How to Slow Down and Have Fun, Kauai Style

How to Slow Down and Have Fun, Kauai Style
Na Pali Coast
Na Pali Coast
I have been feeling pretty stagnate lately on O’ahu. Been working so much and haven’t felt inspired or had any time to explore more here to share. Once I realized Memorial Day Weekend was approaching, I instantly felt an immediate impulse to fly over to Kauai, the last island I wanted to visit here living in Hawaii before I head over to Europe soon!

There are wonderful things to say about all the islands of Hawaii, each island I have visited are all different and unique in their own inspiring beautiful way. When I ask people here what Kauai is like, everyone gives me the same answer, that anyone that has an interest in coming to the islands has to visit Kauai. And they were absolutely right!

I really don’t have a favorite island here, each island offers everyone that visits something special and different, and you always leave each island enlightened in some way. People would always tell me how laid back and peaceful Kauai is, this island is free from the hustle city life of Waikiki on O’ahu, and farther away from the other islands, so I feel that Kauai is one of the less visited islands.

Here it is more country and slow paced, still tourists frequent, but not as much going on in comparison to the other islands, but in a very special spiritual way. I am so glad I waited to come to Kauai last before I leave the island life here.

The peace and serenity on this island seeps into you so naturally you don’t even realize it consumed you. This island is exactly what my mind and body needed to recuperate and to remind myself to slow down and enjoy my time here as much as I can before I say goodbye…SAD FACE.

I was fortunate to have all 3 days off for the holiday weekend, and the first two days I explored all over the island.

Here are some of the fun and peaceful things I got to explore on this secluded paradise and hopefully one day you can experience this gifted tropical place.

Tunnels Beach, in Ha’ena, North Shore Kauai

Hands down, one of the best scuba and snorkeling spots on Kauai, and filled with the most peaceful honus I have ever swam with, is Tunnel’s Beach. (Honu-Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle). The reef here is close to shore and so large that apparently you can see it from space! I only swam past the shore break for about a minute and instantly saw a huge majestic honu.

I always keep a respectable distance whenever I am fortunate enough to see a beautiful sea creature under the sea. But this honu had no problem letting me swim with him in his peaceful embrace. He continued to swim along with me and all around me, and I appreciated every minute of it!

This beach is filled with complete facilities and people enjoy camping here with a permit of course. And it is so laid back and easy going, I would highly recommend to camp here. The shore break can be rough, but luckily on the day I went it was pretty mellow. I just loved being here and soaking up the laid back vibe.

Tunnels is right past the 8 mile marker driving up to North Shore towards the Na Pali Coast. The road dips before you get to the 9 mile marker at Manoa Stream. The stream flows over the road creating potholes which I had to drive over in a rented Mustang! Be cautious driving around the potholes and since it is hard to find parking here, it is one of the more secluded beaches in North Shore.

Coconut Coasters in Kapaa (15 minutes near Lihue Airport)-You can rent snorkel gear here also for $4 a day! These guys are super cool and helpful, they were the one’s who recommended for me to check out this cool beach for snorkeling.

Drove back down the coast to check out Hanalei Bay

Work, sleep, eat, REPEAT. That is all I had time for the past couple of weeks that I legit had no time to do any research before I left. I even forgot my bathing suits and important essentials like deodorant and face wash that is how delirious I was when I left! So, I enjoyed just cruising around and relaxing on my first day and drove through Hanalei Bay.

Hanalei which means wreath-shaped, is a cute and quiet beach town and famous here for surfing. A lot of locals, famous surfers, wealthy people, even some celebrities live here.

Not a popular beach for swimming, but popular for beach activities mainly surfing. Still a great spot to check out the scenery and walk around town. I was also told this place is great for sunrises and sunsets.

Caught a beautiful sunset at Ke’e Beach (Pronounced Kay-eh)

This is the last beach you see driving up North Shore right before the entrance to the Na Pali coast hike. Also, the place where I realized the peace and serenity Kauai’s island spirit gives you had took me over. And I instantly was calm and relaxed. I sat quietly and napped while waking up to this beautiful sunset dream filled with pink clouds, luscious green forest, and barely anyone around.

I actually got pretty emotional being here at this beach, being in that moment realizing I was leaving this Hawaii chapter in my life soon. This was the perfect island to come to last since I truly finally felt this deep spiritual connection to Hawaii, and I was so grateful in that moment to have experienced Hawaii. Even though I am sad, I know it is time to move on, and I felt such a peace with my decision in that moment. It was like Hawaii’s way of saying goodbye, you are healed, now time to move on…Aloha.


Hanakapi’ai Beach

Second day and the best part of Kauai, Na Pali Coast Hike or Kalalau Trail, and hiking to Hanakapi’ai Beach

Ideally, I would have loved to have done this entire coast hike, which a lot of my friends have! But, I only had time to do a shorter yet still very strenuous choice. This part of the hike towards Hanakapi’ai Beach is about 2 miles and pretty mellow for the most part. This hike is meant for really taking your time, to soak in all the alluring scenery, and not rush past the beauty that follows you up along the coast.

It took me almost 2 hours since I did take my time. But this hike, even if you are doing the shorter version, you have to be fully prepared. Since I was coming out of delirium from working so much, I was not at all prepared. I didn’t bring enough water and no snacks at all and I can hustle when I hike, so I was OK on the way there, but on the way back not so much! But I also continued on past this point and hiked another 2 miles to Hanakapi’ai Falls.

This is the perfect first part of the hike that I feel any type of hiker or beginner can enjoy. This part of the coast was incredible to see with the most vibrant blue and green tropical colors I have ever seen.

If you can handle it, hike another 2 miles to Hanakapi’ai Falls

When you reach the beach, there are some bathroom facilities near the left and you will see the sign that tells you where you can continue on. To keep going onto Kalalau Trail, you have to have a permit to camp and to even hike up. If you look to the left, you will see a sign for Hanakapi’ai Falls and go to your left.

I didn’t do any research, so I totally stumbled onto this sign, and was feeling good and energized, and decided to move on since I didn’t feel the normal reward feeling I get at the end of a killer hike. Also, I had to chase a waterfall in Kauai. Little did I know, this 2 mile hike was so strenuous it felt more like 3-4 miles.

You cross rivers, walk through bamboo forests, you climb rocks, get muddy, you really hustle to get to this waterfall. All that struggle slows down your pace which is why it feels like way more than 2 miles. I can handle a lot of hikes and I struggled a bit with this one. But I usually do research before I go on a hike and I thought 2 miles I could easily handle. Boy was I wrong.

Just remember if you continue onto the falls, you have to hike another 2 miles back along the mellow part of the coast. This is where I messed up, because I was pretty dehydrated and weak coming back in the heat, and ran out of water. I literally was begging people for some water on the way back! And a lot of people were in the same boat as me. Barely had any water to get by on.

BUT the waterfall is completely and totally worth it, just keep in mind you have to earn your way to this waterfall and work hard. Bring plenty of water, sunscreen, snacks, and dry clothes, so you can hang for a bit and relax at the waterfall before you head back.

Even though this hike felt like forever, once I saw the 300ft magical waterfall, I was completely blown away. Definitely one of the best waterfalls I have seen, and you can swim around! It does feel very powerful being in the water so be careful. It was a very spiritual place and everyone there was super relaxed and carefree.

On the way back it was still so gorgeous, even though I was dehydrated and famished, it was still very easy to have a good attitude and to enjoy the view and the tropical jungle.

Decided to cool off and relax on the West Side of the island in Poipu

This was a really cool beach town that includes the Poipu Beach Resort and a really nice part of the island. I really enjoyed winding down here. Perfect place to say my goodbye and thanks to Kauai for slowing my life down for a bit. Popular spot for sunsets. 

Great Hostel for Budget Travelers-Kauai Beach House Hostel in Kapaa (15 minutes near the Lihue Airport)

This hostel was awesome, like staying in a community beach house with an ocean view! Cozy and spacious, with a ton of beds and room to socialize and hang out at. I stayed in the female dorms and we always kept the door to our lanai (patio) open to hear the waves crash at night, and wake up to a beautiful sunrise every morning. Kitchen, with a washer and dryer, and really friendly staff, also they will keep your valuables locked up that you can get anytime between 7am-3pm, and 3pm-10pm. Plenty of parking available too.

You have Sam’s Ocean View Restaurant right above that was a popular spot. Along with great cheap food trucks and walking distance to town for shopping. I really liked staying here and felt like I was staying at a cool beach house for the weekend.

Resourceful Book: Kauai Revealed by Andrew Doughty

The peaceful and laid back spirit stayed with me, even being back on O’ahu, and it feels so good to be writing again xoxo




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Jen Bunce

Traveling Alone Often ➳Finding the Keys to Happiness ➳Chasing Enlightenment Around the World

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