Saturday, August 20, 2011

{ Kaua'i ~ Part III: Kauai Coffee Co. and Waimea Canyon }

Most mornings we made a huge breakfast: Eggs, bacon or sausage, pancakes or cinnamon rolls, fresh fruit, coffee, and Tequila sunrises. We'd eat breakfast on the lanai and enjoy the view, the salty air, and the sound of waves crashing on the reef.

Once we recovered sufficiently from our food comas, we'd set out on the day's adventures.

On this particular day, we explored the southwest portion of the island, beginning with the Kauai Coffee Company.

Besides a gift shop, there is a teeny tiny museum, coffee tasting stations, and a short self-guided walking tour through part of the coffee plantation.

I'm not a coffee snob, so I left the tasting to Mike. Don't you love these vintage coffee tins?

Mike could barely restrain himself when he saw green coffee beans.

We stopped for lunch at the Shrimp Station in Waimea. I had spicy Thai chili shrimp.

And Mike had coconut shrimp. Sadly, neither dish was nearly as good as the little shrimp shack we found on Oahu's north shore on our honeymoon. Please, if anyone goes there, get me a couple orders of the spicy shrimp and steak to go?

From Waimea town, we began the drive up Waimea Canyon. It was so clear, we could easily see Niihau, the "forbidden island" 17 miles from Kauai, on the horizon.

Just a taste of the beauty to come...

...and just a taste of how cheesy I can be.

Kauai is well-known for having red clay that stains EVERYTHING. As in, there is a Red Dirt Shirt company that uses the bright red stuff to dye clothing. We hopped out of the car and explored one particularly accessible area on our way to the top of Waimea Canyon.

There are several lookouts offering gorgeous vistas of the canyon. It does look remarkably similar to the Grand Canyon, albeit with more greenery. If you too have heard that Mark Twain called Waimea Canyon "the Grand Canyon of the Pacific," we've both been snookered, my friend. Not only did Mark Twain not say that, he never even set foot on Kauai when he visited the Hawaiian Islands!

At the very top of the canyon, you find the Kalalau Lookout, which overlooks part of the Na Pali coast. It was too cool--we'd seen the Kalalau Valley by boat the day before, and now we were looking at it from the top down toward the ocean! You don't really appreciate how small Kauai is {about 25 miles by 33 miles at its largest} 'til you're at the lookout and see ocean {the southern coast} to the right....and more ocean {the northern coast} to your left. Spectacular.

The Kalalau Valley is the largest valley in the Na Pali range, and was inhabited until the early 1900's.

The photo below was taken from exactly the same spot as the above shots, I just turned 90 degrees to my right. This is a glimpse of Mt. Waialeale, one of the wettest spots on earth with an average rainfall of more than 452 inches per year.

This was another of my favorite moments on our vacation: Being able see all this incredible beauty, and sharing the experience with my husband.

Stay tuned....there are lots more photos to come!


  1. Wow - Waimea Canyon is breath-taking! Love the colours in the pic with the red canyon. PEI sells Dirt Shirts too - dyed with their red mud :) I have a pair of sandals that were gray and are now perma-red-ish gray, even after throwing them in the washing machine! Gorgeous pics, looks like you two had a fabulous time :)

  2. Every time I see this picture of your breakfast I get really, really hungry! The vistas are also just breathtaking...