A Dose of Aloha and Adventure in Kauai



You know that Jerry Maguire line, “You had me at hello.

Well, Kauai had me at aloha.

Nearly three years ago, I got my first taste of the Garden Isle and aloha. Shortly thereafter, it became my writing abode and basecamp of many adventures whether on foot, in kayak, or by helicopter.

Why did I choose Kauai? 

I have to admit, Kauai is one of the most breathtaking places I have had the opportunity to live.  However, Kauai hadn’t been on my radar. I mean it is nearly five thousand miles away from my other base, South Florida. I didn’t even research about Kauai and its aloha prior to moving. I blindly packed up and followed Mr. Right to this amazing place. Funny how life works! Now, let me share with you a little about aloha and my two favorite adventure travel spots on the island of Kauai.

Heidi Siefkas and Kauai’s NaPali Coast

Aloha 101

I try not to make assumptions about others’ knowledge; so, I’m starting with the basics. Aloha is a Hawaiian word that is easy to say. It sounds just like it looks; however, most pronounce it a-loooo-ha with a longer “O” for emphasis. Many define aloha simply as hello or goodbye, but it is so much more than just that. At its core, aloha is a state of mind or behavior that encourages all to be loving, patient, in tune with nature, and appreciating the moment. For those of you that have read my books, you know that I immediately connected with aloha because of its similarity to #LookUp.

Getting a dose of aloha and adventure

Although my Kauai office doesn’t look like a standard cubicle office nor does it sound like a “normal” office with the incessant Kauai roosters at all hours, I, too, need occasional getaways from the office. Regardless of its location or creative vibe, my office is an office where I, too, get stalled. So, to recharge and keep the writer’s block at bay, I pack up for a dose of aloha and adventure.

My two favorite aloha adventures: hiking Nualolo Trail and kayaking to Kipu Kai!

Nualolo Trail and Views of the NaPali Coast

Hiking Waimea Canyon’s Nualolo Trail to Overlook of NaPali Coast

For adventurers that love hiking, camping, and beautiful vistas, Waimea Canyon is a spectacular must do on the island. Nicknamed the Grand Canyon of the Pacific by one well-traveled writer, Mark Twain, Waimea Canyon is nature’s display of a tapestry of colors, waterfalls, overlooks, and with the opportunity to even get glimpses of the powerful Pacific Ocean and the NaPali Coast (pictured above). Unlike mainland trails, most trails in Hawaii and especially in Kauai are going to be tricky. If it says moderate, I would generally increase that difficulty factor by two because of the ever-changing conditions (muddy, uneven, steep inclines/declines, cliffs). Nualolo Trail trail is one of these moderate trails, but it is easy to get to from the Koke’e Lodge. Plus, it offers the best NaPali Coast views. However, it is a bit lengthy at 7.5 miles roundtrip, which is a half-day hike (not letting the grass grow) or full-day (taking your time to smell the ginger).

**Warning: The dirt in Kauai is red. Don’t pack anything white unless you want to bring it back as a red dirt-stained souvenir.

The Only Kayak on the Beach – Kipu Kai Kauai

Kayaking to a secluded beach on the Southside, Kipu Kai

For lovers of the ocean with experience in kayaking, I highly recommend heading to Kipu Kai. You should recognize the cove and surrounding land pictured above from the movie The Descendants (George Clooney, Beau Bridges). Unlike other movie spots on the island like Tahiti Nui in Hanalei, there are very few tourists or even other beachgoers (Jackpot). The landowner, Waterhouse Trust, prohibits tour companies from using the beach; so other than an occasional fisherman or another adventurous kayaker, you will have the beach pretty much to yourself. Don’t worry you are not trespassing while on the beach. In Hawaii, all the beaches are public. However, you must be wise not to pass the waterline (trees) onto the private property. If you do, you will hear the ATV approaching. There are full-time caretakers of the property.

Also, I must give you a good warning. Although Kipu Kai is a little slice of paradise, you need to be wise about when to go. The conditions need to be Kona winds (coming from the South) to make this kayak a moderate 2.5-hour roundtrip kayak from either Nawiliwili Harbor in Lihue or from near Shipwreck’s beach in Poipu. Remember that the current will be going with you on only one way. I suggest going against the current first and enjoying more of the coast on the way back with the route from Lihue. If you keep you eyes peeled, you will probably see many sea turtles and in season, December through May, perhaps humpback whales.

Are you ready for a change of pace, perhaps a dose of aloha and adventure?

Perhaps Hawaii is on your list. See Hawaii travel tips here.

Here’s to looking up!


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