Relax with Travel Editor Christine Ciarmello
Deputy Editor of Sunset Magazine
Professional Traveler, Islands Lover
My earliest travel memory is of a ride on a very small ferry boat from a Greek island to Brindisi, Italy, tossed on a wobbly sea. My mom was pickpocketed in Brindisi (or on the ferry) and we had to rely on the kindness of the Italians for food and shelter. They exceeded all expectations, and I was hooked on this travel hospitality. I was 4.
When I travel, I crave great food, tropical beaches, and culture. I would spend my perfect day in Kauai because it's slow paced - seriously, no one goes the speed limit here. They go well under it.
I would recommend a stay at the Hanalei Colony Resort, just outside of Hanalei. The buildings are low rise condos born the same year as me, yes, but they have fantastic living areas, with jalousie windows that open to the Pacific. All the fabrics are tropical with blooming red flowers on them. It's cheery. I fell in love with this place. Plus, your front yard (depending on which condo you choose) is an empty Pacific beach of the walking variety (not the swimming variety). It's off the beaten track. If you like a more formal hotel, I'd recommend Koa Kea.
My favorite places to eat
The activities not to be missed
My hidden gems
My travel tips
Note that the traffic in little ol' Kauai can be soul crushing, especially at peak times, from 3-6pm from the airport to points North. It's not what you would expect. Plan accordingly.
Suggested reading: James Michener's Tales of the South Pacific, Paul Theroux's Hotel Honolulu or The Happy Isles of Oceania. Watch Jurassic Park.
The place I'm most excited to go to next is the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.