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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 491200 times)

Offline Dan

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #1185 on: November 24, 2014, 01:18:33 PM »
Doors off sounds cool, but there's a reason helis have doors.
It will be uber windy without them and not as enjoyable as BH.

I'd do it on a 2nd trip, but not as a 1st option.
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 #1186 on: November 24, 2014, 02:15:15 PM »
Lol, that would certainly be the cheaper way out, but we decided on:
i wanted to do JH but was too expensive. wind might be a pain but your pics will come out amazing. make sure to post them!

Offline Joe4007

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #1187 on: November 30, 2014, 06:33:40 PM »
So here's my rough itinerary, any comments and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Sunday:
-Land in LIH approx 6:00 PM
-Head to Walmart and stock up on stuff
-Settle in at GHK

Monday:
-Morning helicopter tour
-Hanalei Valley lookout
-Kalalau trail up to Hanakapi’ai Beach

Tuesday:
-Waimea Canyon Lookout
-Pu’u o Kila Lookout
-Moderate hike (Alakai Swamp Trail?)
-Makaha Ridge Rd (Or Miloli'I if I get my hands on a 4WD)
-Polihale/Barking Sands Beach

Wednesday:
-Morning Scuba lessons at GHK
-Snorkeling at Poipu Beach
-Spouting Horn

Thursday:
-Kayak/Hike to Fern Grotto/Secret Falls
-Opaeka'a Falls
-Depart LIH 3:00 PM

Offline Something Fishy

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #1188 on: November 30, 2014, 06:43:37 PM »
So here's my rough itinerary, any comments and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Looks really good, except that I'm wondering if 4 miles on the Kalalau Trail is a good idea the first day. I know that you're coming from LA so you won't be as tuckered out as the rest of us, but do you think you'd be up for it?
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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #1189 on: November 30, 2014, 06:51:06 PM »
Looks amazing, I'm jealous!  One questions, will you have enough time on Thursday to make your flight? Seems like you would need to wake up REALLY early ...

Offline Joe4007

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #1190 on: November 30, 2014, 07:50:51 PM »


Looks really good, except that I'm wondering if 4 miles on the Kalalau Trail is a good idea the first day. I know that you're coming from LA so you won't be as tuckered out as the rest of us, but do you think you'd be up for it?
We're actually coming from NY(Plan B you better prevail!). I guess I'm a bit over-ambitious, but we can always just turn around after a mile or so.

Looks amazing, I'm jealous!  One questions, will you have enough time on Thursday to make your flight? Seems like you would need to wake up REALLY early ...
Well, from what I've read it seems that we'd need approx 3 hours for the Kayak/Hike so I thought it would be something like:

9:00 AM Checkout from GHK
9:45 AM Start Kayak/Hike
12:45 AM Drive to LIH

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #1191 on: December 01, 2014, 08:10:18 AM »

So here's my rough itinerary, any comments and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Sunday:
-Land in LIH approx 6:00 PM
-Head to Walmart and stock up on stuff
-Settle in at GHK

Monday:
-Morning helicopter tour
-Hanalei Valley lookout
-Kalalau trail up to Hanakapi’ai Beach

Tuesday:
-Waimea Canyon Lookout
-Pu’u o Kila Lookout
-Moderate hike (Alakai Swamp Trail?)
-Makaha Ridge Rd (Or Miloli'I if I get my hands on a 4WD)
-Polihale/Barking Sands Beach

Wednesday:
-Morning Scuba lessons at GHK
-Snorkeling at Poipu Beach
-Spouting Horn

Thursday:
-Kayak/Hike to Fern Grotto/Secret Falls
-Opaeka'a Falls
-Depart LIH 3:00 PM
what are your dates?

Offline Joe4007

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #1192 on: December 01, 2014, 08:24:07 AM »

Offline alpicone

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #1193 on: December 02, 2014, 12:27:31 PM »
So here's my rough itinerary, any comments and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Tuesday:
-Waimea Canyon Lookout
-Pu’u o Kila Lookout
-Moderate hike (Alakai Swamp Trail?)
-Makaha Ridge Rd (Or Miloli'I if I get my hands on a 4WD)
-Polihale/Barking Sands Beach


My only comments on your itinerary is on the Makaha Ridge Road.

Here is a link to my thoughts on that path that I posted previously:

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.

Curious if mokellman did the path and what his thought are (or anyone else who took that path).

Offline Buruch

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #1194 on: December 02, 2014, 08:37:20 PM »
Secret falls takes much more time if it's super muddy and/or you're not in good shape to keep your balance in the slippery mud, and still go at a decent pace.

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #1195 on: December 02, 2014, 10:36:15 PM »


Secret falls takes much more time if it's super muddy and/or you're not in good shape to keep your balance in the slippery mud, and still go at a decent pace.
As of now it looks like next week won't see much rain there, am I right in assuming that would mean not so much mud?

DW and I are not athletes, but I think (read: hope) we're in good shape.

How much time would you say we'd need to do it at a decent pace?

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #1196 on: December 02, 2014, 11:34:08 PM »
Even if it's not raining while you're there, check if it's raining before. Takes about 3 hours rt without the grotto (which is not so impressive,  and takes another 30-45 min). That's just for the kayak and hike. You may want to add time to stay at the falls. If its very dry there, perhaps the hike could be quicker - anyone else want to weigh in?

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #1197 on: December 07, 2014, 05:04:23 PM »
Can you use the arrival+ to get reimbursed for the helicopter ride? What about other activities?

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #1198 on: December 07, 2014, 06:08:43 PM »
Can you use the arrival+ to get reimbursed for the helicopter ride? What about other activities?

Just use the Southwest method and use the credit towards whatever you like.

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Re: Kauai, HI Master Thread
« Reply #1199 on: December 07, 2014, 06:09:32 PM »
Sorry, what's sw method?