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First trip to Kauai - April

sf bay area
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First trip to Kauai - April

HI all,

My husband and I just booked our air to go to kauai. We absolutely love Maui, but felt it was time to try something new! We'd like to stay in a condo but not really sure where to stay (north or south?). Love going to the beach, snorkeling and we're definitely planning to try kayaking. Any suggestions would be helpful. Thanks!

Honolulu, HI
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1. Re: First trip to Kauai - April

Aloha Jaz~

With Kauai it really doesn't matter too much. There is so much stuff to do on all parts of the island that you will always be close to something. The island isn't that big, you can drive an hour in either direction and be where you need to be. Beautiful all the way around!

michigan
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2. Re: First trip to Kauai - April

Winter...south shore

Summer...north shore

michigan
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3. Re: First trip to Kauai - April

Ooops! April will probably be fine on either shore.

sf bay area
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4. Re: First trip to Kauai - April

There seems to be a lot of condo rentals in Princeville and Poipu. What are the main differences between the north and south shore?

NE PA
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5. Re: First trip to Kauai - April

Look through the condos listed on vrbo.com. We prefer staying in Princeville on the North shore and recommend Pali Ke Kua or Pu'u Poa. If it's only the two of you and you're watching your budget Sealodge is a great lower priced option. Sealodge units are a bit smaller and lower end but are along a bluff with great ocean views for bargain prices.

Dallas, Texas
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6. Re: First trip to Kauai - April

jaz2014, we're splitting our stay up between two different sides of Kauai. We're staying in the west for one half of our trip, and also in the north for the other half. I'm hoping that this is a good decision because I didn't want to miss out on any of the different parts of Kauai, and don't want to spend all our time packing, driving and spending money on gasoline. There are people who swear by the north side and wouldn't stay anywhere else, as well as east side lovers, south side lovers, and a few west side lovers.

I suggest that you buy a good guidebook and look at all the options available. A great website is www.wizardpub.com that allows you to access most of the hotel/condo/resort websites, and take virtual tours, view photos, and read reviews of most of the available accommodations on the island. You have to buy "The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook", (also referred to as the "blue bible" on this website) to get the code ((uk2442 wink, wink)) to view the accommodations. This is a great resource to help you decide where to stay. I plan on taking the book with us to the island to help us navigate.

There are many wonderful posters on this website that can give more informed advice than mine, but I hope this helps. I've spent many an hour researching condos, Na Pali cruises, and restaurants, and hoping to get the most bang for my buck on this trip.

San Diego...
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7. Re: First trip to Kauai - April

Main differences

Both areas are beautiful. Both nicer than the east side (IMO)

The North shore gets much more rain in the form of trade wind showers. So ranges from green and lush to downright jungle inland. Hanalei has a tourist town feel to it. Most of the local population has been pushed out by high real estate values etc.

Beautiful beaches. Easy access to Na Pali coast trailhead. Interesting gardens. Maybe 20-25 restaurants ranging from super expensive in the P-ville hotel to walk up lunch specials. Prices are a bit higher as you are 20 miles north of Kapaa so no real competition. Surf can be rough in winter, but can be rough anywhere when it's stormy.

Poipu is almost desert. Plenty of cactus. Without irrigation yards are brown in the summer. The resorts are lush however. Beaches are also nice, but the main ones are more crowded as many, many condos. You have 30+ restaurants within a 5 mile drive. Nice hikes along the beach. Roughly 30 mile drive to Kokee/Waimea Canyon. Mkuch more likely to have good weather in winter although when we have Kona storms, the whole island can be flooded. Nearby areas have many more "locals" although Poipu itself is a retirement/tourist ghetto for the most part.

With an infinite supply of money, I'd take the Hyatt over the P-vile hotel. In a regular condo, I'd go north. Or split time if you can wangle it.

Chicago, Illinois
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8. Re: First trip to Kauai - April

i was not overly impressed with the south side of the island, the only advantage to the south side is that it is closer to Waimea Canyon and Napali lookout. The real beauty of the island is on the northside.

Mesa, Arizona
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9. Re: First trip to Kauai - April

Been to most of the popular islands on various trips taking several friends and family. Here's what I found.

If you like elogant, well manicured gardens, yards, beautiful golf courses, rainforest areas, etc. like at plush resorts go north to Princeville. I remember a guy telling us he moved fronm the Poipou area to Princeville and it was the first time his son learned to ride a bike because Princeville has sidewalks. The views from Princeville are amazing especially if you eat at Bali Hai, an open air resort and restaurant overlooking Hanalei Bay. Breakfast is the best time to see the huge distant green velvet mountains with waterfalls cascading from the top, gorgeous gardens and blooming bushes and trees. The colorful birds are happy to have their picture taken and fly right up to the railing to give you a perfect shot. Bring your camera or you will kick yourself for not doing it. The cons are that you are very north and any time you want to go exploring, you have to drive the same exact roads to and from Princeville. So say you want to go to Poipou plan on a drive for 1 1/2 hours down there, have fun and drive back the 1 1/2 hours. If you stay at a condo in the Kapaa area, you are in small town living with ocean views that are average similiar to where you live. The advantage is there are good condos, real grocery stores, lots of restaurants not associated with resorts and you are in the middle of the island so you can explore north or south and have a shorter time to drive the same exact routes. If you stay at Poipou your driving is a very long to Princeville and onto Ke'e Beach so you spend a lot of time driving to the north and back after a day of fun.

We have stayed in the Princeville area at Pahio and loved our experience. It was more romantic and luxurious. When we stayed at the Kauai Coast Resort, a very nice resort, we had access to so much more that we decided to return to it more often. It allows us to do day trips and not take the same exact route. Now don't get me wrong that same exact route like to Princeville is usually gorgeous with tourquoise water with white caps if there has not been rain, a lovely not to miss lighthouse and greenery. But after you have spent the day looking at beauty sometime you just want to get out of the car and relax at the resort.

If you kayak, you won't want to miss kayaking the Na Pali coast. I will also recommend a helicopter to see the island when you first get there. You will get such a better understanding of the terrain, areas to explore and various climates on the island. It says a thousand words that nobody can explain. You may even decide on kayaking a different place once you see what your choices are. You can't see MOST of the really outstanding views from the island edges like you can from the helicopter. The expense outweighs the experience. If you only do it once, Kauai is the best island to view from above.

Have a marvelous time.

MA
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10. Re: First trip to Kauai - April

Jaz2014 - My wife and I have been to Kauai twice and have stayed in condos on both the north and south shore. For our honeymoon, we decided to try the north side since we had stayed on the southern side for our previous visit....and we will forever stay on the North shore now! Princeville has the most incredible views and terrific beaches. It feels like no where else we have ever visited. We stayed in Pu'u Poa, which is a condo complex that feels like it is on the end of the world. True ocean bluff setting high above with terrific views. We stayed in the "12" stack, which are the end units of the complex so we had a view of Bali Hai straight ahead, and the wide open pacific ocean to the right. Incredible! I would recommend staying close to the end of the complex near the cliff, probably from 09 to 12 so you are assured the magnificent view of Bali Hai. Sunsets from the hugh lanais are the best.

I highly recommend Pu'u Poa, though choose your unit wisely as some are much nicer than others since they are individually owned. They are a little pricier than other condo's in the area, but given the location to the Princeville hotel, the amentities and the views(!) it just doesn't get much better. While we enjoyed the Southshore very much, and even stayed in the highest rated complex on TrA, we will definitely be staying on the Northshore from now on...most likely even return to the same complex. While Maui is wonderful, Kauai is even better. I hope this helps and have a great trip.