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North or South Kauai? Advice requested, please!

North or South Kauai? Advice requested, please!

Old Dec 13th, 2002, 12:09 PM
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North or South Kauai? Advice requested, please!

I have been researching Kauai for a few weeks now on fodors. We are planning a trip to Kauai in May and seek the following advice: what part of the island should we stay? I know that is an open-ended question so I will clarify.

I read that Poipu Beach (southside of island) is the most beautiful in the world but have not read much about luxurious accomodations. On the other hand and on the north side of the island, I have read more about luxurious accomodations/resorts (e.g., The Princeville) but not the beaches and that is the "rainier" side of the island.

Our plan: beach, hike, eat-out, cocktails, other adventures, etc. Little bit of everthing.

So my question remains, the same: what part of the island should we stay?
Old Dec 13th, 2002, 12:55 PM
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get the Ultimate Kauai Guidebook. The Hyatt is on the southside and qualifies as a luxurious accomodation. You can't go wrong wherever you stay. Kauai is small and you can drive from the south side to the north side in under 2 hours.
Many people say the north side is more beautiful than south, but I have always stayed in Poipu and find it just as beautiful and more reliably dry.
Old Dec 13th, 2002, 01:11 PM
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IMO, because of surrounding vegetation, the beaches on the north shore are more scenic than Poipu. Poipu's climate though is much drier; you'll even see cacti growing around there. I second the recommendation for Poipu because of more reliable weather. Especially in May.
Old Dec 13th, 2002, 01:44 PM
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Mark -

Went to Kauai last June and spent 5 days on the North side and 4 days on the South side. Depending on your length of stay, you may want to consider that option.

Next time we go, we will spend our entire time at Princeville. We really liked the beauty of the North side, the hiking and snorkling areas, and it seemed like less people were up there (maybe it was my imagination). Also, every day at sunset, we enjoyed a cocktail at the Princeville Living Room. (I highly recommend doing that).

The Southside was not as enjoyable TO US b/c there seemed to be more people, more hotels, more shops, etc. which is not what we were looking for.

Have a wonderful trip!
Old Dec 13th, 2002, 02:07 PM
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I'm not sure what you've been reading, but I've never heard anyone refer to southern Kauai as the most beautiful in the world, or even more beautiful than northern Kauai. Northern Kauai is hands down more beautiful, but Southern Kauai does get less rain, which makes it less lush. If you are going during rainy season, by all means, stay in Poipu. Any other time, in my opinion, you'd be a fool not to stay on the northern side. Picture Six Days, Seven Nights. Picture South Pacific. Southern Kauai reminds me more of Southern California. In May, I'd do the North. Also, the best hikes are in the North (the Na Pali coast hike), as well as the best snorkeling and the prettiest beaches (try Tunnels beach and Hideaways Beach, both amazing). I've stayed on both sides, and from now on, will stay in the north (Princeville or Secret Beach Hideaway), unless it was rainy season, and then maybe the Hyatt in Poipu.
Old Dec 15th, 2002, 10:12 AM
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I live on Kauai and there is no way I would call Poipu (south side) one of the world's most beautiful beaches. It is reliably dry, the water is gorgeous, but it isn't nearly as scenic as Hanalei Bay (north shore.)

If you have the time, I would split your Kauai stay between north and south as an above poster suggested.

If you are seeking luxury on the south side, try the Hyatt or the oceanfront wings of the SHeraton. There are also many fabulous private oceanfront homes for rent.

Luxury on the north shore is the Princeville Hotel, most people love it or hate it. In my opinion it doesnt have a tropical feel to it, it's more elegant and European. But the view is stupendous, especially from the Living Room at sunset.
Old Dec 16th, 2002, 06:16 AM
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Thank you for the feedback. Looks like 3 votes North, 2 votes South.

Also, just to clarify, the Travel Channel voted Poipu the most beautiful beach in the world. I did not actually "read" that on this message board.

Thanks for the advice.

Old Dec 16th, 2002, 06:53 AM
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I too saw Travel Channel's choice of Poipu beach as #1 & was somewhat mystified by it !! It's very nice & is a park too, but so is Salt Pond and it's frequently near deserted and is every bit as pleasant.
Have a great trip.
Old Dec 16th, 2002, 07:49 AM
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Believe it or not, Poipu was a nicer beach, "Pre-Iniki".
To say Iniki changed a lot of the landscape of Kauai is an understatement.
The Tunnel of Trees, Coco Palms and the Fern Grotto leap to mind. It is amazing how that beautiful island vegetation has rebounded.

I still remember holding our breath to see how all of our friends fared and if they needed anything. Loud cheers went up when we saw helicopter film of the Coco/Coast and we saw our hotel still standing and in pretty good shape.

Unfortunately, beaches seem to be a big casualty of hurricanes.
The month of May is probably in the "iffy" weather zone for the ol' rule of thumb, "Winter-Poipu/Summer-P'ville".
P'ville is a bit closer to most of the stuff you are looking to do. It may be worht the risk.
Be sure to try an ATV tour which starts in the Koloa area. We did our first one last year (sunset tour)and can't wait to do the "waterfall tour" this trip.
Mucho mahalos,
13 until #11!
Old Dec 16th, 2002, 07:54 AM
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Having returned from 10 days in Kauai last month I would have to agree with most of the posts here. The Poipu area is drier and has some luxury accomodations, but the scenery on the North Shore was much better. We stayed in Poipu and drove around the island and had no difficulty in doing so. The place is small enough to get around without too much hassle. One thing to think about is if you want to go hiking in Koke'e Park, it is long drive from Princeville. Have a great time.
Old Dec 16th, 2002, 07:35 PM
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Echo what the rest are saying. Stayed there 1 week in March 1 year, then Sep a couple years later. No night life anywhere, but quiet peaceful, beautiful scenery, most in the north. On your way there you must eat at Onoburger. Princeville Hotel is a must to visit, if you don't stay there. Gorgeous views
Old Dec 19th, 2002, 02:40 PM
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I will always opt for the North Shore. Yes..it does rain but one becomes accustomed to it..we simply packed small travel umbrellas into our beach bags. If night life is what you are wanting Kauai is probably not your island although you'll find more chance of it on the Soouth shore. Regarding the beach question...was Tunnels Beach on the North end of the island a contender..seems to me it has Poipu beat hands down.Princeville is beautiful..we rented a great house from Aninibeachcottages.com
Old Dec 19th, 2002, 05:37 PM
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North Shore beach - Tunnels
It is one of the best because of the protective reefs. If it is rough weather though, it won't be any good.
On honeymoon, we went there 1 day, put our towels down to chill about 30 from where the waves were coming up, 1 big wave came. Whoops! Lost our honeymoon pictures in the camera, ruined books, bummed out the day. Oh well. Next time, we'll watch where the local looking people put their stuff.
Old Dec 20th, 2002, 06:46 AM
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We were in Kauai in the winter, i.e. rainy, rough seas season. Definitely want to be on the south coast then. No one could swim at all up north for the most part--too dangerous. North coast is certainly more scenic, but it is quieter, less going on. We stayed at Poipu, but toured all around. I think that Poipu is a better place to stay in terms of convenience of location, restaurants nearby, etc. It worked out well for us. It did seem that no matter where you go on the island, it is not very crowded, except maybe Lihue. If I was to return, I would not stay in the north, even in summer. In south, you are closer to Waimea canyon, airport, and Na Pali coast.
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