Kauai 1st time - first few questions!

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Oct 16th, 2013, 03:30 PM
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Kauai 1st time - first few questions!

My husband and I are going to Kauai to celebrate a big anniversary (even though that big anniversary was 3 years ago)! !-) We are planning on going for two weeks. I am in the very preliminary stages of planning.

We want to spend a few days on Oahu before Kauai. I've been to Oahu, he's never been. He would like to see the major sights - Waikiki and Diamond Head, Pearl Harbor, etc. I wouldn't mind going back for a few days as it's been 30 years since I went there.

I'm thinking 3 days would be enough - a day to chill on Waikiki after a long day of traveling and a day or two for touring around town including Pearl Harbor.

Question #1 - if we will be spending the majority of our time on Kauai, will we (well, my husband really) be missing anything by NOT touring the entire island of Oahu including the north shore? I remember it rather vividly - it was beautiful - but I'm thinking we should just check out the sights around Honolulu before moving on. From what I'm reading, it seems nothing compares to the beauty of the north shore of Kauai.
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Oct 16th, 2013, 03:32 PM
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Well, there were three questions......I don't know what I did but I'll re-type them and return!
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Oct 16th, 2013, 03:37 PM
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Here goes...

Question #2 - Is September better than October if swimming and taking a ride on Captain Andy's boat to see the NaPali coast are important to us? I've read up on the winter waves and the beaches to avoid, and I never go too far out as I'm a chicken, but I do want to enjoy the beautiful water.

Question #3 - Hanalei vs. Princeville. Do I have this right.....Hanalei is beach and town, Princeville is views and drive to town. Hanalei - private rentals like VRBO, Princeville private condo rentals? I'm a bit on the fence, as Princeville is less expensive for the condo's, but we would have to drive to the beach? I think there's a question in there somewhere.

I'll have many more questions, I'm sure, but your responses to these first few questions will start me off. Thank you!!!
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Oct 16th, 2013, 03:40 PM
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My fingers are going faster than my brain.....

We will be spending part of our time on the north shore of Kauai, and the other part near Poipu, FWIW. I know it's not as lush or beautiful, but beach and pool are important to us. I am looking at the Sheraton on Poipu Beach.
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Oct 16th, 2013, 05:28 PM
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For Question 2, I think you'll be OK in September or October, though you'll have to check the beaches each day. I've snorkeled at Tunnels in October but we stayed in Poipu on South Shore and spent a lot of beach time there. Other posters will be able to weigh in on this as well.
I would advise going out on Capt. Andy's boat in the morning. We went one October afternoon and the waves were something out of "A Perfect Storm." I've been out in November and it was magical in the morning, the spinner dolphins following the boat. But that afternoon though in October, half the boat was heaving.
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Oct 16th, 2013, 06:21 PM
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Yikes - thanks for that information edjim. Morning it is.
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Oct 17th, 2013, 05:49 AM
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With two weeks, I would either spend more time in Oahu OR add a three or four night jump to Maui... Kauai is pretty, but unless you are crazy outdoors sports people, two weeks can be a lot on just Kauai... just my opinion
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Oct 17th, 2013, 06:46 AM
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Thanks, garyt. I do want to keep it to two islands, though. The two weeks includes travel days and a few days on Oahu, so it won't be entirely two weeks just on Kauai. We do want to spend a day going to Waimea, and we don't mind having several days of total relaxation on the beach/poolside in Poipu.
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Oct 17th, 2013, 09:42 AM
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I would take a day to drive Oahu's pretty east and north shores after you've 'done' Pearl and Punchbowl, Iolani Palace, maybe Bishop Museum. Go counter-clockwise to avoid rush hour traffic in Honolulu. You *can* do without a car in Honolulu by just taking The Bus and taxi's, but a car is nice for a short stay. Yes, you'll pay to park it, but...

We travel Chicago-Maui every winter; first day is pretty much of a blur as your internal clock readjusts. I look for one long nonstop flight on a widebody aircraft, with hops at the end. I avoid west coast connections and the 757's that fly those routes.

Earlier is better on timing -- September better for less rough oceans north on Kauai and mornings better for boat trips. Do you plan to split between Hanalei and Poipu? Most condos are better buys for at least a full week.
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Oct 17th, 2013, 10:00 AM
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ChiSue - yes, split between Hanalei and Poipu.

We will have a car on Kauai, but was hoping not to on Oahu. I was just wondering if it would be that much of a big miss not seeing the east and north shores of Oahu, given that we will be going to Kauai next.

My husband is getting to a point where he doesn't want to do a lot of driving on vacation. He picked Hawaii, and he knows we have to drive on Kauai to see everything. So if we could not bother with a car on Oahu that would be great.

I was there 30 or so years ago, and it was the worst jet lag I've ever had. I walked arouind like a zombie for a good 5-6 days. I hope it doesn't happen again.
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Oct 17th, 2013, 10:31 AM
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I've been in both September and October many times. Mid October tends to be when the North Shore starts to transition to rougher waters getting into winter season so if you go in October try to go early October. I like a pool so I would pick Princeville. There are a couple of beaches you have to walk down to like Hideaways. Hanalei Bay Resort is nice, met a lady who owns a condo there. It is only about a 10-12 minute drive to Hanalei where the better restaurants are although there are a few in the Princeville shopping center.
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Oct 17th, 2013, 05:47 PM
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Thanks, jamie99. If we decide to stay in Princeville then Hanalei Bay Resort is the choice. From what I've read it has killer views, a pool, and shares a beach with the St. Regis hotel (I think). But I still like the idea of staying right on Hanalei Bay. I'll do so more poking around in both places before I decide.
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Oct 18th, 2013, 10:30 AM
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Yes, Hanalei Bay Resort shares the beach with St. Regis and if you are too tired to walk back up, there is a phone to call the front desk and they will come pick you up with a golf cart. It actually has two pools I believe. HBR is building the bar and restaurant right now and they should be open next spring, May at the latest, so there is one more food option for you. I went to the old Happy Talk Lounge four years ago to meet up with some folks, the views were killer. If you decide to stay there, rent from an owner or an agency and not with the hotel for a better room is what I read.
Hanalei would also be a good choice.
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Oct 18th, 2013, 01:58 PM
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My wife and I did Oahu and Kauai like you are planning and loved it. After a week of going go-go-go on Oahu we sort of hit a wall and just wanted to relax. Kauai is a perfect place for to do that. I actually like it better than Oahu.

The Beaches are not so crowded and environment is easy going. There is still plenty to do. Don't miss the Sleepy Giant Trail. We took a boat ride up the river to a rain forest trail head. Amazing flowers and beauty under an umbrella of tall trees. We saw creatures there that we never knew existed.

Wailua Falls and Waimea Canyon are each worth an afternoon trip. We stayed in one location and drove. That worked fine.

Happy Belated Anniversary.
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Oct 19th, 2013, 05:32 AM
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PapaGeno - thank you for that information. What kind of "creatures" are you referring to? I tend to appreciate wildlife from a distance, if you know what I mean!
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Oct 19th, 2013, 05:55 AM
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I would go in September. The weather will be better and as has been said the water conditions on the north shore may be more conducive to swimming and other water activities.

I am partial to staying in Hanalei. To me, it is the quintessential beach town and I am not crazy about condos. I'd rather rent a home with a yard. We spend two weeks in Hanalei at a time and love every second of it. It becomes "home" and we've never had a problem finding things to do...actually we like doing a lot of nothing.

I am also one who does not find it necessary to split one's time on Kaua'i between the north and south or east. One can see plenty of the island when based on the north shore. The day trips to other parts of the island can be consolidated to maximize one's time.
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Oct 19th, 2013, 09:52 AM
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We saw the Axis Deer and the Black Hawaiian Goat from a distance. It was an easy hike and no dangerous situations.
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Oct 19th, 2013, 10:07 AM
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Hi BuffaloGirl, my wife and I recently visited Hawaii - we did three islands in two weeks! but I would not recommend it! As for Oahu - my wife, like you, had been about 30 years ago - she said that it had changed in that it is now terribly populated and "over crowded" and like your husband, I had never been. We stayed in Ko Olina when there - and were there three days - it was plenty of time to see the sights. And, if you are staying in Waikiki or Honolulu, you should have lots of time...

On Kauai - we were there about a week - maybe six days - and, I can tell you, for us, it was not enough! We found that the North Shore was almost always cloudy and some rainy but with sun almost every day! A friend who lives there told us that they get three seasons almost every day - summer, fall, and spring... We loved the south short around Poipu and did a lot of touring and activities (motorized hang gliding, coffee plantation, and lots of dining options!)...

As for Hanalei or Princeville, we preferred Hanalei - just because it is right on the beach - not a lot of "staying" options, but still in the middle of the beach area.

Hope this helps!
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Oct 19th, 2013, 05:34 PM
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Wekewoody, PapaGeno, and Perigrinator - your posts are most helpful. Thank you. Hanalei speaks to me more than Princeville in all honesty! But it's nice to know I have choices.

Wekewoody - splitting our time is OK. I'm feeling it's what we need to do, as my husband doesn't like to drive all the time on vacation. We know there will be a lot of driving in general, but I think splitting things up will be the right thing.

PapaGeno - phew...glad to hear they weren't of the creepy-crawly sort!

Thanks, all....this really does help with the decision making!
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Oct 20th, 2013, 05:21 AM
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I love Kauai more than Oahu, but squeezing in a drive to the north shore might be worth it, mostly because if you are almost there, why not? Plus, since it's the beginning of your trip, you can relax after on Kauai all you want We were on Oahu for a week and rented a car for just one day -- drove around the whole island and saw a lot in that one day. So, I'd vote yes, hit the north shore on Oahu.

As for Kauai, it is so gorgeous! I would split my time between north and south shore, especially if you don't want to drive all the time. I like Hanalei because it is so quaint. We stayed in Poipu at the Grand Hyatt and it was fantastic, but the beach there is not swimable. The Sheraton is nice.

Must-Do's: Ke'e Beach, Kalalua Trail, and a Na Pali coast boat trip.

Have fun! Happy anniversary!
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