One of the best ways to see Kauai is by kayak. You can kayak the Napali Coastline (although you should be prepared for a workout) or you can kayak the rivers that flow so effortlessly through this green island. I chose to go river kayaking…because I don’t think my little 9 year old would’ve lasted for a coast line tour.
I booked a tour with Ali’i Kayaks because they had the best price on the internet: $39.95/pp. It didn’t come with a lunch (definitely BYOB) but no biggie. I got sandwich skills.
We started the day early by checking in at the Visitors Center which was only 5 minutes away from where we were staying in Kapa’a.
Our guide for the morning was a local guy named Lyndon. He was cracking me up because he kept asking everyone, “Howzit?” and referring to us throughout his tour as “Hey guys”. Typical Hawaiian lingo. So friendly, informal, and fun.
When we all crawled into our kayaks, there were 8 kayaks total in our party and I was the only one with a little kid. Most were couples in their mid 30’s to late 50’s. Needless to say, a few heads turned and looked me with raised eyebrows like, “You really going to do this with a kid?” Dang straight.
“Hey guys, welcome to your tour!” Lyndon began, “Are you ready to kayak four miles today?” He looks at me in particular, wide set smile on his face. I nod and flex my right arm slightly. “Oh, totally.”
“Well, listen, hey guys, we’re going to go two miles up the river here and then stop at a special spot. Then listen, hey guys, we’re going to hike about a mile up to the Secret Falls. And guess what guys? You are free to get wet!”
We piled into our kayaks and I was seriously impressed with Caden for the first leg of kayaking. This kid doesn’t like to be last in anything and he was stroking his little heart out. He also just had to be the first in line behind Lyndon when we started hiking to the falls. Lyndon actually fell back and whispered to me, “Your son? He’s a funny kid. He’s so mellow (ha! you don’t know him that well…maybe you mean can hang out w/adults pretty okay?) but so, like, ‘I can do this’. Cool kid, Angie.” Well, thank you very much.
The hike wasn’t too bad, probably took about 35 minutes to get to the falls thanks to all the little roots, rocks, and streams you have to cross. But just like hiking up the Hanakapi’ai Falls, it’s all totally worth it.
This little Secret Falls had a bit of charm in its own right.
I was one of three people in our group who actually jumped on in and swam over to the waterfall portion. This water was not exactly warm–it was a bit chilly! What was funny is that standing under the waterfall was warmer than swimming through the pool. I couldn’t believe nobody else would swim across–it’s not like you get a chance to do this every day. I say cold water be damned! Jump and deal with the goosebumps later. Suck it up, buttercup.
(of course, hiking back and kayaking against the wind might have been a little easier without being completely drenched…still glad I did it, though)
Needless to say, Caden was sincerely tired by the time we made it back to the beginning. Four miles of kayaking, a two mile hike, and a chilly swim can take it out of such a little body (and not so little body).
As soon as we were done, I realized that in the first full two days we were there, we had hiked over 10 miles. Hmmm. I think I’ve discovered the perfect workout vacation–Kauai! It’s beautiful, you don’t consider it hard work, and you’re burning calories up the ying yang. Maybe my next job will be designing tours to Kauai…like a Fit Camp (instead of Fat Camp–it always sounded so horrible and demeaning…and a bit too on the nose. I say be creative! Like Panting Porkers or Yards of Lard…).
One suggestion for kayaking: wear quick drying clothes. I had a tankini on under my fantastically wonderful Nike knee length boarders. Love love love them! They dried quickly in the skin-browning Hawaiian sun.