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Kauai Overview/DansMeals:
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Trip Reports:
Dan 2014
Dan 2009, Auntiemus, Benarroc, Westman812, Hudi, Yellow, Lechaim2life, DanFan2010, Jmansour, Something Fishy, Rivky, chuchem, dealvr, Amusch,
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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 500764 times)

Offline arid

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #1005 on: July 07, 2014, 02:55:03 PM »
we went to the Maui and TBI, really doing it to the max and hitting up all the major must-do's.
what would you say is the top 3 MUST DO activities in Kuai ? We are getting in late sunday night and leaving friday afternoon to HNL for shabbos. that gives us T/W/Th for 3 all-day activities. Monday we will prob relax and do a plane ride as I see everyone is saying that is a must.
We are the adventurous type but dont want to go on a hike that is remotely dangerous(like when we read "misteps on that trail have led to tourists falling to their death" it kinda turns me off).
We will be renting a 4x4 via costcotravel.com which is by far the cheapest out of anywhere we are looking now, btw.
Also can anyone recommend a CLEAN decent vacation rental? I'd feel much better hearing first hand from someone about a specific place.

Thanks!

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #1006 on: July 10, 2014, 12:19:58 PM »
I'll BUMP my above post....... what are the top 3 activities that are a MUST in kauai?
Verizon reception?
is the Sheraton Kauai nice? does anyone have experience getting upgraded with Gold status?
does it pay to do the Kalalau Trail if you aren't gonna risk your life at the 6 inch wide trail? the end of the trail looks amazing. are there boats that let you "cheat" and take you to the end of the trail?
plane vs helicopter ride?
does costco carry any kosher products?

thanks ya'll

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #1007 on: July 10, 2014, 12:44:17 PM »
I'll BUMP my above post....... what are the top 3 activities that are a MUST in kauai?
Verizon reception?
is the Sheraton Kauai nice? does anyone have experience getting upgraded with Gold status?
does it pay to do the Kalalau Trail if you aren't gonna risk your life at the 6 inch wide trail? the end of the trail looks amazing. are there boats that let you "cheat" and take you to the end of the trail?
plane vs helicopter ride?
does costco carry any kosher products?

thanks ya'll

- I'd say helicopter, Waimea Canyon, and Tunnels/Ke'e/first part ot the Kalalau trail.
- No idea, but Sprint was decent IME.
- No idea, I stayed in a condo.
- Do the first part only then. There are no boats AFAIK.
- Heli for sure, no contest.
- Some, check read the DansMeals.
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Offline Dan

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #1008 on: July 10, 2014, 12:51:08 PM »
- Do the first part only then. There are no boats AFAIK.
There are bootleg boats, esp in the summer.
And my buddy tells me that the harrowing part really isn't that bad.
Save your time, I don't answer PM. Post it in the forum and a dedicated DDF'er will get back to you as soon as possible.

Offline arid

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #1009 on: July 10, 2014, 12:55:22 PM »
- I'd say helicopter, Waimea Canyon, and Tunnels/Ke'e/first part ot the Kalalau trail.
- No idea, but Sprint was decent IME.
- No idea, I stayed in a condo.
- Do the first part only then. There are no boats AFAIK.
- Heli for sure, no contest.
- Some, check read the DansMeals.

Thanks for the response.
which condo you stay at? how much?
wife's friend said ziplining was the highlight of her trip. anyone do this?
when i was on TBI, the chaba rabbi scared me a little about taking heli. said that if g-d forbid something happens, a plane can usually cruise till it can land somehwere but they occasionally hear heli goes down, never a plane. whadya'll think?



Offline arid

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #1010 on: July 10, 2014, 01:01:47 PM »
There are bootleg boats, esp in the summer.
And my buddy tells me that the harrowing part really isn't that bad.
how long is this part of the trail? 5 min? 30 min? an hour?
my wife and i are really the adventurous type. im reading that fatalities are rare but it's just not worth doing anything that i or my wife can die with one little misstep. a bug bite or if someone get lightheaded or just lose your balance for a sec... its just not worth it to me when there is so much other amazing stuff to do. it's prob just me but id feel more comfortable going on a tandem skydive(something ive done) than walk on a trail like that.
the question is just is it worth doing the first half or are there nicer hikes if you dont do the whole thing?
« Last Edit: July 10, 2014, 01:08:14 PM by arid »

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #1011 on: July 10, 2014, 01:10:27 PM »
Thanks for the response.
which condo you stay at? how much?
wife's friend said ziplining was the highlight of her trip. anyone do this?
when i was on TBI, the chaba rabbi scared me a little about taking heli. said that if g-d forbid something happens, a plane can usually cruise till it can land somehwere but they occasionally hear heli goes down, never a plane. whadya'll think?

I stayed at Homeaway #944850, but it seems like it's not listed anymore. It was in the Ali'i Ka'i complex in Princeville.

Never tried ziplining.

Plenty of planes have gone down :o. I don't remember the exact number, but something like a million people have taken a helicopter on Kauai without incident.
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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #1012 on: July 10, 2014, 01:11:12 PM »

There are bootleg boats, esp in the summer.
And my buddy tells me that the harrowing part really isn't that bad.

IIRC I think you can actually kayak it in the summer.

Also I can confirm that if it's not raining or muddy, it's definitely not as bad as some of the reports indicate.

 
how long is this part of the trail? 5 min? 30 min? an hour?
my wife and i are really the adventurous type. im reading that fatalities are rare but it's just not worth doing anything that i or my wife can die with one little misstep. a bug bite or if someone get lightheaded or just lose your balance for a sec... its just not worth it to me when there is so much other amazing stuff to do. it's prob just me but id feel more comfortable going on a tandem skydive than walk on a trail like that.
the question is just is it worth doing the first half or are there nicer hikes if you dont do the whole thing?

IIRC the first part, done at leisure pace, is about 2-4 hrs. We passed some ppl doing it in flip flops and even some doing it barefoot.  Depends where you're staying or if you're up north already but if you ignore the drive to get there, definitely worth it. The views are stunning, even for the first part.

The "dangerous part" is definitely not a walk in the park but it's not walking a tightrope either.

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #1013 on: July 10, 2014, 02:29:03 PM »
There are bootleg boats, esp in the summer.
And my buddy tells me that the harrowing part really isn't that bad.
does anyone know how this part of the trail compares with the dangerous part of the  Nu’alolo Trail / Cliffs / Awa-’awapuhi Grand Loop Hike?

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #1014 on: July 16, 2014, 03:12:10 PM »
does anyone know how this part of the trail compares with the dangerous part of the  Nu’alolo Trail / Cliffs / Awa-’awapuhi Grand Loop Hike?
bump?

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #1015 on: July 16, 2014, 05:43:49 PM »
anybody buy the Kauai revealed smartphone app for android (have the book also), and would recommend it?

I have the app, got it using (free) amazon coins. I'd rather have the book to do pre-trip research, but the app is definitely going to be handy once I'm there - easier to take with than a book, easy to quickly find what you want to do (assuming you've done the research beforehand), and GPS locator on the detailed map is nice too. You can definitely live without it, but it's a good resource.

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #1016 on: July 17, 2014, 06:26:12 PM »
Anyone at GHK now? I checked out yesterday and left iphone there and would really appreciate it if someone can bring it back for me.  TIA

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #1017 on: July 17, 2014, 06:28:07 PM »
Left a small suitcase at the andaz maui and they shipped it back free of charge!
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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #1018 on: July 17, 2014, 07:05:43 PM »

I stayed at Homeaway #944850, but it seems like it's not listed anymore. It was in the Ali'i Ka'i complex in Princeville.

I stayed on the following condo at Ali'i Ka'i based on SF's recommendation: VRBO Property 505398

Condo was great, views and are are stunning! Biggest drawback was that the condo did not have AC. Not sure if all the units are like that or not. At night is was fine but during the day it was warm. I would not have rented the unit if I knew that.

Other than that the location is far north. It's great for all the activities on the north side, which there are a ton of, but it is over an hour from the south side.

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #1019 on: July 17, 2014, 07:12:10 PM »
I stayed on the following condo at Ali'i Ka'i based on SF's recommendation: VRBO Property 505398

Condo was great, views and are are stunning! Biggest drawback was that the condo did not have AC. Not sure if all the units are like that or not. At night is was fine but during the day it was warm. I would not have rented the unit if I knew that.

Other than that the location is far north. It's great for all the activities on the north side, which there are a ton of, but it is over an hour from the south side.

It's a beautiful area there, glad you liked it. IIRC my condo didn't have AC either, but we were hardly ever there during the day.

BTW the listing on VRBO claims that it does have AC, so that's something you might want to discuss with the owner if it's false.
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