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Pick a question :-) (Multiple Kauai Q's)

Anchorage, Alaska
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Pick a question :-) (Multiple Kauai Q's)

Hi my name is Tami (nice to meet you!)

I am not an experienced traveler (not for lack of desire!) I am not familiar with travel forums but I know from reading some people can be quite persnickity with what they perceive to be inane,mundane,trivial or inappropriately asked questions. I am not here to offend anyone, just to get some answers and enjoy the forum of a beautiful place I intend to visit this March :-) So if I do anything wrong my apologies in advance.

#1 We will be visiting as I said, in March. Not my choice of times to visit but I am married to a teacher and so we vacation when the schools vacation! Yes he does have summers off but because of teacher pay he works all summer too.

(just an FYI I am normally not this wordy ROFL)

Is March an okay time to visit? I ask because I keep reading the North shore beaches are no good in winter, is Spring Break considered as still being winter in Hawaii? I ask these questions because we will be staying on the North shore and from other readings I am seeing people ask about "splitting your stay on opposite sides", "complaining about driving back and forth" (it's not THAT big!) Get my drift? Splitting is not an option for us it has been REALLY hard finding a place to stay at this late date as it is, will we be driving to the South every day to swim?

#2 What beaches are easily accessible? I have recently had back surgery and while I can walk, I cannot exactly go hiking or boulder climbing, and I so wanted to see Queens Bath :-( I mostly want to snorkel and get in some good water therapy to help my back :-)

#3. I have been in feline rescue for over 10 years and have rescued over 700 cats and kittens.) A big bite in my vacation budget is always a house sitter just because of my personal cats and my current fosters ie: throw away cats)

I have read that island has a cat issue. Is it that bad? Will I be crying over it the whole time I am there? (YES I am exaggerating, a little) Are there any rescues there that I could volunteer some time at while I am there? Yes I know I cannot take them all home with me, trust me I checked LOL!

#4. Here is some advice I was given when thinking of visiting Oahu. "People who purchase umbrellas and mats and coolers etc on the Island often take them to the charity thrift stores and leave them when they leave the Island and this is a great place to find these things at a bargain." Is there a thrift store like this on Kauai?

(I hope I do not get beat up over this, I was reading another thread where a girl asked about bringing food and there was this man on there who really talked down to her, but there really ARE some of us that have to travel on a budget so sorry)

#4. I am reading lodging reviews and a lot of people complain about cockroaches. Are they speaking of every day cockroaches I wonder or Island cockroaches? What I mean to say is a certain amount of bugs are to be expected there correct? It is tropical after all.

#5. If you are a local or a frequent visitor do you find more savings at Costco or is Safeway just as good.

I am sure I will think of more, and I hope I did not annoy anyone!!

many thanks! :-)


Toms River, New...
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1. Re: Pick a question :-) (Multiple Kauai Q's)

Hi Tami.

Don't worry the people are this forum are great. You asked some good questions. Let me take a stab at them. Others will chime in as well and you take the opinions you like.

'Is March an okay time to visit?' IMHO there is no bad time to visit Kauai. I'll be on the north shore in March for a week as well. The weather will be the weather. If you don't like it where you are, move down the road a few miles and it will be different unless of course there is an island wide weather event (rarely). The south shore is drier in March but you can and will have nice days on the north shore. BTW, we laugh when people complain about the drive too. Driving from end to end on Kauai is less than my daily commute.

"What beaches are easily accessible?' Anini is very accessible and will likely be your best chance for a swimmable beach. Others may be fine as well including Haena, Tunnels, Kee but check the surf report. If the surf is too high, head south. As for Queen's Bath...Sorry, not a good idea. In March it's dangerous as well as much of the rest of the year and definitely not for someone with back problems! It's a rocky climb.

"Felines" I haven't noticed an exceptional problem but others can answer this better. I notice the chickens more.

"Thift Shop". I know there is one but I don't know where it is. Many resorts have areas where prior guest leave things for the incoming guests. Also, some rental have equipment for the use of their guests.

'Cockroaches" Never had a problem but it is the tropics. You may occasionally see a dead or dying one as most places spray. I've had more of a problem with ants if we stay in a place on the sand. I've had to call management or put things in the refrig to handle the problem.

Costco and Walmart prices are pretty much the same as the mainland. Costco as you know carries bulk so it may not be worthwhile. We do buy steaks, shrimp, milk, etc. Safeway is fine but make sure to get a shoppers card to save.

Maybe we'll see you there!

Moorpark, California
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2. Re: Pick a question :-) (Multiple Kauai Q's)

March is spring break for some folks but not everyone. Our spring break is right after Easter (late April) while others have their's before Easter. The weather will be great and as long as you have airfare, lodging and your car rental already booked, you should be fine. I would go ahead and make reservations for any popular restaurants that you might want to try.

Regarding the cats: I too am a cat person and have adopted 4 little ones recently. I've also found homes for many cats over the years (too many to count). The only time I noticed a "cat issue" was right after Hurricane Iniki. I have not seen an over abundance of wild or ferrer cats in Kauai in recent years.

I would stay far away from Queen's Bath! Especially this time of year. Rougue waves have been known to come in there, even when the seas appear to be very calm. There are tons of places to see that are not known to be dangerous on Kauai. The beaches mentioned above are great as well as some of the beaches in Hanalei Bay. We like the one at the far west end of town. We drive west on We'ke Road and park in the last parking lot. It's an easy walk to the beach there.

I do not shop at Costco when on the island. The Safeway on the island has great prices and if you get their rewards card, you can get great savings. Costco packaging is just too big and we end of leaving a lot of the food behind. I hate wasting food. So we buy what we need, as we go, so there is no waste. We usually stay in Poipu, so we shop at the stores in Koloa. I have not been to Foodland in Princeville in years. Maybe someone who is more familar with Foodland can comment on the prices. But we did stop in the Safeway several times last summer and really loved it! It's just like our Von's here at home for basic staples and a great organic section.

Buford, Georgia
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3. Re: Pick a question :-) (Multiple Kauai Q's)

I agree with everything myhrse11 said.

1. March is a great time. We have always gone in FEb./March and love it. Just keep an eye on the surf reports before heading off to Tunnels or Kee to snorkel.

It may take you an hour or more to drive to Poipu, but it's a scenic ride---much prettier then sitting in 10 lanes of traffic back home.

2. Kee, sometimes Tunnels depending on where you find parking, Anini, Lydgate, Poipu, Lawai, and Saltpond are all very easily accessible. The trail to Queens bath is pretty rocky part of the way. It can be really treacherous if it's wet.

3. Haven't noticed many cats on the island, but there is a beautiful big humane society just off the main highway just south of Lihue. We've actually gone in there and checked it out. Don't know about rescue centers.

4. There are 2 thrift stores in Lihue that I'm aware of. One on the main highway and I think the other one was off Rice street. We've picked up beach chairs there before, then donated them back at the end of our trip. But more often, we borrow what's been left at our resort by past visitors. Check with your resort, or rental, and see if they have items you're interested in.

4, again. We've seen the huge roaches on a couple occassions (in our 9 visits), but never in our condo.

5.We find that SAfeway with it's membership card is very reasonable if you shop the sales. Have gone to Costco, but don't buy in bulk, so it wasn't worthwhile, other than for a quick snack from their snack bar and for gas.

Edited: 09 February 2011, 15:48
Birmingham, Alabama
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4. Re: Pick a question :-) (Multiple Kauai Q's)

March will be great. We were there in Dec and stayed on the south shore -- and the only sunny spot was the north shore! We spent 2 full days out of 5 up north, and now DH is dying to go back NORTH -- anytime! Surf was high, but we were able to swim at Ke'e.

The drive North to South is a bit of a pain, IMO -- just avoid work start/stop times and you'll be better off.

Like others, didn't see a noticeable issue with feral cats. Chickens, another story. But they seem to take care of themselves ;-)

For the cooler/umbrella/etc -- we never bought an umbrella or mats -- our towels work fine and we could generally find some shady spot at most beaches -- and we really didn't want to haul a bunch of stuff around. If you are staying in a condo, it's likely that a lot of that sort of stuff is already there for your use. We did buy a collapsible cooler at ABC for about $15 -- big enough for drinks/sandwiches/etc and packs flat to take home as a useful souvenir.

Get the Safeway card (or a foodland card -- either way) and you can find pretty good deals. We travel on a budget, as well, and pack picnics for most lunches ... Foodland in Kapaa (I think) had some great pre-made sandwiches and with the Foodland card they were something like $4.50 (enough for 2).

You'll love Kauai! Just be prepared to relax and go with the flow. If you have to drive south, do it! If the rain's not bad, you can still swim anyway -- you're already wet, after all :)

Healy, Alaska
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5. Re: Pick a question :-) (Multiple Kauai Q's)

Aloha Tami . . . I can't add a whole lot to the already great advice you have just received, but did want to add another Alaskan's perspective. Anytime going to Hawaii is good in my book!

I am sure even living in Anchorage, you do a bit of driving . . . so you will find everything in Kauai close and easy to access. I have ONLY stayed on the northshore of Kauai - we drive every where and am happy to do so - you don't have to worry about ice, snow, or moose . . . you can drive with the windows down and it is so balmy and the air smells so good, you will know you are in paradise!! Drive to different beaches - it is a fun way to explore the island. I like the Kauai Revealed guidebook for its good maps and explanations of different beaches.

As well, food costs are pretty much the same as Alaska - the only difference is the tax and that fresh local fruit is MUCH cheaper. We are also budget travelers, so we usually have breakfast in our condo, pack a lunch for the beach/days adventure and have dinner out. I have some friends that don't eat out at all in Hawaii - they grill in the evenings, usually fresh fish from the market. You might try that - get your fish at Hanalei Dolphin, a restaurant but also a fish market. I have never used Costco - just the local ones with their makai (sp?) cards like Safeway.

I have only seen one cockroach in Kauai - it was in a shopping mall bathroom, nothing in my condo other than geckos, which I love - they eat the bugs and make cute chirpping noises. :)

Oh - you might check your with your condo manager - many condos already have things like the grass mats, coolers & stuff that other people leave behind.

I hope you have a wonderful time Tami - I love Kauai . . . it is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to. :)

Venice, Florida
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6. Re: Pick a question :-) (Multiple Kauai Q's)

Let me just add a couple of things. March could be rainy or not. If it is sunny in the north, but surf is high, try Anini Beach, which is just a few minutes away from Princeville. It is protected by an outer reef and usually quite flat. And since you have had back surgery, you'll find it much easier to enter the water there since the slope out is very gradual , especially toward the end of the road. Just stay way away from breaks in the reef and the channels that go through them -- can have strong currents.

I'm a cat person too (as you might have guessed) and have two siamese mix rescues. The homeless cat problem is not as bad on Kauai as, say Greece (which is awful). But it is not unusual to run across them. In October we had a pair of young males hanging around our condo complex in Poipu -- couldn't get close to them. There is a great shhelter on the main highway south of Lihue, which you will pass, if you go to the south or west shores. You might contact them if you are going to be in the area to see if they encourage folks to stop in and help socialize cats and kittens. We certainly encourage it at our shelter here.

One more item, I really like the Princeville Foodland -- theyhave a great deli with lots of good take out choices, if you are so inclined. And if you like fresh fish, do go to the Hanalei Dolphin market behind the restaurant of the same name in Hanalei -- wonderful stuff.

Seattle, Washington
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7. Re: Pick a question :-) (Multiple Kauai Q's)

Hi Tami,

How wonderful that you will be visiting Kauai! I've visited Kauai only once, last April, so I don't have the expertise of a frequent visitor to answer most of your questions. I'm like you and it's distressing for me to see neglected and/or homeless animals. I did see a number of feral cats in old Koloa town, they live under and around the little string of restaurants and shops on the main drag. But they all looked fairly healthy and I was told that they are cared for. The cats lurk under cars and meow and beg for food. I, of course, ordered cat friendly entrees off the menu so that I could share with the felines. Then it occurred to me to walk to the end of the block and pick up some cat food. While placing food in strategic locations, I noticed an old man who opened many cans of cat food and placed the wet food in places on the concrete, away from the cars and near the edge of the buildings, where the cats like to hang out. I think they have a catch/neuter/spay/release program that allows the cats to live out their lives but not add to the overpopulation problem. There is a huge, fine looking humane society in or near Lihue, right on the main road.

We're going again this May and I plan on packing some trial size packets of food (given out free at my local pet food store) so I can always have a stash available for any needy looking cat.

I travel on a budget too and I found a lot of good information in various travel books such as Frommer's, Fodors, Moon, etc. You can borrow them from the library. Research and planning is a great part of the fun!

I wish you a wonderful trip ~ Kauai is a beautiful place and you are very fortunate to be going!


Kauai, Hawaii
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8. Re: Pick a question :-) (Multiple Kauai Q's)

Tami, you can stop by the Humane Society in Puhi any time they're open and cuddle the cats.

San Diego...
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9. Re: Pick a question :-) (Multiple Kauai Q's)

In March, if you can, I'd stay south or east. While there may not be much more rain on the north side, the odds of high surf are good so if you are looking to snorkel or have calm surf to stretch your back in, you may get shut out up north. If you're locked in, then just make the best of it. The most sheltered beach is probably Hanalei Bay. And access is pretty easy. If your back is iffy, stay the h--l away from Queens Bath. The access is slippery/rocky and you run the risk of a rogue wave taking you to sea. Just don't do it in the winter. It's a death trap.

Feral cats are an issue but you probably won't see too many strays in the touristy areas. They're pretty shy except the kittens or unless some heartless )*(^%%%% has dumped them recently. There used to be a bunch begging out at Hanakapia Beach but last few times I haven't seen any. The local Humane society does do a capture/neuter/release program.

There are a number of thrift stores, from Salvation Army on Rice Street to the Humane Society's to one for battered women at the foot of Kuamoo in Kapaa to... Things like beach gear are rarely there for long so don't hold your breath on finding that sort of thing. But you could get lucky. No reason not to look.

Everybody will have a roach once in a while even if you spray regularly. If there are a bunch, somebody's not keeping clean or spraying.

you might get better answers if you ask one Q at a time and many of these have been asked an answered many times before. You might save yourself some typing if you try the search function. There's a ton of info buried in the old threads.

Costco is fine if you need bulk. But most items are sold in volumes not sensible for 2 people on a short vacation. They do have reasonable beach gear sometimes though.

Kauai, Hawaii
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10. Re: Pick a question :-) (Multiple Kauai Q's)

pajamajane: In regard to cats, do not go to Walmart in the evening. You will not want to see the cat situation near Walmart at intersection of roadway that goes from Walmart parking lot over to Wilcox hospital.