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Kauai Overview/DansMeals:
http://www.dansdeals.com/archives/39185

Trip Reports:
Dan 2014
Dan 2009, Auntiemus, Benarroc, Westman812, Hudi, Yellow, Lechaim2life, DanFan2010, Jmansour, Something Fishy, Rivky, chuchem, dealvr, Amusch,
Tzadik Nistar, an613, @Yehuda, @Ygygold, Wizmanison 2017

Dan's concierge packet.


Related DDF Threads:
-Big Island Of Hawaii Master Thread
-Kauai Master Thread
-Maui Master Thread
-Oahu Master Thread


Before you go:

How long should I go for?
You could spend 10 years on Kauai and not get your fill. That being said, the bare minimum to enjoy your stay is 4 days on the ground. A week is ideal.

It's possible to do a short trip by leaving early Sunday morning, getting there in the afternoon, and then leaving Thursday night and being back home for shabbos.

Do I need a guide book?
Very definitely. Sure you could find most info online, but nothing compares to a good, written-by-a-local, guide book. Kauai Revealed is by far the best option, and will possibly be the best $16 you spent on your trip.

What about Shabbos?
Some authorities hold that there's a dateline issue with Shabbos.
The local communities keep shabbos on Saturday.
Definitely ask your LOR before you go - some hold simply that Shabbos is on Saturday, some hold that you have to keep Shabbos on both Friday and Saturday, and some hold that you have to keep D'oreisas on Friday and full Shabbos on Saturday.

If you must keep 2 days, remember that there are many questions that could come up (such as when to light Shabbos candles, how to warm up food, etc.), so make sure to discuss it all with your LOR.

There have been books written about the Chabad opinion of keeping shabbos only on Saturday. Rabbi Aharon Dovid Gancz gives an absolutely fascinating pilpul on the topic, if you get a chance to attend one please record it (with permission) and upload the video online.


Getting there and getting around:

Air:
The main airport is in Lihue, and is designated LIH.
You could fly directly from the mainland to LIH from
DEN (UA)
LAX (AA, DL, HA, UA)
OAK (AS, HA)
SAN (AS)
SEA (AS)
SFO (UA)
SJC (AS)
PDX (AS)
PHX (US)
YVR (WestJet)

There are no direct flights from the East coast, so you will stop in one of these cities.
Alternately, you could fly directly to Honolulu (HNL) and continue to LIH from there.

Hawaiian, Go, and Island Air fly interisland to LIH from HNL and OGG. There are no direct flights between LIH and the Big Island (ITO/KOA).

You can also use 5K AA or, 6k UA, or 7.5k HA miles each way to fly interisland. United allows a free stopover on a round-trip, so for instance you can fly HNL-LIH-OGG-HNL for just 12K miles.

Car:
A car is necessary on Kauai. All major companies have branches, mostly at the airport. There are also some local companies.

National has Executive Aisle/Selection at the airport, but Hertz doesn't have Gold Choice. Avis also has a desk at the Grand Hyatt Kauai. Check out www.discounthawaiicarrental.com - they book from the major brands, and are worth a try.

There's nothing like a convertible on Kauai, but a 4WD is better (sometimes even necessary) for certain places such as Polihale Beach or Milolii Ridge Road. Taking a convertible for most of your stay and a 4WD for a day or two is a good idea.


Where to stay:

There are 3 major areas where to stay. The South side is drier so good weather is more or less guaranteed. The North side is far prettier, with sheer cliffs and a backdrop of lovely green mountains. However, the weather in winter could be rainy and it can be buggy as well.
The rain typically doesn't last long, and is usually accompanied by numerous rainbows, so it's usually not too bad. However, it's something you should take into account. The East side has the cities of Lihue and Kapa'a, alone with countless hotels and resorts. This area isn't as beautiful and the North or South side.

When choosing an area also consider how far it is to your chosen activities, not just the weather, For example, it takes about an hour from the Grand Hyatt to Waimea Canyon, but over two hours from the St. Regis.  On the other hand the St. Regis is much closer to north shore activities.

Here are some places that are discussed in this thread:

NameAreaMore InfoComments
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Grand Hyatt KauaiSouth sideWebsiteGenerally considered to be the top hotel on Kauai, and countless DDF'ers have stayed there. The weather is perfect year-round, it's right by Poipu beach, and you drive through an awesome tree tunnel to get there. There are countless pools and exotic birds all around.
St. Regis PrincevilleNorth sideWebsiteAnother beautiful hotel, this is an SPG category 7. The setting of the SRP is absolutely breathtaking, with the ocean crashing on the cliffs below and the waterfall-filled mountains in the background. The views from the rooms are unparalleled, but most rooms have no balconies.
Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas North sideWebsiteSPG category 6.
Sheraton Kauai Resort South sideWebsiteSPG category 5.
"Get your own place"AnywhereWebsiteThere are countless condos, timeshares, or villas available to rent on the island. The advantages are that you get more for your money - a couple of bedrooms, living/dining rooms, and a full kitchen. There will usually be a pool, sometimes even a private one. Additionally, they're often cheaper than a hotel. There are many places to find them -
 HomeAway Kauai
VRBO Kauai
Airbnb Kauai, etc.


What to do:

Beaches:
There are countless beaches on Kauai, and all are public. Most offer amazing snorkeling. The East and South side beaches are safe for swimming / snorkeling year round, while some North and West beaches could be deadly in winter. Here are some popular ones, in no particular order:

NameAreaComments
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
PoipuSouth sideThis beach is right by the GHK. Full amenities (lifeguard, showers, etc.). Snorkeling is amazing here, especially in the morning. Sea turtles and the critically endangered Hawaiian monk seal are commonly seen here. Gorgeous sunsets.
Ke'eNorth sideThis beach is the gateway to the famous Kalalau Trail. The view from here is amazing, looking out over the majestic Na Pali cliffs. Great snorkeling, with a large fringing reef. This beach could be deadly winter, when 20-foot waves crash onto shore. However, at times it's perfectly calm. Use common sense. The beach is part of Hāʻena State Park
TunnelsNorth sideBeautiful crescent beach, with a lovely view of "Puff the Magic Dragon" mountain. Great snorkeling, and beautiful sunrises. May be dangerous in winter.
LumahaiNorth sideVery pretty beach, where they filmed South Pacific. Extremely dangerous winter.
PolihaleWest side17 solid miles of uninterrupted sand. Fairly remote, and accessible only via dirt and sand road, so 4WD is preferred. Unswimmable most of the year, but the area called Queens Pond is safe all year round. Since it's so huge, you could easily find a secluded spot. Great view of the south side of Na Pali, with amazing sunsets.
Queen's BathNorth sideThis is a rocky beach by the cliffs under Princeville. Very cool during the summer, when you could swim in a rock pool with the fish, but absolutely deadly during the winter (people die there all the time).
KalalauNorth sideOne of the most beautiful beaches in the entire world. Unfortunately, it's only accessible via one of the most difficult and most dangerous hikes in the world, the Kalalau Trail.
HonopūNorth sideAnother one of the top ten beaches in the world. The only way to get there is by swimming - from Kalalau beach :o!
Hanalei BayNorth sideA beautiful crescent beach with wonderful views. Mediocre snorkeling, but safe even in the winter. Very predictable waves, so this is the top spot for learning to surf or paddle. Breathtaking sunrises and sunsets.
SecretNorth sideRelatively secluded beach, and needs a bit of a hike to get there.
LydgateEast sideA fully protected beach, with pretty good snorkeling. Great for little kids, but is usually very busy.
NawiliwiliEast sideBoring beach, but the park of the the side is a nice place to stop for lunch and watch the kitesurfers.
Kapa'aEast sideAnother relatively boring beach, but a nice place to have lunch if you're in Kapa'a.


Hiking:
There are a tremendous amount of great hikes on Kauai. Check the Kauai Revealed book for detailed info on all of them, with maps, difficulty ratings, etc. These are just a few which are discussed in this thread:

NameAreaComments
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Hike 1Area 1Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit, sed diam nonummy nibh euismod tincidunt ut laoreet dolore magna aliquam erat volutpat. Ut wisi enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exerci tation ullamcorper suscipit lobortis nisl ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat.
Hike 2Area 2Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit, sed diam nonummy nibh euismod tincidunt ut laoreet dolore magna aliquam erat volutpat. Ut wisi enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exerci tation ullamcorper suscipit lobortis nisl ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat.


Other activities:

ActivityComments
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Helicopter toursEasily the most expensive activity on Kauai, and easily the most amazing. You get to see otherwise inaccessible places - among others, you fly into Waimea Canyon, along the stunning Na Pali coast, and into the crater of the extinct Mount Waiʻaleʻale, now the wettest place on earth. It's an experience that could simply not be matched. Blue Hawaiian is the most popular and usually recommended. Jack Harter also flies amazing doors-off tours, which are wet, windy, and exhilirating :D.
Powered hang glidingThis is a unique flight lesson (counts a flying time for a pilot's license) in what's basically a motorized tricycle with wings. Supposed to be tremendous fun. Offered by Birds in Paradise.
Waimea CanyonLorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit, sed diam nonummy nibh euismod tincidunt ut laoreet dolore magna aliquam erat volutpat. Ut wisi enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exerci tation ullamcorper suscipit lobortis nisl ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat.
Kalalau Valley overlookLorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit, sed diam nonummy nibh euismod tincidunt ut laoreet dolore magna aliquam erat volutpat. Ut wisi enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exerci tation ullamcorper suscipit lobortis nisl ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat.
Hanalei Valley overlook
Kayaking
Biking
ATVing
Horseback riding
Ziplining
Cruises
4 Wheel Driving


Shopping:
  • Costco in Lihue has some kosher food, as well as the cheapest gas on the island
  • Wal-Mart, also in Lihue, also has some kosher food


Author Topic: Kauai, HI Master Thread  (Read 247091 times)

Offline Dan

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #930 on: February 25, 2014, 05:52:25 PM »
All of it. You covered all pertinent aspects without being too lengthy or short.
Interesting, do others agree?

The pictures embedded in the post format is great too and the difference between the pre and post NEX photos are obvious. Your photography has really improved. :)
Great job capturing the sunrise.

Btw, I'm in agreement with you on the sand at the lagoon, it sucks!
The Coco Mango cosmetics are awesome. We brought plenty back. They also sell it online here.
Thanks!

Dunno what they were thinking with that "sand."

It's the shipping fee from HI that's the killer...
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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #931 on: February 25, 2014, 06:01:27 PM »
Interesting, do others agree?
Dunno what they were thinking with that "sand."

It's the shipping fee from HI that's the killer...
The wonderful sand is actually imported from California. Truth be told the area they imported it from is beautiful in its own right however they sure didn't bring in the best quality sand from California... maybe they should have shopped nearby from Dana Point or something!
Quote from: Kauai Revealed
Across from the lower pool are several acres of saltwater lagoon. If you want saltwater without the waves, here it is. The “sand” is actually gravel imported from San Juan Capistrano.

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #932 on: February 25, 2014, 10:46:54 PM »
Thanks DAN for u great report . Can u please tell us what is doable with kids ?

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #933 on: February 26, 2014, 12:29:34 AM »
Got back from our mini-honeymoon to Kauai last night. Absolute paradise. Our entire trip was based off of other reports here and the Ultimate book/app so won't go deeply into what others have said but will attempt to report on the things that have changed and/or are not listed elsewhere.

We got in on the delta glitch - non-ticketed priceline confirmation that delta honored on my first call. We were supposed to go for a week from JFK via ATL on Thursday Feb 13 but because of storms in NYC and ATL, I got them to push off the whole itinerary until Sunday morning. Worked out better because we both missed one less day of work and we got more time in Kauai! Originally our DL flight was to HNL but once they were changing the dates, I got them to switch our itin straight to LIH via LAX and I was able to cancel our HNL-LIH flight on Island Air so that made life much easier too!

The GHK was booked for Sun and Mon so we got a list minute deal at the Mariott and stayed there for two nights. We got upgraded to a nice ocean view room when we told them it was our honeymoon. The next 5 nights (Tues night through Saturday night) we stayed on C&P at the GHK. I had Diamond at Hyatt via a status match so we got upgraded to Ocean Deluxe room. I tried using my suite upgrades but the garden views were all booked and the GM told me he couldn't confirm me into an ocean suite because they weren't available. Truthfully, it was only two of us so the suite would have been nice but didn't really matter that much. We're not picky eaters so all we brought with us was some frozen deli, a few La Briute meals, some kosher candy, and a couple cliff/chewy bars. We bought bread, peanut butter, tuna and fruit once we landed.

We landed Sunday night, picked up our Camaro convertible and checked into hotel. Monday morning I checked the Revealed App for directions to the Grand Loop hike only to discover the Cliffs part was closed. We wanted to go to Wamea Canyon anyways so we decided to just do the Awa'awapuhi part there and back (6.5 miles total). Unbelievable views of the coast and a bit of a teaser for the big hike we had planned for Wed/Thurs.

It was unbelievably rainy the week before and we were unsure whether the rain would come back or not so on Tuesday we hung around the beach by the Mariott and took advantage of the gorgeous weather. Before heading down to the GHK, we went to Kayak Kauai in Kapaa ($15/day) to pick up our tent. We checked in at the GHK, ate our first La Briute meal in our room and crashed early.

Wednesday/Thursday we had decided we were going to do the Kalalau Trail so we woke up early but waited until the Grand Club opened at 630 so we could grab a bite before we left. When I asked about the smoked salmong being kosher, the lady offered to get us Kosher Bagels from oahu kosher for the rest of our stay which was really nice. We left around 645 and headed up north. By the time we got to trail head it was about 9 AM. We had one semi-big hiking knapsack and a small school bag. Other than what we were wearing, we didnt bring much with us: a tent, our blankets from delta first class, flip flops, some food, water purification tablets, bug spray and a camera. And of course the most important thing: toilet paper. The only thing we forgot to bring was matches/lighter. We were planning on eating La Briute meals for dinner so I didnt think about bringing anything for a bonfire but it was stupid bc wouldve been nice to have a fire. The hike itself was awesome. Incredibly grueling because you hike up and down 5 different mountains/valleys but the lanscape in each one was completely different and the views the entire way were just stunning. As Dan said about the Grand Loop - there are some images that will forever be embedded in my mind. We didn't take any of the detours on the way in because we started a bit late and wanted to get to Kalalau before sunset. We met several ppl along the way including a couple who was carrying their <1 yr old baby on her back (Dan, might be harder with two, but its doable!). The way in was hard because distances arent marked so you don't know exactly how far you are but the Revealed app helped a lot here in making sure we were on the right path and also telling us roughly how far along we were. Miles 7-8 was freaky - you are literally climbing down and then up a mountain on an 6 inch path along the side of a cliff. Not a single extra inch to your left and if you step two inches to the right and you're tumbling ~2000 feet to rocks below you. We got to the beach around 5, set up our tent just behind the beach in the camping area and chilled at the beach for an hour until sunset. Sunset was unbelievable and seemed to just go on forever. Besides for about 5-8 hippies who seemed to be there for several weeks already, there were only about 3 other groups of ppl there. Ate our la briute meals and went to bed (this is where a bonfire would have been nice)

Thursday, we woke up early, davened and packed up and were on the trail by 745. The hike out felt much quicker, partially because we were doing it quicker and partially it just felt quicker because we knew the terrain and trail so knew what to expect. We made it Hanakoa by 1015 so we took the 1/2 mile detour to the falls, hung out there for a bit and continued on. It was bout this point that we started feeling blisters in our feet because we were wearing reg sneakers and didnt have proper hiking shoes (not big ones but enough to hurt). Somewhere along the way we looked down at the water and noticed a whole school of dolphins jumping in and out of the water which was so cool.  We got back to the trailhead about 345, nervous our car would be gone and/or damaged but thank gd it was still there in one piece. Caked in mud and sweat, we left, stopped for some water (i've never appreciated cold, clean and clear water so much before!), dropped our tent off and went back to hotel. We cleaned up and went to the spa to help our poor bodies heal.

Overall the hike was awesome and very easy to recommend to anyone who likes hiking and is somewhat in shape. It wasn't easy but the views were totally worth it. If you're not into hiking and/or aren't interested in camping out in a tent on a beach somewhere, then i would still highly recommend the first part of the hike, up to hanakapiai beach (we didn't go to hanakapiai falls so cant comment on that 2 mile extension). Its only 2 miles each way (albeit uphill half the way) but we saw all kinds of ppl doing it: 70 year olds and 7 year olds, ppl wearing hiking shoes and ppl wearing no shoes and even a dog. The views from even that part are really amazing so definitely worth doing as a half day hike.

Friday was raining in the morning so we got an umbrella from the bell desk (we asked on a whim but they actually have a whole bunch you can borrow) and went to lihue to get some groceries for shabbas. Times in the mall behind Costco doesnt have a dedicated kosher section anymore , the kosher items are now spread out in different areas. By the time we got back it was mostly cleared up so we hung around Shipwreck beach and went to the spa for some quick pre-shabbas laps in the pool. Shabbas was awesome, tons and tons of whales popping up all over - close enough to shore that you could see them clearly from our room. Sunday we went snorkelling at Poipue beach, checked out of hotel and hung around the hotel in the afternoon. Went to spouting horn for sunset and left for airport, stopping along the way (;)) to pick up some VR to finish up on one of our cards.

The trip was absolutely amazing and we're both itching to get back. Many, many thanks to all here for the reports, tips and ideas of what to do.

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #934 on: February 26, 2014, 07:32:20 AM »
Highly recommend the Blue Hawaiian helicopter tour!
How are the two middle seats in the back? Can you see OK?
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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #935 on: February 26, 2014, 07:54:36 AM »
How are the two middle seats in the back? Can you see OK?

Yes, seeing is fine. But make sure to get the middle-right rather than the middle-left - much better views from that side.
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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #936 on: February 26, 2014, 08:01:10 AM »
Yes, seeing is fine. But make sure to get the middle-right rather than the middle-left - much better views from that side.
Will be taking all six seats. Do I need to take out a loan to pay for it?  :)
« Last Edit: February 26, 2014, 08:04:57 AM by CountValentine »
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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #937 on: February 26, 2014, 08:04:40 AM »
Hawaii State Bar
For a minivan the price does not change (355). Am I doing something wrong?
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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #938 on: February 26, 2014, 08:24:25 AM »
Why not a doors off tour.  I know there is a company on Kauai that offers it.
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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #939 on: February 26, 2014, 08:29:15 AM »
Will be taking all six seats. Do I need to take out a loan to pay for it?  :)

You should try negotiating a discount if you're doing that. I've found them quite easygoing ;).

Remember that you're in effect chartering the chopper. So if you want to spend more time in one place or something, just ask the pilot. For example, I personally felt that they don't do Waimea Canyon justice, and I wished that they had spent more time there.

If you want him to hover for a picture, or get a better angle, just ask him to.
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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #940 on: February 26, 2014, 08:37:20 AM »
Why not a doors off tour.  I know there is a company on Kauai that offers it.

Jack Harter does, but for 6 people I personally don't think it's the best idea. First of all IIRC you can't fit 6 people in there, plus it's more expensive and/or less time in the air. Doors-on is much more relaxing too - no wind and rain all over you. This being Kauai, there a good chance of rain for the north shore portion is the flight.
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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #941 on: February 26, 2014, 08:54:16 AM »
Got back from our mini-honeymoon to Kauai last night. Absolute paradise. Our entire trip was based off of other reports here and the Ultimate book/app so won't go deeply into what others have said but will attempt to report on the things that have changed and/or are not listed elsewhere.

We got in on the delta glitch - non-ticketed priceline confirmation that delta honored on my first call. .....
.....
.....
.
.....
.....
By the time we got back it was mostly cleared up so we hung around Shipwreck beach and went to the spa for some quick pre-shabbas laps in the pool. Shabbas was awesome, tons and tons of whales popping up all over - close enough to shore that you could see them clearly from our room. Sunday we went snorkelling at Poipue beach, checked out of hotel and hung around the hotel in the afternoon. Went to spouting horn for sunset and left for airport, stopping along the way (;)) to pick up some VR to finish up on one of our cards.

The trip was absolutely amazing and we're both itching to get back. Many, many thanks to all here for the reports, tips and ideas of what to do.
great TR!
MT on your honeymoon -
thanks for sharing the info -- it's posts like these that help us plan our couples/group-of-friends/family trips.
Especially over Shabbos -- Other sites don't include that info.
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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #942 on: February 26, 2014, 11:11:06 AM »
Jack Harter does, but for 6 people I personally don't think it's the best idea. First of all IIRC you can't fit 6 people in there, plus it's more expensive and/or less time in the air. Doors-on is much more relaxing too - no wind and rain all over you. This being Kauai, there a good chance of rain for the north shore portion is the flight.

I like bugs in my teeth.   ;D  Besides, as a photography enthusiast, nothing beats doors off.
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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #943 on: February 26, 2014, 11:13:02 AM »
Will be taking all six seats. Do I need to take out a loan to pay for it?  :)
Going to pull straws for who gets the 2 back middle seats?
Hope you get a nice discount and use costco GCs.
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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #944 on: February 26, 2014, 11:15:36 AM »
great trip report . any pictures ?