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Hawaii as a holiday Work & Travel destination

Why are you going abroad with Work & Travel? Is it because of the money, the travels, the culture or all of them? No matter what your reason is, one thing is certain: we all can’t wait to go on our final trip, after 30th September.

This year, after working abroad with Work & Travel in California, my friends and I decided to visit an exotic destination, that probably only 10% of the people in Romania saw. (it is 12,853 km far) If you are planning to go to California next year, you are passionate about nature, you  like coconuts, surfing and a chilled out holiday, this article might be for you.

Being in California is great. And what is even better is that Hawaii is only 5h flight from San Francisco. The flight costs around 500$ depending on the island you are flying to.

Choosing Hawaii as a destination for your final trip with Work & Travel involves money, a small group, a driving license and a good plan. It is not the kind of destination you want to go with 20 people in an organized group with a travel agency. Depending on your taste in fun, you have several choices to choose regarding the island you want to be in. There are 8 islands in Hawaii and only 6 are opened to public: Oahu, Maui, Kauai, Molokai, Lanai, and the Big Island. 

Make your island choice…

We have chosen Kauai and you should also choose it if:

  • you want a silent and relaxed holiday
  • you are passionate about hiking, swimming and water sports
  • you are passionate about photography (the island has one of the most variate nature)
  • you don’t mind going to bed at 10:00 pm and wake up at 7:00 am
  • you don’t need clubs, dancing and night activities
  • you don’t mind missing the famous Stairs of Heaven (they are in Oahu)
  • you don’t like high buildings next to the beach (Oahu has them)

About Kuai

Kuai is a small island, not very touristic, with many hiking opportunities and nature adventure. It is known as the “Garden Isle” and it is 169 km long. Its origins are volcanic, being one of the oldest islands of Hawaii. Also, it is one of the wettest spots on Earth. You’ll sweat with no reason and you’ll need lots of water in your activities. On the west side of the island, Waimea town is located at the mouth of the Waimea River, whose flow formed Waimea Canyon, one of the world’s most scenic canyons, which is part of Waimea Canyon State Park.  It is approx 900 m deep and Mark Twain referred to it as “The Grand Canyon of the Pacific”. Pay attention to what clothes you are wearing while visiting the canyon and the river. The rocks contain a red dust which won’t come out from your clothes. Waimea Canyon was used in the filming of the 1993 film Jurassic Park. You can land on the waterfall that appeared in the movie, iy you take a helicopter ride. Some scenes from  Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides were also filmed in Ka uaʻi.


Focus your efforts in the North of the Island. That’s the place where the best beaches are and also the most famous hike on the Napali Coast.

Canyon visiting –  there are 2 roads Waimea Canyon Road (State Highway 550) from the town of Waimea and Koke’e Road (State Highway 55) from the town of Kekaha. Take one road up, one down and you’ll have 3 lookouts on the way: Puu Ka Pele lookout, Waimea Canyon  lookout, Puu Hinahina lookout.




Photography – best spots for extraordinary photos will be during the sunsets (dohh) in these spots:Kalalau Lookout and Pu’u o Kila Lookouts. Also, don’t forget about sunsets at the beach.



Hiking – The Nā Pali Coast State Park is assessable to hikers along the Kalalau Trail. The trail begins on Kauai’s north shore at the end of  Hwy  56 at Ke’e Beach in Haena State Park. (11 miles total) The most popular section of the trail is the first two mile stretch from  Ke’e beach to Hanakapiai Valley. If you are feeling like you just need a bit more adventure you can trek 2 more miles in land to the Hanakapiai Falls. The last nine miles of the 11 mile Kalalau Trail is for experienced hikers with the proper permits and camping gear.


Swimming – In addition to the beautiful ocean, you cannot miss Queen’s Baths. You need to go early, as there are only 10 parking spots and they are usually taken. The Queen’s Bath is one of Princeville’s favorite summertime attractions. A pleasant 10-minute hike past a waterfall leads down to a rocky landscape of lava rock.  Another 5-minute trek over rocks leads to the bath.Don’t go in flip flops or you’ll get in trouble. It is very slippery and muddy. Roughly the size of a large swimming pool, the Queen’s Bath is a natural tide pool with some fish and sometimes turtles. Water spills over the lava rocks to refresh the pool.


Snorkeling – the safest beach to snorkel is Ke’E Beach  at the starting point of Kalalau Trail. You’ll see banks of fishes bigger than your head. Another nice spot for snorkeling is the beach from St. Regis Princeville Resort.


Kayaking – there is only one river which is worth kayaking, the Waimea River. Just 2 companies to choose from and if you get to know locals, perhaps they can arrange a ride for you on a Sunday, the only day the companies do not operate (which means less tourists).

Waterfall swimming – best one is Secret Falls because you can only reach it with the kayak. The second best one is Wailua Falls, which can be reached easily by car, but also has a hidden track for you to go down.




Driving & Biking –  there is a scenic drive on the way to Poipu and the Spouting Horn called Maluhia Road. Your car will go through a tree tunnel like in the fairytales. Also, don’t miss the awesome biking trail along the ocean.


Beaches – anything from the North: Ke’E Beach, Tunnels Beach, Poipu Beach, Sheraton’s beach.



Helicopter flying – this is a must because it allows you to see the whole Napali Coast which can not be seen otherwise.



Food Treats

Keoki’s Paradise it has tiki torches and is surrounded by tropical vegetation. It is lively, has an open-air terrace and after 7 it has live music. Duke’s has the best fish and Hula Pie that anyone in Hawaii should try. Loco Coco Shaved ice has the cutest guy to serve you shaved ice in a coconut. Food trucks are very popular in Kuai and if you are used to the American style of eating, you will find the best burger at NOM. Also, don’t leave the island without tasting sugar cane juice, acai bowls and the best smoothies on Earth. The only bar that has all of these is Moloa’a Sunrise.




Don’t forget to blend in with the locals



Money, money, money…

Probably the most important aspect when choosing your holiday destination is whether you can afford it. Here’s a general list of expenses we had for Hawaii.

  • 500$ flight (we flew with Alaska from Oakland to Lihue)
  • 300$-400$ for accommodation  (we paid 215 $ because one of the ladies from the hotel we worked at, had a friend in Kuai working in a manager position)
  • 150$/week rent a car with no insurance. They gave it to me based on the healthcare insurance I had from 7corners. 
  • 70$/week for gas. It is 30$ a full tank and we were 5 people with a normal car (you can also rent Jeeps, but it will cost you more)
  • 5 $ a coconut when you are thirsty
  • 50$ at least for a dinner including main course, desert and a mai-tai
  • 175 $ to fly with the helicopter
  • $$$ to go kayaking, rent a bike, or get surfing classes. We did not pay those thanks to 2 locals.
  • ~100 $ for zip line
  • 100 $ for groceries for 3 days for 4 people. You only have 2 options: Safeway or Casco. For shopping at Casco you need a local’s card

As you probably noticed, you need at least $1,500 to organize a trip to Hawaii. Kuai especially  is an expensive island. However, with a good plan of saving, you can do it. I’ll let you know in my next article, how you can get 5 digits figures in your bank account after the Work & Travel program, so that money won’t be a problem when choosing your final trip destination.

Until then, I invite you to check out our travel fun in Kuai while kayaking, surfing and more.

Mahalo Irina, Anca, Mihaela and Bogdan for casting in this video ;-)

Travel passionately,

Watermark Ioana



Now it is your turn. What was your favorite destination that you visited during your trip with Work & Travel?