1st time to Kauai! Will not be the last!

Old May 15th, 2013, 10:34 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 245
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
1st time to Kauai! Will not be the last!

Recently back from a wonderful first trip to Kauai!

Honestly, we loved everything about this island. It was gorgeous, green, fresh, happy, and warm (temp and people!). I'm not a big "trip report" writer, but I like to throw out a few odds and ends that I think might help someone in the future since so many here help me.

Note: mid-30's married couple, been to Oahu and Maui previously, love the Caribbean, and were drawn to Kauai for it's beauty.

Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa:
Awesome, awesome, awesome. Honestly can't think of one negative thing to say (except their wi-fi is very spotty, but hey - who needs the Internet on vacation?!). Our room was wonderful, the grounds were gorgeous, service was top-notch, and the pools were out of this world! Yes, the food is expensive, but we found that even small, off-site locations had the ability to rack up a hefty total, so nothing too surprising. I highly recommend this place!

Dondero's: beautiful setting and good food and service. Very romantic. I actually thought this place was even more romantic that Tidepools.
Tidepools: romantic in a wonderful setting - very pleasantly surprised that even though it was in the heart of a busy resort that we didn't see a single person walk-by, it was that well hidden and secluded. The food was amazing.
The Beach House: great location, although the lawn out front is clearly public because we saw surfers run by as well as families just hanging out right in front of us. We weren't overly impressed with the food, but it wasn't bad. Very good service.
Tahiti Nui: horrible service (slow and rude) and there was nothing special about the food.
Kountry Kitchen: the first day the wait was 40+ minutes, so we ate next door. The next day we went earlier and got in right away. Not sure what makes this place so special... We both enjoyed our breakfast and our server was nice, but it seemed just normal and ordinary, nothing to wait 40+ minutes for; glad we didn't wait.
Art Cafe Hemingway: really liked this place, great food (very fresh and original). Service was okay.

Liko Cruises: Loved this tour of the Na Pali Coast! We were very pleased with the route that the captain took us on. He really appeared to care that we saw as much as we could see. We saw whales, dolphins, and a sea turtle The snorkeling was just okay, but I found most of the snorkeling on Kauai to be just okay. The food (deli sandwiches, fruit, chips, and a cookie) was actually really good and filling. The crew was great. The only downfall was that they didn't have any microphones, so unless you were by one of the three crew members you missed much of the narration. Which was unfortunate because they had some good stories, from what I did here. The plus side of that is that they were really conversational and you could ask them anything.

Kalalau Trail: we only hiked about a mile in before we realized it was too muddy for us. It was strenuous through the first 1/2 mile, but the views were amazing. Take your time and wear good shoes (of course we saw people in flip flops and even some people who were barefoot, but I don't think that's a good idea) and bring water. Take your time. We'll be better prepared next time and plan to go the first 4 miles to the waterfall.

Things to note:
It really is very casual there. I wished I'd believed that and brought 1/2 of the clothes I did I brought beach clothes, daytime casual, and evening "dressier" clothes. Next time: just shorts and swimsuits!
The sun is intense! I wore 85 SPF and still burned. Apply liberally and often.
The drive from the south to the north does really take as long as they say it does.... We planed too many days to drive north, should have condensed more activities in the north into less days and spent less time on the road. Although we did see a lot of cool sites along the way.
Snorkeling wasn't that great. The water was beautiful, but I didn't find great visibility, nor did I see anything that fantastic. The water was also really wavy.

We truly did fall in love with Kauai. We liked it more than Oahu and Maui (for whatever that's worth since we also liked both of those islands, too) and plan to go back as close to the near future as we can get

Sorry this report isn't as good as most, but feel free to ask any questions.
pijeta is offline  
Old May 15th, 2013, 12:13 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 26,190
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
>>

Add a coverup, and you're dressed for dinner LOL. (We live on the West Coast and have been to Hawaii many times. We learned this years ago, and haven't deviated. Nothing fancier than capris and a top for me, a Hawaiian shirt for my husband).
sf7307 is online now  
Old May 15th, 2013, 12:56 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 465
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thank you for the recs! Would love to go back to Kauai one day!

I too learned my lesson when I overpacked for our first trip to Maui...and now after a couple of trips and by discovering condos that have a washer/dryer, I can probably bring half a carry-on and still be ok. I tend to do a lot of shopping on vacation though, so I always bring an empty duffle with me

I too love how Hawaii is so casual and so does my husband. He did not think it was fun to have to wear slacks and proper shoes in restaurants at some of the carribean islands we've been too. He thinks vacation should be filled with shorts and flip flops only. LOL.
tifa2276 is offline  
Old May 15th, 2013, 04:05 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 757
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Appreciate the report. I really liked the tip about kalalau trail!
SiteC_er is offline  
Old May 15th, 2013, 05:18 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 2,791
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
So glad you fell in love with my favorite place. I'm in Australia at the moment and seeing some beautiful beaches--but I'd rather be at Hanalei Bay, Ke'e, or Tunnels.

I'll bet you did not order the pancakes at Kountry Kitchen .

FYI, I go for 6 weeks at a time -- with nothing but carry-on. No need for fancy clothes in Kauai.
Songdoc is offline  
Old May 15th, 2013, 06:34 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 2,076
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I am drooling as I so want to get back to Kauai. It is such a great place. So glad you loved it. we have been there 11 times and still I fall in love all over again as we land and head to our favorite burger place when we get off the plane. I agree about the snorkeling. it is nice but not the best, still we do it cause we love the water even if it is a bit colder than carribean and french Polynesia. If you didn't do Tubing try it on your next visit It is a blast. It is our place to unwind, take long walks, read, and sit and watch the waves. Ahh I thinnk I will put on some Hawaiian music to soothe my soul.....
Shar is offline  
Old May 16th, 2013, 11:17 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 68
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
good for you guys, love your dialogue! memories from direct experiences....adventure packed or slow motion savor, looks like you mixed it up, found some amazing places unique to Kauai. Its always so insightful to hear what guests think and feel once back home. just spend 8 days with 4 guests from Darwin Australia, found a cute cottage and showcasing the visitor favorites and hidden treasures...never tire of Na Pali, Hanakapi'ai beach, Waimea canyon trails, Polihale, Hanalei eateries...no itinerary, just flow.
kauaistyle is offline  
Old May 16th, 2013, 01:13 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 3,931
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Kauaistyle, I appreciate that you are interested in travelers observations. Here's mine: we have been fortunate to travel to some wonderful places and enjoyed each and every one. But the only one I yearn to revisit (at least now) is Kauai and the beautiful north shore.
rncheryl is offline  
Old May 17th, 2013, 07:47 PM
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 245
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks for the comments.

I am so jealous of all of you who get to return over and over again to Kauai. We've decided if we win the lottery our first task will be to buy a house on Kauai

Shar -- thanks for the tip on tubing. We did debate tubing, zip lining, a helicopter tour, and other various organized tours, however we just stuck to a few basics and added in a lot of self-guided tours. Plus, relaxation; I read four books on vacation. Ahhhh......

Songdoc -- I want to be you! How very wonderful to travel so much. Enjoy! And you are right, I didn't get the pancakes... Shoot, next time!
pijeta is offline  
Old May 18th, 2013, 05:15 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 1,128
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
When we went to Hawaii this was the one island that took my breath away. I would love to return one. it is like a true paradise. LOVE IT!! We did a helicopter ride it was so gorgeous and totally an unforgettable experience. I am so glad you had such a nice time.
diann24 is offline  
Old May 22nd, 2013, 06:05 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 490
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
On Tahiti Nui, I think it is great. I would not drive up there from the South Shore for dinner, but, staying in Hanalei, I love going there. The pizza is really, really good. The ribs have almost a jerk like taste to them that I like. The chicken is also very good. Not a big menu, but some good selections.

I would not go there if I wanted fast service. When we go, it is more to listen to the music and drink a few beers. If we eat, we eat, but we are mainly there for the activity. As my wife puts it, it is more of a bar with food than anything else.
DanM is offline  
Old May 25th, 2013, 12:04 PM
  #12  
Kal
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 10,489
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts


BTW...We don't go anywhere on Kauai expecting fast service.
We learned our lesson yearrrrrs ago.
Kal is offline  
Old May 25th, 2013, 02:14 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 3,088
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Nice report, thanks so much.
Where is Art Cafe Hemingway? Have not heard of that place before.
Loved Tidepools the few times we went.
Na Pali boat cruises are always fun, but the snorkeling is not the highlight. Snorkeling in Kauai is not the best, but have still seen lots of fish, and a turtle off of Tunnels one time.
Liko gets good reviews, was supposed to go with them once but got a head cold. Do they have plenty of shade?
jamie99 is offline  
Old May 30th, 2013, 12:29 PM
  #14  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 245
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Jamie99 --
The Art Cafe Hemingway is right next door to Kountry Kitchen in Kapaa:
http://www.artcafehemingway.com/
Likos does have shade, but only on the back portion of the boat. I wanted shade as well and made sure to get on first so I could pick my spot. I'm not sure if they have other boats that offer different shade options.

We saw a turtle off Tunnels as well
pijeta is offline  
Old May 30th, 2013, 12:56 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,111
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Glad to see another Kauai lover.

>

We always book a stay on the North and South shore. Don't waste time driving back and forth.

And if you love dogs, plan on stopping at the Kauai Humane Society. They have a program where you can babysit a pup for a day - take to the beach, long walk or whatever. We did that, and ended up adopting our baby and taking her home to Chicago. Check out my profile pic - Kai is on the right.
cruisin_tigger is offline  
Old May 30th, 2013, 06:00 PM
  #16  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 245
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
cruisin_tigger -- Adorable dog (both are), congrats!
pijeta is offline  
Old May 31st, 2013, 12:38 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 3,088
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks for the info on Art Cafe (computer was down, so have not been online for two days).
jamie99 is offline  
Old Jun 9th, 2013, 03:47 PM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 7
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi everyone... New to the forum but really enjoy reading about Hawaii, especially Kauai which will be visiting soon and I am thinking about the Princeville ranch adventure tour they have a zip and dip tour has anyone done it or could give me suggestions??? Pinjeta so glad to hear you enjoyed your trip. I am so excited and took down the info you gave about Dondero's and Art Cafe.
Porota01 is offline  
Old Jun 15th, 2013, 03:01 PM
  #19  
Kal
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 10,489
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
TTT for Porota01.

I'm about 20 lbs away from the zip line tour.
They told me to try the Powerline hike for the ZAPline tour.
Kal is offline  
Old Jun 15th, 2013, 04:29 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 1,307
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
"We always book a stay on the North and South shore. Don't waste time driving back and forth."

Or you could do what we do. Never go any further than the Hanalei Dolphin in one direction and Waipa Farms in the other.
wekewoody is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 05:20 PM.