Kamalani Playground at Lydgate beach park
Lydgate beach park is on the east side of Kauai. It’s very kid friendly and has two rock-enclosed coves (great for new snorkelers) and an AMAZING children’s playground. I’ve never seen such a beautiful playground… maybe if I have a kid in the future I’ll bring him/her back here. There are so many creative details in this park. I would have really loved it as a child. A giant slide enclosed in a wooden volcano: A concrete cave leading underneath the volcano: The islands of Hawaii depicted in a wood carving: A xylophone (?) with instructions on how to play children’s songs! Wooden towers that remind me of Hogwarts: When the storm came we were hit with a lot of rain. Pummeling rain. I wanted to see if we could chase the sunshine across the island but to no avail… Some bridges were flooded so we headed back. We spent the afternoon in the resort hot tub while it poured. Actually the rainiest spot on earth is on Kauai: Mount Wai’ale’ale! Luckily only one day of our trip had rainy weather. The next day we visited the Shrimp Station in Kapa’a. I was craving shrimp because Giovanni’s in Oahu was so spectacular. I ordered the “Got garlic” shrimp plate with white wine sauce. It definitely looked appealing.. ..but on the first bite I tasted a lot of alcohol in the white wine. Blech. It was too much. Honestly this was nothing compared to Giovanni’s, and the $12 price tag didn’t help. Justin ordered beer battered shrimp. His verdict: nice batter but the shrimp inside was tiny. Oh well. I wouldn’t recommend going here if you’re in Kauai. Since Justin has ziplined in Maui he asked me if I wanted to try it. I’m afraid of heights! But I said yes anyway… It did sound like a good time. We booked Princeville Ranch Adventures in Princeville. It has 9 ziplines, with the longest being King Kong at 1,200 feet. We paid $145/pp that included all lines, lunch and swimming at a pretty swim hole: Justin bought a Go Pro camera a while back and it is well worth the initial investment! For the ziplining adventure he attached it via head mount. A closer look at the harnesses: My harness was pretty nasty though.. it smelled like sweat! Gross. The Princeville Ranch is a working cattle ranch. “Please do not feed or pet the horses… They are well fed and much loved” The weather was absolutely perfect… you wouldn’t have known we had torrential rain the day before. I felt like Maria in the Sound of Music! haha Its hard to see in these shots but the lines were quite high up. It seems like bushes are below the line but they are TREES. Eeeep! We had to cross wooden bridge to get to more lines. Each wooden plank was a foot apart from the other! Needless to say.. I was scared. Haha! Here’s me.. There was barely any wind so we were advised to tuck into cannon ball-formation. I tried my best.. I didn’t want to get stuck in the middle of the lines! But after I got over my initial fear.. I LOVED ZIPLINING!! Landing is the hardest part though. There were a few times where I landed backwards. Here’s my first attempt at editing a Youtube video! (I don’t know how people can do this on a regular basis.. it took me forever!) This was the last line, King Kong.
On our way to the swimming hole: We had a nice little lunch (sammies, cookies, chips, drinks) on this little deck. The water was a bit cold, and deep at around 30 feet! The scenery while we were swimming was absolutely breathtaking. Here’s the view from the water, looking up: It was one of those moments where I had to pinch myself. I was swimming in a freshwater pool in the middle of Kauai! I want to keep travelling so I can have that feeling again and again.
After ziplining, we visited Banana Joe’s…they are famous for their frosties and they carry locally grown produce.
This is a true mom and pop shop! Here is their simple menu: By the time we visited in the early afternoon, their smoothies had sold out. But we weren’t looking for smoothies… we wanted their pineapple frosty!
Their juicer/blender is so powerful that it whips fruit and ice into an ice cream-like consistency! This is pure pineapple and ice:
Some of their local produce:
I liked this little sign… “no weird stuff added!”
My first concert in Hawaii: J Boog!
No, I’m not talking about the J Book from B2K (remember them?) I’m referring to the J Boog originally from Compton with a distinct R&B-meets-reggae style. Justin and I fell in love with his music while we were in Oahu listening to Island 98.5 on the radio. Honestly I never was into reggae until recently. When its mixed up with pop & R&B it’s quite catchy and easy to listen to. And recurring themes are island life, happiness in general, loving someone, losing someone or missing someone.
This is one of my favorite J Boog songs, “Let’s Do It Again”… Every time it came on the radio we’d turn up the volume, laugh and dance in the car like maniacs and sing along.
Ahh I love that song.
Anyway moving onto the next adventure: ATV’ing at Kipu Ranch!
Kipu Ranch is another privately owned property that has been owned by a single family since the 1850’s when the kingdom of Hawaii was still in existence. According to our guide, Ryan, he said that William Hyde Rice bought the land from Hawaiian princess Keelikōlani and promised to always keep the land in the Rice family. And it has ever since. I think that’s amazing!
The owners now allow two tour companies to access the property, including Kipu Ranch Adventures.
Here’s our guide Ryan… if you’re to book a tour with Kipu Ranch I recommend that you request him as your guide! He is incredibly knowledgeable, friendly and hilarious.
Before entering the property we had to drive through a huge stretch of tall trees, one row on each side. Apparently the trees were planted to signify you were entering royal grounds.
Isn’t it beautiful?
A lot of movies were filmed here… Jurassic Park, The Decendents, Pirates of the Caribbean ‘On Stranger Tides.’
Justin drove and I sat in the back, gripping the bar handles for stability (and holding on for dear life~!)
I had never been so close to such beautiful mountains and valleys before.
The ride was incredibly bumpy. Well that’s ATV’ing after all! Justin and I were the only ones in the group with the Can Am Outlander XT (aka “Bomber) while the other families chose the more comfortable Rhino vehicle. We had a really fun time but for both driver and passenger… it’s definitely not for the faint of heart.
Some waterfalls we saw during the tour:
We also had the opportunity to swim in a river and swing from a rope swing into the water… (This is where Indiana Jones swung from in “Raiders of Lost Ark” to escape the Hovitos.) Justin did it but I wasn’t feeling it.
Because when we stopped at the river, I started feeling VERY UNCOMFORTABLE. I was wearing bermuda shorts, and I had taken off my jacket because it was getting hot while ATV’ing. We were near fresh water… and fresh water meant mosquitoes. I’m not sure why I didn’t get bit during our ziplining adventure in Princeville.. but at Kipu ranch mosquitos were flying around EVERYWHERE. I quickly put my jacket back on and wrapped a large beach towel around my waist.
My mind and my body started panicking. My arms and legs broke out in hives, and I asked Justin to spray me with more bug spray, which he did. I felt a little better after that, and the hives slowly went away. We went on with the tour thinking that the bug spray would deter them. Nope.
We realized later that within the span of those few minutes, I had gotten bit ALL OVER my legs, my back and my arms. Justin realized he had gotten bit as well.
Our bugspray was 15% DEET. DEET sprays can go up to 30 to 40%. 15% wasn’t nearly enough to protect our bare skin and we learned this the hard way.
I’m allergic to mosquito bites. Maybe not death threateningly allergic, but I definitely have a skin reaction. (When I was a kid, I spent a few summers in the Philippines… I still have scars from those summers.) Anyway… a bite on my ankle made my left ankle and foot swell. The bites on the backs of my legs and arms turned into huge welts the size of saucers. Not pretty. I tried my best not to touch those areas but it still felt like pure H-E-DOUBLE-HOCKEY STICKS for the next two days so I had to load up on Benadryl. Luckily for me Justin was a sweetheart and did everything he could to keep me comfortable. I grumpily stewed in my pain and self pity and he even tried to crack jokes to make me smile! I’m so lucky to have him.
So the moral of the story is… I’m never going out on an outdoor adventure near freshwater without the proper protection: long pants, jacket, and the highest DEET spray possible. And I’ll be bringing a variety of allergy sprays and anti-itch creams if I do get bit.
Would I go ATV’ing again? Yes, in a heartbeat. Was it worth it even after getting bit? Well… yes it was. It was a very fun experience despite everything.
Part 3 will be coming up soon! Thanks for reading!