I first heard about Waimea Canyon a few years back, when reading an issue of National Geographic about the most beautiful places in the world. So when I saw that a round-trip excursion to Waimea Canyon was offered through the cruiseline, my family and I immediately signed up! And even better, it was offered on our second day in Kauai when we didn’t have much time to spend in port, so it was very convenient to not have to worry about getting rental cars and all that. The tour would pick us up at the dock, and drop us back off just in time to get back on the ship. It was logistical perfection.
And so we piled onto the bus and took off!
I normally hate guided tours of any kind, and listening to tour guides bores me, but our tour guide on this adventure was actually really interesting. He had lived on the island for years, and was full of fascinating stories. Plus he was anything but politically correct, so listening to him was a total hoot.
It was a long drive to Waimea Canyon, so we made a pit stop along the way at a scenic overlook and gift shop. We were able to grab a few quick photos, go to the bathroom, and buy some snacks and souvenirs. The store was filled with all kinds of odd knick-knacks, and I definitely made a few purchases.
We made it to the canyon! There was a brief walk to get up to the viewpoint, with some stairs and ramps, but nothing challenging.
In the parking lot at Waimea Canyon, there was a delightful fruit stand. I bought some fresh sugar cane to snack on during the journey back.
Such a weird food to eat. Essentially, you put each piece in your mouth and suck on it/chew it until all the juice is out, and then spit out the mangy leftover fibers. They provide bags for you to use for the sugar cane carcasses. Definitely not the classiest snack.
At this point, we thought the tour was over and we got in the bus to head back. But apparently there was more to this tour than the description told us. After leaving Waimea Canyon, our tour guide took us to Kauai Coffee Company, where Kauai’s coffee is grown and roasted. As an avid coffee drinker, I was beyond excited!
They had so many different roasts to sample, and a shop selling all of their coffee products. I was in coffee heaven!
And I totally bought these burlap coffee sacks to sew into throw pillows for my living room.
Scenic views along the drive…
But oh, the tour still wasn’t over. After leaving Kauai Coffee Company, our tour guide took us to Spouting Horn, Kauai’s blowhole.
And then we continued our drive back to the ship.
I seriously cannot say enough good things about this tour. It ended up being so much more than we expected, and our guide kept it interesting the entire time. This has become the tour I measure all other tours against now, and to date, the only guided tour for which I can honestly say I enjoyed every single minute. If you cruise to Hawaii with Norwegian Cruise Line, take this tour. You get to see so much more of Kauai than just the beaches, and this half day excursion provided an awesome sampling of the island. Of course you can visit all these sites on your own, but when time is limited, it is nice to not have to worry about logistics. You can just sit back, relax, and focus on having fun!