Miscellaneous travel information about Kaua’i
Every time I mention that I’ve been to any of the Hawaiian Islands people ask me lots of questions. I decided to put together this blog and organize it by island.
Note: Most of my images here will look “grainy” since they are low resolution to discourage copying.
First, the blue book The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook: Kauai Revealed by Andrew Doughty was an excellent resource. Take a moment to look through the customer ratings and reviews on Amazon. Below I’ll try to add some details and practical advice that isn’t listed in this book.
I’ve been to Kaua’i only once. I found Kauai to be more expensive than the other major Hawaiian Islands I’ve visited. For example, Starbucks, gasoline and food are about 15-20% more expensive than on the West Coast of the US (even at Walmart in Lihue).
Kauai is one of the oldest Hawaiian Islands. It is very green and lush almost anywhere you go. Kauai seems to get more rain than the other islands. You can find the rainfall among the various Hawaiian Islands here and here. The Kauai Revealed book linked above shows the rainfall distribution on various parts of Kauai.
How to find a place to stay?
We’ve used VRBO.com a few times to rent a place to stay on other islands.
If you choose to rent a condo or a house it’s good to book early (6 months ahead) yet still bargain with the owner since they may come down in price. Try to get them to waive the cleaning fee or something, anything.
Also, sites like VRBO.com are open to anyone to post a picture of a house/condo for rent. I’ve heard of some rare cases where people “reserved” a house/condo only to show-up and learn the “owner” wasn’t really the owner and they lost their deposit. You should check whether your credit card company will cover this type of theft.
We stayed in Poipu. Overall, it was a nice area with shopping close by. Here’s a local bird’s eye map of Poipu.
And now… the roosters
You’ll either love them as part of the “charm” of Kauai or truly despise these feathered noise makers when they crow just before sunrise and periodically throughout the day. Roosters are everywhere. They’re in the open air shopping malls, on hiking trails, near the roads, etc.
Some things we’ve done include…
Waimea Canyon is similar to the Grand Canyon even though it’s smaller it’s just as beautiful. It’s about 30-40 mins from Poipu. Take 550 Waimea Canyon Drive north from Waimea. You’ll get a nice birds eye view of this area here.
These various pictures are better than the ones we took since it was a little cloudy when we visited.
Day trip from Poipu in the south all the way around to Ke’e Beach in Ha’ena in the north and some points in between
On the way up north we stopped at Wailua Falls. This waterfall was shown at the beginning of the TV show Fantasy Island. The falls can be found at the end of Maalo Road (route 583) – Birds eye view of the road. Overall, the waterfall was a real disappointment since the top viewing area reeked of garbage. It seemed like some people would drive-up and toss their trash over the side without leaving their cars. Also, towards the end of the parking lot was a huge dumpster. Here’s various pictures that other folks took and some more info can be found here.
Further on our trip up north we stopped at Ching Young Village for a visit. The Hanalei Café was good. There were several small shops selling touristy things. It was a nice place to stop and get out of the car for a while.
Hanalei Bay is huge and beautiful.
Hideaways Beach – This was an adventure. As with most Hawaiian public beaches there’s limited public parking. This one had about 10 parking spots, so get there early. The path to this beach was treacherous. I would only attempt it in gym shoes not “flip flops”. It took us about 15 minutes to walk down the stairs (that existed) and navigate the steep muddy hill. The picture below is just one segment of the trail to the beach.
Should you choose to partake of this adventure, once at the bottom you’ll be rewarded with a beautiful little beach. Some folks who were snorkeling there said it was fairly good. There are no facilities at this beach.
Further down route 560 you’ll see an interesting cave formed by volcanic activity:
Finally, we get to Ke’e Beach where the road ends. We find a parking spot and walk to the beach. We see lots of people standing around on the sand but no one in the water. The lifeguard tells us the beach is closed due to jellyfish (great). Some info about this beach can be found here and some pictures here.
Seals and turtles think they own the beach! In the middle of the day they just beach themselves and hog prime locations. Below are 2 lazy sea creatures we saw:
I’m kidding of course. When seals and turtles beach themselves a volunteer usually marks off the area and plants a sign that says to stay away while they rest. It must be difficult for these sea critters to swim in that beautiful ocean just eating… and eating and… hanging out with their friends all day.
Here’s my list of best snorkeling beaches on Kaua’i
We only went to 3 snorkeling spots and had really good snorkeling compared to the other major Hawaiian Islands.
1) Lawa’i Beach
We probably spent most of our time at this beach. It has restrooms, showers and I vaguely remember a dive shop close by. Also, the beach is right next to the Beach House restaurant.
Towards the center of the beach is a narrow path of sand that leads to deeper water. A detailed map can be found here.
The Raccoon Butterfly fish were very friendly which means someone has been feeding them. You shouldn’t feed the fish. All you have to do is reach for a pocket on your swim shorts and they’ll come running/swimming. Near the beach they swarmed around me. I stuck my camera in the water and took this photo:
2) Poipu Beach Park
There is good snorkeling on the Marriott Waiohai side of the beach. I’m not sure about the other side of the beach.
3) Between the Marriott Waiohai and Kaihuna Plantation is a little cove perfect for kids
The water is shallow and protected and one can easily see several different fish. It’s kinda hard to explain the location, so here’s a picture:
What didn’t we do?
It was just one trip, so there were a few things we could have done (more hiking, snorkeling up north, etc). However, I am really regretting not taking a cruise along the Na Pali Coast, these miscellaneous pictures show the beauty of this area and why I’m kicking myself.
Well, that’s the important stuff I remember. I hope you leave Kaua’i with pictures even more beautiful than mine and countless memories from a wonderful vacation.