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Trip Report: Beautiful Kauai April 9-18

Cupertino, CA
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Trip Report: Beautiful Kauai April 9-18

There’s an island across the sea

Beautiful Kauai, beautiful Kauai

And it’s calling, calling to me

Beautiful Kauai, Beautiful Kauai

This was our 4th trip to Kauai (15th to the state). It was kind of a last minute thing – we decided to go less than 6 weeks before we went. Usually I plan a year in advance (using freq flyer miles) so it was a flurry of activity while I figured things out. But since planning a trip to Hawaii is just about my favorite thing to do I didn’t mind!

Mahalo nui to the Trip Advisor forums! I did a lot of other online research and read the Ultimate Kauai Guide and the Lonely Planet guidebook (very nice town maps)

We spent 4 nights at the Kiahuna Plantation and 5 nights at Alii Kai in Princeville. We’d never stayed on the North Shore so it was nice to experience that area for more than a day trip. We get major Paradise Paralysis and don’t like to do a lot of long drives when on island.

Weather was definitely transitional. South Shore was ideal during our time there but it was winter on the North Shore most of our stay. This was the first time ever we’ve needed sweatshirts in Hawaii (except when upcountry.) We even had blankets on the bed. The other surprise was that the rain held off for the most part (a few times at night or in the early morning). I think that was because we packed our rain jackets at the last minute.

The wind and N shore swells put a damper on our beaching/snorkeling but we’ll come back someday!

More details to come...

Elk Ridge UT
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1. Re: Trip Report: Beautiful Kauai April 9-18

you left me hangin' I want more...more....more!!!

Cupertino, CA
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2. Re: Trip Report: Beautiful Kauai April 9-18

DH gave me a target of $3000 for travel expenses for the three of us (DS is 13) and I beat it! I checked packages in that price range but they weren’t as palatable as what I got myself.

Total air fare was $508 per person. We used Delta between SFO and HNL and Hawaiian Air interisland (bought separately.) Besides the price, I liked the Delta flight because it left SFO at 6pm which allowed us to leave Friday after school. It was a long night travelling but we woke up on Kauai! The return flight was a red-eye but at least we got most of an extra day on vacation. We came back on a Sunday night; my son was “sick” and couldn’t go to school on Monday due to not sleeping well. (True, although I didn’t tell them what caused the lack of sleep!)

The late hours of the Delta flights allowed us to get the cheapest interisland flights on Hawaiian.

The Delta flight to HNL has a pretty bad on time percentage and could have made us miss the last flight to Kauai. I researched HNL airport hotels. Luckily we didn’t need it.

We joined the crowd and brought only carry on bags. It really wasn’t a problem to bring everything we needed. We did check one bag on the way back because I bought some liquid items. Wonderful Hawaiian only charges $10 per bag and they checked it through to SFO for us.

I snagged a deal on a car through Priceline at $10 a day for a compact. Nothing else came close. We used Alamo which tried to upsell big time. Our car was a barebones Hyundai Accent. DS got a kick out of the roll up windows. No remote locking, no MP3 jack. We saw tons of them on the island – probably because they’re the cheapest things they can buy. Worked well enough for our purposes so no complaints.

Milwaukie, Oregon
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3. Re: Trip Report: Beautiful Kauai April 9-18

Nice report so far. I'd like a few comments about your two condos and if you have settled the "north vs south" shore for your personal tastes. What unit did you have at Alii Kai?

I also split lodging on my last 2 visits to Kauai, and was glad I did. It allows you to experience a bit more of the unique flavor of each.

Cupertino, CA
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4. Re: Trip Report: Beautiful Kauai April 9-18

The first 4 nights were at the Kiahuna Plantation, unit 230. Bldg 35 (Outrigger.). I rented it on VRBO 134158 and got an infill discount of $100/nt. We’ve always stayed here before but it’s getting a bit small with an older kid in a one br unit.

Ours was a nice enough place, very clean and updated and an ok location. It is for sale and was kind of bland. There weren’t any personal touches with very minimal things in the kitchen (no condiments), not even a Hilo Hattie mug! The King sized bed was really comfy.

The great thing about the Kiahuna is the wonderful beach a short walk away. We did a lot of snorkeling in front of the resort and by the Ko’a Kea. There was a nice sample of the usual fish each time we went out. You probably want to snorkel by the Ko’a Kea well before or after low tide or else you’re skimming the rocks.

The Kiahuna pool was nice; not big but with a small slide. Great for smaller kids. Water was pretty warm.

It was a downer to see all the building going on/on hold in Poipu. What will it be like when the new condos/housing is filled in? The new Kukui’ula center is pretty but also pretty empty. Good luck…

Spouting Horn put on a good show – we went at high tide and it was making lots of noise. Stay for a while as it ebbs and flows. Not a good place to see the sunset in mid April. Beach House was great for sunset although you couldn’t see the sun going into the ocean.

Lawai Beach snorkeling – very nice. Pretty shallow at low tide, was getting choppy and not as clear later.

Drove through Lawai and Kalaheo one day after getting shave ice in Koloa. We went off the main road just for fun. Just took some turns here and there and eventually found our way back. Dreaming of a someday home – there are someome pretty ocean views. On that jaunt we found a huli huli chicken stand which became dinner!

Ventured west: didn’t feel like driving up to the canyon but we went as far as Kekaha. Saw Niihau in the distance and Lehua rock where some divers go. Saw the dryness. Red dirt everywhere – people with their laundry hanging – doesn’t it get red?

Cupertino, CA
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5. Re: Trip Report: Beautiful Kauai April 9-18

Our last 5 nights were at Alii Kai 7202, rented through VRBO 108185 and http://www.brewer-kauai.com/ I liked the complex – great ocean views and low density and all are 2 BR/2 bath. Our unit was $110/nt. The owner let us stay late on our last day for no extra charge. The unit is on the market at a fairly low price so may not be around for long. If you don’t need fancy this is a fine place for the bucks. It may be hot in the summer – no ceiling fans in this unit and I can’t say if the summer trades would be adquate.

Princeville really doesn’t feel like Hawaii to me – I am repulsed by the entrance fountain – but we’re not upscale people. Probably next time on the N shore I’d look for something in Hanalei/Haena areas.

The path in front of our bldg ends at a cliff but we walked down a steep trail in front of the Cliffs next door. It wasn’t too steep or on a cliff edge but still you had to be careful. It hadn’t rained much lately or it would be a lot harder. There was a small waterfall and lava shelf and nice views. We didn’t go too far on that since the waves were wild.

For most of our stay north the surf was too rough for swimming/snorkeling. One day we explored west – drove around Hanalei Bay, stopped and walked along the pier. There were some surfers and trainees. Stopped at Lumahai, where we ran into some people from our previous school – small world! At Haena we watched the wild waves for a while. I can’t believe anyone tried to go in during this mess but some insane people were in by Tunnels. The Lifeguard took off on his atv.

Another day we headed east with swim/snorkel gear just in case. We stopped at Anini but it was just too cold. It would have been painful getting out from the ocean into the wind. The water was calm at least. We drove around looking at houses for fun. I liked Anini Vista - picked up brochures for homes at $5 million and $8 million. I keep telling the kid when he’s rich and famous he can buy us a house like that! Went down both Kalihiwai road which were very pretty areas. There is a small waterfall on the east side as you go down. Very green.

Stopped for Tropical Dreams (darn good!), walked around Kong Lung center (always wanted to do that) Went to lighthouse but it was close to 4 (closing time) so we saved the $5 per person. Looked at ocean from the parking lot, overlook.

Went to the sunshine market in Kilauea. We got there early, walked around the stands to scope it ou– couldn’t buy until a car horn blasted) It was kinda wild – tons of people!

DH went on the ‘Okolehau trail – took him under 2 hrs (he’s a machine!). On the way to the parking lot a local got mad at him for stopping in the road for Nene. They just wouldn’t move!

Went over to the Hanalei bay overlook for sunset one evening. Lots of people were there, double parked. Drove down Ohiki road pretty much to the end (saw a stop sign.) It was getting pretty dark but still a nice drive.

Another day it looked a bit calmer/sunnier so we headed west with our swim/snorkel gear. It was cool but we went to Ke’e which wasn’t so windy or wild surf inside the reef. Pretty surgy but just went with the flow. Snorkeled over the reef a bit, not too far out. Doubt you could snorkel there much at low tide (we were there at high tide.) Saw a small honu, huge jacks, a humu, hovered over the reef and watched the little fish dart in and out of the holes in the rocks.

Chickens at Ke’e were aggressive! Dumb people were feeding them. DS ate some pretzels and one was walking next to him squawking loudly. One mama had 6 chicks but most just had one.

After breakfast in Hanalei one morning, we parked and walked through the St Regis (too fancy for my taste not to mention my wallet) Checked out menus which are too spendy although you gotta love the view. Took the elevators (3 sets) down to the beach level and walked along the tide pools. DS had a good time. We walked up the public access steps on the way back with my belly full of pancakes. Why didn’t we do it the other way?

Headed to Lihue for the Ukulele Festival at Kukui Grove. We’d been to the one on Oahu a few years back and enjoyed it. Turned out it wasn’t happening! Had found it on gohawaii and Uke festival web site but never saw it listed in on Garden Island paper, or the festivals web site. Oh well, we explored the east shore, including the 2 main waterfalls. We saw a guy and girl on the edge of Waimea falls (sign saying people die there but maybe they’re immortal.)

Our last day the weather turned great! Sunny skies and calm seas. After breakfast we headed to Queen’s Bath. The trail wasn’t very hard but I don’t like scrambling over the lava rocks. When we got to the bath I was entranced! A few other people were swimming. DH and I couldn’t resist and went swimming fully clothed. I’m so glad I did. It could be a long time until I could go again. I talked with a guy and his daughters who had missed their flight the night before when their plan closed its doors 15 mins before scheduled take off. Take that as a warning!

We changed into swim suits at the condo and snagged a parking spot at St Regis public lot. We climbed down to Hideaways. It was fantastic. The trail is pretty rough – spikes from old steps sticking out could be a bad spot if not careful. I was huffing and puffing on the way back (feeling every extra calorie that I consumed during the previous week) but it was well worth the effort. Lots of reef and more coral than I’d seen elsewhere. We were there between low and high tides. The surf got surgier later as high tide approached. There were a few surfers, who got down and up carrying boards, walking barefoot. I felt like a wuss.

We made it to the Slack Key Guitar concert although we were 10 mins late. Well worth the time and price. Discount for keiki (under 18) and kupuna (50+) It was very relaxing! Great stories and such beautiful music. Little kids would likely be bored (DS read a book for much of it.)

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6. Re: Trip Report: Beautiful Kauai April 9-18

Loved your report and actually totally agree about that darn fountain. Who the heck designed that?? I guess I am used to it, but I would think the Princeville Group could come up with something else. Luckily Princeville is not about the fountain.

Princeville, Hawaii
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7. Re: Trip Report: Beautiful Kauai April 9-18

Another great trip report. Thanks. Was the fountain working when you were there? It looks worse when it isn't. IMHO.

Cupertino, CA
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8. Re: Trip Report: Beautiful Kauai April 9-18

I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one who doesn't like the fountain! I was afraid I was going to offend everyone!

The fountain was on which was nice. I imagine it would be worse without the water.

More trip report to come later today - eatiing, shopping and misc stuff

Dallas, Texas
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9. Re: Trip Report: Beautiful Kauai April 9-18

Great report. Cant wait to read the rest.

Kauai, Hawaii
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10. Re: Trip Report: Beautiful Kauai April 9-18

Thanks for your report! I enjoyed it and like everyone else am glad to get my feelings about that fountain out in the open! Yech!! Bletch!!! Blah!!!...and so not Kauai! Now , THAT:S a stress-releiver!

Take care and thanks again.