Topic Wiki

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 379496 times)

Offline kivabb

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #105 on: November 25, 2011, 12:09:00 PM »
Anyone go to Kee beach winter time and watch sunset over Na Pali on North side. Anyone do first 2 miles of Kalalau trail right there? Revealed book makes big deal of the views but having hard time searching what I'm in for as far as danger of hike in Winter. Thanks.

Offline Yellow

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #106 on: November 30, 2011, 05:15:19 PM »
Two questions:
First of all i am booking a helicopter tour, and according to Kauai revealed Blue Hawaiian is the most recomended company but I just heard that on the 10th there was a major crash and everyone was killed. Now i'm sort of freaked out to go! What would you do?

Second of all, in terms of snorkeling, where is the best/safest place for beginners?

tia

Offline Dan

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #107 on: November 30, 2011, 07:08:38 PM »
Blue Hawaiian carries about a million tourists a year on the tours in Hawaii.  It's been 11 years since their last crash.
I wouldn't hesitate to go.

Poipu Beach (about a mile from GHK) has excellent snorkeling.  I've seen great fish, turtles, monk seals, etc, there.
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.

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #108 on: November 30, 2011, 08:27:12 PM »
Blue Hawaiian carries about a million tourists a year on the tours in Hawaii.  It's been 11 years since their last crash.
I wouldn't hesitate to go.

Poipu Beach (about a mile from GHK) has excellent snorkeling.  I've seen great fish, turtles, monk seals, etc, there.
Thanks for your input! Really appreciate it

Did you rent your snorkeling gear? or did you buy it?
Also for a beginner, snorkeling in poipu beach is safe? I only ask because in the revealed book they reccomend tunnel beach for beginners. But it sounds like poipu is the place to go. as a novice who's never snorkled i'm just worried about currents and stuff

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #109 on: November 30, 2011, 08:47:43 PM »
Poipu is fine for beginners.
I bought from Walmart.
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 YankyDoodle

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #110 on: December 01, 2011, 12:01:54 AM »
Thanks for your input! Really appreciate it

Did you rent your snorkeling gear? or did you buy it?
Also for a beginner, snorkeling in poipu beach is safe? I only ask because in the revealed book they reccomend tunnel beach for beginners. But it sounds like poipu is the place to go. as a novice who's never snorkled i'm just worried about currents and stuff

In the winter time north shore beaches have much much stronger (and deceptive) currents. Stick to Poipu for any water activities if your a real novice!

Offline westman812

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #111 on: December 01, 2011, 12:03:36 PM »
Poipu is fine for beginners.
I bought from Walmart.

Wonder if that means he's takin the little guy snorkeling?

And I guess this time the trip report will focus on activities with a child

Dan doesn't seem to like hiking even without a child, so I gotta imagine it's not in the itinerary :P

Either way can't wait for the report, and maybe this one will include the maui report from last time lol

Offline auntiemus

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #112 on: December 01, 2011, 08:02:36 PM »
I am thinking of going again in January. Am I crazy to go to Kauai then because of the rain?

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #113 on: December 02, 2011, 12:04:27 AM »
Wonder if that means he's takin the little guy snorkeling?

And I guess this time the trip report will focus on activities with a child

Dan doesn't seem to like hiking even without a child, so I gotta imagine it's not in the itinerary :P

Either way can't wait for the report, and maybe this one will include the maui report from last time lol
Take a baby snorkeling?
I didn't like hiking without a baby?

Not sure where you come up with this stuff.
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 lechaim2life

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #114 on: December 27, 2011, 09:33:04 AM »
I would rather have a convertible.
There are some a couple places high up in Waimea Canyon where a 4WD would come in handy, but overall I don't think it's worth it.
I know this was discussed before but any changes in opinion? Also, if I go with a convertible, what's the best way to see Waimea Canyon without doing the long hike you talked about in your Trip Notes?
And lastly, any reccomendations on snorkeling/whale watching tours?

Thanks again for the super-informative Trip Notes!

Offline lechaim2life

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #115 on: December 28, 2011, 09:47:53 AM »
@Dan and whoever else got a second fridge at GHK--

What type of refridgerator did the hotel give you? Is there enough room to put in a weeks worth of refriderated goods (steaks, chicken, deli roll, etc.)?

Offline westman812

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #116 on: December 28, 2011, 10:38:33 AM »
@Dan and whoever else got a second fridge at GHK--

What type of refridgerator did the hotel give you? Is there enough room to put in a weeks worth of refriderated goods (steaks, chicken, deli roll, etc.)?

Typical mini fridge..between the 2 fridges you should be able to keep a weeks worth easily...

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #117 on: December 28, 2011, 11:12:36 AM »
Typical mini fridge..between the 2 fridges you should be able to keep a weeks worth easily...
+1
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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #118 on: December 28, 2011, 11:16:00 AM »
I know this was discussed before but any changes in opinion? Also, if I go with a convertible, what's the best way to see Waimea Canyon without doing the long hike you talked about in your Trip Notes?
And lastly, any reccomendations on snorkeling/whale watching tours?

Thanks again for the super-informative Trip Notes!
If you have a 4WD (2 and 4 door Wranglers on common at the rental agencies) there are a couple different drives you can do such as Milolii ridge road that I wrote about in my trip notes.  But you may not want to do it with a baby and it's not for novice drivers.
A 4WD vehicle also gives you better access to parts of Polihale and maybe a spot or 2 up north.

If you're not planning on doing any of that stuff then stick with a convertible for sure.
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 lechaim2life

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #119 on: December 28, 2011, 11:24:43 AM »
If you have a 4WD (2 and 4 door Wranglers on common at the rental agencies) there are a couple different drives you can do such as Milolii ridge road that I wrote about in my trip notes.  But you may not want to do it with a baby and it's not for novice drivers.
A 4WD vehicle also gives you better access to parts of Polihale and maybe a spot or 2 up north.

If you're not planning on doing any of that stuff then stick with a convertible for sure.

I was strongly considering doing Milolii ridge road but I also really wanted the convertible. Is that trail so good that I should splurge on taking a 4WD for a day from the Avis at the hotel?

Also, which snorkeling company did you use (if any)? The guidebook seems to reccomend a few and I was hopeing for some first-hand guidance. And if you have any info about whale watching to share that would be great. Again, only a short excerpt in the guide.