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
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.
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?