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Kauai Trip in 5 days

Vancouver, BC...
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Kauai Trip in 5 days

Hi all!

I need some suggestions for what to do, who to do it with and where to go do it in Kauai. I ordered the Ultimate Kauai book, but it still hasn't arrived and I'm afraid that it'll arrive after we leave for the trip. Don't let the prices I give stop you from suggesting more expensive options. Cheaper is better, but we're not averse to paying more for a better experience because who knows when we'll be able to get back ;) If it is possible to combine any of the activities bellow (kayak, waterfall, hiking, beaches) go for it. I understand that we won't be able to do it all, but we want to power through as much as we can before we go back to the tourist trap that is Waikiki. We've rented a car so that's how we'll be getting around. Finally, we're staying at the Plantation Hale Suites in Kapaa. We have 7 days. What we're into (BTW its myself and my girlfriend of 7 years):

1. Heli tour - This we already booked with interisland helicopter tours based on comments from everyone here.

2. Snorkeling beaches - Where is the best for this time of year (DEC)? I understand the North shore can be unfriendly at this time of the year. Any hidden gems?

3. Snorkeling specific tour - we don't scuba, and I've heard snuba might not be such a great idea, but we want a tour of some sort so we can avoid the beach crowds at Ke'e, Tunnels, et al. As for cost: ~ $140pp, USD

4. Beaches - The top 5 must see beaches.

5. Light to medium intensity hikes

6. Waterfalls

7. Na Pali boat tour - if we can't get just a snorkel trip we would go for something like this (as most seem to offer some sort of snorkeling with their tours). We're pretty active and aren't interested in just cruising, so whichever provides the most interactive, get in the water, get on land, explore activities. Price: ~ $140pp, USD

8. Kayak - The GF has kayaked a few times but I'll be new to the game. So definitely not experienced, but also not a kiddy fest (I like a little challenge).

9. Anything out of the way that allows us to explore some hidden gems that most tourists miss.

10. Dining - We're not fancy, but we appreciate a good meal. Any suggestions for dinner restaurants that are in the mid-high/mid price range, minus tons of families if possible. Dress code: nothing more than khakis and button up shirt or polo. Any must go to restaurants (breakfast/lunch/dinner)? Any sleepers?

11. Wild Card - Anything that you think is a must do while on Kauai.

Additional notes:

Snorkeling - We visited Hanauma Bay in O'ahu 2 years ago and boy was I disappointed. The coral was barely alive and although we saw quite a few turtles and an eel, there was not a lot of fish there. It had been hyped to me by the GF as amazing as she was there before they disallowed feeding the fish (seems the population has dropped off significantly since then). I understand why they did it and its nice to see that they're trying to preserve the park. Also even though they limit the number of people in the bay I still got kicked numerous times. Anyways we would like a decent snorkeling experience that we're willing to pay for to lose the crowds and hopefully encounter more of the local inhabitants.

Phew!! I know that's a lot, but I wanted to provide as much info as possible. Hopefully it'll help you make some suggestions. Thanks, and AAALOOOHA!!! (PCC reference:)

BTW: How do you pronounce Ke'e?

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1. Re: Kauai Trip in 5 days

I think Ke'e is "Kay eh" Correct me if I'm wrong someone. My son and i are working on learning the language:)

Hopefully you'll get the guidebook before you go. Sounds like you want a trip like we did. Click on my name and read trip report "Sept 20-25 parts 1 and 2". Loved the hikes and waterfalls. Loved snorkeling the north but not sure of good winter snorkeling.

I don't think they do Napali tours in winter.

The Polihale beach on the west was pretty deserted (might be a good "no crowds" choice).

Hanalei bay is a definate must see beach.

Chicago, Illinois
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2. Re: Kauai Trip in 5 days

Hi Ryan,

Lucky you! We just got back yesterday from 8 days on Kauai.

We did the helicopter tour with Inter-Island and it was fabulous. Worth every penny. And I was even in the front middle seat.

We did a sunset boat tour of Na Pali with Holo Holo out of Port Allen. We originally booked a snorkeling tour with Captain Sundown out of Hanalei, but they cancelled all the trips to Na Pali for the week due to ocean conditions. The places leaving from Port Allen were still going. They don't go the entire coast - they turn around at Kalalau, but it's still spectacular. We decided to do the sunset tour to get better light for photos on Na Pali. There were only 16 people on the boat, which was great. They said they'll take up to 49 though, and I think that would be horribly crowded and unpleasant. We saw whales on the way back. It was $100 pp for 3.5 hours, open bar, salads, chips, snacks, and champagne at sunset.

We took a surf lesson at the beach by the Sheraton through Nukumoi Surf Shop in Poipu. 2 hours for $75pp. My husband and I were both able stand up on the first try, but it is a serious work-out.

We hiked the Awaawapuhi (I think that's it) trail. It's 3.1 miles one way, with great views of the Nuaholo Valley at the end. It's not real difficult, but it was very muddy and slippery when we did it.

We did about a mile and a quarter on the Kalalau trail. Way more strenuous than the other trail, and very muddy and slippery, but outstanding views.

We spent some time at Ke'e Beach, but didn't get in the water.

We snorkeled at Poipu Beach park (and saw turtles and monk seals there) and at the Sheraton Beach. We saw lots of fish and an eel at Poipu.

Make a 5:30 reservation now for dinner at the Beach House, spectacular sunset views, but it took almost a week to get a table at sunset. Food was great, but pricey. For 2 of us with a drink each, an appitzer, entree and dessert, it was about $100 plus tip.

Skip Bali Hai for dinner, go to the bar there for drinks at sunset for the view. The food was poor to ok and expensive.

The luau at Smith's Tropical Paradise was fun. They discount tickets ordered online.

Another book that I saw on the island that I hadn't seen before wasthe Independant Traveler's Guide to Kauai. It had some more detailed info on hikes than the Ultimate book (which we lived by).

I'm happy to answer any questions for you. It's all still very fresh in my mind.

BC Canada
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3. Re: Kauai Trip in 5 days

Aloha fellow Vancouverite!!

We have been to Kauai 3 times so far so here are a couple of our favorites.

Don't worry about dressing up for dining - khakis and a Hawaiian shirt can take you anywhere. We love the Beach House because of its location for sunset, the waitstaff is excellent, and the food above average. Keoki's in the Poipu Village is fun for casual dining in the bar, and you can't miss Duke's for their fish dishes.

Our favorite beach hike is from the Hyatt to Mahalepu (sp?) beach. Places to swim and snorkel along the way and the farther you go, the less people you see. You can drive there too on bumpy, dirt roads, but the roads aren't along the ocean, so we much prefer the hike along the cliffs.

The only place we found crowded for snorkelling was at Poipu Beach, but only sometimes. Salt Pond Beach is uncrowded with lots of locals to chat to and watch fishing, etc. Lawai Beach next to the Beach House is good for snorkelling, but you won't see really colorful coral--lots of fish there though.

There are kayak tours up the Wailua River then a hike to a waterfall. It was our first time kayaking and also the first time for all the other couples. We were all in 2 person kayaks (I call it the divorce kayak) and the only thing I found challenging was that DH thought it was a race, rather than a leisurely paddle, and insisted on "beating" everyone else. I recommend separate kayaks.

I'm sure you'll receive lots more suggestions. Have a great time in paradise.

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4. Re: Kauai Trip in 5 days

Your best bet on snorkeling is Poipu and the area just past the Beach House restaurant. We were told not to try up north because the seas were too rough. The snorkeling was fun, but didn't come close to comparing to the snorkeling I've done on Aitutaki and Rarotonga. That's probably not a fair comparison, however.

Good choice on Inter-Island.

The best hike we did was up around the Waimea Canyon. I don't have my Ultimate Kauai guidebook with me right now so I don't know the name of it, but it was one that required a bit of a drive on dirt roads and was marked with a sign (now just a metal post). Sorry I can't provide more specifics. The trail was in bad shape but manageable, and the lookout it goes to was absolutely spectactular. You could see two waterfalls, lots of birds, etc. The best part was that we had it all to ourselves.

We did the up and back Kayak trip on the Wailua with Outfitters Kauai. There was a group of 12 of us and it was a lot of fun. If you're active you'll have no trouble keeping up.

We did a Na Pali tour and it was a lot of fun - we went with Captain Andy's from the south shore. I understand you're better off going with the one or two outfits that operate from the north shore, but even from the south you'll get a heck of a lot of outstanding views. The Ultimate Kauai book complained that Captain Andy's was too crowded, but on our trip it was just fine. Good food and the beer flowed freely as well.

Dining wise the best food we had by a mile was a Roy's in Poipu. Really outstanding and pretty reasonably priced. Keoki's was okay, and did have a fun atmosphere. The Beach House had great sunsets, but otherwise I wasn't all that impressed - the food was only mediocre, imo.

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5. Re: Kauai Trip in 5 days

More Dining comments:

Cocunuts was fun and had good food. Service was somewhat lacking.

Scotties was good for a lunch if you want something a little different. Really nice vista from the dining room.

Tomkats - dirty, poor service, and my wife found a hair in her sandwhich. The fish and chips were okay, but not great. I'd probably avoid it if I were you.

Go to local fruit stands EVERY SINGLE DAY. Awesome fresh fruit and it's cheap.

We had dinner at the Smith's luau one night as well. The food was pretty good, but the mai tai's were terrible (very watery). The show was okay but cheesy (but it's a luau, so that's what you'd expect).

Have fun!

Healy, Alaska
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for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
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6. Re: Kauai Trip in 5 days

Aloha! If your book doesn't show up, you can buy one at the airport or at Walmart when you arrive - do get one, as the maps are very helpful. Even if you can't snorkel on the Northshore, do not miss driving here for one day - go all the way to the end of the road (Ke'e beach is here). It's delightful and so beautiful. On your way up, you can stop at Mango mama's for a delicious fruit smoothie or if you are hungry, stop at Duane's Ono char for a tropical burger - both of these are near Anahola.

In Hanalei, there are several places to eat . . . some better than others . . .but Hanalei is such a fun town to hang out in. We liked Hanalei Dolphin, Neide's Salsa and samba, and Hanalei gourmet for their artichoke toast - but service is slow. There are several places to try shave ice - get some with ice cream at the bottom - my favorite is guava/passionfruit with macadamia nut ice cream. YUM!

Oh, and the Kilauea lighthouse - there is also an excellent pizza place near here. Some of the best pizza and baked goods.

Kapaa has a great open market - go there for locally made items.

On the south shore, I would go to Pomodoro's for excellent Italian food, and yes, if you haven't been to a luau, go to Smith's - they are great fun. Have a wonderful trip! :)

7. Re: Kauai Trip in 5 days

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