We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Non Driver Visiting Kauai - late May 2012

Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
14 posts
328 reviews
Save Topic
Non Driver Visiting Kauai - late May 2012

I will be visiting Kauai after a 23 year gap (far too long I know!) and will be there for 6 days in late May next year.

I am thinking of staying in the Poipu region, but do not drive. I am not the type of person who will sit by a pool/beach for the whole 6 days, so the ability to walk to a general store/café/attraction is of interest. I will also be doing quite a few activities eg Na Pali coastline, sailing, Waimea Canyon hiking etc. I expect tour operators will pick up/drop off to Poipu for these bookings

I am open to either a hotel or a condo. On initial research I am leaning towards Koa Kea hotel wise and Kuhio Shores condo wise. Are these in an area that will not “isolate” me?

I am certainly not looking to replicate Waikiki within walking distance of my chosen accommodation but a few conveniences would be nice.

Happy to hear any suggestions re optimal locations either Kauai wide or Poipu specific if you feel that is a good option. Stayed at Lihue last time and looking for something a little different this time.

Princeville, Hawaii
Level Contributor
7,172 posts
34 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Non Driver Visiting Kauai - late May 2012

You will have places to walk to at either place but I'm wondering how you are getting to Poipu from the airport and back. I would also check with tour operators about pick-ups as most visitors to Kauai rent cars.

California
Level Contributor
38,025 posts
122 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Non Driver Visiting Kauai - late May 2012

You aren't the first visitor with this problem, but you will get to know the taxi operators quite well and the dollars will be flying out of your wallet.

Not all operators of activities will pick you up. I can only think of one kakak company that might. If this were me, I would stay at The Sheraton, which is a major hotel who would have the best knowledge of tours and activties. As much as I love Kuhio Shores, you are not really walking distance to as much as The Sheraton, Koa Kea or better yet Kihuna Plantation Condos. By staying at these locations you can at least walk across the street to Poipu Shopping Center for food and restaurants. They have Starbucks, ice cream, general store etc. The major grocery store is a taxi ride into Koloa Town.

For full tours of the Napali Coast etc check out Robert's Tours.

I think you will need to take public transportation (the terrible bus system) in order to meet up with some activity companies or taxis to their locations. Its not easy, but it is possible.

Santa Rosa...
Level Contributor
17,381 posts
1 review
Save Reply
3. Re: Non Driver Visiting Kauai - late May 2012

Stay at one of the hotels in the main area of Poipu - Sheraton or Koa Kea. They'll both have concierge services who can help you make plans. I think you're going to find it will be difficult to find tour operators that will pick you up. They're too used to their customers driving to their tours so pickup is not a well-established thing on Kauai. But if you stay at one of these hotels the concierge people will be able to advise you the best and book for you also. Some activities may necessitate them calling a cab for you though. So have cab fare and tip money handy.

Outfitters Kauai has their offices in walking distance, just up Poipu Road. They have many types of offerings and I think their kayak tours leave from right there. Here is their website if you're interested in kayaking...

http://www.outfitterskauai.com/

I still would stress staying at a hotel with concierge services to get the most out of your trip.

Kauai, Hawaii
Level Contributor
8,506 posts
9 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Non Driver Visiting Kauai - late May 2012

Great ideas...

If it were us, and did not want to drive ( as we elected in australia and ireland ) .

Kauai - no car rental..we would

1. Stay at Kiahuna Plantation: Great condos, some right on the beach, no eye sore tower monoligth....just plantation feeling and nicely done.

Swim ( snorkel) or walk from your beach, in front of Kiahuna, down to Poipu Beach Park. We would snorkel.

Walk to Poipu Shopping Village for different restaurants, our fav is Keokis Paradise....sunset special dinners ( $ 21.) at 4:45 to 5:45.pm...great tropical ambiance, friendly staff, and great fun and easy going, and super good food.

Also, you have other restaurants, tiki bars, and shops within walking distance.....

Now, another plan, is to rent bikes for the week and you can ride the entire poipu and koloa area for sight seeing and exploring and just getting around.

From OUTFITTERS which is about a mile from you...easy stuff.

For getting around to other areas.....that would probably be one of the tour companies....

Again speaking for us....we are not mass of humanity travelers , so we like to keep more with the vans, than the huge grey hound type busses that some of the companies have.

We like: Aloha kauai tours. professional , fun, personalbe and do care about the island, and have small friendly groups on their vans.

Other posters also have great scoops.....have fun.

Denny

Corona del Mar, CA
Destination Expert
for San Diego, Orange County, California
Level Contributor
55,191 posts
422 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Non Driver Visiting Kauai - late May 2012

Kuhio Shores is a bit far for easing walking to everything in Poipu, Koa Kea is a great location for easing walking to everything in Poipu.

I would also look at Poipu Kapili and Kiahuna Plantation. My general concerns on Koa Kea are the rooms are small and the hotel can be expensive for what you get. It is a very nice boutique property, but I probably would pay more than $300 a night there.

Santa Rosa...
Level Contributor
17,381 posts
1 review
Save Reply
6. Re: Non Driver Visiting Kauai - late May 2012

Lots of great condos mentioned here. Normally I'd agree to all of them. I still contend that in this situation a resort hotel with concierge with activity booking services is the best way to go.

Chicagoland
Level Contributor
21,581 posts
Save Reply
7. Re: Non Driver Visiting Kauai - late May 2012

You might fare better without 'wheels' on Maui. (Been there, done that? lol)

Kaua'i, HI
Destination Expert
for Kauai, Poipu, Lihue
Level Contributor
17,961 posts
35 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Non Driver Visiting Kauai - late May 2012

Aloha from Kaua'i!

I think that staying on Kaua'i with no personal transportation is very difficult indeed - it limits you completely to the area that you are staying and while you can stay very central here in the Po'ipu area and walk to shopping and restaurants - the whole rest of the island is going to be lost to you unless you want to join a bus or van full of other visitors to do a planned excursion - which to me, is horrible - just my opinion.

If you have to do this for whatever reason though - any of the places such as Kiahuna Plantation, Sheraton Kaua'i, Marriott Waiohai are all just off the main road here (Po'ipu Rd.) and would be an easy walk to Po'ipu Shopping Village and the Kuui'ula Shopping Village also.

I never, ever suggest a car-free vacation here personally. JMHO, but I think it limits you far, far too much. You can't even get into Old Koloa town easily (quite a walk and if you are shopping at a grocery store - no way I'd want to walk the sidewalk-less area all the way back to the resort area).....

Malama Pono,

Janet

Wailua
Destination Expert
for Kauai
Level Contributor
1,860 posts
1 review
Save Reply
9. Re: Non Driver Visiting Kauai - late May 2012

I think some of these responses are a bit harsh.

Yes, some people don't know how spread out Kaua'i is, or think they can save money without a car. But other people CAN'T drive for a variety of reasons, some of which may be personal and can't be mentioned comfortably (medical or criminal).

So let's not jump to conclusions, nor imply that you can't visit without renting a car. Some people just can't, and still want to see as much as possible, given that limitation. I think a lot of that information came through in the end (central Poipu location, concierge, tour pick-up, and a lot of walking), but I don't think it was a pleasently offered as it could have been ("If you have a license, it's best to rent a car, but if not, here are your options...").

For example, the Kaua'i Bus is not "terrible." It is very limited and can be late, but it's better than nothing on a rural island with the population spread out over 60 miles along the main road. It focuses on neighborhoods and the main job locations in Lihue, so it's made for the residents, not the visitors. But with some planning (studying the schedules), a person without a car in Poipu could easily have a day trip to Lihue or Hanapepe/Waimea, both of which offer an interesting day of walking around. Plus, taking the bus and walking around towns is probably a great way to meet local residents and learn about Kaua'i from a different perspective.

Nor are bus tours "horrible," they are one way of seeing the island, and better than nothing in most cases. Of course, it pays off to look around as there are new tours options all the time, such as the Kaua'i Photo Tour. But, while being on a tour bus with a large group of people isn't for everyone, I don't think we should be judging the activity so harshly.

Kaua'i, HI
Destination Expert
for Kauai, Poipu, Lihue
Level Contributor
17,961 posts
35 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Non Driver Visiting Kauai - late May 2012

Aloha from Kaua'i!

If I had no option to drive, the bus tours would be better than nothing, but I used to see bus tours of people come and go when I worked at the Sheraton and it just didn't appeal - "to me" I stress again. And again, as I noted in my first post - "just my opinion" - not a mandate.

"KauaiHiker" gave you some good options - and as long as you have the time and patience for it - the Kaua'i bus does get you around - not quickly and as he mentioned, it isn't geared towards visitors, but it will ultimately get you to your destination - so a good alternative to the tour buses.

Everyone is different and has different preferences - some people think bus and van tours are fantastic, that is why there are a number of them here. They will take you to places like Waimea Canyon and other locations around the island and will pick you up from your hotel or resort property, so for some folks with no rental car this is the way to go.

I hope it works out for the OP - worse case scenario would be staying here in the Po'ipu area in a central location and walking around the area, which in the main resort area, is generally easy to do.

As to the OP's question between Ko'a Kea or Kuhio Shores - I think that it would be "easier" walking to more places if you stayed at Ko'a Kea, but if you are a big walker and don't mind hoofing it a distance, Kuhio Shores is also an option.

Malama Pono,

Janet