Adventure in Poipu; Helicopter, Zipline, and Snorkeling in Kauai

Yvonne Condes and Shelley at Blue Hawiian Helicopter Tour.jpg

Yvonne Condes and Shelley at Blue Hawiian Helicopter Tour.jpg

Growing up, I was afraid of everything – flying, falling, wide open spaces, strangers (aka serial killers) – but once I had kids I knew that I had to do something to combat those fears. I want my boys to grow up willing to go places and have adventures therefore I must be willing to travel on airplanes and try new things. This led me to request “adventure”  when I went on a press trip to the Poipu area of Kauai.

Luckily, my childhood friend, Shelley, came with me and was more than willing to do whatever was thrown at us. Our trip started with an “Eco Adventure” by Blue Hawaiian Helicopter Tour around the island. I have said before that I would never willingly go on a helicopter and when my fearless husband said that it was, in fact, “a little scary,” I was worried. In fact, I was stressed out days before and until we stepped on the helicopter and sat down next to our pilot, Barrett. He’s an experienced pilot from Kauai and had flown the route many, many times.

Yvonne And Pilot Barrett

My fear was gone the minute we  took off. It wasn’t scary at all and the flight was really smooth even though we flew from sunny skies to rain and back to sunny skies. Plus it helped that I was distracted by how incredibly beautiful it was to be seeing the island from the sky.

Blue Hawaiian Helicopter Tour Collage (photo by Yvonne Condes)

Bottom right, view as we took off from Lihue Airport. Bottom left, Hanalei Bay. Middle right, Waimea Canyon State Park a.k.a The Grand Canyon of the Pacific. Middle left, Mount Waialeale, the wettest place on earth. Top, the Na Pali Coast.

It was incredible. I think the helicopter trip would have blown my boys’ minds and I can’t wait to take them someday. It’s not inexpensive for sure, but there are parts of the island that you can’t see otherwise. We were able to fly to Mt Waialeale, an ancient volcano and the wettest spot on earth, and see hidden waterfalls in Waimea Canyon State Park.

After our first  adventure, we relaxed at the spa and took a TRX class. Then it was on to the serious stuff. We tried something that Shelley and I were both a little nervous about, the Nui Nui Loa Zipline at Outfitters Kauai. The zipline tour started with us piling into a van and driving to Kipu Ranch where the George Clooney movie The Descendants was filmed. We put on our gear and then hiked to the jungle area where we did our first line. If you’ve never ziplined, you wear a rock climbing-like harness that attaches you by carabiner to a line and you zip across from one point to the other. In our case it was a forest, water, and at the end, into a natural pool.

 Yvonne Condes ready to zipline with Outfitters Kauai

The first two ziplines that we did were pretty low key and after the third we stopped and had a lunch packed by Outfitters Kauai. Everyone was given a sandwich, cookie, a juice, and water except for me because I requested gluten free (so nice!). After lunch, we got back into the van and drove for about 20 minutes. Our next spot had a great view of Ha’upu Mountain.

Ha'upu Mountain in Kauai

Ha’upu Mountain. If you look closely, you can see the outline of a man lying down.

I would like to say that the first zipline was the scariest, but they became were more intense as we traveled on. They started out tame so we could get used to traveling at rapid speed through the air high above the ground. We kept going faster, getting up higher, and traveling longer distances.

Yvonne Condes Ziplining with Outfitters Kauai

The last line was really fun and I had an excellent time on all of the ziplines. The best was definitely saved for last. We were told to wear our bathing suits under our hiking clothes and bring a towel, which I was hoping we were wearing so could just go for a swim. But no, for the last one (it was optional, about half of our group did it) we held on to a bar and zipped out over a natural pool and let go.

Yvonne Condes Zipping Into Natural Pool in Kauai

 There were so many fears overcome during that last jump. Not only was I in a bathing suit in public being photographed, but I jumped off something high into water. Unbelievable. I did chicken out about jumping off a higher platform without holding onto the bar. Baby steps.

I would highly recommend taking an Outfitters Kauai adventure and I would definitely take my two boys in about a year or so. They are 8 and 9-years-old and I think if they were any younger they would have a hard time waiting for the next zipline. Or we would do the Lele ‘Eono tour that is a half day, quick trip. You have to be 7 to do any of the zip tours.

Sunrise on Blue Dolphin Charters (photo by Yvonne Condes)

Our next adventure was a full day Niihau-Na Pali Scuba-Snorkel Tour with Blue Dolphin Charters. It was the one thing I wasn’t intimidated by or afraid of so I was very excited about it. It did not go so well for me. I have to start by saying that I did everything wrong. In the past year, I went on a cruise to Alaska, did a whale watching boat tour out of Long Beach, and went to Catalina on a ferry so I thought I was good on boats. The information about the Blue Dolphin Tour said to bring any motion sickness medicine that you may need and any medication. I didn’t bring anything with me. Also, when I felt that I was getting seasick, I didn’t do anything about it until it was too late. About an hour in, I got very seasick. Lesson learned.

That said, it was a beautiful cruise to places you can’t see up close any other way. The boat tour started really well. We watched the sun come up while having fresh cinnamon rolls and coffee. The tour took us to the Na Pali coast. The boat stopped at Niihau and we got out to snorkel. It was unbelievably pretty. I was only able to snorkel for a short time, but the people who did snorkel and scuba dive said it was great. One thing I have to mention is how incredibly nice the crew was on the boat. They were great before and after I was sick. There was even someone in the water on a surfboard making sure everyone was safe and having a good time while snorkeling and scuba diving.

I think the boat tour would have been fun if I had been prepared. They served lunch and drinks after snorkeling and people seemed like they were having a good time. There weren’t any kids on the boat and I don’t think I would take mine because it was a long day. I would, though, take them on a whale watching cruise, which is only 2 hours and looks amazing.

Poipu Beach (photo by Yvonne Condes)

On the last day, we spent our time at Poipu Beach and swam around looking at sea life. The beach was beautiful and it wasn’t hard to find sea turtles, manta rays, and colorful fish. Poipu was an incredible trip full of adventure. I can’t wait to go back.

Disclosure: I was not compensated for these reviews, though I was provided tickets for the activities for review purposes. All opinions are my own.





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