Aug 31, 2017

Our Honeymoon: Planning and Days 1-2 // Arrival and Waimea Canyon

Our honeymoon was amazing and truly the best 10 days we have ever had. It was magical and I can’t wait to go back.

A bit of a backstory on how we ended up choosing our destination.  Due to Zika and the fact that we knew we wanted to have kids within the next two years, nearly every tropical or Caribbean location had to be ruled out. We looked into European honeymoons and we settled on a trip to the Scottish Highlands.  We were about to book when I learned about the midges that descend on the country in summer and early fall.  If you’re not aware, they are black gnat-like bugs that fly around en masse, coating you and everything and worse yet, they bite! We were back to square one. We looked at cruises to Alaska, but that just didn’t seem very honeymoony to us, plus I’ve never been on a cruise so didn’t know if I’d get seasick.

It was only when we were feeling desperate that I looked into Hawaii.  I always just figured it was way too expensive for us.  I literally never dreamed in my entire life that I’d get to go to Hawaii. We looked into deals on a variety of websites and found some good deals on Costco.  We researched all of the islands and settled on Maui, as it seemed to have a little bit of everything, including beautiful scenery but also more metropolitan and resort areas. Right before we booked the trip, we also decided to add on 2 days to Kauai, and that was one of the best decisions we have ever made! Our trip was 9/5-9/14, with the first and last days being travel days. We were in Kauai 9/5 through the morning of 9/8 and then Maui for the remainder. We originally had a lovely travel schedule planned out, but a few weeks after we booked our flights, they got canceled by the airline and rearranged, so it wasn’t as pleasant as we had hoped, but we got there all the same!

Day 1: Arrival

Our flight left at 6:00am, so we had to be at the airport around 4:30.  We woke up after sleeping for a mere 1.5 hrs.  I had to then go wake up my brother and dad and before I knew it, we were off!  I was so tired I felt sick and when we drove past the dog food factory that’s near Dayton, I almost threw up. LOL.

We took this on the plane
I was so excited when we checked our bags and told them our final destination was Lihue, Kauai! Our flights were long and uncomfortable.  We flew Dayton-Chicago, Chicago-Phoenix, and Phoenix-Kauai. As we neared Hawaii, our flight attendant played a game with all of us commoners in the back of the plane.  Our plane was full of honeymooners, so whoever was most recently married was the winner.  We won by one hour over another couple! Our prize was a mini bottle of champagne which we drank right away.  

When we landed in Kauai, we got off of the plane into… open air!  Most of the airport was outside.  They didn’t “lei” us when we got off of the plane (I guess that only happens in movies/private planes), so we bought some leis and the lady selling them taught us that you should never put on your own lei so she put them on us.

We then headed to the car rental place where we were greeted by baby chicks walking around everywhere! These were the first of the wild chickens and roosters that would be our friends for the next few days! When we checked in at our hotel, Aqua Kauai Beach Resort, we were given a warm Hawaii welcome and gifts of shell necklaces! We headed our room, which had a nice balcony overlooking the pools and courtyard.  The room initially seemed a bit outdated, but we grew to absolutely love it.  We then took a walk to the beach and the first thing we realized is that we wouldn’t be swimming at this beach:

We hit the pool and hot tub, which were both so cool!  The hot tubs were made to look like they were natural and the pool had waterfalls! We had drinks and a snack of cheese quesadillas at Driftwood, the poolside bar.  I was freezing. The sun wasn’t out and there was a steady breeze coming off of the ocean, but I didn’t actually mind.  It was kind of pleasant after the DC and Ohio heat!  I called Nanny while we were having our snack to let her know that we arrived safely and were having a good time.  I waded in a nearby pool while I talked to her.  We met with the on-site travel guide lady to schedule some activities and booked a couples’ massage for the next day.  We headed to Walmart for some food and other provisions, like the best hairbrush I have ever used and then went to dinner.  I was so tired I felt delirious by this point!  We went to Duke’s for dinner, where I got the opah, Bill got mango bbq ribs and we both got the unlimited salad bar.  I got my first lava flow of the trip!  I had been dying to try that drink since Amy went to Hawaii the year before and it didn't disappoint! We tried to stay up late to adjust to the time change, but I was exhausted and we passed out early.

Lava flow!

Day 2: Waimea Canyon

On our first full day in Hawaii, we woke up early to watch the sunrise.  The wild roosters running rampant helped us to get up!  It was absolutely beautiful and a few others had the same idea too.  When we turned around to head back inside, we saw people on the balconies of nearly every ocean-facing balcony!

We had a nice bagel breakfast on the patio. While we were eating, we talked about the stuff we wanted to do while we were on Kauai and decided that if we wanted to see Waimea Canyon, that was probably the day to do it!  Without further ado, we hopped in our car and headed towards the canyon, which was about an hour’s drive away.  We stopped along the way for some water and coffee.

Once we started driving up the canyon, the beautiful sights started and just didn’t stop!  The ride was a bit treacherous – there was a steep drop on the right side of the road so I kept freaking out.  We stopped a few times along the ride up just to look at the views.  We saw these cool red rocks with waterfalls, and stopped at what we thought were great views.  

We stopped at a rest area and overlook to see the full canyon and we were just stunned by the views we saw.  I’ve never been to the Grand Canyon or any other canyon for that matter was unprepared for the sheer vastness.  It was beautiful! There was a native Hawaiian at the overlook giving a talk about the canyon.  It was a bit of a general history lesson and cool insight into how his people still live to this day.  

Following our trusty guidebook, The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook by Andrew Doughty, we didn’t stop our trip at that overlook like many do, but kept driving up the canyon.  The road got a little sketchy and I wasn’t sure if we had followed the right path (though it would be hard to mess up since there’s only one road..). When we got to the top, we walked and took a short hike and were rewarded with the most gorgeous view I have ever seen in my entire life: the view from Pu’u O Kila Lookout over Kalalau Valley. The pictures are beautiful, but they don’t do it justice.  It looked like something out of Avatar or from prehistoric times.  I felt like I was looking at heaven!

After staring for a long while and taking a ton of pictures, we made the trip back to our resort just in time for our massages!  I was so excited for our first-ever couples massage, but mine was a little lackluster.  She just massaged sooo lightly.  I asked her several times to use more pressure, but she never did.  Bill’s on the other hand, was amazing.

We then spent some time by the pool.  We had lunch at Driftwood.  I had my first poke bowl which was amazing and Bill had a burger.

The BEST lava flow of the trip!

We then played more in the pool and rested until it was time for dinner.  We went to a horrible restaurant for dinner, Kintaro.  The servers were all great and the fried wontons they give you on the house were good, but the sushi was terrible.  We ended up stopping at Walmart on the way home for some snacks.  When we got back to the hotel, we started watching The Boss, but I fell asleep almost instantly, but Bill watched the whole movie.


  1. This sounds like a dream, but wow, what a trip to get there!! (Totally worth it!!) The sunrise looks amazing!! I'm dying to go back to Hawaii. I went by myself in college, but I want to convince my husband to go... he's not a beach person, but I bet your canyon pictures could convince him. Maybe. ;)

    1. So, Bill is NOT a beach person, despite what these posts may have showed. I would call myself sort of a beach person. There is sooooooo much to do besides the beaches! We honestly didn't spend that much time at the beaches, so I definitely think Hawaii is a great place to go even if you HATE the beach!


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