At the end of our first full day, we found one of those activity kiosks that has pictures of ziplines, helicopters, boats, snorkeling, luaus, ATVs…just about everything you could possibly want to do, provided you have the money. And just like everything else in Hawaii, those types of activities aren’t cheap. For an hour helicopter tour, you’re looking at around $200 per person. But, if you’re going to do a helicopter tour once in your life, better to do it in Hawaii. Especially on the island of Kauai where the only ways to see the Na Pali Coast are by boat or by air.
So anyway, we talked to the guy at the kiosk, Will*, who happened to be affiliated with some timeshare company. He could sell us the activities for regular price, just like any other activities kiosk vendor, or we could get a bunch of two-for-one deals if we were willing to give up 2 hours of our vacation to sit through a timeshare presentation. Hubby and I did this once before during a trip to Miami, so we knew what we were getting ourselves into, but we just couldn’t walk away from more than $400 in savings, so we agreed to the timeshare presentation. Had we not wanted to do so many expensive activities, or had we not had the time in our schedule to spend 2 hours of it at a timeshare, we would’ve just paid the regular price. But we did have the time and it did save us a lot of money, and even though I hate sitting through such aggressive sales pitches, it was still worth it. The only time I wouldn’t recommend taking advantage of those deals is:
1. If you’re vacation is less than 4 days
2. If the incentive isn’t something you were already planning to do. For example, don’t accept tickets to an event you wouldn’t have paid for in the first place. Or certificates to a restaurant you don’t care to visit. The dollar value will always vary, but if it isn’t something you truly want, then it doesn’t matter what the dollar value of the item is.
As for the activities themselves, we couldn’t have had a better time. The views from the heli were just jaw-dropping. My husband was practically speechless the entire time, but part of that could’ve been because it was his first heli ride.
I took more video than photos, but here are a couple of photos to give you an idea:
But the boat tour just might have been my favorite. We were able to snag a seat up top in the very back and on the right side – probably the best seat on the ship because nothing and no one would obstruct our view. We took off from the south short and sailed northwest toward the Na Pali. The ride up was beautiful and sunny and we had a blast just sitting back, listening to the music playing through the speakers, and looking off in the distance for whales (we saw a few). The waters were rough, but I made sure to take Dramamine before we boarded so it wasn’t that bad. I tend to get motion sickness quite easily.
And then we saw the rainbow.
And then we took pictures with the rainbow.
Of course, there can’t be a rainbow without any rain so it started sprinkling a little (hence the jacket and wet t-shirt) so the captain turned around and headed back. That’s when the real party got started and our nice, quiet ship turned into a booze cruise. The bar opened up and dinner was served on the lower deck – an assortment of smoked pulled-pork, some sort of chicken with sauce, salad, bread, and cookies. And the mai tais….oh the mai tais were delicious…
The only part I didn’t really enjoy was the fact that it’s a barefoot boat, meaning everyone had to leave their shoes back at the dock. So walking around on a wet boat, looking at everyone else’s nasty-looking feet (seriously, what happens to people’s feet once they turn 40? It’s disgusting!), I kept thinking about how I’m going to catch some sort of foot fungus or athlete’s foot from these people. It grossed me out.
Just as we finished eating, the captain made an announcement that we had just come up on a pod of dolphins, so we all ran out to the front of the boat and watched little spinner dolphins come right up to the boat, riding right in front so that the boat was essentially pushing them through the water. There had to have been maybe 25 or 30 of them. Spinner dolphins are smaller than bottlenose dolphins and apparently they’re more commonly seen on the morning cruises (the morning cruises are snorkeling excursions), so it was nice to get the chance to see them so late in the afternoon. I only wish I wouldn’t have left my camera back at my seat in the back of the boat.
Then we watched the sun set over the Forbidden Island.
We did the luau the next night, Friday night. I’m not a big fan of being seated at a large table with other people and there’s a reason for that. We were seated at a table for 10, right with a family of 8. It sucked. But at least it was open bar so other than the actual dinner, we didn’t spend much time at our table.
The pig is cooked on-site, in a pit in the ground.
After the dinner, the entertainment starts. My favorite part is the fire dancers. I can never get a great photo, but I like how this one turned out.
Yeah, that’s just one guy.
We didn’t have to sit through the timeshare presentation until Sunday morning, Easter morning. We were hoping to be finished by about 10:30 so we could try to find a church, but the sales pitch was intriguing and we ended up spending close to 4 hours there. We didn’t buy, but we learned more about timeshare than we ever wanted to. So, if you’re thinking about timeshare, let me give you some advice: buy in Hawaii because you’re trading power is MUCH higher than say, a time share in Orlando. Also, don’t take the first offer. If they know you’re interested, they’ll negotiate down. By the end of the session, we were offered the premium package at the basic price and given a 7 week cruise, airfare included. We didn’t take it, because timeshare just doesn’t make sense for us right now, but I will say that it was tempting. If we lived in California where flights to Hawaii aren’t as expensive or exhausting, we probably would’ve done it.
And now that my recap posts have become a novella, I think I’ll end here. I’ve posted more photos on Facebook, if we’re friends and you’re interested!
(side note: he’s also semi-famous. He was the sole survivor of a plane crash in Costa Rica a few years ago. We watched his story on Animal Planet on a show called, “I Shouldn’t Be Alive.” See Will and his story here.)