kauai travel guide + koa kea hotel review
Hawaii had been a trip on mine and Michael’s bucket list ever since we got married, and we finally got to check it off our bucket list this month! We went to Kauai and Maui for 10 days total and it was truly the trip of a lifetime. Today I will be sharing a little Kauai travel guide with y’all as well as a review of the hotel we stayed at – Koa Kea Hotel and Resort! (I’ll be doing a Maui travel guide within the next week or so!)
outfit details can be found in this blog post
This photo was taken on the balcony of our room at the Koa Kea Hotel and Resort which is where we stayed for our 5 nights in Kauai. This hotel is on the very south end of Kauai and we truly loved this area! Also, Kauai is honestly such a small island that you could drive to the north side if you wanted to go there for the day or for a hike, etc. But, we’ll get there! First let me review the hotel with you guys.
The pool at Koa Kea Hotel & Resort – right outside our room!
We absolutely loved our stay at Koa Kea. The pool was absolutely gorgeous. We ordered lunch here one day and the food was delicious (get the pulled pork sandwich by the pool, trust me). They had coffee out every morning, complimentary for guests (and it was actually really good coffee), and a nice fitness center that we used nearly everyday!
Our room was plenty spacious with a really nice bathroom and super comfortable bed. Room service always did a great job of cleaning our room everyday, and turndown service left the most amazing macadamia nut chocolates in our room every night! It’s the little things y’all haha I love extra touches like this at hotels. We also had the option to do our laundry here which was really nice!
I don’t think this hotel is adults only, but it kind of felt that way! It was super peaceful and quiet and felt very romantic!
The location of this hotel was so convenient. We were right across the street from some of our favorite restaurants (which I will share in a bit), and you could go for the most beautiful walks along the ocean in the mornings! On our last morning I went for a walk and actually saw a monk seal on the shore! It was so cool!
Both of the above photos were taken right outside of Koa Kea on my morning beach walk! So gorgeous!
Koa Kea also has a restaurant on property called Red Salt which we went to for breakfast on our last day and it was amazing! If you go – make sure to get the lemon souffle pancakes. WORTH the splurge! Red Salt also has an amazing dinner menu which I heard is incredible!
Overall, Michael and I would both highly recommend this hotel to anyone staying in Kauai! The staff were all so helpful and friendly, and we could not have asked for a better experience!
Kauai Travel Guide
Now onto what to do in Kauai! Like I said, we were here for 5 nights so we had plenty of time to both relax, and explore all that Kauai has to offer! Unfortunately because of recent flooding, we didn’t really explore the north end of the island because we heard it was still pretty damaged from the flood. I’ve heard one of the things you must do while in Kauai is the Hanakapiai trail to the beach or to the falls, depending on how far you want to hike. But, we heard this was still pretty messy from the flood (it’s on the north end of the island) so we didn’t get to do it! (Another reason for us to go back haha). Here are some things we did that I would recommend!:
- Na Pali Coast boat tour with Captain Andy’s. While you’re in Kauai, you must see the Na Pali coast. You can either do a helicopter tour, a boat tour, or you can hike it! We did a boat tour with Captain Andy’s and I highly recommend them! The boat was really nice, the staff was awesome, and the food was good. Just a heads up though…if you are pregnant or prone to sea sickness…come prepared! I definitely was not prepared because I never get sea sick, but the waters were pretty rough. Take dramamine or bring ginger chews or whatever it is that helps with sea sickness haha. Unfortunately on our trip…we were baout 90% of the way there and had to turn around because the waters were too rough for us to make it all the way to the coast. (If that happens though, they will give you your money back). It was still a beautiful trip though and we got to see the start of the Na Pali coast, and we saw DOLPHINS! Which totally made the whole trip worth it!
Walk the Shipwrecks Cliffs to Mahaulapu – this walk / hike was a short drive from our hotel and it was GORGEOUS. It’s about a two mile hike to get to the beach, but the hike was beautiful and the beach you are hiking to is equally as stunning. We did the 2 mile hike and then hung out at the beach for a few hours before walking back! This is a great thing to do even if you don’t love hiking, because it’s easy and the views are breath taking!
- Sleeping giant hike – this was another easy(ish) hike we did that we both loved. The views were breath taking. I think we did the longer route so it ended up being about 4 miles round trip. This hike is slightly harder than the one I mentioned above, but still not bad at all! I’d rate it as moderate. This was one of our favorite things we did in Kauai, and only about a 30 minute drive from our hotel.This was on our Sleeping Giant hike!
- Farmer’s market – I’m not sure how long this will go on for but we went to the Wednesday farmer’s market in Kukuiula (about 5 mins from our hotel) and it was adorable! We drank water right out of a coconut, listened to live music, and tried so many different yummy foods from local vendors! There were tons of people there and it was so much fun!outfit details can be found in this blog post
Where to eat in Kauai
Oh my goodness we found SO many good food spots in Kauai! The food here wasn’t cheap but it was so worth it, and really a part of the whole experience! The below beautiful acai bowl was from Little Fish Coffee which was walking distance from our hotel (but I think they have a few locations). We went here two or three times haha all of their acai bowls are to die for! They have bagels and coffee too!
Other favorite restaurants in Kauai:
- La Spezia – we went here for breakfast but I’ve heard they also have an amazing dinner! But we LOVED our brunch here! I got their daily frittata and Michael got some kind of heavenly french toast. It was inexpensive and we both LOVED our meals. Highly recommend this place for both brunch and dinner!
- Merriman’s – so apparently there are kind of two Merriman’s. There’s one upstairs which is a bit fancier and then one downstairs which is more casual (like pizza, burgers, etc). We went to the one upstairs for dinner one night and it was amazing. The atmosphere was gorgeous and we both loved our dinners. (I remember the crab cakes were amazing and you HAVE to get the pineapple bread pudding! One of the best desserts I’ve ever had). We went to the Merriman’s ‘downstairs’ just for drinks and appetizers. Michael got their mai tai (they are famous for it) and he said it was delicious! And we split an appetizer which was also really good. Highly recommend both of these places.
- Beach House – I think this was Michael’s favorite dinner in Kauai! Try to make a reservation for around sunset. You will get to see the most amazing sunset over the ocean and the view is truly stunning. The food there was also SO good. I got the chicken (because…I was trying to limit my fish intake which was SO hard to do in Hawaii ha), but the chicken was actually REALLY good. And Michael got the mahi mahi which was also delicious. Everything on the menu looked great though!
- Puka dog – we went here for lunch one day to try their hot dogs after people raving about them! I’m not a huge hot dog girl honestly but these were SO GOOD! You have to try them! They make them with some sweet Hawaiian bread that will rock your world, and you can choose from tons of different sauces / relishes. We easily could’ve gone back here every single day haha so yummy! Their freshly squeezed lemonade was also so good!
- Dolphin – we came here for dinner one night to get sushi (don’t worry – I made sure my rolls were cooked) and really liked it! I can’t say it was the best sushi I’ve had in my entire life (but then again, since I’m pregnant, I couldn’t really order what was best on their menu I’m sure). But, it was still great sushi and pretty reasonably priced. So I definitely recommend this place if you like sushi!
- The Eating House – we went here on our last night and this was maybe my favorite restaurant. Our dinner was great but I have to tell you…their dessert is life changing. Get the chocolate souffle or you will regret it forever haha. The most magical chocolate cake you will ever have in your life!
Other restaurants that I heard were great that we didn’t get to try – Bar Acuda, Tidepools, and Kauai Juice
I think that covers the highlights of our Kauai trip! It really is such a beautiful island that gives you options for eating amazing food, being active, and/or chilling on the beach. I definitely want to go back and do a helicopter tour, and see the north end of the island! Thanks to everyone who shared their Kauai recommendations with me! Hope this Kauai travel guide convinces you to plan a trip their ASAP.
Thanks for reading and I hope y’all have a great weekend!