Hawaii Diaries #9 – Snorkeling and a Kauai Luau

We did the tourist thing; a Kauai Luau.

We’ve been in the north for a few days and this greets us every morning.

That’s not a bad view! The plan for today was to walk down to the Princeville resorts beach and do some snorkeling. However, the wife worked on the puzzle a bit first before we left.

After breakfast, we walked down to the beach. This is the same beach we visited yesterday but this time we brought some snorkel gear and some towels.

The water was warm and relatively clear and the snorkeling there was OK. It wasn’t as good as Poipu Beach in the south but the calm waters made for easy fish watching. We saw some fishies then walked back home! It’s a pretty long haul to the beach as there’s 120 steps and some long winding walkways to get there from the top.

Still, it’s really nice to stay within walking distance to a beach. There’s some public parking near the resort but it’s literally 8 spots so it’s not an easy beach to get to if you’re not staying in the area.

We headed towards the east side after a shower. The Kauai Luau was at Smith’s Family Garden near Kapa’a so we planned to spend the day there.

Lunch was at Coconut’s Fish Cafe. This place is a Maui original that opened a location here recently.

The fish tacos were the bomb.

One of the best fish tacos I had in my life. My wife’s steak taco salad was great too.

We went back to downtown Kapa’a to do some shopping for gifts; gotta get something for the people back home watching our pets!

I wanted to try another shave ice after the JoJo’s fiasco. The Hee Fat general store is a store with a random shave ice window in it.

They have the option of traditional(fake) or real fruit flavors. I guess that was the difference in the JoJo’s flavors. You gotta go with the real fruit.

The lava flow was coconut, pineapple and strawberry with macadamia nut ice cream below. It was delicious, just as good as the one I had down south. Real fruit is the answer to good shave ice!

The Kauai Luau was next. It started at 4:45 with exploration of the gardens.

There’s a tram ride or you can just walk around. We took the tram then spent the next hour walking around the place.

The gardens are well kept and swarming with birds. You can buy bird food to feed them and the birds know it because they hang out right near the paths waiting for food.

There’s chickens, peacocks, geese and other tiny birds including this thing with a dinosaur looking head.

We even ran into this massively fat duck that followed us around. It really got up into your face at times and we got a good video of it waddling towards us out of the water.

At 5:45, the imu ceremony began. This is the time where they get together and pull out the pig from the imu; the Hawaiian underground oven.

They take out the leaves covering the pig and then the pig comes out for everyone to see.

Looks delicious! Around 6, we all walked towards the luau tent and waited to get our food.

Everything is served in a buffet style with each table getting called up one by one.

Kauai Luau

Luckily, there’s a ton of food so it’s not like they’ll run out. However, the wait is a bit long if you happen to sit in one of the last tables; we were right in the middle and second to last called up.

The food is a bevy of things starting with the pulled pork. There’s the Hawaiian taro paste, poi and common foods like macaroni salad and mashed potatoes. There’s other meats like chicken adobo and beef teriyaki and fish dishes as well.

For dessert, they have fruit, rice pudding cooked in the imu, a coconut cake and a coconut jello.

I was here for the pork so my plate was mostly pork.

I also added some poi to give it a try. It doesn’t have much flavor and has a weird watery consistency. The pork was pretty good, not as good as the pork from Kauai Ono but solid even if a bit too salty. However, the rest of the food was a bit bland.

The mashed potatoes were pretty much instant potatoes and the other side dishes were bland. Dessert wasn’t anything special either.

Overall, a rather mediocre plate especially if you don’t eat a ton of pork.

The other problem here is the timing. The 4:45 start time means you have an hour to waste until the 5:45 imu ceremony. There’s not much to do beyond walk around and feed birds. The grounds look decent but aren’t anything special.

Food starts at 6 but if you’re unlucky, you won’t get to eat until 6:30. You’re done at 7 and then have to wait until 7:45 for the show to start.

There’s music, dance and some side things like going up on stage to learn the luau but for the most part, it’s a rather uneventful thing. You show up, walk around, eat some food, see a show and then go home.

It’s one of those touristy things you do and then forget about it. The food isn’t anything special and if you’re on the fence about this then give it a pass.

After the luau, we went home and went to sleep.

Today is our last full day on Kauai. We’re gonna take it easy with a farmer’s market, an escape room and dinner somewhere. After that, we’re off to Maui for a few days!

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