Kauai questions

Mar 7th, 2013, 12:51 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 243
Kauai questions


I'm just starting the preliminary research for our upcoming trip to Kauai. I will probably be back with more questions, but I have a few on my mind right now.

Note: we (my husband and I) are going the end of April / beginning of May and are staying on the south side of Kauai.

- Can anyone suggest some great beach-side beach-bars / restaurants? They do not need to be fancy, just looking for great views and a fun vibe.

- What's the best Na Pali boat tour? I read departing from the north coast is best, correct? Snorkel trip or sunset dinner cruise?

- Speaking of, how is the snorkeling? Best locations?

- Tidepools or Dondero's for a romantic, tasty dinner?

- Where is the best spot to watch the sunrise? And the sunset?

I'm still compiling my information, like I said I'll be back, but if anyone has any other comments, advice, or must-do's, that'd be great!

pijeta is offline  
Mar 7th, 2013, 05:20 PM
Join Date: Apr 2011
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For Na Pali, I would advise taking a morning trip. In the afternoon it can get pretty choppy. I've done both and the morning cruise was magical. The afternoon one was cold and a whole lot of people got seasick.
edjim is offline  
Mar 7th, 2013, 05:25 PM
Join Date: May 2012
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Full disclosure; we've never stayed south (unless you consider Lihue south), and have only been on Kaua'i in May - September. Knowing that, you might discount my advice, but at least I topped your thread!

I love the vibe at Duke's Barefoot Bar, near the Marriott on Kalapaki Beach in Lihue. I don't know of any beach-side bars in the Poipu area. When you're north, have a drink at Tahiti Nui in Hanalei, the bar where one of the scenes from The Descendants was filmed. Except that it's typically filled with tourists, it's a great locals' kind of place.

We've taken a couple Na Pali coast tours, both from the north. If you're staying south, I wouldn't make the effort for a north shore departure, especially with ocean conditions at that time of year. They'll be about the same regardless of where you sail from. Snorkel or sunset cruise? Snorkeling isn't great in any case, but you'll have calmer seas in the morning. On the other hand, lighting is better for Na Pali coast photographs in late afternoon. You choose!

Kaua'i is the oldest of the islands, which means reefs are also aging. So snorkeling is comparatively better on any of Oahu, Maui, or the Big Island. That said, my Kaua'i snorkel guide lists Salt Pond, the Beach House beach, Koloa Landing, Ahukini Landing, and Lydgate Beach Park as the best rated snorkeling sites along the south coast. If you happen to be north when seas are calm, head to Tunnels or Ke'e, whichever you can find a place to park.

The nicest restaurant I've been to south is the Beach House. And that was long enough ago to render any comment I might have as irrelevant. If there's a next opportunity, I'll consider Red Salt at the Koa Kea. Friends had dinner there last year and thought it was great.

Best place for a sunrise or sunset? If it's beach/oceanfront, your lanai. Drinks are cheaper there, too.

In my opinion, the one must-do on Kaua'i is a helicopter tour. If photography is a hobby, and you're adventurous sorts, take one with doors off.

Happy planning!
22tango is offline  
Mar 7th, 2013, 08:52 PM
Join Date: Apr 2012
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The Descendants and poor management choices have had ill effect on the Nui. Don't go there because you saw George Clooney, or you'll just be one of those people that went there because of George Clooney, and I don't think he'd want that.
Lookin_Glass is offline  
Mar 8th, 2013, 05:13 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
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We were at the Tahiti Nui last month and really enjoyed it. There were very few people (it was about 2:30). The service was excellent. Our server was very friendly and she went out of her way to make us feel welcome. The mai-tais were delicious and the cheesebugers were some of the best we've had. They were 100% better than the slop at Bubba Burgers.

The Beach House is very expensive but good. You can't beat the views and the service was good and we really enjoyed our dinner. I have heard the Red Salt is excellent.

There is Brenneke's in Poipu for a good oceanview. It's overpriced, but it was ok. The Bull Shed in Kapaa is also good. We had a very nice lobster dinner there. It's not fancy, but the food was good and the oceanview was nice. Merrimen's in Poiou is also very nice for dinner or lunch.
welovemexico is offline  
Mar 8th, 2013, 07:33 AM
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www.liko-kauai.com - excellent Napali coast boat trip
bigtyke is offline  
Mar 8th, 2013, 07:40 AM
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In late April - are the boats running from the North Shore? We liked Andy's? - a trimarin out of Port Allen on the south side.

And there is good snorkeling on Kaui - with Ke'e and Lydgate being two of my/our favorites, both with lifeguards.

Usually - the morning is the best time for calmer water/best visibility.
Tomsd is offline  
Mar 8th, 2013, 08:09 AM
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Also in Poipu, but no view, Josselin's is very good. It's in the same complex as Merriman's.
sf7307 is offline  
Mar 8th, 2013, 11:28 AM
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Not a whole lot of restaurants or bars on Kauai with beach or ocean views. I like Duke's at the Marriott (they have Taco Tuesdays with fish tacos for about $3 each at the downstairs Barefoot Bar. The upstairs restaurant is only open for dinner and has a fantastic salad bar. Both the fish and steaks are good there.

Not sure if the boats will be starting up out of the North Shore, usually they start in May. But I would go out of the West Shore. Na Pali Catamaran for example wants you to check in at 7 or 7:30am, and that drive takes 1.5 hours from Poipu. Try Captain Andy's or Holo Holo. Liko also has a good rep.

Best snorkeling on Kauai is from shore, try Lawai Beach next to Beach House restaurant. Also Poipu State Beach Park is good, Lyydgate not so good since the County dredged the pond last year, the water circulation is poor. Tunnels is good if the seas are calm up north.

Tidepools is pretty good, have not eaten at Donderos. If you want good Italian (but no view) in the Poipu area check into Casa d'Amici, does not get talked about too much for some reason but their food was great whenever we ate there.
jamie99 is offline  
Mar 8th, 2013, 11:49 AM
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I like Casa D'Amici. We had a couple of unusual dishes there, and enjoyed it a lot. Very old fashioned, nothing trendy about it!
sf7307 is offline  
Mar 8th, 2013, 01:07 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Brennecke's at Poipu Beach is good for open air dining - but food is so-so and so is service. But if you want to kick back w/a drink and enjoy the view, can't be beat.

We also used to like Koloa Landing to snorkel, but when we were there in Sept., it was terribly murky and rough. A local had posted on another travel board that it is prone to nasty runoff. If I had known that before I went, I doubt I would have snorkeled. Although there were quite a few divers.

And if I may add, if you love dogs, stop by the Kauai Humane Society. You can babysit a pup for the day. I'm sure you'll get lots of lovin' and the pup gets a day to play. We did that and ended up bringing home to Chicago a new four-legged family member.
cruisin_tigger is offline  
Mar 9th, 2013, 11:26 AM
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I love that you brought home a dog! I'd love to have a dog for a day in Kauai. I didn't see anything about it on the website. I thought I heard something about it requiring a training or orientation. Do you know if that's true?
Songdoc is offline  
Mar 10th, 2013, 12:05 PM
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Songdoc, I am not sure, but someone posted about this over on TripAdvisor (about the Kauai Humane Society and their pet program), maybe go into the Kauai forums and do a search? It got lots of comments from people who had done it.
jamie99 is offline  
Mar 11th, 2013, 08:34 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,110

Yes, that was probably me too. The pet for a day doesn't require any training as far as I know.


cruisin_tigger is offline  

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