A Health & Wellness Travel Guide: Visiting Kauai
Updated: Feb 9, 2022
Your Health & Wellness Guide Encompassing Movement, Food, & Wellness When Taking a Warm-Weathered Vacation and Specifics for Visiting Kauai
Queen's Bath in Princeville, Kauai
Health & wellness as well as traveling are passions of mine but they don't necessarily go together very easily. With a little effort and knowledge you can turn any vacation into an opportunity to boost your wellbeing so you come back to the real world satisfied & recharged. This isn't about restriction or depriving yourself of indulgences during your vacation. It's about being mindful & taking the time to take care of yourself. You can still eat amazing food, enjoy beachside cocktails & relax while taking your health & wellness into consideration. So sit back, relax & let me help you get there!
Kauai or Your Next Tropical Vacation
Kauai is a gorgeous island with it's white sand beaches and tropical rainforest, but this guide is for any tropical vacation you might be taking soon! Kauai has so many opportunities to focus on health & wellness so if you're looking to plan your next vacation with an emphasis on self-care, Princeville or Hanalei is definitely the place for you. This guide is for anyone looking for health & wellness travel tips especially for a warm-weathered vacation, a guide when visiting Kauai, or reasons to take your next vacation there!
What to Eat
If you're visiting Hawaii and are lucky enough to have a kitchen where you're staying. Don't miss out on cooking a little bit. Yes, the groceries can be a little pricey BUT the freshest fish (sashimi grade ahi at the grocery store?!) is actually not as expensive as it is on the mainland. Many grocery stores also make an effort to label what produce is local!
TIP: Keep in mind that no matter where you're visiting local produce is sustainable & you'll get the most out of your food since it's in-season (the perfect time to eat it & get those nutrients in). If you're not cooking, look for restaurants that use local ingredients especially if you're traveling somewhere tropical because if you're like me & from LA the produce will be different than where you're from so it's an opportunity to try something new while getting a nutrient dense meal.
Kauai, especially Hanalei, has such a diverse variety of delicious restaurants with local ingredients. BUT if you know you're coming in advance, book reservations as soooon as you can. During the busy seasons (December being one of them), we experienced 1-2 hour waits without reservations but definitely worth it. We ate A LOT of fish since it's local and a great source of protein & other nutrients. My dad & I love a balanced meal so we usually ordered a local vegetable or salad and made sure to work in carbohydrate as well. We also love a cocktail with fresh fruit or vegetable juice and we have a sweet tooth so we indulged in dessert almost every dinner without guilt or hesitation. Everything in moderation.
If you're visiting Princeville or Hanalei, Kauai here are some of the specific restaurants we went to with mini reviews and suggestions:
Postcards - The crispy leek salad is a must have. It's crunchy on the top with some perfectly chewy noodles underneath. We returned a second time just for that salad.
Bar Acuda - The sea bass was cooked to perfection. Crispy on the outside and flaky on the inside.
Ama Restaurant - The Ahi Bowl was the BEST dish we had there. The bowl has a yuzu aioli on top & the rice is flavored with a ponzu sauce which makes it tangy and flavorful.
Aina Kauai - They serve a tasting menu that is health forward & uses local produce. The chef made a fern shoot taste delicious. Every course was unique and delicious. They served everything from a small salad with lilikoi dressing to the perfect portion of mahimahi to a small dessert tasting platter with in-season oranges and a chocolate cake ball (4th picture).
Dolphin - Some of the dishes are a hit or miss but if you sit at the sushi bar and ask the chef for his/her specials, it'll definitely be a hit.
Ways to Move
Movement was one of our main goals during this trip since Princeville and the surrounding areas have some of the most treacherous but BEAUTIFUL hikes I've ever seen. We went on a 3 mile hike on the Okolehao Trail where I ended up covered in mud but the view at the top was very worth it. Keep in mind if you visit Kauai & decide to hike to bring shoes you don't care about. Kauai is as beautiful as it is because of the amount of rain it gets which makes all the hiking trails made of thick orangish brown clay mud.
Another very rewarding hike to go on is Queen's Bath. It's only a half mile there & at the end you get to swim in an ocean pool. Make sure to bring a bathing suit or clothes you don't care to get wet. Also, be mindful of the tide! My brother and I almost got pushed far back into the pool by a strong wave.
If you're visiting somewhere with notorious hikes keep in mind that it's a way for you to explore the details of where you are, appreciate the land you're visiting & really savor the moment. That's also one of the reasons I love doing yoga while I'm traveling. Not only does it help you embrace the moment, but after a long flight, it feels amazing. It's always a bonus if yoga with a view is offered. If hikes or yoga aren't your thing, you could always see if theres a botanical garden you can walk through. We walked through a gorgeous and interactive one called Na'Aina Kai Botanical & Sculpture Park.
TIP: Working movement into your vacation doesn't have to mean going to the gym or going to a class. I love working my surroundings into my movement plan on vacation especially a tropical or warm weathered one to create a connection with wherever I am & deepen my appreciation for it.
TIP: If you've always wanted to try yoga, pilates, or a new exercise class but have been too scared of looking crazy in a studio in your neighborhood, do it on vacation. Usually, classes offered at a resort or nearby studios are for beginners and you'll probably never see any of these people again if it helps to think of it that way!
Wellness: Taking Care of Yourself
Relaxing is a big part of going on a tropical vacation like Kauai. One obvious way to relax on vacation: get a massage, especially if traveling there was long or extensive. It will relax your body and make it easier to mentally relax. A massage therapist traveled to us & set up on the balcony of my hotel room. It was one of the best, most relaxing massages I've had (info below). It flowed perfectly but pressure was applied where it needed to be.
On the very last day we were on the island, we took a sunset boat cruise to see the Napali Coast Line. It was gorgeous (pictured above). Taking the day to be engaged with my family surrounded by the beauty of the island, ocean and skyline was the perfect way to end my vacation. We even saw whales & toasted champagne at sunset. It really put me in a great mental space to go back home to reality & made me very grateful for the life I get to live.
TIP: Whether you're by the pool, oceanside or in the room, remember it's OKAY to not do anything. You don't have to be reading or watching a show. You can literally just be. Take in your surroundings & appreciate them. It's not everyday you get to be somewhere this beautiful so don't forget to take some mental pictures. You went on vacation to recharge right?
If you're visiting Kauai, I've included the information for the sunset cruise & massage below:
Kauai Massage & Wellness- Ask for Melia