Aloha! How’s everyone doing?
I recently got back from the Hawaiian island of Kauai and wanted to share a travel guide to the beautiful garden island. I had been to Hawaii a few times before and this was my second time to Kauai and it's probably my favorite island out of all the because it’s very relaxing, serene and less busy. The island felt like a tropical jungle! I was headed to Kauai for one of my best friend’s wedding and made the rest of the trip a vacay. Here’s the breakdown of where we stayed and ate while on the island and some tips and places you could visit while you’re there.
Hotel: The wedding took place at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and since I was part of the wedding party I stayed at this hotel which was in Poipu - the south end of the island. There are also a few other resorts around the Poipu area which are near beaches and some breathtaking views. However I will say the Grand Hyatt was so big so it literally took about 15-20 minutes just to get to the lobby which made things a bit difficult but the amenities were fantastic. Think free laundry and purified water stations at every corner! I’ve also stayed at the Marriott Kauai Resort and loved this one as well and its near the airport off the Kalapaki beach. You could also stay on the north shore of the island in Hanalei or Princeville or in Waimea which is on the west side which also some amazing places to stay. But if you don’t want to shell out a ton of $$ for a hotel you can always find some great Airbnbs that are very affordable too.
Transportation: Before I came to Kauai I was told there no Uber or Lyft but there actually is! It’s a bit limited so it might take a while for your ride to arrive but better than not having some of these options. I personally would recommend renting a car. It’s actually quite affordable and would end up being cheaper than ordering Ubers or Lyfts constantly. Places on the island are pretty far away and its just so much easier to jump in a car and take a drive to catch all the sights and see some amazing views on your own. Also if you plan to stay in the Poipu ( south end of the island) or the north end of the island the airport is pretty far (at least 30-45 mins from these areas so it would be much easier to grab a rental from the airport. Thank goodness for Google Maps it is quite the life saver and made getting around super easy!
Excursions: The best day I probably spent in Kauai was on a 55 foot catamaran touring Napali Coast thanks to Captain Andy’s Sailing Adventures. We did this one. The five and half hour tour includes breakfast, lunch and cocktails plus a super friendly staff. The excursion is kid friendly but be sure they can handle rough waters and possible sea-sickness. While we weren’t able to actually go snorkeling due to some dangerous waters we did get to swim in the waters and jump off the boat. I highly recommend this one but I will say if you're the type to get any kind of motion sickness take a Dramamine before hand because depending on the day the boat may hit some rough waters. Also if you’re not a fan of getting splashed with sea water, stay down in the covered area. I tried to keep my phone on me as much as I could so I could get tons of pics and videos but the second we hit rough waters I put my phone away and left it in my bag in the lower covered area of the boat. If you do want to try and get all the action I would recommend purchasing a clear, waterproof case to protect your phone. Prices range from $95 to $185 per adult and I feel that they are well worth the price.
Luau: A luau is a must if you’re visiting Hawaii for the first time. It’s an authentic Hawaiian- Polynesian experience that I feel everyone should experience. Typically its an all you can eat/drink evening filled with hula dancing and fire shows. If you stay at one of the major resorts they will typically have a luau night there but you can always venture to another area to catch a show. Prices from $70-$100 depending where. You can check some Luaus in Kauai here.
Places to eat: As for restaurants, I felt like the ones near resorts all had a pretty normal menu which consisted of the typical American favorites like hamburgers, salads, steaks etc. but of course the seafood is Hawaii’s speciality so i definitely tried to enjoy as much seafood as I could and also try some authentic Hawaiian bbq as well. Here’s some great restaurants to visit on the island, Brennecke’s Beach Broiler, Duke’s Kauai, The Beach House ( which is right on the beach and even a popular spot for weddings) Plantations Gardens which by far had to be my favorite. The food and drinks were so delicious and the atmosphere was so picturesque. I enjoyed the grounds despite being there during a storm. I also tried some pretty delicious Hawaiian BBQ from L&L Hawaiian. It’s a chain fast food spot in Hawaii and ended up having this a few times in different areas of the island but it was by far the best in Hanalei.
Beaches: The island is obviously surrounded by beaches but there are a select number of beaches you are allowed to swim in. I visited Poipu (which was nearest my hotel) and it was extremely crowded with tons of kids running around. I loved Shipwreck’s Beach (this was less crowded and honestly a prettier beach in my opinion) and Hanalei Bay Beach which is in the north end of the island where it was every bit as picturesque as it was relaxing and serene. Here’s a full list of some popular beaches on the island.
Misc. Tips: The sun is REALLY strong even when it’s cloudy. Make sure you apply a ton of sunscreen and reapply often because you’ll most likely sweat it off thanks to the 100% humidity (typically in the summer months) I would recommend wearing a hat to protect your scalp and bring some bug spray too, I was covered in bug bites by the end of the trip! As for outfits, I shared my packing list here but I would recommend sticking to flowy dresses, maxi dress, rompers that are made of a light material. You will sweat due to the humidity so wearing light, breathable material is your best bet!
Hope these tips help plan your trip to Kauai!
That’s all for now!