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Staying on East Coast - Lihue?

Burleigh Heads...
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Staying on East Coast - Lihue?

Hello,

I just wanted to get an opinion as to why people prefer to stay north or south on Kauai and avoid Lihue. There seems to be more choices of affordable accommodation in Lihue and to me seems more centrally located as its in between north & south. Can anyone please advise?

thanks

Yakima, Washington
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1. Re: Staying on East Coast - Lihue?

IMO it really depends on your expectations. We always stay in Kapaa and do so for the central location. If you want to walk out of your condo onto a sandy beach and start snorkeling, east may not be for you. Another reason we stay in Kapaa is we can go either direction depending on where the best weather is. We stay in Feb. so chasing the sun can be an adventure. We love the east but then again we don't mind driving a bit to get to the north or south.

Healy, Alaska
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2. Re: Staying on East Coast - Lihue?

As appleguy said - some folks prefer it to be centrally located . . . but for some of us, swimming & snorkeling are what brings us there, and I would rather be closest to those swimmable beaches, which varies depending on what time of year you are planning to come - that is why most folks recommend north or south. :)

Kauai, Hawaii
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3. Re: Staying on East Coast - Lihue?

You asked for opinions on stayting in Kapa'a

1. Kapa'a , for us, Kauai Island Central location is at mile zero, which is the Lihue Marriot at beautiful Kalapaki Beach in Lihue. Very, very nice beach with coco palms, shade trees, grass, and sand. Large and extremely nice simming pool, 4 ft. deep that winds around a small island in the middle. Also five jacuzzi that are placed pool side that you wade or swim to.

2. Kalapaki Beach is swimmable, with body surfing, stand up paddle boarding, surfing lessons, out rigger canoe surfing, kayaking, but no snorkeling. For the best snorkeling on the island, Lawai Beach in Poipu is about a 20 minute drive. The resort area and beach are also protected from the bluffs on the west side that act as a wind break from the strong trades. Also, there is an easy hike/walk, up at Kauai Lagoons, with nene geese, black crested night herons, and other bird life . The lagoons themselves are reminicent of the south pacific.

3. Also, as apple guy stated, it really does depend on your expectations. Agree 100% . It really comes down to what you individually like. If we were to stay in Kapa'a, it would be well away from what feels like the coney island of Kauai, which is the town of Kapa'a . The two places that appeal to us up there would be the Kauai Coast Resort, or the Kauai Beach Resort either of which are away from the strip mall lined traffic corridor of Kapa'a.

Oh, up in Kapa'a , there is also the new hiking and biking path that runs along the coast, with super views, and easy walking. Very nice.

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4. Staying South in Poipu: As visitors for 12 years, we wanted to be near a swimmable, snorkeling beach , and a place with more sunshine and less rain. And, we did not want the traffic and strip malls of Kapa'a which to us feels like we did not leave the mainland. Others gravitate toward that and really enjoy Kapa'a town, and the ease of the shopping , so it really is expectations and just what makes an individual feel good.

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We stayed at Poipu Kai, ( suite paradise ) which was reasonable for our budget and Poipu Kai was located on many, many acres of land with plenty of green belts. We could walk easily to brenneckes and poipu beach for boogie boarding , swimming, or snorkeling as well as bbqing or picnicing on the beach using the bbq's and picnic tables and the shade pavillions, or the shade tree area.

We also had our own semi private swimming pools, and the keys for entry. Condos were large and well appointed, and the resort area was not crowded. Felt like we were no longer visitors but Poipu Kai was our island home.

For a small town experience, was quaint Koloa Town, about a five minute drive which is an old sugar plantation town. Otherwise there are two very nicely done shopping villages. All have galleries, shops, and restaurants. They are all seperated from each other and feel good.

Very close by, there is spouting horn, Allerton Botanical Gardens, Horseback riding, Hiking over to pristine Maha'ulepu, some fun restaurants and bars, tennis, and golf, and other activities, all in the poipu area.

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5. The TAHITI like North Shore: Again, these are ammenties that we flew across the pacific ocean to experience. The North Shore of Kauai, is absolutely stunning with natural beauty that is very impactive.

That is another reason that most people stay there instead of kapa'a , as the OP mentioned.

There is one village called Hanalei, which is small and plantation style with botiques, places to eat, shops, grocery store, and just feels good. The whole north shore is pure lush beauty with snorkeling and water sports in the summer. There are several hikes, Limihuli Gardens, Wonderful photo opportunites, and a gentle peacefulness that you can just feel. There are many beautiful secluded and beautiful beaches.

A 5 minute drive, up in Princeville, there is also the princville shopping village which is convenient for those staying up at that planned community.

Also for active people, there are hikes of varying difficulty, and views. Plus water sports actiities, snorkeling, kayaking the hanalei river, surfing and paddle boarding.

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The main thing is that you look over the info, including in the Ultimate Kauai Guide Book on the different areas, and choose what feels good to you all and fits your criteria for your vacation. What ever might be correct for you. You will feel comfortable and happy, and have marvelous memories.

All, the folks on the forum can do it to share their opinions and experiences that they loved. And, trust me, it is going to vary since all of us human types think differently . Which is good.

Oh, should you stay up in Kapa'a area, our fav places to eat are: Olympic Cafe after an East Shore Hike, and the Hukilau Lanai for our special dinner out.

No matter which shore you choose to stay, you are going to have a fantastic visit.

Denny

Edited: 21 March 2013, 15:30
California
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4. Re: Staying on East Coast - Lihue?

Are you asking about Lihue or the east side/coconut coast area? Lihue is the main "hub" of the island and the county seat. It is where you'll find Walmart, Kmart, Home Depot, Costco. You will also find the very nice Marriott Hotel (the only high rise on the island) and besides this hotel, there is nothing special about this part of the island except traffic. The Coconut Coast area between Lihue and Kapaa has a long section of hotels and condos/timeshares. To me its too busy, too strip mally and the ocean is almost always too rough with bad currents. I stay there frequently when I need an extra night after my North Shore stay. Poipu and the North Shore areas from Anini to Heana are more for visitors. Poipu has lovely beaches, nice accommodations, sunny weather and to me the best hotel on the island, The Grand Hyatt. I prefer and own on the North Shore. Denny's description of "Tahiti like" is right on. The mountains, the beaches, the rolling hills as you drive past busy Kapaa make me happy. Its hard to explain. Its just a magical part of the island. Reading the top question on where to stay should answer more questions for you. Some love the east side. Some areas of the east side are lovely like Kealia and up to Mooloa (for the beaches), but the area around Lihue is not what I consider a spot for a vacation. Just my opinion.

Fort Collins...
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5. Re: Staying on East Coast - Lihue?

I think a lot of it is that people go to Kauai looking for a laid back experience. In this same generalization, people don't mind going out to see large attractions like Napali or the canyon and making a trip of that - but people also want to relax at their home base while on the island.

Picking a home base where there are some things geared towards tourists (i.e. Poipu and Hanalei), is appealing for the times when we don't want to hop in the car for our next adventure.

When we stayed in Kaapa, we had a few small things to do and a bit of shopping.... but shopping and the nearby activities are not something that will keep you occupied in that part of the island for long.

I think the East side is ok if you go into it with the mindset that you are going to be heading out to explore most every day. However, I think most people are looking for a bit more relaxation and to get some of the tourist type experience and to have some more options nearby - I believe that's why you see this viewpoint so much.

Santa Rosa...
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6. Re: Staying on East Coast - Lihue?

Stinga........ you hit on the key word yourself - affordable. There's always a reason why it's more affordable too. It's a trade-off. Save some money but you have to give up some things. Places on the east shore tend to be older and built during a time when the east shore wasn't as commercial as it is today. The north and south also offer what the east shore doesn't have - a variety of good swimming beaches.

For me staying east to be midway on the island just to cut down on driving would defeat the purpose as I'd find myself having to get in the car every day to go somewhere else. My thinking is stay in an area that you like enough to spend your entire time there, if you had to.

By the way, Denny is correct. The true central location is Lihue, not Kapaa. Staying in Kapaa would stil mean a long drive to say, the canyon. The north shore is much closer to Kapaa than the south shore is.

Edited: 21 March 2013, 16:47
Santa Rosa...
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7. Re: Staying on East Coast - Lihue?

Correction..... I just noticed the OP is referring to Lihue and not Kapaa. So yes, you'd be centrally located in Lihue.

Tucson, Arizona
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8. Re: Staying on East Coast - Lihue?

I agree completely with Napaguy. We stayed east once but would never do it again because it meant having to driver either north or south every day for beach and ocean activities. You didn't say when you're coming but I'd pick either north (especially in the summer) or Poipu. Personally we're big north shore fans, but I'd much rather be in Poipu than on the east coast.

Kaua'i, HI
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9. Re: Staying on East Coast - Lihue?

Aloha from Kaua'i!

Lihu'e is the county seat for the County of Kaua'i (and that includes Ni'ihau)....the County offices are located there, and it is the "main" town on Kaua'i, which means that many people (including my hubby) commute from their home locations to Lihu'e to go to work everyday....it is the center of commercial activity for the island.....and as such, is not geared (except in certain areas) to the visitor, but to the folks who live here and work here.

I think that is why it is not as popular as some areas, it simply doesn't have the visitor amenities that say, Po'ipu or Hanalei do.....if you go down to Kalapaki Beach, then yes, there are a number of visitor geared places to enjoy, but in the town itself, not as much (well, Hilo Hatti's is there!)....

The lack of swimmable beaches is also a factor....Kalapaki Bay is beautiful and is a good place to swim much of the time (always check daily ocean conditions), but it is a bay, and not the clear water that many visitors expect to find here on Kaua'i.

I'm assuming you must mean the Kalapaki Bay/Nawiliwili area of Lihu'e, because there are very few accomodations in Lihu'e town itself, and even fewer of these that visitors would normally stay.

Malama Pono,

Janet

Burleigh Heads...
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10. Re: Staying on East Coast - Lihue?

I love trip advisor so much, thank you all so much for your valuable feedback. I knew that there had to be a reason why the Lihue area was much more affordable then north or south. There are more hotel choices east though. We are coming in August and also visiting Oahu and Maui. I read up on Kauai and decided that we had to come here as it really appealed to me. I cant believe how much variety a relatively small island has. To have the Napali coast and Canyon on 1 island is awesome!! As a result of visiting Kauai we are sacrificing seeing Oahu - we are staying 2 nights there as we fly in and out from Australia.

I know that the north & south has so many different things to offer. We are in Kauai for 5 nights so do you think it is worthwhile to stay 3 nights in Poipu and then 2 nights North or are we best to stay in one area and just commute?

Thank you very much for all your very helpful advise.