fun. It does get a bit dirty so wear some crappy clothing while there.

It was lunch time after we were done so we drove back to our neck of the woods. We stopped at Da Crack, a small Mexican stall that had a huge line when we got our acai bowl the other day.

Look at that meat, cheese and guacamole bowl! This is the place to eat if you want to keep Keto while on the island.

They really don’t skimp on the food if you pass on the rice. The meat, pork and beef, in this case was flavorful and tender and the guacamole was delicious.

Food on the island is expensive and this was a great value for the amount of food you get. This definitely isn’t Chipotle where you get 4 ounces of meat and that’s it. They pile on meat on top of more meat! It’s great. The flavors won’t change your world but it really hit the spot for lunch.

We did some chores after lunch. Our place has a washing machine so we did laundry and took out the trash before we walked over to the beach.

The water was really warm and we did some light snorkeling.

Poipu Beach Park is within walking distance to our place and is great for snorkeling. There are some nice swimming areas but also reefs right on the edge of the water. You step in, dip your head and see colorful fish right away; pretty awesome.

The water was warm and we hung out there for a bit before taking a walk down the beach.

Right in front of us, we saw a big monk seal hanging out.

The big fella was really enjoying the sun. He would spin around every once in a while to get his belly into the sun. The area was roped off and there was some info about the seal. I think this one was 4 years old.

A few hundred meters down the beach, we found this sea turtle too.

It’s really neat to see all these animals in the wild. We’ve seen dolphins, tortoises, seals and sea turtles and it’s been a few days. We’ve also seen chickens; the rarest Kauai animal!

We went back home, showered and headed out to get some dessert and to see Spouting Horn.

The Spouting Horn park has a little overlook where you can see the water spraying out of the narrow openings.

That was the biggest blast we saw. It does make a cool hissing sound when it happens and is totally worth seeing. The waves in the winter aren’t too strong so the spout isn’t too large. Plus, it was also low tide so it’ll get stronger as the waves in the area get stronger. Stop around high tide if possible

There’s not much to the park though so it’s a short stop. There’s an overlook and some stalls with trinkets for sales. We checked out the overlook then got back in the car and went to get some ice cream!

Lappert’s is a local Hawaiian ice cream place. Their dark chocolate ganache gelato was amazing; highly recommended.

The wife liked her Oreo chocolate waffle bowl too.

We saved some money by eating in for dinner and I made some soup from Costco.

Overall, this was a really fun day. The ATV tour was great and the rest of the day went well too as we saw a few things we’ve been meaning to check out.

A helicopter ride is up next. I’m not the biggest fan of heights and this one is open door but I’m sure the views will be worth it!

Related : Hawaii Diaries #5 – Open Door Helicopter Tour and Shave Ice

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