First trip to Hawaii: seeking Kauai advice

Discussion in 'Hawaii' started by Aktchi, Dec 19, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. Aktchi
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    Aktchi Silver Member

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    My wife and I are planning what will be our first trip ever to Hawaii. Can only get away from a Thursday to a Tuesday, so about 4 honest days. Needless to say, island hopping is not an option. :)

    Based on what we have heard, we are leaning towards Kauai.

    A few questions:

    1. At present any week from early August to early September seems a possibility. Is that a good time? If so, would you pick early Aug or Sep? If not what time of the year would be?

    2. Which part of the island would you suggest staying?

    TIA!
     
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  2. anabolism
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    anabolism Gold Member

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    Keep in mind that Kauai is the rainiest island. Early August to early September is going to be very hot and humid.

    What is it that you and your wife like to do? Swim, surf, hike, snorkel, dive, see historic sites? Explore wine, coffee, dining? Laze on a beach? Browse shops? Also, do you prefer your beaches textiled or optional?

    Are there hotel chains you'd like to stay at or do you prefer B&Bs or condos?
     
  3. miles and smiles
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    miles and smiles Gold Member

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    Any time is wonderful on Kauai. My personal preference is the north side, but it does depend somewhat on what your interests are.
    But I can not imagine going for only 4 days. Even a week seems short to me. I will be going for at least two weeks in February.
    But again, Kauai is wonderful no matter where or how long.
     
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  4. autolycus

    autolycus Gold Member

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    Is the north side where all the waterfalls are? Or is that where the rhododendron is? :)
     
  5. miles and smiles
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    miles and smiles Gold Member

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    Waterfalls can be found all over the island. The north side is the rainiest.
     
  6. autolycus

    autolycus Gold Member

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    Oh I'm sure they can. I visited Kauai probably 25 years ago and remember its lush beauty. Been to the other main islands more recently--only 15 years ago. Amazing place. I might have to plan a trip to the islands later this year.
     
  7. anabolism
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    anabolism Gold Member

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    I've gone for a weekend, and typically go for three full days (so a five day trip). But then, I often go to Japan or Europe for two full days (four day trips).
     
  8. miles and smiles
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    miles and smiles Gold Member

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    Amazing indeed.
    And welcome back to MP. Missed you the last six months.
     
  9. marcwint55

    marcwint55 Gold Member

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    If you want more people and a faster pace, stay in Poipu. If you want a bit more peaceful location try Princeville.
    There is a great place in Lihue called Hamura Saimin. If you like noodles, don't miss it.
    Lappert's ice cream is a nice treat while you are there. You may even be able to get a tour at the original location if you go there.
    The time of year you want to go is somewhat hot usually. I prefer January, but the beauty is there rear round.
    I would highly recommend a helicopter flight around the island as some places are way too hard to get to.
    The fern grotto is a good sight for visitors as are the taro fields in Hanalei.
    If you want to see as much as possible, rent a car. Taxi's will cost way too much to travel around the island.
     
  10. jwsky
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    jwsky Silver Member

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    You will need a car. It can be a very expensive place for someone on a budget. So, renting a condo with a kitchen can help. If you plan on staying on the north shore, shop first at Costco or Walmart near the airport. I found myself spending a lot of time driving in slow, backed up traffic. So, for a short stay, I would suggest picking an area and keeping close to home.
    It is such a green and beautiful place! You can return sometime and see more of the island.
     
  11. LIH Prem
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    LIH Prem Gold Member

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    ???

    It never really gets hot on the islands, temps are consistently 78 - 82 degrees every day, maybe a couple of degrees warmer in the summer and a couple of degrees cooler in the winter. I have no A/C where I live now, and we had no A/C when we lived in Princeville.

    It does get uncomfortable when the normal trade winds stop blowing, which happens occasionally.

    If you are coming from a desert climate, no doubt it will feel humid when you arrive, but it really is very comfortable as long as the normal trade winds are blowing from the N/NE.
     
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  12. LIH Prem
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    LIH Prem Gold Member

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    My favorite months on Kauai were October and May both weather-wise and because they are considered to be shoulder seasons and the islands seem to be a little less crowded with tourists in those months. But for the dates you said, I would go end of August or September when more kids will be back in school and not visiting the islands.

    The North Shore was where I lived and continues to be my favorite place on the islands. When you picture Hawaii, you probably have an image of Kauai's North Shore. There's a St Regis there, which is very nice. There's also an Starwood timeshare property in Princeville, which is also nice, but doesn't have any direct beach access. (not really a problem, you can drive to Anahola or any of the other fantastic beaches on the North Shore.)

    The Grand Hyatt in Poipu is also a very nice property. If you can both get the Hyatt Credit Card you could each get 2 free nights at any Hyatt and use them there. That would be a great value.

    -David
     
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  13. Aktchi
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    Aktchi Silver Member

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    OP here. First, Thank You everyone for your comments and advice. Based on them I would like to clarify our wishes and will welcome any further comments from you.

    When we can go: Early August, Early September, Early December.

    How long we can go: A Thursday to the following Tuesday. Two travel days, 4 honest full days in Kauai.

    How "off" a season do we want: Based on other travels around the world, we really don't like the high season! However, the lowest of the lows, when everything is closed, is also a little depressing. So it would be nice to have a season which is mostly low, but a few shops and restaurants are open. Not all, but at least a few. :)

    What we like to do: We would want to enjoy the natural beauty, and will rent a car to get around. Other than that, good local food. I am happy enough to see the beaches, but am not much into water activities, just lying/walking on the sand with a beverage. :)

    That's it, please advise away. I need to book my tickets soon (this will part of a longer itinerary starting much sooner), so deciding on the month is the top priority. We'll have a few months to think about hotels etc.
     
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  14. miles and smiles
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    miles and smiles Gold Member

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    In early August, Kauai (and all of Hawaii) will be full with tourist families on summer break, so September would be better. I can't imagine that much of anything closes down in any month in Kauai, so there is no low, low season.
    Going in December has the advantage of your missing some days of Chicago area's cold weather.
     
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  15. Aktchi
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    Aktchi Silver Member

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    Yes indeed, we plot that all winter, how to get away from Chicago. :) However, from Kauai's point of view, is there anything to choose between early September and early December, or are the two experiences likely to be similar?
     
  16. miles and smiles
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    miles and smiles Gold Member

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    I've only gone between late November and early March, so I don't have first hand experience. As lihprem said above (echoed by my friends who live in Kauai and by weather stats), temps don't change much on Kauai. In December you will have a greater chance of rain, especially on the north side. A little rain never bothers me and I've never had much problem with rain in my four winter time trips to kauai, but some folks want sun all the time. If sun is what you want, then you might be better off going either in Sept or staying on the south side.
     
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  17. miles and smiles
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    miles and smiles Gold Member

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    On second thought, if I was going to Kauai for only four days, and I wanted to really explore the island, I would stay on the east side, because then it would be easy to get to the south side and the north side for day trips.
     
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  18. 8MiHi

    8MiHi Silver Member

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    Beaches are funny on Kauai, if there is no reef, don't go in the water because its powerful and rough. We last stayed just north of Lihue by the Wailua public golf course (not particularly good as a golf course, but we did not care) and that beach was dangerous. Things to consider that are a bit off some people's radars: Snorkling in Haena State Park or hiking along the northern end of the Napali Coast, Hiking/camping (there are some great campsites) in Waimea State Park (at least ride into the canyon for sightseeing), Kayaking the Lihue River in the Huleia National Wildlife Refuge (to see where the opening to Raiders of the Lost Ark was filmed) or the Wailua River to the Fern Grotto and the waterfalls. Golfing in Princeville is world class. Much of the year the rain doesn't interfere with life in the lowlands as most of the heavy rain occurs up along the heights of the ancient volcano. Its all good, but be careful where you swim.
     
  19. anabolism
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    anabolism Gold Member

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    No worries with things being closed, no matter when you go.

    Hawai'i (even Kauai) isn't like going to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware or Wildwood Crest, New Jersey, where block after block of boarded-up shops and turned-off traffic lights await the winter visitor.
     
  20. anabolism
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    anabolism Gold Member

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    Also, many of the beaches tend to be quite different in winter (rougher) than in summer (calmer).
     
  21. LuizzeOliveira

    LuizzeOliveira Silver Member

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    Hawaii is one of the most beautiful U.S state. It is popular for it's most beautiful beaches like Hamoa Beach, Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area, Hanalei Bay Beach, Papohaku Beach and so many other. There are also so many restaurants, hotels and resorts for visitors.
     
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  22. miles and smiles
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    miles and smiles Gold Member

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    I'll be on Kauai Feb. 19 - March 6. If anyone else will be on the island at that time, get in touch. :)
     
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  23. okrogius

    okrogius Silver Member

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    So you'd spend an hour each day driving (half an hour each way)? If your goal is exploring, it's far easier to just split evenly between north and south - you then just spend time getting to your hotel 1 (.5-1h), time between hotels (1-1.5h), and hotel 2 to airport (.5-1h). All drives near each hotel would be much shorter.
     
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  24. miles and smiles
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    miles and smiles Gold Member

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    If I had only four days on Kauai I wouldn't want to waste my time changing hotels within such a short stay. YMMV
    But I always stay on Kauai for ten days to three weeks, so my standards are different from others.
     
  25. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    +1 Packing, moving hotels, unpacking seems to be just as costly in time as being based in one location and exploring the island from there.
     

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