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Trip List by gonow123

Kauai in five days - South shore to North

17 Aug 2006  Family vacation
3.5 of 5 stars based on 22 votes

How we did Kauai in five days

  • Category: Recent trip
  • 1. Day One - Lihue Airport, Longs, Hyatt Regency at Poipu, Beach House

    Embassy Suites, South San Francisco
    For us when flying out of town for a week, it is cheaper just to stay in a hotel by the airport the night before and take a shuttle to the airport that morning. This way, we are never late and it costs just about the same if not less, than a week in the airport parking garage. And most of these same hotels have a shuttle that will pick up passengers for their hotel from the airport every 15 minutes from their return flights.

    Car rental, Lihue Airport
    A lot of the flights to Lihue from Honolulu land at the same time, making for very long lines when you try to pick up your rental. We ordered our car a few weeks in advance and at the same time, joined the Dollar Express program which allowed us to stand in an express line when we arrived to pick up our car.

    Longs at the Kukui Grove Center - Lihue
    We stopped here before going to our hotel for bottled water and snacks for the room. At the Hyatt, each room has a bar-size refrigerator, so we decided to make pb&j sandwiches in the morning and keep bottled water and soda cold in the in-room refrigerator. In August, the cold stuff was nice. We were able to pick up sundries at the same time, and the Kukui Grove Center is directly on the main highway between the car rental/airport and our room at the Hyatt. (They also have Kmart next door.)

    Hyatt Regency, Poipu Bay
    A beautiful hotel. If you travel with kids, they offer a second room for half the regular price. You will need to pay an additional 31.00 per night if you want to have adjoining doors between your rooms. They were spotless, spacious, and with new furnishings (thinking Ethan Alan) and bug-free. I have no idea where the bad reviews on cleanliness came from, but I am a stickler when it comes to clean and I can be found packing a can of Lysol, but not once during our five-day stay were either rooms found to be dirty or with bugs. This place shines and though it was expensive, we did indeed get what we paid for. We just loved the room and the surrounding grounds. Also, we received leis upon arrival. Very nice.

    Beach House, Poipu
    After reading a lot of reviews, we decided to have dinner at the Beach House our first night in Kauai. It was beautiful. We were able to reserve a window seat (I made the reservations about three weeks in advance) for 6pm. It is only a five-minute drive from the Hyatt. This was the best food we had during our stay. It was fantastic. We had the fresh fish and crab cake appetizers, along with dessert. The Bananas Foster IS to die for, with warm homemade caramel sauce, bananas and vanilla bean ice cream. The atmosphere is relaxed and resort casual. Our only regret was not eating here more often.

  • 2. Day Two - Nai Aina Kai Gardens, Kileauea Lighthouse, Lighthouse Bistro, Kileauea Bakery and Pau Hana Pizza, Shopping in Hanalei

    We needed to drive from the south shore to the north shore to see the Nai Aina Kai Botanical Gardens. We took the 9am tour which was pretty much cool and breezy. We allowed ourselves 90 minutes to get to the north shore part of the island.

    Nai Aina Kai Botanical Gardens
    We enjoyed this tour, but were a bit disappointed because most of the vegetation we saw was not native to the island; most of it was shipped in from other parts of the country. If you are looking for a tour with natural vegetation only, this is not it. We probably would not go on this had we known that it did not discuss mainly plants native to Hawaii. An example would be the cactus garden from Arizona, and we would have preferred a tour of orchids and other vegetation native to Hawaii.

    Kileauea Lighthouse - Kileauea
    The lighthouse is only about 10 minutes up the road from the gardens. Though there were not many birds landed around the area of the lighthouse, you could see the coast and vista, and the beautiful lighthouse that sits atop the cliff. This takes about 15 minutes to check it out without the tour, but you do not want to leave afterwards because the view of the ocean and cliffs is mesmerizing.

    Lighthouse Bistro - Kileauea
    One of us had a burger, another the chicken wrap, and two of us had the fish tacos. Had heard how wonderful the fish tacos were. But I would say they were just so so; kind of fishy and not too great. We have definitely had better. We had to wait 45 minutes after our order to get our food, and it was not because the restaurant was busy. Server made no apologies. Wish we had gone instead to the Kileauea Bakery and Pau Hana Pizza next door. It was sheer torture waiting 45 minutes for our food while we sat there smelling what must have been amazing pizza. And always a good sign when people are lined up and out the door to get in, which was the case at the Kileauea Bakery and Pau Hana Pizza next to the Lighthouse Bistro where we unfortunately ate.

    Kong Lung Village Shopping Center - Kileauea
    Both the Lighthouse Bistro and Kileauea Bakery are located in this small shopping center. There were only a few shops here, and we were really looking for sportswear at a decent price, so we did not stay here for long. Not a lot of shops and nothing we really had to have.

    Ching Young Village, Hanalei
    Back on the highway, if you take a right you will come to Hanalei. There is located Ching Young Village and Yellow Fish Trading Company. We thought this was some of the best shopping we found. There is also Shaved Ice Paradise in the Hanalei Center across from Ching Young Village. Do not miss Yellow fish if you love vintage Hawaiian collectables; a really nice little shop.

  • 3. Day three - Poipu Golf Course, Poipu Beach Broiler at Clubhouse, Drums of Paradise Hyatt Luau

    Poipu Bay Golf Course
    With a 7am tee time, the course was beautiful and the weather was nice. (We were lucky, because it only rained about four times on us during our stay in Kauai, and that is really unusual, even in August.) Found lots of nice golf shirts and hats there, as well.

    Poipu Beach Broiler at the Clubhouse
    Ate the chicken caesar salad there, and it was very good. All their food is good there, and it is a nice change if you have to eat at the hotel because of some kind of package or something w/Hyatt.

    Drums of Paradise Luau at the Hyatt Regency
    If you go there, make sure to ask the concierge for a reservation slip BEFORE the luau. If you do not, you will wait in line FOREVER. Also, get good directions to the luau before you go. We asked two different employees of the Hyatt for directions and were sent the wrong way, both times. We ended up walking around the hotel to find the luau that is held on the property where it meets shipwreck beach, directly behind the hotel reception area. The food was so-so. Nothing was really very impressive. And while you were eating, before the show, they had of all things a bathing suit fashion show. What??? It was a pretty tacky thing to have there and we were pretty surprise that a hotel that charges an average of 500 to 600. a night for a room would feel the need to hock their swimsuits while their guests ate their food at the luau as a part of their luau show. But the show was nice and so at least we enjoyed that.

  • 4. Day four - Capt. Andy's Na Pail Snorkel Ride, Waimea Canyon, Pizzetta's Pizza

    Captain Andy Na Pali Snorkel Picnic Ride
    The family had to be at the doc in Port Allen, which is about 30 minutes from the Hyatt, by 5:45 that morning. It was a tour of the Na Pali coast on a zodiac raft. The fish and dolphins were plentiful and the ride was fun, and my kids thought it was some of the most fun they had on the trip, but unless you do not mind getting knocked around, I say chose a catamaran.

    Waimea Canyon
    The drive from the Hyatt to the end of the canyon, including sightseeing, took about 2 to 3 hours. It is a beautiful sight and we got a lot of pictures.

    Hanapepe Cafe - Hanapepe
    I had read some good reviews of this restaurant, and it is on the highway coming home from Waimea Canyon, so we thought we would stop in for dinner. They also have an art festival in the streets of Hanapepe on Friday nights. Sounds fun. Maybe it was just us, but we had such a problem finding the cafe that we just decided to eat somewhere else.

    Pizzettas Pizza, Old Koloa Town
    On the way home from Hanapepe to the Hyatt in Poipu we go through Old Koloa Town, with shops, Lapperts Ice Cream, Tom Kats Diner and Pizzettas Pizza. We had dinner at Pizzettas and were not disappointed. It is an open area and not fancy, but the pizza was really very good.

  • 5. Day five - CJM Stables, Lappert's, Puka Dogs, Coconut Mrkt Place, Poipu Shopping Vill., Keioki's Paradise

    CJM Stables - Poipu
    If you take a right out of the driveway from the Hyatt, it is about one mile down a dirt road. The ride was for two hours and you see plenty of ocean and other sites; very enjoyable.

    Lapperts Ice Cream Shoppe, Old Town Koloa
    Great coffee and pastries for the next morning. Located in the same shopping center as Pizzettas Pizza. Nice to have something in your room for breakfast the night before so you can just go if you have a lot of sightseeing to do the next day.

    Puka Dogs, Poipu Shopping Village, Poipu
    We had read a lot about these, so wanted to try them for lunch. They were okay. Perhaps it was the pineapple relish which was the kind of pineapple you get on an ice cream sunday (yuk) It ruined it for me. And you can't scrape it off if you change your mind because it's injected down into the hot dog bug. I do not know. No one else seemed to be thrilled with theirs, either, but we were eating dinner early so wanted something light and it served its purpose.

    Coconut Marketplace, Kapaa
    An okay shopping center, but pretty commercial. However, they have a really nice art gallery and this is one place I was able to find my mother-in-law a nice muumuu to bring back. As far as shopping for teenage girls, they got bored kind of quick here.

    Keokis Paradise, Poipu Shopping Village
    Well, this was a disappointment. The scallop appetizer was pretty good, and so was the shrimp appetizer, but my husband had two frozen mai ti drinks, and both had melted by the time we finally got them. And they serve a caesar salad with each entree, however you could tell they all had been pre-made and that this was definitely a chain restaurant. We both had prime rib and it was cold and had little flavor, even though it was tender, and the kids had sauteed fish and the seafood rigatoni, which were okay. Definitely will not eat there again if we return to Kauai and it was a disappointment, because the restaurant is very quaint and authentic looking, and it could have been so much better.

    Poipu Village Shopping Center
    Some of the best shopping on the island, IMHO. Good prices and a great variety of the kinds of things we were looking for like t-shirts, swim suits and souvenirs.

    That is it. Of course it is all IMHO, but I just wanted to post our favorites and experiences because everyone on this site has been so generous and helpful on when and where to go when we planned our trip to Kauai and it did really help us out a lot. Mahalo, friends.