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5 days in Kauai in early May-where to base our stay?

5 days in Kauai in early May-where to base our stay?

Old Mar 18th, 2023, 04:02 PM
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5 days in Kauai in early May-where to base our stay?

My wife and I are spending 5 days in Kauai in early May with aim to explore the island each day by car. We prefer exploring with short hikes, brief beach visits and perhaps a guided tour such as boat tour or kayaking, For lodging we'd like to stay in a moderate price condo or AirBnB away from touristed resort areas. Pool, resort amenities, access to fine dining or nightlife not needed. The North shore sounds great but is it too far away to serve as a base to explore the island? Should we be either dividing our time between two locations or staying on the east side for a more centrally located stay? Also, any advice for specific condo areas/stays or how to research/book stays would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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Old Mar 18th, 2023, 04:18 PM
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No matter where you stay you will be driving to see different parts of the island. I wouldn't switch lodgings with only five days. I live in Princeville on the North Shore, which I love. I would stay on the North Shore and figure you will do a long day-trip to Waimea Canyon and possibly one other day to see some South Shore And East side sites. Check out kayak tours of the Wailua River. By basing on the North Shore you'll have easy access to Hanalei Bay, Kalihiwai Beach, and Anini Beach, which are all within 15 minutes of Princeville and are fabulous for walking. The ocean will be calmer on the North Shore that time of year and the weather should be good. You should also visit the Kilauea Lighthouse (which requires a reservation) and do a day at Ke'e Beach which MUST be reserved 30 days in advance. A boat trip to the Napali Coast is incredible.



I think it will be very tough to find that unless you find something like an apartment attached to someone's home. Just be sure it's legal. Most people who come to the North Shore stay in Princeville. But the lodgings are mostly vacation rental condos and there will be tourists there.

With such short notice it might not be easy to find accommodations. Start by looking at these:

Sealodge, Paniola, Sandpiper, Alii Kai, Bali Hai. Prices will vary depending on the views. I am not including the more expensive condos.




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Old Mar 19th, 2023, 04:11 AM
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Driving to/from LIH and Princeville

Thanks! This is very helpful. We'll plan on staying all five days on the north shore. A couple of follow-up questions?

Princeville vs Hanalei?

Food shopping:
We arrive at LIH at 10:30am-would you suggest food shopping in the south on arrival or food shopping once we arrive at our north shore condo?

Departing flight:

We are departing LIH at 12:45pm-how far in advance should we leave the north shore to catch our flight? Is traffic a concern?

Thanks so much for your advice-it's greatly appreciated!
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Old Mar 19th, 2023, 10:53 AM
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<Princeville vs Hanalei?>

See what you can find. There are few (if any) condo rentals right in Hanalei. Mostly houses, but check. FYI, the Hanalei Colony Resort is quite remote. It is not actually in Hanalei, but is in Haena.

<We arrive at LIH at 10:30am-would you suggest food shopping in the south on arrival or food shopping once we arrive at our north shore condo?>

Some people stop at Costco and/or Walmart which are MUCH cheaper than the supermarkets, and are not too far from the airport. But for such a short stay, you might not want to do that. Some people stop at Safeway in Kapaa on their way to north, but you will find everything you need (including excellent prepared foods in the deli section) at Foodland in the Princeville shopping center. Be prepared for sticker shock! Everything has to be shipped in -- and you pay for that.

<We are departing LIH at 12:45pm-how far in advance should we leave the north shore to catch our flight? Is traffic a concern?>

​​​​​​​It could be if you are traveling on a weekday, and if there is an accident or road repair. Check your GPS that morning to see how much time it estimates.

​​​​​​​Good luck finding accommodations. I'm guessing you will have very limited choices with such short notice.
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Old Mar 19th, 2023, 11:28 AM
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North shore stay

Thank you so much. Your advice is greatly appreciated.
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Old Mar 25th, 2023, 12:15 PM
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6 night stay on North Shore

We are excited for our north shore visit and have booked an AirBnB in Hanalei. Our plan is to follow your advice and plan on one long day trip to Waimea Canyon State Park. As our flight from Kona arrives at 10:23a would it possible makes sense to pick up our rental car at LIH and drive to see Waimea Canyon allowing for a later day trip to visit closer east or south coast sights/activities?
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Old Mar 27th, 2023, 11:00 AM
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<As our flight from Kona arrives at 10:23a would it possible makes sense to pick up our rental car at LIH and drive to see Waimea Canyon allowing for a later day trip to visit closer east or south coast sights/activities?>

Yes. It will be a long day, but you will be much closer starting from the airport than from the North Shore.

If you are a coffee lover, stop at the Kauai Coffee Company/Plantation on the way, for tastings, a short self-guided tour, and IMO, the best gift shop on the island.

At Waimea Canyon, DO NOT MISS the Kalalau Lookout. If it is fogged over, give it 20 or 30 minutes for the fog to pass. It usually does. It's one of the most beautiful views on the planet!
​​​​​​


Kalalau Lookout

My favorite hike is called "The Canyon Trail." I believe it is rated "moderate." Most people go to the waterfall (which is not impressive, it's just the end of the trail). But the best views are if, instead of backtracking, you continue five minutes (or less) past the return to the main trail for the primo views...



Waimea Canyon

On your way to the canyon, close to the airport you will pass the turn-off for Wailua Falls. It's 4 miles from the main road -- and it is MAGICAL!!!

FYI, you need to reserve entry to Haena State Park/Ke'e Beach 30 days in advance. It will sell out instantly. You do not want to miss that. It's as far as you can go north--and it embodies the ultimate fantasy of Hawaii. It is also the trailhead to the Kalalau Trail. The trail is VERY demanding and strenuous. But it is worth going to the first view of the Napali Coast--about 1/2 mile. SPECTACULAR! That shouldn't take more than 30 minutes each way.

One other suggestion for now...
Visit Kalihiwai Beach--probably 20 minutes south of Hanalei--and not on a lot of tourists' radar--but it should be. WOW!

Enjoy!
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Old Mar 27th, 2023, 02:53 PM
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great advice for Kauai

Thank you so much for this information. I have a substantial fear of heights would I be comfortable doing the first 1/2 miles of the Kalalau Trail or the Canyon trail?
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Old Mar 28th, 2023, 11:34 AM
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Hmmm ...
both of these hikes have portions where you will have a sense of the height, but you would not be very close to the edge.
You could try them and turn back if it doesn't work for you.

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