The Three R’s of Kaua’i Re­bal­ance Re­plen­ish and Re­vive

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At one point dur­ing my bliss­ful lomi lomi mas­sage, I ac­tu­ally nod­ded off and awoke to drool inch­ing down my chin. When I em­bar­rass­ingly made a com­ment about it, my ther­a­pist Con­nie kindly com­pli­mented me on my abil­ity to drift off, say­ing that it was a sign of com­plete re­lax­ation or “malie” in Hawai­ian. I, in turn, re­turned the com­pli­ment, not­ing the ex­per­tise of her magic fin­gers. The ten­sion seemed to just melt away as she worked won­ders on all of my body’s knots. That, com­bined with be­ing in a semi-open air treat­ment room where I could hear the rustling of the palms and smell the per­fumed scent of the flow­ers, made for a heav­enly ex­pe­ri­ence. It was one of many I would have dur­ing a mem­o­rable stay on the Is­land of Kaua’i.

The old­est of the Hawai­ian Is­lands, Kaua’i is known for its in­com­pa­ra­ble beauty. The “Gar­den Isle” has it all, from miles of white sand beaches and crys­tal blue ocean to rugged moun­tains, ma­jes­tic canyons, thun­der­ing wa­ter­falls and ver­dant trop­i­cal fo­liage. But, Kaua’i is more than just a pretty face. You’ll find a di­verse ar­ray of din­ing, art, shop­ping and charm­ing, his­toric lit­tle towns dot­ting its ex­panse. And then there are the peo­ple, who have the rep­u­ta­tion of be­ing among the friendli­est res­i­dents of all the

is­lands. They wel­come you with the true spirit of aloha.

As a vis­i­tor to this spe­cial piece of par­adise, you’ll find no short­age of things to do. The scenery sets the stage for an ar­ray of ac­tiv­i­ties that not only en­er­gize, but chal­lenge your body in a myr­iad of ways. Recre­ation reigns supreme with a range of mel­low to high ad­ven­ture op­tions avail­able. If you’re a water baby, there’s ev­ery­thing from snor­kel­ing off the famed Na­pali Coast and boo­gie board­ing at Ki­ahuna Beach to kayak­ing the Hanalei River and moun­tain tub­ing down the trop­i­cal wa­ter­ways of the is­land’s in­te­rior.

If you’re more com­fort­able on land, join a bike tour with Poly­ne­sian Ad­ven­ture Tours down stun­ning Wailea Canyon. At 3,600-feet-deep, two miles wide and ten miles long, this “Grand Canyon of the Pa­cific” is a true gem, bril­liantly lay­ered in hues of red, green and brown. Take a hike at Koke’e State Park, a hiker’s mecca with more than forty miles of trails and plenty of pic­turesque vis­tas. Or hop on a horse for a mem­o­rable ride with Princeville Ranch Ad­ven­tures across a work­ing cat­tle ranch.

Those look­ing for a unique per­spec­tive of the is­land can go on an ex­hil­a­rat­ing zi­pline trek with Out­fit­ters Kaua’i, where you’ll have a bird’s eye view of Kaua’i’s stun­ning to­pog­ra­phy. You’ll soar above val­leys, rivers and wa­ter­falls ala Tarzan and Jane for a guar­an­teed adren­a­line

high. A he­li­copter tour, how­ever, is the ul­ti­mate way to get the lay of the land. It’s def­i­nitely a splurge­wor­thy al­ter­na­tive and one for the mem­ory books. And as long as you’re go­ing all out, make it a wa­ter­fall land­ing ex­cur­sion. Is­land He­li­copters’ ex­clu­sive tour takes you to the 400-foot Manawaiop­una Falls, which was pop­u­lar­ized in the movie, “Juras­sic Park.” The he­li­copter sets down in a trop­i­cal val­ley at the base of the falls, al­low­ing you to ex­pe­ri­ence the grandeur of this re­mote, trop­i­cal site. The ride also in­cludes a nar­rated tour of the is­land with gasp-in­duc­ing views of the Na­pali Coast and Waimea Canyon.

Though it’s def­i­nitely an adren­a­line junkie’s haven, Kaua’i is also a des­ti­na­tion where you can get away from it all and find some much-needed peace. The is­land al­lows many op­por­tu­ni­ties to slow down and smell the plume­ria. It’s a place that en­cour­ages folks to fo­cus on them­selves by carv­ing out “me time.” And in our crazed on-the-go cul­ture, ev­ery­one needs to oc­ca­sion­ally press the pause but­ton and fo­cus on re-bal­anc­ing, re­plen­ish­ing and re­viv­ing mind, body and spirit. Whether it’s strolling on the beach, watch­ing a spec­tac­u­lar sun­set, hav­ing a re­lax­ing spa treat­ment or en­joy­ing a na­ture walk, the point is to give your­self the chance to work on es­tab­lish­ing a bit of in­ner har­mony. Sev­eral re­sorts and ho­tels on the is­land ac­tu­ally pro­mote per­sonal well­ness via ded­i­cated pro­grams in this vein. At the St. Regis Princeville, for ex­am­ple, med­i­ta­tion and well­ness re­treats are of­fered at spe­cific times of the year. They in­clude guided restora­tive yoga, med­i­ta­tion and pranayama ses­sions, spa treat­ments, vis­its to sa­cred sites and botan­i­cal gar­dens, farm-to-ta­ble com­mu­nal din­ners and more. The prop­erty even has its own on-site Hawai­ian guide to cul­tural well­ness, Puna Kalama

Daw­son, who in­vites guests to join her in the age-old morn­ing ri­tual of greet­ing the sun as it rises from the ocean. Daw­son ad­vo­cates vis­i­tors to be in the mo­ment, be mind­ful and to take the time to ap­pre­ci­ate what we have and to share it with oth­ers. She em­pha­sizes the in­dige­nous tra­di­tion of us­ing breath or “ha” to quiet the mind, which helps di­rect us into an aware­ness of our in­ner spa­ces. She also en­cour­ages peo­ple to be kind to them­selves and oth­ers, while ex­er­cis­ing pa­tience and hu­mil­ity. Wise words that we all can take to heart.

Well­ness is also prac­ticed at the Westin Princeville where a “Well­be­ing Move­ment” is pro­moted via a se­lec­tion of “Move Well” ac­tiv­i­ties rang­ing from yoga and aqua aer­o­bics classes to fit­ness runs and na­ture walks. The prop­erty’s “Eat Well” pro­gram helps to com­ple­ment these ac­tiv­i­ties. Its restau­rants of­fer Su­per­foods, those that are both high in an­tiox­i­dants and nu­tri­ent rich, which are de­noted in color on the menus. There’s even a “Kids Eat Well Pro­gram” to as­sist chil­dren with mak­ing healthy food choices. The ho­tel ad­vo­cates us­ing lo­cally sourced prod­ucts when­ever pos­si­ble and works with is­land farm­ers and grow­ers to ob­tain the fresh­est, in-sea­son, in­gre­di­ents.

At the Grand Hy­att Re­sort, you’ll find a state-of-the-art gym, per­sonal train­ers, an abun­dance of fit­ness classes, sun­rise walks and the largest spa on the is­land. Anara Spa is Ede­nesque in de­sign, with lush gar­dens, wa­ter­falls and peace­ful pools. Prac­ti­tion­ers pride them­selves on weav­ing tra­di­tional heal­ing cus­toms with is­land-fresh botan­i­cal essences to in­spire “lokahi” – bal­ance or har­mony of body and spirit. In ad­di­tion, the Grand Hy­att boasts an “En­rich Pro­gram,” which pro­vides op­por­tu­ni­ties for guests to en­hance their va­ca­tion through lo­cal vol­un­teer­ing. It’s a chance to give back to the is­land com­mu­nity in a mean­ing­ful way and maybe learn a new skill or two in the process. You can spend a day work­ing with plants at the Na­tional Trop­i­cal Botan­i­cal Gar­den for ex­am­ple, or do hands-on for­est restora­tion projects at Koke’e State Park. With the Surfrider Foun­da­tion, you’ll help clean up the beaches and at the Kaua’i Hu­mane So­ci­ety, you can cud­dle cats or take a dog on a hike.

Mu­sic and dance are also com­monly re­garded as good for the spirit, and thus suc­cess­ful con­trib­u­tors to well­ness. On Kaua’i, there’s no lack of op­por­tu­ni­ties to lis­ten and

par­tic­i­pate in ei­ther of these arts. Nu­mer­ous prop­er­ties on the is­land have live mu­sic at night, as well as of­fer tra­di­tional hula classes for in­ter­ested par­tic­i­pants. Some even pro­vide free ukulele and slack-key gui­tar in­struc­tional ses­sions, too. There’s also the prover­bial luau, which com­bines song and dance for a the­atri­cal ex­trav­a­ganza. Lu’au Kala­maku at Kilo­hana Plan­ta­tion is one of the best. It’s mes­mer­iz­ing din­ner the­atre with a dash of Cirque du Soleil.

When it’s time to take your leave of this lit­tle slice of par­adise, do as the Hawai­ians do and don’t say good­bye. Just say “a hui hou” un­til we meet again.

For all things Kaua’i: www.kauaidis­cov­ery.com

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