Words cannot express how amazing our morning helicopter tour was. We had front row seats in the helicopter for our 60 minute island circle tour with Island Helicopters. Our helicopter pilot was excellent as we had a lot of close-up views of mountains, waterfalls, and a grumpy old goat (apparently this is quite rare as the pilot was excited about the mountain-top encounter). We even lucked out with a completely clear close-up experience of Mount Wai’ale’ale, which is only clear from cloud cover about 20 days a year as it is known as one of the wettest places on earth with an average of 450 inches of rain per year. This will probably be one of the best memories of this trip and was completely worth the expense.
After our early morning flight, we spent the rest of our morning enjoying mimosas on our ocean front lanai and then spent the afternoon exploring the south part of the island. We drove all the way down (which was only about an hour) to Waimea for the King Kaumuali’i Festival, one of the events at the week-long Waimea Town Celebration. Waimea is the dry and hot part of the island and looks similar to arid parts of Utah. After watching some Hula and a quick pit-stop at the Kauai Coffee Company, we drove up to Poipu, which is definitely a more resort-like part of the island. We ate lunch at Puka Dogs, which serves a unique Hawaiian-style hot dog with sweet tropical jam and spicy mustard. After our hot dog and fresh-squeezed lemonade lunch, we went down to the spouting horn, explored Poipu beach (which was too over-run with tourists for our liking), and drove up to Lihue to catch the last bit of happy hour at Dukes Canoe Club. There, we enjoyed some live Hawaiian music, great Mai Tais, and I once again could not resist the seared ahi special which was macadamia nut and crab crusted. Side note – I have to say that I have been very surprised by how affordable the meals are here – I know that many visitors complain about the high prices. However, when I see an ahi entree for $17.99, I think that is a steal! Maybe I have become accustomed to the high prices for fresh fish in Utah (which is quite a feat to get fresh ocean fish to).
We finished our wonderful adventure-filled Valentine’s Day falling asleep to the ocean waves. This place is truly paradise. Aloha for now!
P.S. We recorded the entire helicopter flight and will post a link once we get home and edit the video!