Kauai for the 1st time: North or South Shore?

Old Jul 6th, 2010, 03:45 AM
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Kauai for the 1st time: North or South Shore?

Good morning,

We are planning a trip to Kauai in October. We've been to Maui twice and love it. But instead of returning there, we'd like to explore a new island. Kauai seemed to fit the bill. We are a couple (me, mid-40s; he, mid-50s) and we'll be celebrating our birthdays (one day apart!). We have 9 nights. Arrive 10-13, depart on the red-eye on 10-22.

I thought I'd settled on the South Shore because it's been described as sunnier, drier. But after being offered some alternative condo options on the North Shore, I'm not so sure. The North Shore seems so scenic.

That's were I thought you guys might be able to help. We love to snorkel and we like good food. Nightlife not important. We would love to explore quirky shops and would like to have access to good markets. Will we have enough options to fill 10 days on Kauai? Where would you stay? North or South?
sofee is offline  
Old Jul 6th, 2010, 06:13 AM
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You seem to have a good understanding of Kauai. The north is far prettier and has the best snorkeling. It is also wetter. And, when the northwestern winter pattern comes, your days in the water (north shore) are greatly limited. The residents say it can come anytime in Oct. or November. There is no way to predict.

I am glad that nighlife is not important becuase there is little on Kauai.

One solution is to do five on the north and four on the south (poipu) and get to know the island really well without commuting.

wbpiii is offline  
Old Jul 6th, 2010, 06:18 AM
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The north shore is my preference anytime of year regardless of the dreaded rain that create the beautiful waterfalls and magical rainbows. In October, your swimming and snorkeling options on the north shore might be limited to fewer locations by the surf, which might start to kick up then, but one never knnows. Hanalei is where we stay on the north, due to easy access to eats, drinks and shopping, but there are no condo options there, only rental homes. Quirky town it is. Ten days would be a good amount of time.
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Old Jul 6th, 2010, 01:39 PM
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My husband & I went to Kauai May 5-12, 2007. We stayed 4 nights in Princeville, which is the North Shore, at the Sealodge Condos. We stayed in the D7 unit. The Sealodge is situated on a bluff so you are looking out at the ocean. It was absolutely beautiful and we loved the North Shore! It did not rain on the North Shore during our trip at the beginning of May. We felt "secluded" on the North Shore, in a good way, as opposed to the "busier" South Shore.

Here are a few websites for the Sealodge:

After staying on the North Shore, we then moved to the South Shore for 3 nights. We stayed in Poipu at the Kuhio Shores in unit 213. Not ON the beach but right on the ocean!
Here is the website: http://www.kuhio-shores.com/

Also here is a link to a map of Kauai so you can get an idea of the North/South Shore and other areas of interest.

Another tip: If you haven't already, I recommend buying this book: http://www.amazon.com/Ultimate-Kauai...d_bxgy_b_img_b
The Ultimate Kauai book is an absolute must! It has everything you could possibly want to know about the island. One of my favorite insider information in the book was the directions on how to get to Secret Beach. This beach is unbelievably beautiful and can be seen from the Kilauea Lighthouse. It is a 15 minute hike to get to the beach and my husband & I wouldn't have known about if it weren't for this book! That is just one tip and there is so much information in these books!

I absolutely love Kauai and my husband & I are going back this September! We are already counting the days! If you ever get back to Kauai for a longer stay, check out this condo:
http://www.hestara.com/c8.htm This is where we are staying this September. This Sealodge condo is very popular and books up really quickly!

I check this board very frequently so if you have any other questions just reply back on this post and I will get back to you. I love helping people with information about Kauai!
louistraveler5 is offline  
Old Jul 6th, 2010, 02:03 PM
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Another vote for splitting the visit. Its only about an hour and a half drive, which isn't bad, but wouldn't want to have to do it numerous times staying in one spot. We've stayed a couple times at Makahuena on the South Shore (can walk to Hyatt and Poipu Beach). http://www.kauaicondos.org/?makahuena_1-502

Then we love Pali Ke Kua on the North Shore. The last time, we stayed in this unit, http://www.800hawaii.com/palikekua221/. Fabulous.
cruisin_tigger is offline  
Old Jul 6th, 2010, 02:59 PM
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If you consider the North Shore, at least for part of your time there, would recommend you consider this property. The views from the lanai were astounding.

rncheryl is offline  
Old Jul 6th, 2010, 03:47 PM
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I keep trying to plan a return trip to the south shore, but never seem to get around to it. North shore is in my blood so I can't give you an unbiased opinion. Although staying in Princeville and rolling down the hill daily to Hanalei and beyond doesn't suck either.
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Old Jul 6th, 2010, 04:30 PM
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I would split it up with 5 days in the North Shore and 5 days in Poipu area.
I don't know your budget but the St. Regis and Grand Hyatt for high end and a home in Hanalei and condo in Poipu.
Kauai is a lovely island with lots of aloha spirit!
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Old Jul 7th, 2010, 06:32 PM
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Hi again! Thanks for all the suggestions. We had to alter our travel dates slightly (what a difference a day can make with FF miles!). The cool thing is we got 2 first class tickets from Boston using 130,000 FF miles! The bad news is we have to come home one day early. But, we're taking the red eye, so it's really still having 8 full days.

Since we have less time, I'd rather not split it up. It looks like we've settled on the North Shore. We're down to 2 condo choices, both in the Puu Poa complex. Any experiences? About to do a search as well.

Thanks again...if anyone has any other suggestions, maybe a couple of nice restaurants for our celebrations, good fish markets, other more casual eats?

sofee is offline  
Old Jul 7th, 2010, 07:44 PM
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Kauai is pretty small, so you can visit all shores in 8 days. I like to stay on the south (reliable sun) and day trip north, but the other way works too! You will love that little, sweet spot in the Pacific - it is our fav island. Mahalo!
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Old Jul 7th, 2010, 07:57 PM
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you can get nice fresh seafood at the fish market at the Dolphin restaurant in Hanalei. They make great poke!

We thought the nicest restaurant on the north shore was Bar Acuda, also in Hanalei. That would make a nice spot for your celebration.
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Old Jul 8th, 2010, 09:00 AM
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We just stayed one week in this unit at Pu'u Poa.


It's my second time staying in Pu'u Poa. The first stay was at www.kauaidreamer.com. I much prefer the location of Unit 311 (referenced in first link), as it is on the side of the cmoplex which has a great view of Bali Hai. However, both units were really fantastic - super clean, great furnishings, etc. No a/c in either, but we were fine. The only complaint about 311 is that the grill is about to fall apart (the wheels are pretty much rusted), but it still worked fine.

We loved picking up fresh ono from the Hanalei Dolphin Fish Market and making grilled fish tacos at our complex. I also really enjoyed the (somewhat steep) hike down to Hideaways beach for some great snorkeling.

If you're a fitness buff, you can buy either a daily or weekly membership to the Prince Golf Course Clubhouse. They have a great gym and really good classes.
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Old Jul 8th, 2010, 09:32 AM
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We stayed on the North Shore for a special birthday and it was absolutely beautiful. Like you, I went back and forth for a bit on my decision -- the lush beauty of the North won me over. We happened to get lucky with the weather as well.

We stayed at the Princeville Resort, and I will highly recommend spending at least some cocktail/sunset time there, in the room (I think they called it the living room) with the floor-to-ceiling window views of the water and the sunset.

The helicopter ride, though expensive, is worth doing.

We also got lucky with FF miles and were able to fly first-class -- what a magical trip you will have!
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Old Jul 8th, 2010, 09:35 AM
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Hanalei is super super small and there aren't a lot of choices.
Hanalei Dolphin is good and head up to the St. Regis for a drinks and app's.
Heard great things about Bar Acuda.
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Old Jul 8th, 2010, 09:49 AM
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We've never wanted for options to eat and be entertained in Hanalei, but that's just us. Tahiti Nui on a swingig night with good local musicians is a blast. It is the anti-St. Regis/Princeville, which suits us just fine. Our fave place to eat in Hanalei in Postcards. Yes, the service can be spotty on some days and great on others. The daily fish specials are mostly excellent. Great plate lunch at Village Snack Shop. Great pizza a Pizza Hanalei. Mediocre food, but fun times at Hanalei Gourmet. There's Neide's, which is not a favorite, but many on this board like it. Indeed Bar Acuda is great. We've eaten there four times and loved it each time.
And then there is the pier, which is he ultimate Kauaian hangout. It is an icon.
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Old Jul 8th, 2010, 10:13 AM
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After all these years, I have yet to make it to Postcards or Neide's or Pizza Hanalei. I do know that on my last trip, even though I stayed next to the St Regis and thought we would have a few nights there for dinner and drinks and pupus, we walked in , toured the rebranded property and headed down to life in Hanalei. I do miss the old Livingroom!

So instead of spending money at the new space with the same views we joined picnicers on the grass adjacent to the ST Regis and shared picnic pupus which is almost as lovely as pupus and red plactic cups at the pier, sharing with locals.
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Old Jul 8th, 2010, 10:14 AM
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Louis: got the blue book! I found the Maui versions very helpful on our previous trips!

china_cat: thanks for the seafood tips... I LOVE poke!

beanweb: we're renting #302. The views looks similar to your #311. Is the access to Hideaways via stairs? Or...are you sliding down a steep mud trail hanging on to tree branches and bushes all the way down??

I looked into the helicopter rides and I think it is a MUST do. Looking @ Jack Harter & taking a Hughes with no door. I thought the prices were reasonable...was expecting at least $100 more.

iamq: The Tahiti Nui sounds like our speed!! Checked their website...my DH's favorite kind of hang out! The pier recommendation is much appreciated...they don't mind tourists crashing their party??

I'm excited about the food choices!!!!
sofee is offline  
Old Jul 8th, 2010, 10:15 AM
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soffee, we stayed at Pu'u Poa 413, and managed a nicely reduced rate with Amy Grant. Loved the property so much!
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Old Jul 8th, 2010, 10:28 AM
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btw - the daughter of the owner of the Nui opened a wine bar next door that had interesting tapas. also the sushi staff left SushiBlues/Bouchon and are now flexing their sushi muscles at Dolphin elevating the old Dolphin to new heights! imho
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Old Jul 8th, 2010, 10:37 AM
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Froderick...we love sushi!!! Sansei on Maui is one of our favorite places...thanks for the tip on Dolphin.
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