“The chant speaks to the beauty of Kauai, with its mountain WAI’ALE’ALE, so majestic it appears to pull at the very heavens. It also speaks of island and human creation, stating that our lives are like an island…for we experience both periods of calm and times of storm. If we remember to stand firmly rooted in our belief, and to share our aloha freely, we will learn the lessons of life.”
Hibisicus, St. Regis, Princeville
This was the last thing I read on the wall at the Kauai airport regarding the Kaulilua – Hula Pahu before I boarded my plane home. The perfect send-off reminder of how magnificent the island truly is and how magical my experiences were over the past eight days. Kauai provided me with endless opportunities to sit in front of the most luscious and vast landscapes, and it also introduced me to ‘Poke’. But most importantly, my time in Kauai raised my vibration, quieted my mind and guided my energy into a much needed state of calm, showing me the meaning of slowing my life down.
Spires of Kalalau Beach, Kauai
I traveled to Kauai on invitation to a beautiful wedding held at the Waimea Plantation Cottages celebrating my dear friend and blogger Rachel Lloyd of Love, Rachel. I was also asked to do an Instagram takeover project with Discover Kauai called ‘Discover Kauai with Breona’ where I visited and provided coverage updates of multiple spots listed in the Discover Kauai East Side and North Shore Travel Guides.
Twirling at the Macauley wedding, Waimea Plantation
In eight days I likely covered more ground than a visitor would consider in three weeks, but in typical 100PercentDay fashion, I wanted to maximize every day through adventure, nature and some excellent eats.
Sporting my new Bloom and Grow earrings at Polihale Beach
If you are planning a trip to Kauai I would first recommend downloading the Discover Kauai Travel Guides. I solely used the guides to map my itinerary and adventures, and they provided me all the resources I needed to create 100 percent experiences across the island.
Secrets Beach, Kauai
My 100 percent experiences across eight days:
Beaches on Beaches on Beaches
Kauai’s beaches have been voted some of the best on the planet. Long stretches of white sand meets turquoise water meets dramatic cliffs and Nā Pali coastline. Many of the beaches listed as my favorites below are found in the Discover Kauai Travel Guides. Make sure to reference the guides for clear driving and parking directions as many are difficult to find without the right coordinates and instructions.
My personal favorite beach complete with a stunning cliff side backdrop, immaculate snorkeling opportunities as well as a gorgeous place to watch the sunset.
Secluded beach accessible by walking path. Great snorkeling if the water is calm.
Very calm and clear water safe for beginner snorkelers. Long stretch of beach along Hawaii’s longest reef.
Great for families with kids as there is a large rocked-in swimming pool complete with fish for beginner snorkelers. The beach is not secluded and is right off the main highway at the mouth of the Wailua River.
Crashing waves rolling on a very long stretch of sand accessible by a 15-minute hiking path. No snorkeling due to rough waters.
A very remote beach down a long unpaved road. Only attempt with a four-wheel drive vehicle. Gorgeous Nā Pali coast backdrop and plenty of room to find your own peaceful spot. No snorkeling due to rough waters.
Accessible by two mile difficult hike on the Kalalau trail. Do not enter the water due to treacherous conditions. Great resting spot after hiking to Hanakāpīʻai Falls.
Its Poke Time
Poke is a traditional Hawaiian raw fish salad. I am not sure I can remember my life before Poke now. I craved Poke on a daily basis after indulging in it for the first time. It’s a perfect satisfaction after a long hike or a day at the beach. My two favorite Poke establishments are:
Kealia Poke: 5-5190 Kuhio Hwy, Hanalei, HI 96714
Fish Express: 3343 Kuhio Hwy, Lihue, HI 96766
Shaved Ice Like a Boss and More
My traveling partner Kristi was a shaved ice monster, tackling every opportunity possible to consume the greatest Hawaiian sweet treat. She taught me the meaning of a ‘snow cap’ and showed me her uncanny ability to ride an adult sugar high.
Wishing Well Hanalei serves up shaved ice of the organic and all-natural variety as well as acai bowls. We frequented Wishing Well and enjoyed both these delicacies on their grassy al fresco picnic table style patio.
Not in the mood for sweets even if they’re healthy? Nom Kauai has you covered. This food cart on the side of the Kuhio highway in Kapaa serves up the finest award-winning burgers on the island, utilizing local ingredients with a Southern fusion. My personal choice was ‘The Woody’ substitute with a taro patty. Incredible!
100 Percent Tip: Download the Discover Kauai Travel Guides for discounts on these establishments.
Wailua Falls Lookout:
Accessible by car. Lookout point with parking area.
Opeaka Falls Lookout + Wailua River Lookout:
Accessible by car right off highway 580. Lookout point with parking area.
Accessible via moderately easy path. You will approach the first waterfall on your left but continue another 20 minutes to the larger waterfall after you make this first stop.
Accessible by hiking on the Kalalau trail. Eight miles round trip. Rated as difficult but well worth it. Strip down and jump into the waterfall pool if you can brave the chilly waters. I recommend close-toed shoes for this hike as there are many exposed rocks and tree roots.
Hiking to a Higher Vibration
I believe all trails are not created equal. Some trails provide solitude after a day in the office, some provide a great nature cleanse and some raise your vibration so high you believe the trail guided you back to yourself. The Kalalau trail is 11 miles of pure magic. I felt my body was on a natural high as my legs carried me up and down luscious valleys and around bends of beautiful views of the Nā Pali Coast. The Kalalau trail can be found at the end of the Kuhio highway on the North Shore. I recommend arriving by 7am to ensure a parking spot. If you are backpacking the trail, you will need a permit. I also recommend using this guide to find the perfect tent for your camping trip. My schedule allowed an eight mile day hike and gave me enough of a taste to promise myself I will be back to backpack the trail in the near future.
A Birds Eye View with Sunshine Helicopters
As much as 90% of Kauai’s scenery is inaccessible by car or hiking; therefore, it is crucial to take a helicopter tour. I recommend going with Sunshine Helicopters. Their pilots are very informative and provide a first-class experience from start to finish. You can expect to see canyons, valleys and waterfalls that would otherwise be missed. Bring your camera to capture a birds-eye view of this majestic landscape. If you are prone to motion sickness like me, I would recommend taking a Bomine tablet and having a full stomach before the flight.
‘Sunsetting’ Second to None
If watching the sun go down over a bottle of wine and being the last ones to walk off the beach in the dark were a sport, Kristi and I would have taken gold medal. We rarely missed a chance to watch the sunset after a day of adventure. These were the true 100 percent days. We took this opportunity at Hanalei Beach and Tunnels Beach, and we frequented the St. Regis for the celebratory sunset champagne sabering ceremonies in Princeville. Check with the hotel for exact sabering times and arrive an hour early to grab your perfect spot on the patio overlooking the ocean.
A Wedding to Remember
The Macauley wedding was an affair like no other. No gaudy theme or over-indulgent decorations needed. This wedding needed nothing more than the love that filled the air and the purposeful place cards that had a handwritten personalized message filled with gratitude and emotion for each attendee. The wedding embodied the beauty of Hawaii and the generous, kind and welcoming disposition of the joyful couple, Rachel and Drew. All of the wedding collateral was designed by the talented Kelsey Malie Calligraphy. The ceremony took place under a large inviting banyan tree, and the aisle was lined with white Hawaiian flowers. From the reception toasts through the last hour of dancing, we could feel the bliss seeping out of all of our hearts. Since this event many have exuded ‘that was the best trip and evening of our lives,’ and I absolutely agree.
I want to thank Discover Kauai for the incredible experience and guidance that helped shaped a week I will never forget. I also want to congratulate The Macauley’s on starting the rest of their lives together. Being a part of this wedding celebration and a part of their lives is one of the many blessings I have received in the last few years. This is a handsome life.