DansDeals Concierge Kauai Trip Information: 11/01/11:
This report is adapted from my Kauai trip notes which you can read and see pictures from here:http://www.dansdeals.com/archives/6088
Kauai Revealed is a goldmine of information on Kauai, is fun to read, and I highly recommend it: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0981461085/?tag=cl03f-20
Kauai useful addresses:Lihue (Airport area):Costco
: (Roughly the same prices as Costco on the mainland. The cheapest gas on the island can be bought here) 4300 Nuhou St. Lihue HI 96766 808-241-4000 M-F 10:00am - 8:30pm Sat 9:30am - 6:00pm Sun 10:00am - 6:00pm Walmart
(Roughly 25-50% higher prices than Walmart on the mainland): 3-3300 Kuhio Hwy Lihue, HI 96766 (808) 246-1599 6am – 11pm Everyday Kmart
(Roughly 50-75% higher prices than Kmart on the mainland): 4-4303 Nawiliwili Road Lihue, kauai, HI 96766 (808) 245-7742. 7am – 10pm Weekdays, 8am-10pm Weekends.
Star Market: (Grocery Store with a small kosher section and roughly 100% higher prices than mainland prices) 3-2600 Kaumualii Hwy, Suite K Lihue, HI, 96766, (808) 245-7777, 6 am - 11 pm DailyJamba Juice:
(Ask your LOR about all kashrus concerns but you can order fresh squeezed orange juice which is done in a dedicated squeezing machine, you can also request to have any smoothie made with any real fruits (Strawberry, banana, blueberry, peach, and mango) and fresh squeezed orange juice and no other fillers.)
3-2600 Kaumualii Hwy #A7 Lihue, HI 96766 808.241.7042, M-T 7am - 8pm, Fri 7am-10pm, Sat 7am-8pm, Sun 8am - 7pm.Kapa'a (North)Safeway:
(Grocery store, prices for regularly priced items are 75-125% higher than on the mainland. Weekly sale items are a good buy though and can be about equal to mainland prices) 4-831 Kuhio Hwy, Kapaa, HI 96746, 808-822-2464 Open 24 Hours S. Regis Princeville Resort
5520 Ka Haku Road, Princeville, Kauai, Hawaii, 96722 (808) 826-9644Poipu/Koloa (South)Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa
1571 Poipu Road Koloa, Hawaii, 96756 808-742-1234Sheraton Kauai Resort
2440 Hoonani Road Koloa, Kauai, Hawaii 96756 (808) 742-1661
Welcome my personal favorite Hawaiian island! It’s hard not to gush about Kauai. The air is deliciously fresh with greenery abound. Kauai just a stunningly beautiful island without any of the touristy kitsch that permeates Oahu and to a lesser degree Maui. From the depths of Waimea Canyon to the awe-inspiring cliffs of Na Pali it’s hard to not lose your breath…
A convertible will be lots of fun in Kauai, but a 4WD vehicle may also come in handy for trails up in Waimea Canyon and for driving on the dunes of Polihale Beach.
Kauai Trip Suggestions: 1. Waimea Canyon. Duration: 3-10 hours.
-Drive north from Poipu to the Kaumualii highway, west to Waimea Canyon Dr and north on Waimea Canyon Dr. Nicknamed the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, drive up slowly and take in the beautiful and changing scenery. Come here early in the day before the clouds set in and block the views. Bring a sweater! Drive to the top and stop off at the scenic viewing points to see the canyon on the one side, and the sheer cliffs of the Na Pali coast on the other. You can also view the forbidden island of Ni'ihau from up here.
The hiking in Waimea Canyon is second to none. Stop in the visitors center for hike suggestions and maps. If you're up for it try the Nu'alolo/Awa'awapuhi grand loop hike that we did on our last trip to Kauai. Note that it is much warmer at the lower Na Pali side of this hike than it is at the beginning of the hike. The scenery from this hike is too unbelievable to describe, but the hike can be grueling at 11 miles long and it needs to be started before 10am to finish it before 5pm. Not too worry, there are plenty of shorter and easier hikes up here!
The air up here is impossibly clean, breath it in and enjoy!
If you have a 4WD and are feeling brave then don't miss Miloli Ridge Road which will open up to the most stunning view of Na Pali without the 11 mile hike. You can also take the paved Makaha Ridge road in any car, but the end is blocked off by a government building. Just before the building though we found a place to pull over and take in the view of Na Pali. Best of all from the lower altitude at the end of this road you can put away your sweater!2. Polihale Beach.
At the very west end of Kauai is a beach that stretches for as far as the eye can see. Access to Polihale is via a dirt road, but any car should be able to handle it . The waters here are generally very rough, but there is a spot called Queen's Pond where there is a fringing reef that causes the huge waves to come crashing down before hitting the beach, creating a wonderfully calm area with rough seas all around. If you've spent a day at Waimea Canyon warm up on Polihale Beach and witness the beautiful sunset as it goes down over the island of Ni'ihau to the northwest. Drive to the very north of Polihale and watch the sun and rainbows bounce of the cliffs on Na Pali.
Sunset will also be beautiful from any other western-facing beach.3. Helicopter tour of the island. Duration: 1 hour
A Helicopter tour of Kauai with Blue Hawaiian is AWESOME!!! They have first class helicopters with comfy seats, 2 way noise canceling headphones, and huge windows for incredible views. The biggest problem with Kauai is that so much of it is inaccessible. With a helicopter tour you can go right up to sights that seem impossible…into the canyon, over Na Pali, and it ends of with Mt. Waialeale, one of the wettest spots on earth with some 500 inches of annual rainfall and dozens of waterfalls gushing down. This is simply a must-do on Kauai.4. Kayak the Wailua River. Duration: 2-5 hours.
Kayak to Fern Grotto and Secret Falls. Both sites are very impressive! It is a little tricky to dock at Fern Grotto and to actually find the beautiful Secret Falls with its swimmable pool…but well worth it. Have someone take your picture while your under the fallls! We started from the Kamokila Hawaiian Village (across from Opaeka Falls) where it’s just a short 5-10 minute kayak to either site, but you can start earlier on the Wailua River if you want t a longer Kayak . We ran out of time and couldn’t find Secret Falls before they closed, but they let us come back a couple days later and try again for free-and we made it! Bring "Off" or you may get eaten alive...5. Snorkel or Dive!
You can't go to Hawaii without snorkeling! Walmart sells snorkel gear and Costco may as well. There's plenty of great snorkeling on the island but my personal favorite spot is along Poipu Beach just a few minute drive from the Grand Hyatt. Every time I snorkeled here I've seen huge green sea turtles! Plus monk seals often swim up and take a tan the beach here! It's a big beach, so if parts are crowded just move further down!
Always try to snorkel in the morning before afternoon waves get too strong to enjoy the snorkeling.
Many hotels rent or even give free snorkel gear, but it's often unsanitary and it's always cheap junk that doesn't work well. Go to Walmart and get some good snorkel gear (National Geographic makes an excellent set) which won't allow water to go into the snorkel. If you're not happy with the gear you can always return it.
Walmart also sells diving gloves which are great for snorkeling. Coral Reef can be difficult to avoid and can cut your hands badly, so wearing gloves will prevent that from happening.
If you have a mustache then snorkeling can be a challenge as it will be hard to create a suction to keep the water out. Trim your mustache short if you can and buy pure Vaseline jelly and rub it over your mask and mustache to try to create a suction.6. Hike
Hiking in Hawaii is incredible. The weather is always perfect and you can hike through waterfalls and jungles with ease. Consider going to Walmart and buying a pair of inexpensive Tabi shoes (near the snorkeling gear) to hike in streams and waterfalls. They have a grippy bottom that will stop you from slipping and are also great as water shoes so your feet don't get cut up.7. Drive!
Kauai is beautiful! Roll down your windows, take in the garden fresh air and scenery, and just drive. It will take about 2 hours to drive north to the top of the island (where you will find quaint towns, dry and wet caves near Hanalei where Puff the Magic Dragon once roamed, and 1 lane badges) from the Hyatt, and about an hour to drive from Hyatt to the Polihale west end.8. Relax!
Don't forget to just leave time to find a private beach and relax!!! You don't have to be running around 24/7.
The pools at the Grand Hyatt are fantastic, take the time to explore them all! And don't forget to sign up for a free diving lesson in their salt-water lagoon as well!
-Feeling brave? At Kipu Falls you can swing from a rope down into a waterfall!
-Looking for a neat picture? Take some over the bridge by Hanalei! I actually found a hippie artist here selling amazing paintings of Hawaii for cheap.
-Don't miss Wailua Falls, where if you get the right angle of the camera you'll be able to get a great shot of yourselves and the falls.
-Check out the Princeville area by the S. Regis and Queen's Bath on the North Shore.
-Catch as many sunrises and sunsets that you can...they're gorgeous!
-You can also go horseback riding, ziplining, or even fly a powered hang-glider if you're up to it!
-Just slow down and enjoy the slow pace of Kauai!
-Be sure to eat a "Maui Gold" pineapple and try a sweet Maui onion! Fruit in general, like Papayas, Mangos, and Passion Fruit grown in Hawaii are fresher and tastier than back on the mainland. Find a local farmers market for best results!