trip to Kauai is definitely for relaxing. Our condo, Mauna
Kai # 8, is located in Princeville, on the North Shore of
Kauai. The island has a total area of approximately 549 sq.
miles - 33 miles long and 25 miles wide with 90 miles of coastline.
The current population is almost 51,000 residents and the
highest point is Kawaikiki Peak at 5,243 ft above sea level.
main airport where you will most likely arrive is in Lihue.
There is no where on the island that is "very far"
away. Below are some approximate driving times to certain
points on the island from the airport. (Note that the distances
aren't far, but the highest island speed limit is 45 mph)
Times from Lihue to:
Valley Lookout - 1 hour 40 minutes
/ Poipu - 30 minutes
- 45 minutes
Princeville / Hanalei - 60 minutes
Kokee - 90 minutes
Waimea Canyon - 75 minutes
times are conservative)
especially the North Shore is known for getting a lot of rain.
The wettest spot on earth, Mt. Waiale'ale, is about 10 miles
from (and many thousand feet higher than) the town of Princeville.
However, during the summer, the typical rain only lasts for
a few hours in the afternoon, and sometimes in will rain in
the middle of the night. It is a warm rain, and is not a nuisance
at all. The prevailing motto on Kauai is: "No rain, no
rainbows" (plus, it fills all of the waterfalls…….).
The rain clouds generally tend to hang over the mountains,
which are further inland, while they break up over the beaches,
providing for excellent beach weather. The tropical feel and
lush greenery of the North Shore, combined with breathtaking
views of cliffs, waterfalls, and picturesque beaches is unmatched
at any other point on the island.
being said, the island is quite small, and the South side
(which is about an hour drive from Princeville) sports a drier
(less rain, still humid) environment, where sunshine can almost
be guaranteed (don't quote us on this, though). The South
Side is where all of the major resorts, high end shops, and
touristy restaurants are. There are a lot of things to see
and do on the South Shore, and it is worth visiting.
you start at Princeville and head towards the South shore
(You can only go one way; the highway does not go all the
way around the island), you can reach the end of the highway
in about 1hour and 30 minutes. It is not a big island (527
square miles). It is also quiet. No buildings over three stories
high. Only 10% of the island is populated, with the rest being
either farmland or protected habitat. As we mentioned, earlier,
you will find various climate zones on this island, all the
way from tropical rain forest, to dry, arid, almost desert
sits in the time zone known as Hawaiian Standard Time (HST).
This is at GMT –10.
does NOT observe daylight savings time, so during the summer
months, you should subtract 3 hours from Pacific Time to
get the local Hawaiian time. In the winter months, subtract
only 2 hours from Pacific time to know Hawaiian local time.
The time and temperature on Kaua'i right now are:
to the island of Kaua’i
is the best way to get to the Garden Island of Kaua'i? Well,
if you are going from the mainland, you could swim....but
that would take too much time.
are a number of direct flights on United Airlines and American
Airlines. The three best airports to go from on the west
coast are San Francisco (SFO), Oakland (OAK), or Los Angeles
(LAX). However, the direct flights will be more expensive.
We have found that flight prices can vary, depending on
time of year, from around US$450 to US$1500 for the round
trip. Typically, US$600 – US$700 is the usual fare
for the direct flights for most of the year. During holiday
times (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s), it can
get pricey. If you find something under US$500 for a direct
flight, it is a good find, and you should take advantage
are no red eye flights going to the islands, but there are
a number of them on the way back from the islands back to
cheaper way to go is to fly to Honolulu or Maui, and then
take an island hopper on Aloha airlines or Hawaiian airlines.
There are various flights from the west coast of the United
States and other mainland locations on America Trans Air
(ATA), Hawaiian Airlines, Aloha Airlines, United and American.
With regards to the island hopper flights, there are a number
of them every day, and you should have no problem connecting
flights to the Kaua’I from the west coast take about
4 hours and 45 minutes. Coming back, it’s a little
longer of a flight because you are flying against the trade
to the other islands from Kaua’I / getting to Kaua’I
from the other islands
are two main airlines for interisland flights: Hawaiian
Airlines and Aloha Airlines. There are a number of smaller
airlines that fly between the islands, but the two mentioned
above are the biggest, and have the most varied schedule.
you are doing an interisland tour, you should check with
them to see about their interisland pass if you plan on
doing more than three flights. It may end up being cheaper
than buying the individual flight legs.
far as we know, there are no special requirements or restrictions
for travel to the Hawaiian islands. Hawaii is part of the
United States of America, so if you are coming in from a
foreign country, you will need to make sure that you have
the correct documentation to visit the USA. (Passport, visa
of now, there are no vaccinations required to travel to
are strict rules as to what agricultural products you can
carry to Hawaii from the mainland, and back to the mainland
going to the islands, you will be required to declare ANY
agrictultural items that you may be bringing with you. This
includes fresh fruit, plant and flower seeds, and any other
item deemed to be an agrictultural product. This is to protect
the very sensitive eco-system which exists on the islands.
Please respect these rules to preserve the Hawaiian flora
and fauna for all visitors.
the way back to the mainland, you will be asked the same
questions, again, to protect the flora and fauna on the
mainland. You may NOT even bring the leis that you may have
received. You can purchase leis, flowers, fruit, or other
agricultural items to bring back, but they have to be purchased
from certain locations. On Kaua’i, there is a shop
inside the airport in Lihue which sells pre-approved items
which the agricultural inspectors will allow. Also, there
are a few items availabe at Hilo Hattie’s that are
also pre-approved. If in doubt about buying something, call
your airline to check so that it doesn’t get confiscated
at the airport.
and Safety on the island
memorial hospital is located in Lihue at 3420 Kuhio Highway.
This is the main hospital on the island, and the only one
offering 24 hour emergency service.
you have an emergency, dial 911.
make an appointment at the hospital, call 808-245-1500
reach an on call physician after hours, please call 808-245-1831
are also 7 neighborhood clinics located throughout the island.
There are two clinics on or close to the North Shore: One
in Kilauea, and one in Kapa’a. They keep regular business
hours during the week.
1105 Kuhio Highway, Kapaa
Tel: (808) 822-3431
Kilauea & Oka Roads,Kilauea
Tel: (808) 828-1418
sure to check surf conditions in the local area before going
into the water. Surf on the North Shore in the winter months
can be dangerous.
when hiking, bring mosquito repellent. Due to the amount
of moisture on the island, mosquitoes thrive there, and
so it is good to have the repellent handy if you plan to
trek inland or on any of the trails.
in the water, aqua socks are recommended to protect your
feet from being cut up on the reef or lava rock. These can
be purchased at most drug stores and dive shops on the island.
Both coral reefs and lava rock can be quite sharp, and can
easily cut into human skin. If you do get a cut, be sure
to properly clean and dress the wound to avoid infection,
so that it will one day make for a good story, and not really
ruin your trip.
around on the island
you made it to the island. Now you just have to figure out
how to get around. The easiest thing to do is to rent one
of the thousands of rental cars available.
of the major car rental companies are on the island. Most
have pickup locations right at the airport, or require you
to take a short shuttle ride to their pickup site
far, the best rates that we have found are with National.
There is a Rent-a-Wreck on the island, but their hours are
limited, and may not be convenient for pickup and drop off.
Check the "Links" page for more info on rental
is only one major highway on the island. The max speed limit
is 45 MPH. During rush hour (7-9 a.m. and 4-6 p.m.) you
may run into some traffic in Kapa'a and Lihue. This is to
are a number of one lane bridges and sections of road on
the island. The etiquette is to allow 4-5 cars to pass,
and then allow the other direction to do the same. This
allows both directions to clear as quickly as possible.
remember that this is NOT the mainland, and things are a
little less hectic here, so please, drive with Aloha. (Plus,
you can enjoy the view)
Don Jones will take you on a fishing adventure that you
won't forget.You may reel in a 20 pound Ono, or maybe hook
a Marlin! Captain Don knows the local waters, and will make
sure that you have a great time! The boat leave from Nawiliwili
harbor, just south of the airport, which is about a 30-40
minute drive from the North Shore. Call him to schedule
your fishing adventure!
out the Captain's web site at: http://www.captaindonsfishing.com
are plenty of locations for surfing, snorkeling, scuba,
windsurfing, and all kinds other water related activities
on the island. However, it's always important to check in
with local shops to know the local water conditions, especially
in the summer months.
great places that can take care of your water activity needs
Surf Company (located in the old school house in downtown
Dive Shop in Kapa'a. (It is on the maka'i side of the highway
in Kapa'a. Look for the yellow submarine out front)
of our recommendations:
is some good diving off of Tunnel’s beach.
snorkeling is found in and around the lagoon at Ke’e
kids, Lydgate water park on the east side of the island
(just north of the airport) is a fantastic place to let
kids snorkel. It has a couple of areas which are partially
blocked off from the ocean, but still have enough access
to allow fish in so the kids have stuff to look at underwater.
and first time boogie boarders can catch some waves right
around the pier on Hanalei bay.
some slightly bigger waves, check out the beach on the Hanalei
bay near the pine trees.
again, we can’t stress enough the need to check the
surf conditions to make sure that it is safe to go in the
water as well as have the proper gear when in the water. The inner parts of the Hanalei Bay are generally
safe year around, because the waves break so far out. However,
places such as Ke’e beach can be treacherous in the
wintertime or during storms, so please, have fun, but be
is plenty of shopping to be had all over the island. On
the North Shore, you have to know where to look. Here are
a few gems that we have found, and think you might enjoy:
the Princeville shopping center, there is a beautiful art
gallery featuring the works of photograher Brad Dawber.
Make sure to duck into the gallery and check out the breathtaking
photos of some of the island's finest points.
great quality soaps and candles with a tropical flair, go
check out Island Soap and Candle in the Kong Lung shopping
center in the beautiful town of Kilauea. They make great
gifts and souvenirs! Say hi to our friend Heather if you
There is a link to their website on our "Links"
(They also have a store on the south shore in Koloa)
Kong Lung center does have a couple of other shops, and
is a great place to catch a breather on the way to or from
the Kilauea lighthouse.
the quaint town of Hanalei, there is plenty of shopping.
On the makai (ocean) side of the highway (it's really just
a two lane road...but hey, this is Kaua'i!) is the Ching
Young Village. Here, you can find everything from groceries
to jewelry, snorkeling equipment to film. Across the road
on the mauka (mountain) side of the highway, is the old
Hanalei School House, which now is home to some wonderful
shops and restaurants. Check out the Hanalei Surf Company,
for great clothes and surf gear for you and as gifts! There
are links for all of these from our "Links" page.
back the other way on the island, we leave the North Shore
and we find ourselves heading into Kapa'a on the east shore.
Kapa'a has a large number of shops, art galleries, and boutiques.
You'll even find one of Hawaii's "famous" ABC
stores here. There is a great outdoor market that occurs
on the north end of Kapa'a, on the mauka side, near the
Red Dirt T-shirt company store. This market is open every
Thursday through Saturday, and there are always different
treasures to be found.
going south on the highway, and you find yourself heading
towards Lihue (which is where the airport is). Now, here
is our biggest hint to you for shopping on Kaua'i....you
ready? Go to.........Wal Mart. I know, it sounds a little
strange, but we have found that for inexpensive souvenirs,
last minute vacation necesities, macadamia nuts, and other
"necessary" items for a fun vacation, you can't
beat the selection and the prices that Wal-Mart has. They
have an entire department dedicated to Hawaiiana, and you
can get beach towels, fridge magnets, wooden tikis, postcards,
and whatever else that you need to help you remember your
trip to Kaua'i. And yes, they have a wide selection of Aloha
you feel the need to get those high quality, silk aloha
shirts, or want to buy a really nice gift for someone special,
Hilo Hattie's is right there near the Wal Mart in Lihue.
Hilo Hattie's has a great selection, and great quality.
of the favorite gift items from Kaua'i is anything made
from the local Koa wood. This beautiful wood has amazing
vibrant colors, and is sturdy enough to make furniture with.
Various shops on the island carry Koa items, ranging from
sushi sets and desk accessories, to book cases and cigar
humidors. Due to the unique nature of each piece, you'll
have to decide for yourself which one you are taking home.
are a number of restaurants on the North Shore. The Hanalei
Gourmet in the Old Hanalei School shopping center is a nice
place to grab a bite.
a quaint little restaurant also in Hanalei offers a wide
selection, including various vegetarian options.
you're looking for burgers, look no further than Bubba's
Burgers in Hanalei. (There is also a Bubba's in Kapa'a).
They even have a taro burger for vegetarians.
something a little more fancy, you could always check out
the Bistro in the Kong Lung center in Kilauea. Nice, open
air dining, excellent selection of continental food, and
a nice quiet ambience make it an excellent stop for lunch
personal favorite of ours is a little further down the road
in Kapa'a. A little place nestled next to Java Kai called
Mermaids. They are a little mixed plate restaurant that
has fantastic portions and tasty selections for a very reasonable
(The forbidden island)
island of Ni'ihau (say "knee-ee-how") lies about
18 miles off of the south west corner of Kaua'i. It is the
oldest inhabited island island of the eight major Hawaiian
island is home to about 300 residents, and it is strictly
prohibited to set foot on this island without a direct invitation
from one of the local residents. The island is still privately
owned by descendents of the Robinson family. They have chosen
to allow the current residents to maintain a very traditional
Hawaiian way of life. The main language spoken on the island
is Hawaiian, and the residents lived as their Hawaiian anscestors
did, without electricity and modern conveniences.
are a few authorized tours to the island, but they must
be arranged in advance. There are no hotels on the island.
If you venture out to Ni'ihau on your own, rumor has it
that a very large Hawaiian man will greet you upon your
arrival, and then politely ask you to leave immediately.
So far, there has never been anyone who has told the story
of what happened if they didn't leave.
best guide information that we have found for Kaua'i is
a wonderful book called "The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook"
from Wizard Publications. This is a comprehensive guide
to information about all things related to Kauai.