Kauai – Hawaii … The beach life
And Why Airbnb isn’t always fabulous
Our single parent travel has so far been very interesting. No luxury travel experts would have prepared us for the great experience we have had because what we thought was an alternative and tranquil accommodation setting turned into a disaster! We have spent a wonderful week in Honolulu, Hawaii so far.
We have discovered this amazing ice-cream that looks like tiny balls – our favorite is Rocky Road, but we may change that – the more we eat. It is super cold and gives you brain freeze. What a family travel experience this is!
But it is time to venture further and explore more of Hawaii and USA.
We leave Honolulu and have booked a “Cabin in the Jungle” on AirBnB with what looks to be an incredible experience – set amidst the natural vegetation and in the foothills – it sounds perfect!
We arrived at the Lihu’e Airport and yet again we find people love to assist us but give us all the wrong buses to catch and places to get off. We try to call a taxi. Seriously – taxis and taxi ranks do not exist in Hawaii. If you think you are going to get a taxi or a shuttle bus, it really is nothing like Australia. Do not plan for it. You must call ahead, or book transport online first. It’s quite a nightmare.
Unfortunately, the accommodation owner has vacated and left the premises in the care of other people – and to us, it is a tip – it is certainly NOt glamping but t could be with more effort. It hardly has a curtain and is so dirty. It has wild roosters. To get to the toilet is to sort through trash, and the cold shower is outside – and has 3 feet high weeds – and I do not lie! Weeds inside the shower – what is this? I can’t believe this has happened in a few short weeks of the owner being away.
We reported it to Airbnb – it took two days of fighting and photographic evidence before we received our money back. But that left us way out in the never-never with nowhere to sleep that night. It also means in these cases we have to find our own ride back and are out of pocket – again.
It takes ages until I finally secure a place and we check it out. It has a swimming pool and we get the corner bottom room which is right close by and we feel we have struck gold.
Tip – if you book AirBnB accommodation check it out very thoroughly. Do not stay if it is not up to your standard. Hygiene is paramount. Take photographs if it is dirty, or doesn’t match the pictures you have seen in booking sites.
Report it within 24 hours and you will get a full refund – do not cancel the booking as they may not give you the balance of your refund – I fought for mine and won.
The hotel is neat and clean and the lady on reception is lovely, and what is more, offers us a discount. It is the Kauai Sands and I recommend it if you want a bargain hotel. Though I do hear it is about to be renovated for $15 million; so I doubt it will remain this relaxed for long.
Still, it is right in the heart of things, and just past the pool is the ocean. And to top it all up, there is an endless free coffee in the morning.
We rise early, and I grab a coffee and we take a morning walk. We discover that many guests do the same. It just feels awesome to appreciate the wonders of nature at this time of the day.
If you look at the back of the picture below, you can see a Monk Seal. There are only 1100 left and they are protected. This female Monk Seal comes to rest on the beach a couple of times while we stay here. We learn a lot about her and her relatives. “Ha’upu” is seven years old. She is tagged and they can track her family. The volunteers give us a lot bit of information – even though it is not yet 7:00 a.m. This all forms part of the “un-schooling” we are now doing.
This is a sacred site right next to our hotel – you can see the decorated rock. It is called Kukui Helai and is also a navigational point and a famous place of refuge. You are not to sit on the ground, have a wedding, meditate or do a stack of other stuff.
We decide to go for a walk and the Farmers Market is set up in the shop’s car park. We can buy and taste some interesting new fruits. This Hawaiian lady teaches my son all about how they grow.
Locals on the island
We then take a walk along the beach. The locals have caught octopus, and teach my son about it. He refuses to hold it, but they agree to pose for a picture.
Next day we are up early again as I am feeling energized by the beach.
I enjoy seeing my son run in and out of the beach as the sun rises. We start to collect interesting pieces of driftwood and soon have quite a collection. I have to take off my jacket and we tie it all up to bring it back to our hotel.
We arrange the driftwood by size and sound. We make a xylophone. We realize this is our first official world schooling experience. Quite a few people stop to add their comments. He spent hours working through the wood and picking the ones that made the best sound.
If I could have made a souvenir out of this wood and sent it back to Australia, then I would have loved to, but alas customs might not agree. It is so smooth but I bet it is time to say goodbye. So we practice our underarm throws as we send it back to the ocean.
Local deals, coupons, and bargains
When you arrive at the airport or your hotel, you will find a myriad of tourism booklets and coupon books. I suggest taking the first day (or at least the evening) and ripping out the ones that might work for you.
Australian Learning to drive in the USA
We find an inexpensive car rental in Kapa’a. Paradise car rentals is a bit of “rent a bomb’; but at $25 US including insurance, this is a great deal. The owner collects us from the hotel and is a nice guy. He also gives us lots of tips on where to go and what to see. Highly recommend his business for a great deal.
I was told by a Canadian friend, Brian back home in Adelaide, to stick an arrow to the dash – towards the curbside. I grab some masking tape and do this – it is a great tip!
As I drive, I love how there are so many old surfers around this island. Kauai is said to be for the “newlyweds or nearly deads”. Seriously it is full of retirees – there are few jobs, so it is surf bums and old people.
Another tip when driving internationally is to remember ‘driver in the middle’. That also helps a lot.
Follow other cars where they turn – that assists too.
We drive on cautiously, and I head north to Ha’ena and discover some caves by the side of the road.
Then we pull over and find Lumaha’i Beach. My son can have a swim and a boogie board. He could have spent hours here. It is really blue and pretty.
We head on to a horseshoe bay named Hanalei.
It has a covered end to the jetty. Millionaire houses line the beachfront.
As we drive home, I realize how much I enjoy all of the beauty. The sea is so relaxing. There will be more to discover tomorrow.
Questions and Comments
- Are you an Airbnb regular?
- Have you had bad experinces using airbnb/
- Whatever your experience has been, we would love to hear your comments.