Perfection and paradise are the words that come to mind. After seeing pictures of the area and reading up a little about it's history and legends, I found out that there was a tour that went down into the valley (which can only be accessed by a very steep, winding road that requires 4WD and has an average grade of 25%) and that there was a B&B that sat on the rim, overlooking the valley. I was sold! I fell in love with it immediately, before even seeing it in person. And lucky for me Antoine was totally on board with eloping there!
So we were both very excited to head to the Waipio Valley on Saturday. We had plans to take the Waipio Valley Tour and then check into the Waipio Rim B&B! Unfortunately, on our way to the tour the GPS decided to take us down an unmarked, unpaved road which was slightly terrifying and made us late for our scheduled tour time. But the tour people were super cool about it and there was room for us on the next tour. Since we now had a little time to spare before the next tour started we headed over to the Waipio Lookout (where the above photo was taken)...
(Left) View of the Waipio Lookout, the road on the left leads you to the B&B where we stayed and also to the super steep road that takes you 2,000 feet down into the valley. (Right) This requires a little explaining. The main reason Antoine was nervous about our upcoming nuptials was because he was concerned he wouldn't know how to pose for the photos. He kept joking that he didn't know what to do with his hands, which if you've ever seen Talladega Nights you'll get! If you don't know what I'm talking about watch this.
After snapping some photos at the lookout and taking in the gorgeous view, we still had extra time before the tour started so we just started driving around. It's a pretty small area so we shortly stumbled across this cute, little park. It was basically just a field with some trees and a couple picnic tables, but it was next to a pretty ranch and you could see the ocean and the valley.
A prime example of what happens when I have the camera (left, pictures of random natrure-y things that have no real purpose) and what happens when Antoine takes the camera hostage (right, pictures of me making faces or being weird).
That's better! Look at my hip soon-to-be-husband, looking all kinds of cute in his Ray-Bans.
On our way to the tour we spotted this cute little gecko, they're everywhere in Hawaii!
(Top left) The tour met up at the Waipio Valley Artworks, which had a great selection of art, books, and souvenirs. (Bottom left) The tour consists of a guide driving you down into the valley in a large 4WD van (with the doors and windows open), showing you around the valley and telling you about its history. It's pretty cool! The only bummer was that the tour does not take you down to the beach (I don't think they can, legally). (Right) A sleeping hibiscus flower from the valley which I pressed and kept! Unlike other hibiscus, the sleeping hibiscus blossoms never fully open.
Two of the many waterfalls in the valley, though only the one in the center was really flowing when we were there. Our tour guide shared a really touching legend about these two waterfalls with us.
(Top) One of the many taro farms in the valley. The conditions in the valley are ideal for growing a variety of crops, fruit trees, and other plants. (Left) One of the types of fruit that grows in the valley is the noni fruit. Our tour guide found us some ripe noni to try. It was one of grossest things I've ever tasted...it smelled/tasted like sour Jarlsberg cheese in fruit form! BLECH!!
(Left) The tour took us through several streams, some of which can get really high and are not passable. (Right) Our fantastic tour guide taking pictures of us in the van in the middle of the stream!
We loved the tour and I'd recommend it to anyone. It was definitely worth the price! We originally thought that the tour would take us to the valley's black sand beach and were slightly disappointed when we found out it didn't. But before we left the area we had the opportunity to hop a ride down with a local and we were so excited to get to explore the beach for a bit!
Locals were surfing, swimming, and fishing but the beach wasn't very crowded at all, which was awesome!
There's something about the valley that feels so magical. I'm not sure what it is about it...maybe how beautiful it is, maybe all the history, or maybe it's that the valley itself isn't commercialized and feels more like authentic Hawaii.
Stayed tuned next week for a little bit more of the Waipio Valley, specifically the Waipio Rim B&B where we stayed and got married! Happy Friday everyone. I hope you all have a fantastic weekend!