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Kauai Overview/DansMeals:
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Dan 2009, Auntiemus, Benarroc, Westman812, Hudi, Yellow, Lechaim2life, DanFan2010, Jmansour, Something Fishy, Rivky, chuchem, dealvr, Amusch,
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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 491208 times)

Offline an613

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #1065 on: August 05, 2014, 09:52:49 PM »

Ok so we will definitely be doing ONE big hike.
Do we do the first half of the Kalalau Trail or the Waimea Canyon loop hike?
Both are about 10-12 miles round trip. although both are once-in-a-lifetime hikes, we dont wanna come back from vacation achy and sore...
which is nicer and which is easier?

U rlly can't go wrong with either. That being said, I've only done the first half of the waimea canyon loop but assuming you'll be both south and north, I would say the kalalau trail.  I think they're both about the same difficult (aka, not very) but i liked the trail and views from kalalau trail better.

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #1066 on: August 05, 2014, 10:05:40 PM »
I was just wondering if days 1,2 and 3 are too much.

Not at all. I think it's very doable and well thought out.
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Offline arid

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #1067 on: August 06, 2014, 02:18:40 PM »
Nice itenerary mokellman. ill prob just copy and paste what you do.
You don't shlep to paradise and stay a mile away from one of the greatest resorts in the USA in a boring Sheraton.
ok so im convinced. im coming in at 830 pm on 8/17 , leaving 8/22 2pm in time for HNL shabbos.
i have 2 diff ppl willing to sell me 2 free nights, one has diamond status. im missing one night
do i:
A) stay at a $80 3* hotel near the airport on sunday night and check in first thing monday AM for 4 nights at the GHK
B) check in sunday night for 4 nights and use cash+ points for the last night
my question about option B is i wonder if being a "second guest" for 2 different ppl, plus the last night in my own name, too much hocking and haandeling and will it raise flags?
how likely is it that i will have to check out and check in if i go with 2 diff ppl with free nights?
if i do get the suite upgrade with the first 2 nights, do they make you change rooms if you combine the reservations?
if they dont want to give a complementary upgrade, can i use points from my own account to buy a suite upgrade for 6000 points or would have to be from person booked on the account?

I know it's alotta questions but if some of the vets could please help out, i can finalize this trip and be set.
thanks

Offline alpicone

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #1068 on: August 06, 2014, 02:55:48 PM »
You don't shlep to paradise and stay a mile away from one of the greatest resorts in the USA in a boring Sheraton.

ok so im convinced.

Not 100% certain but I think he was referring to the St Regis Princville; At least that is the hotel that is right next to the Westin Princeville (actually 2.2mi).

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #1069 on: August 06, 2014, 02:58:18 PM »
Either hotel is amazing.
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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #1070 on: August 06, 2014, 02:59:07 PM »
Not 100% certain but I think he was referring to the St Regis Princville; At least that is the hotel that is right next to the Westin Princeville (actually 2.2mi).
nisht. i asked him why he was so against staying at the sheraton when 5 nights for 48k points seemed like a good deal

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #1071 on: August 06, 2014, 04:59:05 PM »
Sounds like an awesome itinerary. It works out very well geographically, and you're covering just about everything.

Agreed! Really great plan.

When are you going? Where are you staying up north?

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #1072 on: August 07, 2014, 11:24:58 PM »
When I booked in GHK the only standard room still available was ADA (accessible) double room- does anyone know if this room is larger or smaller than average room? I heard that ADA rooms can be larger but I think I'd feel more comfortable in non-ADA room since thank gd I don't need that. Hotel now has regular non-ADA room available and is giving me option to switch.

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #1073 on: August 08, 2014, 10:21:42 AM »
Is the following itinerary possible? Any thoughts? Thanks in advance.
Will be staying in the south for the first 3 days.
Day 1  poipu beach snorkeling, barking sands beach and polihale state park for a BBQ
Day 2 waimea canyon drive, waimea canyon lookout, makaha ridge road, kalalau lookout
Day 3 Blue Hawaiian Helicopter, wailua falls, opaekaa falls view, sunset at spouting horn
Will be staying up north for the remainder of the trip.
Day 4 kalalau trail, kee beach sunset
Day 5 Secret beach, kilauea lighthouse, secret lava pool
Day 6 Hideaway Beach
Day 7 queens bath, tunnels beach for surfing, hanalaei lookout
-I'd get a 4WD for day 2 and drive milolii ridge road.
-Wailua falls, opaekaa falls, and spouting horn all pale compared to the kayak+hike to secret falls.
-How much of Kalalau do you plan on hiking?
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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #1074 on: August 08, 2014, 10:33:44 AM »
Day 2 waimea canyon drive, waimea canyon lookout, makaha ridge road, kalalau lookout

-I'd get a 4WD for day 2 and drive milolii ridge road.

Until this comment I didn't realize that makaha ridge road was the paved road.

IMHO (unless I missed something) there is no reason to go down this road. Its minimum 30 minutes round trip and the road just ends at the army tracking station. Nothing really to see. The only place that I saw some sort of lookout is at this spot which was almost at the end: http://360panos.com/panos/MakahaRidgeView.php

Others can chime in if they feel differently but it seems like a waste of time to me.

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #1075 on: August 08, 2014, 05:48:33 PM »
i called GHK and the guy that answered the desk told me that the old GM retired and a new GM, Keith Boots, is running the place.
Anyone have any experience dealing with him? looks like im doing the "second guest" free-night thing, so it wouold suck if they brought in some crazy stickler....
TIA

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #1076 on: August 11, 2014, 12:22:47 PM »
Has anyone done the Nualolo Trail in the past few months? It seems that the LOOP part of the hike known as the cliffs trail is closed. I found this on the Hawaii website:

Route: The trail starts near the 3.0 mile point on the Awaawapuhi Trail in the Na Pali-Kona Forest Reserve and meets the Nualolo Trail between the 3 mile and 3 1/4 mile markers. The trail skirts the upper rim of the precipitous Nualolo Valley and permits a "loop" route from the head of Awaawapuhi Trail to Kokee Park Headquarters or vice versa.

if indeed it is closed, which trail to the water is nicer? the Awaawapuhi (3.1 miles) or Nualolo Trail(3.8 miles)? If i cant do the loop, is it worth doing one of them if i have to make a round trip, seeing the same trail twice?
or if i cant do the loop, should  i just do the first half of Kalalau Trail if im only going to do one big hike during the trip?
thanks!

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #1077 on: August 12, 2014, 11:45:49 AM »
Has anyone done the Nualolo Trail in the past few months? It seems that the LOOP part of the hike known as the cliffs trail is closed. I found this on the Hawaii website:

Route: The trail starts near the 3.0 mile point on the Awaawapuhi Trail in the Na Pali-Kona Forest Reserve and meets the Nualolo Trail between the 3 mile and 3 1/4 mile markers. The trail skirts the upper rim of the precipitous Nualolo Valley and permits a "loop" route from the head of Awaawapuhi Trail to Kokee Park Headquarters or vice versa.

if indeed it is closed, which trail to the water is nicer? the Awaawapuhi (3.1 miles) or Nualolo Trail(3.8 miles)? If i cant do the loop, is it worth doing one of them if i have to make a round trip, seeing the same trail twice?
or if i cant do the loop, should  i just do the first half of Kalalau Trail if im only going to do one big hike during the trip?
thanks!

after no response here i got this response on the tripadvisor forum:
the cliffs section of the nualolo - awa awapuhi trial is closed due to dangerous erosions, and a few thousand foot fall to the canyon floor.

You can select either trail, and hike to the fabulous view points and return the way that you came. The awa awa puhi is easier, if that is important to you.

at his time the hanakapiai trail is open, but no camping permits are being issued at this time for the Kalalau trail .

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #1078 on: August 12, 2014, 12:05:35 PM »
Such a shame, the cliffs trail is truly incredible.

I think I'd go with Nualolo though over Awaawapuhi. We had hot La Briutes on the vista at the end of Nualolo. Wonderful memories.
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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #1079 on: August 12, 2014, 12:57:21 PM »
Such a shame, the cliffs trail is truly incredible.

I think I'd go with Nualolo though over Awaawapuhi. We had hot La Briutes on the vista at the end of Nualolo. Wonderful memories.
considering the awa awa puhi is easier and is 1.4 miles shorter (meaning more time on the other lookouts ect in the canyon), is the Nualolo significantly better or only a lil better?