ATV ADVENTURE ON KIPU RANCH
One of our favorite things to do on vacation (and in general really!) is go ATVing! We have gone out on tours in the jungles of Costa Rica and on the sand dunes in Cabo San Lucas. We even have our own ATV at home and love exploring the mountainous terrain in Vermont. On our trip to Kauai, Hawaii we were given the AMAZING opportunity to partner up with Kipu Ranch Adventures for a Waterfall Picnic Tour. Ryan was especially excited, since this particular tour would take us to the site of perhaps the greatest action movie opening sequence ever shot - the first scene in "Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark." In this scene, Indiana Jones is trying to escape from the indigenous peoples and flees to the banks of the Hule'ia River where he swings on a vine into the murky waters to swim to his plane, all while darting the arrows and blow darts being shot at him. Ryan has LOVED Indiana Jones since he was a kid, so this was basically the highlight of his life! Just wait until you see the video of him taking his swing later on in this post!
We arrived to the ranch on a beautiful afternoon. The morning was rainy, but as we drove down the dirt road to the Kipu Ranch Adventures Headquarters, the sun was shining. The side by sides and ATVs were all lined up and ready for us, and we knew that we would have a great tour because we could see the mud puddles everywhere! After checking in we met our guides, Kai and Troy. They gave us our helmets and goggles (and a souvenir Kipu Ranch bandana) and took us on a quick trial run of a few laps around the lot to teach us how to operate the side by sides. Since we have done this quite a bit we got right into the groove - but if you have never done it, don't worry, operating the ATVs is SO simple! The Kawasaki side by sides we would be riding for the day were all automatic, so there was no shifting gears or using a clutch. All we had to do was press the gas (and the breaks!) and steer! After everybody got warmed up, it was time to hit the trails and explore!
The particular tour we went on was the 4-hour long Waterfall Picnic Tour, which would include a few swimming stops and a delicious picnic of a deli-style sandwich buffet, fresh fruits, and dessert. We started the tour by heading through a beautiful tree tunnel and into lush green pastures of cattle and other wildlife. This is where we made our first stop, and Kai and Troy told us more about the history of the ranch. They explained that the tree tunnel we had just gone through signified that we were entering royal lands. The ranch was owned by Princess Ruth Luka Keanolani Kauanahoahoa Keʻelikōlani (the great granddaughter of King Kamehameha the Great) and totals about 3000 acres. Over the years, the ranch was used for raising cattle and was the location for many famous movies. While we drove through the ranch's trails, passing the famous movie locations, you could totally picture the scenes of the movies filmed there! We got to see where they filmed "Jurassic Park," "Mighty Joe Young," and "Tropic Thunder" - FUN FACT: our tour guide, Troy, was actually an extra in Tropic Thunder! He played one of the heroin workers!
Because of the morning's rain, we found all kinds of mud during the tour. Of course, Ryan hit every puddle and by the time we hit the Hule'ia River we were COVERED in mud! Luckily, this was the part of the tour where we would be able to swing like Indy and jump into the river, which meant washing off! Ryan took this part of the tour super seriously and re-enacted the entire scene, much to the delight of the rest of our group! Here is the original scene, followed by his re-enactment!
After we were all done pretending to be Indiana Jones, we made our way back to our ATVs to go to a waterfall for lunch. As we pulled up Kai told us that this waterfall was actually the location where "America's Next Top Model" filmed one of their photo shoots. The location was STUNNING, so there was no surprise there!
After a delicious lunch we headed to a second waterfall where we hiked a bit through a beautiful bamboo-lined trail and jumped in for a swim. This was our last stop on the tour, and after jumping back onto our ATVs we took one last trail to get back to the Headquarters.
We truly had such a magical day, from Ryan checking off a bucket list item that he never knew he would be able to, to visiting TWO beautiful waterfalls, and getting dirty on the muddy trails of Kipu Ranch. The tour was something we will never forget and I HIGHLY recommend it to anyone visiting Kauai. Our tour guides, Kai and Troy, were amazing and made this ATV adventure our favorite of them all!
Our excursion with Kipu Ranch Adventures was comped in exchange for the blog and social media coverage we provided. However, I am not being compensated for this post. Thank you to Kipu Ranch Adventures for having us for your Waterfall Picnic Tour!