Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Living in the Hawaiian Jungle (Plus, Where I'm Going Next!)

Aaron and I are back from our week on Kauai!

Last year, we spent a great week on Oahu, and this year's trip just confirmed that Hawaii is kind of our special place.

We just love piling our beach gear into a rental car, rolling down the windows and blasting Hawaiian/reggae music.

We love the scenery.

Waimea Canyon.


The sunsets.

Poipu Beach.


The waterfalls.

I have no clue what this waterfall is called! It's on Grove Farm land.


The fruity drinks.

Drankin' at Roy's Poipu Bar & Grill.

And the ice cream.


Ohhh, how we love the ice cream. We made several trips to Lappert's Hawaii throughout the week.


One of the things we loved most about this trip was where we stayed.

On Oahu, we went the typical hotel-on-the-beach route. The Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel was nice, but it was full of tourists and surrounded by other hotels and shops and restaurants packed with even more tourists. Waikiki Beach wound up being one of our least favorite beaches (incredible sunsets, but lame for swimming and surfing), and we rarely even hung out in the area. On top of all that, hotels ain't cheap.

Based on positive experiences I'd read about from other bloggers, I suggested we look for a private vacation rental for our trip to Kauai. We scoured sites like VRBO and Roomorama before finally finding our perfect jungle hideaway listed on Airbnb.

For $80/night, we scored a self-contained studio tucked away in a quiet Kalaheo neighborhood just two minutes off Route 50. It featured a fully screened lanai, which housed beach mats, snorkel gear and floaties...


...and the inside had everything else we could possibly need for a relaxing, homey stay!



We really enjoyed the kitchenette with full refrigerator, microwave, toaster oven, hot plate, dishes, utensils and condiments.



The comfortable couch was great for watching the finale of The Bachelorette (I'm not ashamed) and the Olympics on the cable TV. Wi-Fi was fast and free, too.



The bathroom was stocked with nice bath towels, beach towels and toiletries.


And the king-sized bed was ridiculously huge and adorned with plenty of blankets and extra pillows. There were also fresh flowers on the lanai, coffee table and bathroom counter when we arrived, but I snapped these photos right as we left, so you may notice that they're all dead. : (

The owners, Neil and Sharon, live in the entirely separate upstairs portion of the house, and we only saw Neil twice: once when we arrived and once when we left.

Aaron and I were up and out of the place early each morning to do various activities, and Neil was out surfing each night. I don't know what Sharon was up to, but we never met her. Apparently, they called us "the ninja guests."

Neil encouraged us to come knocking with any questions or concerns, but we never had any. He started us off on the first day with many wonderful recommendations for local restaurants, beaches and activities, and that was enough for us!

Enjoying the sunset at Poipu Beach, about 15 minutes away from our studio.




Now that we've had a great first experience with a private vacation rental, Aaron and I will probably do a mix of vacation rentals, hotels and possibly hostels on our next trip. Hmm, have I told you what that is yet?

ITALY this fall!

From Milan to the Amalfi Coast, we'll spend just over two weeks exploring, eating and drinking our way through Italy. I'm leaving most of the planning to Aaron, but I have my heart set on two activities: 1) Taking an amazing cooking class; 2) Doing a bicycle wine-tasting tour. Recommendations are welcomed!

Lots more to come from our trip to Kauai. Here's a preview of what's next!


I did not stay this clean for long...

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15 comments:

  1. I just returned from my first ever Hawaii experience (Maui) and can absolutely understand why people fall in love with it. The people were so friendly, the weather was heavenly and the food delicous. I can't wait to go back!

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    1. Maui was my first Hawaiian destination as well! Can't get enough. Aaron and I hope to visit the big island next year!

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  2. We're ending our trip in Kauai... this got me even more pumped for it!

    We had an amazing 5 hour cooking class on an agriturismo on the border of Tuscany & Umbria... we did it through the tour company Walks Of Italy. We can give you their contact info if you're interested.

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    1. Yes, yes, yes! I majorly drooled over your post! I'll be in touch...

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  3. I'm so jealous!!! What a wonderful trip! Can't wait to read about the rest!! and ITALY!!? OMG how exciting!

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    1. Less than two weeks to go until Italy! Very excited!

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  4. My husband and I love Italy! So far we've done Venice, Rome and Sorrento (and surrounding areas). If you want to do the Amalfi Coast and some sights in the Napoli Bay area, Sorrento is a great hub as it's close to so many places and a bit cheaper than staying on the Amalfi Coast. You can do day trips like drive or take a tour bus (although I've heard those are scarey on the bendy roads) or rent a scooter (which may be even scarier?!) to drive along the Amalfi Coast. We didn't get to do that one when we went, but it is very close and we were busy taking a trip out to the island of Capri (must do!), hiking up Mt. Vesuvius, and going to Pompeii (definitely could spend a full day there if you're interested in that sort of thing). And Sorrento is a really lovely little place especially when you wander into the smaller back streets away from the main road that runs through it. I highly recommend a B&B called Casa Mazolla in Sorrento. They are so friendly and accommodating and their view is amazing (panoramic views of the Mediterranean). It's a bit further away from the main part of town but they offer a free taxi service and will suggest for you an awesome (and very local) restaurant that has the world's best ravioli - seriously. I want to go back just to try to get the recipe. Happy to share any details or info if you're interested. Have fun and eat your heart out (it will be easy to do!).
    Nicci xo

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    1. Thank you for the great recommendations!

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  5. Your trip looks wonderful! I've been putting a lot of thought into renting a condo/guest house on Kauai for my next trip too. I want to hike the Na Pali Coast! :)

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    1. Sounds like a great idea. There are so many beautiful little secluded beaches on the Na Pali Coast that we only got to see from a plane and a boat!

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  6. Wow!! reading the whole stuff was a fun !!! you guys are really great!!! loved it!!! Take care!!

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  7. food looks great, and here I am hungry :)

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  9. Hahaha I see an interesting and fun through your photos

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  10. I was in Hawai in 2005, really a paradise. Just reminds me of a wonderful time. Thanks for the pics

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