We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Poipu vs Princeville?

Level Contributor
23 posts
Save Topic
Poipu vs Princeville?


I am looking to plan a vacation for 7 days in July but I am not sure what region of the island to stay in. What do you all think of Poipu vs Princeville?

I am trying to keep it on the less expensive side of things so I think a condo is the best way to go so we can cook. Here is what I have been thinking about the two locations:

Poipu- because of the beaches and more beachfront condos. Also I was concerned about being more centrally located so we can explore the whole island.

Princeville- I was thinking about the Sealodge condos. I liked this region because I am looking for a less touristy, less crowded romatic vacation but I am concerned about it being rainy and remote.

Hoping to do a lot of snorkling and some diving there.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


Honolulu, HI
Level Contributor
178 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Poipu vs Princeville?

Poipu, no contest. It is a better choice as a home base if you'll be here for 7 days, and there are more options for casual dining and grocery shopping nearby. Princeville is EXPENSIVE to stay in...even the Foodland Supermarket hikes up their prices in Princeville! For a great deal on a week in Poipu, I have 2 suggestions:

1) Check VRBO.COM, and look for Kauai, Poipu Area. I saw one last night for under $100/nt, with a/c, newer studios called THE SUGAR MILL COTTAGES. I stayed in the 3 bedroom house next to these over TG weekend (yep, we live here, but had friends fly over so we splurged!) and it is very well-run, and the rooms looked pretty luxurious. Other places that have a/c are on this site, but very few, so make sure you check the amenities list.

2) EBAY! Not sure what your budget is or how many people are in your party, but I just saw a couple of auctions for the EMBASSY AT POIPU POINT, by folks selling their timeshare week, and THIS PROPERTY is beautiful!

For shopping, try BIG SAVE or SUEOKA'S (also has a walk up snack shop that sells "plate lunches" and sandwiches/burgers at really low prices, and the food is ONO, which means DELICIOUS---my fave is the fried chicken!) Other great food...POIPU SHOPPING VILLAGE---they have ROYS, which is fine dining, but you can wear casual clothes (the chocolate souffle is the best I have ever had!), KEOKI'S (freshest fish, and the tastiest prime rib, dinners come with salad buffet, bread, choice of starch), and for a quick bite, this cool walk-up called PUKA DOG, where they have VEGGIE HOT DOGS or POLISH DOGS that they insert into these fresh-baked loaves of teh yummiest bread, with sauces that you can add in. YUM!

Write and let me know how many people and what your budget is and I'll help you find a place!

Columbus, OH
Level Contributor
117 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Poipu vs Princeville?

I prefer the north shore, but it all depends on what you want to do. If you want to have a touristy vacation with lots of dining and activities, go for poipu. Almost all of the places to eat and things to do are on the east or south shores.

If you want to get away from it all and do nothing in a more lush setting, go for the north shore. In my opinion it's much more relaxing and spectacular. The two sides of the island will give you a very different vacation, so it all depends on what you want.

Somewhere near the...
Level Contributor
493 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Poipu vs Princeville?

oceann13: We are also planning a trip to Kaua'i this summer and we had the same dilemma as you.... Po'ipu or Princeville. We have decided on Princeville (at the Sealodge) for three reasons: 1) View: All Sealodge units have at least some sort of ocean view; 2) Price: We found a 1BR unit through a private owner for less than $100/nt; and 3) comfort: We have found that most of the condo units we were looking at have NO AIR CONDITIONING, so we figured it would be quite warm in Po'ipu in August, especially for sunsets, after a day on the beach, whereas Princeville will be somewhat cooler, so the need for air will be less.

While we have a favorite beach area down in Po'ipu, so we'll be missing out on just being able to stroll over to it, the beaches up near Princeville (Hanalei, Anini, Ke'e) are beautiful and a very easy drive when staying up in that area.

Also, if you find that the Foodland's prices in Princeville are somewhat high, you can also stock up at the Foodland and Safeway in Kapa'a where the prices will be more reasonable.... not too far away and a nice drive down the coast. Just don't go during "pau hana" time.

Have fun.

Level Contributor
23 posts
Save Reply
4. Re: Poipu vs Princeville?

Thanks so much for all of your suggestions! There will just be two of us and I am trying to spend no more than $175/night unless there is a last night free deal or something. We probably will want to spend most of our time in the water. Which area do you reccommend for snorkeling?

Lodi, California
Destination Expert
for Cabo San Lucas
Level Contributor
24,566 posts
53 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Poipu vs Princeville?

Definitely Poipu! Less windy, better beaches! Just generally a much better area in my opinion.

Santa Rosa, CA
Level Contributor
511 posts
Save Reply
6. Re: Poipu vs Princeville?

Aloha oceann13

I would stay in the Princeville area if snorkeling is what you like to do! Especially in July! During that time the North shore area have very calm water, and Tunnels Beach with it's huge reef protects it from the surf anyway (I was there 2 weeks ago and even with somewhat rough surf elsewhere, Tunnels was very calm! And the fish and Green Sea Turtles were spectaclar! It was BY FAR the BEST snorkeling that I did during our 8 days there!

It was a good idea to stock up on any food you might want to cook while going north through Kapaa as the last posting suggested to save the most money. There is a Safeway and a Foodland in Kapaa. Bring your Safeway card if you have one, and Foodland will let you get a savings card from them to save there too. If you need any other items, like wine, I found some good deals at the Longs Drugs next to Safeway in Kapaa.

In July, you really don't have to worry about it being too rainy on the North Shore. While I was there last week, there were just a few sprinkles the whole week. And it was nothing like what I was used to here in CA. The most rain we saw all week was a small shower while we were watching the Hula demonstration at the Coconut Marketplace in Kapaa that lasted all of about 2 minutes and it was over. The little girls that were doing the Hula and the band kept playing like it wasn't happening at all! :-) And it wasn't cold and windy like I was used to here in Northern Cal, so it wasn't at all bad.

The only downside to staying up in the Princeville area is that if you want to go to see Wiamea Canyon, it can be almost a 2 hour trip (if you don't go during pau hana (quitting work time)). Poipu is a little over an hour drive as well from Princeville given the same conditions. During our stay last week, it was significantly warmer in the Poipu area than in the North or East shore. In July, I would think it would be much hotter in the South shore.

I stayed at the Wailua Bayview Condos in Wailua (just south of Kapaa) because it was really centrally located to both sides of the island. So it took about an hour to get to Tunnels Beach on the north shore and about the same time to Wiamea on the West shore. I also picked it because all the units have A/C and an ocean front view. We really liked it there and will return the next time we go to Kauai. It was so great to sit on the lani to watch the sunrise in the morning, or watching the surfers in the afternoon as the surf rolled in.

I hope that your trip turns out to be as wonderful as mine was!

-Aloha oceann13 :-)


I hope that this post was somewhat helpful for you!

Healy, Alaska
Destination Expert
for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
Level Contributor
39,509 posts
44 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Poipu vs Princeville?


I would stay on the North Shore - the ocean is calm and perfect for snorkeling. I spent 16 days on the North Shore in July a few years ago. Generally, it would rain at night while we were in bed - was a wonderful way to go to sleep. It only sprinkled on us once during the day, and it was warm and lasted for but a few minutes. We did stay in Princeville in a studio condo. Very affordable ($60 a night), but next time I think I want to be closer to the beach, staying in Hanalei or Haena.

There are many beautiful beaches on the North shore - as mentioned, Tunnels is great, but go early, as parking is limited. Our favorite was Ke'e Beach - at the end of the road. It was perfect for us, and had great snorkeling. Anini is nice, also.

It was the most relaxing vacation I have ever had. The scenery was incredible - I do prefer the North Shore - so lush and green. It is quiet, but a nice dinner out was enough social life for me. Zelo's Beach House or Neidi's Salsa and Samba were some favorite dinner places in Hanalei.

We did see the rest of the island at different times - when we did the Waimea canyon, we just left early in the morning, and that worked out fine. It was always nice to head back to the North part of the island at the end of the day.

Hoped this helps you - have a wonderful vacation! :)

Kissimmee Fl
Level Contributor
138 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Poipu vs Princeville?


Need2 Go and Coalmine are right the North Shore is just beautiful what Hawaii is all about, we always stay in Princeville. You will love it, this will be our 17th time in June. Alot less touristy Kapaa is only 25 minutes away, with alot of great stores.

Aloha Ann

Level Contributor
23 posts
Save Reply
9. Re: Poipu vs Princeville?

You guys are great! Thanks so much for all of the info! It looks like I can't go wrong with either location. The VRBO site was really helpful. Right now I am leaning towards the North Shore because it sounds like it has more of what I want...less crowds and less commercial. We probably won't go dining or shopping much but I do want to go scuba diving near the S shore. I looked up info on Tunnels and I can't wait to snorkel there. Now I just need to find a condo...there are so many sites to navigate through it is making my head spin : )

Level Contributor
104 posts
Save Reply
10. Re: Poipu vs Princeville?


poipu is your best bet!!! Kiahuna Plantation is beautiful. The beach is right there. cant go wrong!