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Travel Diary: Kauai + Maui, Hawaii (February/March 2022)

This was a trip we originally had planned last October, but due to restrictions in Hawaii we had postponed the trip until this year. Although the wait was long, it was completely worth it! The people of Hawaii were so kind and the weather is absolutely beautiful this time of year. Here are our adventures over the 10 days!


 

We had originally planned to fly out Thursday morning from Fort Lauderdale. However, I recieved a notification at about 12:30pm on Wednesday afternoon that our first flight to Dallas was canceled due to a random winter storm. I immediately called John and American Airlines to figure out what our options were. The rest of our flights were showing active and on time, so the big issue was getting to Dallas to catch out flight to Honolulu. The wait to speak with a representative was over 3 hours... so after getting a call back at about 3:15pm we discovered there was only one other option through American Airlines to change our flight plan, but they wouldn't have been able to honor our first class seats. I'm not a high maintenance person... but an 8 hour flight in economy seating is not fun. John saw online that there was literally only one flight going to DFW from Miami the next morning. He booked the flight and we both rushing home and packed our bags. We took the train down to Miami at 9pm and stayed at the hotel airport. Unfortunately... the line to check into the hotel was wrapped around the airport and it took us about an hour to check in. By the time we got into our room it was about 10:15pm and we were both exhausted. We showered and immediately went to bed. Our alarms went off at 4am so we could catch the 6am flight, and let me tell you- although the process was a pain in the a** it was 100% worth it for the ease of getting through the airport in the morning. After getting through security and onto our flight, it got delayed for an hour due to a unruly passenger that ended up getting kicked off the flight. (Long story, but she just wasn't cooperating with the flight attendants) We somehow made it to Dallas and landed safely in the winter storm and had to go pick up our bags and go back through check-in/security since we had rebooked on a different airline. (Note- we both almost slipped and busted our a** on the layer of ice outside of the airport. LOL. At that point we considered it a miracle we made it to Dallas. Literally EVERY flight was canceled that morning except ours.) Our 9 hour flight to Honolulu was on time and smooth and then we had another 40 minute flight to Kauai. But finally... WE MADE IT TO HAWAII! The vacation definitely didn't start out as planned, but we were both so grateful to make it to Kauai as planned and to the resort. (Mental note- don't order room service at 9pm without checking at the prices.... $150 later for a salad, quesadilla, brownie and house bottle of wine.)



 

Our first full day in Kauai was absolutely wonderful. We stayed at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort + Spa and it was incredible. Right on the ocean, a gorgeous sunrise and delicious breakfast. We had rented a car for this portion of the trip so we decided to go hiking for the day (of course- put the top down on the mustang!) and started the drive. We stopped and took pictures along the way of the beautiful views as we drove up a mountain. We did the Waipo-o falls via Pu'u Hinahina trail and hiked 2 miles to a beautiful waterfall. On our way back we stopped at and got burritos/bowls at a local food truck on the side of the road called Uncle Stoney's. SO GOOD. We stopped again at a cute down just outside of the resort to grab some things from the store and I stopped into a cute shaved ice spot called The Fresh Shave! ALSO DELICIOUS. We spend the rest of the evening the resort and walked along the beach. We even saw a seal taking a nap in the sun! Dinner was at the resort restaurant called- The Library, where we had sushi and tiramisu for dessert.




 

Our second full day in Kauai (Saturday) was full of adventure! We started off the day sitting by the lagoon pool at the hotel soaking up some sun and then headed to Lihue for our open doors helicopter tour of the island! It was honestly breathtaking. We were able to see parts of the island you can only see by air- including the waterfall from Jurassic park, Na Pali coast state park, Valley of the Kings and Waialeale's Summit which averages 450 inches of rain every year! I get some pretty severe motion sickness so you can thank John for all the content because I couldn't take my death grip off the bar and had to focus on deep breathing the entire time. It was worth every moment though! (My mom got us the helicopter tour for Christmas through Ali'i Hawaii Air Tours & Charters) Afterwards we drove about 10 minutes north and hiked the Sleeping Giant mountain on the Nounou Forest Reserve, which gave us great views of the town and ocean. On the drive back to the hotel we went though the iconic Kauai Tree Tunnel and stopped to eat at Keoki's Paradise, which had some incredible mahi mahi + seafood risotto. (Which I ended up craving for the rest of the trip, highly recommend stopping there!)



 

Our final day in Kauai (Sunday) was pretty chill. We spent the morning catching rays by the lagoon again and then dropped off our lei's at the remembrance stone, called "pohaku" where you say thank you for all the wonderful memories and moments you got to experience. Then we walked along the resort trail to Poipu Beach where we saw an endangered turtle resting on the beach. We then walked back and explored shipwreck beach, which was incredible and gave us some cool views of the resort. We were able to sneak into TidePool's for dinner (Note- everything was booked and needed reservations, just something to keep in mind! We weren't expecting it to be so busy.) Dinner was delicious and we got to watch the sunset from our seats with some Portuguese donuts for dessert.



 

Monday was a half travel day from Kauai to Maui! We had an early flight over and we're thankfully able to check into our room right away. This portion of the trip was made possible through a work conference that John ha won- so go John! The resort we stayed at in Maui was the Marriott Wailea Beach Resort in Wailea Beach. When we checked in, we were greeted with local fresh juice and lei's. After dropping off our bags into the room, John played me a song on the ukulele and made my heart melt. We then stepped onto our balcony and saw humpback whales breaching in the ocean right outside our room! SO AWESOME. After getting settled in we walked to a local nearby shopping plaza to get some food and ended up at The Pink and Cork- which had the BEST poke. Highly recommend that spot if you're in the area! We then shopped around, picked up a few cute things, cookies and some coffee creamer. #priorities After walking back to the hotel we were surprisingly exhausted so we both took naps. Once power up, we walked along the beach, saw the sunset and ate dinner on the roof of the resort!



 

Day 2 in Maui is a day I won't forget. (Tuesday) We decided to rent scooters for the day, which ended up being SO MUCH FUN. I had never drove an electric scooter before so that was a learning curve, but thankfully I caught on quickly. John was a pro right off the start, of course. We drove down to Wailea-Makena, stopping along the way to check out beaches and a road stand for fresh coconut juice and apple bananas! So refreshing. We continued down to the Ahihi-Kinau Lava Flow Reserve from when the volcano last erupted in the 1700's. On our way back we stopped at a cove and stripped down to our undies for a dip in the water. It was one of those moments that will stick in your memories forever. Free and in love. We paused again at Po'olenalena beach, where we got to see a family of sea turtles! Afterwards we went into the town of Kihei for lunch at Three's Bar and Grill (which was on Diners, Drive-in's and Dives!) where we got some sushi and a coconut crushed fish sandwich + then went over for drinks at Maui Brewing Company. We cruised around for a little longer before heading back to the resort for a lu'au dinner!



 

Day 3 in Maui was also full of adventures! (Wednesday) We spent the morning hiking the Twin Falls area and saw 3 waterfalls. The guide we had was extremely knowledgeable about the native plant life so we got to try the Jamaican Cherry Tree (tasted like captain crunch cereal), the Indonesian Wax Plant (tasted like green apples) and raw cacao straight from the fruit! Huge shout out to Michael, he mad the experience one to remember. Afterwards, we hadn't planned on doing a rental car but decided on one so we could explore the island more. We set off for another hike and headed up to the north-west side of the island for the Lahaina Pali Trail from the Ukumehame trailhead. (Which John later called "Death Mountain" LOL) It was tough and had a desert climate, which was so different from what we saw earlier in the day. At 4.6 miles round trip, our legs were talking by the end of it- but worth it for the views! We finished up our day with dinner at a local spot, Monkey Pods. I think we were both deliriously tired from the day, but had so much fun laughing and enjoying each others exhausted company at dinner.



 

Day 4 in Maui! (Thursday) Although we were both half asleep getting up at 5am for an early morning snorkeling trip, it was worth it to be some of the first ones out on the water. We went to the Molokini Crater, a partially submerged volcano, that has the best snorkeling in the islands! There were so many brightly colored fish and corals. However even though we rented wet suits... my Florida blood couldn't hang and I decided to sit it out on the next spot to warm up. At Mākena Bay, John got in the water so you can thank him for the AWESOME pictures. He said he spotted more than 10 sea turtles! On our way back we saw a group of Humpback Whales too! The captain explained that we were in the middle of mating season, so these whales traveled thousands of miles to have their babies or find mates for the next season. Afterwards, we decided to make our way back to the lava fields that we had explored briefly on the scooters for a short hike on the Hoapili Trail along the bay before returning back to the hotel for afternoon massages and dinner.



 

Our last full day in Maui. (Friday) After breakfast we made the drive up to the Haleakala mountain! The drive was absolutely beautiful with winding roads through the country as we climbed up. Once we got above the tree line, it felt like you were on a different planet. (Oh, and we picked up a hitch hiker along the way. Lol, that was a first for all of us but he needed a ride and we were headed to the top. *Shrugs*) Thankfully, the clouds stayed clear for a little bit when we first got to the top so we got to see a glimpse of the crater! Once the winds picked up and clouds set in, we decided to hike around the crater to see if we would be able to get a better view... we definitely didn't- but, what a WILD experience walking through the clouds. You couldn't see a thing and it felt as though you were walking into the abyss. A little bit into the hike, it started to borderline freezing rain on us (temp was about 46 degrees) and we were obviously not prepared so we turned back and drove up to the summit. Going to sea level to 10,023 feet was an experience I won't forget. On the way home we stopped at a local food truck, Stewz Burgers, that had the best burger I've had in a hot minute + of course some local cookies at Maui Cookie Lab. In the evening we relaxed at the hotel, played a game of pool + danced the night away with new friends to a live band by the water.



 

Overall, this trip was incredible and there are so many new memories that I'll treasure forever. Thank you John for everything you do. You work so hard and deserve the world. I love you!



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