Kauai, Hawaii

This Hawaiian island had my name written all over it. Locals know it as the “Garden Island,” and it really does embody its name. As soon as you get off the plane, you step into a quaint open-air airport and can smell the freshness of the air and hear the stillness of the town. We stayed in a magnificent house that overlooked waves crashing into huge rocks. When I think of Hawaii, this is definitely what I had in mind.

On our first night there we went to a Luau. I had never been to one before and loved how they greeted us with beautiful, fresh smelling leis and a Hawaiian smile. They had local Hawaiian foods at the buffet that were all so interesting and delicious. The Luau itself was truly something special. It was a beautiful story of the island and its people, with some really cool fire stick throwing.

The next day, to align with the stillness of the island, we hopped on a long boat ride. It was so beautiful to watch the blue water all around us. We got to see some amazing cliffs and so many places where movies had been filmed. My brother and I fell asleep and both got pretty wicked sunburns. The boat trip was originally supposed to be a snorkeling trip, but in the winter, the swell is so crazy that it is difficult to safely get people in to snorkel. So, for the Perez fam it turned into a sightseeing, tanning trip, pretty sure we all came back at least 2 shades darker!

The next morning, we all woke up at 5am for our helicopter ride. It was so worth the early rise. We got to see Hawaii from above and it was truly an experience I will never forget. My older brother got very plane sick. Don’t tell him, but it was quite funny and he did not have the same experience the rest of us did – he could not WAIT to land haha!!!

My favorite days in Kauai were the last two days. We went on the longest hardest hike of my life. It took us over huge boulders, across a river numerous times, and through a deep bamboo forest, but led us to the coolest waterfalls ever. You could climb up the double waterfall and jump back down to the pool below. I was so scared to climb up and thought that was the hardest part, and then I got up there and was so scared to jump back down - haha! Despite my fear, I said a quick prayer and jumped, and I am so glad I did because it was truly exhilarating. Our last day was so sweet and magical, making flower crowns or “Haku Lei” as the locals say. It was a personal class where my mom and I got to hang out with our sweet new friend who showed us how to make a Haku Lei. I would highly recommend this class for girls who want to make the original Hawaii flower crowns! Our last hours in Hawaii consisted of Yoga on the beach, Kayaking and watching the waves.

It truly was so special to spend that much time with my family in such a beautiful place. I have the funniest, craziest, best family and thank Jesus every day for them.