Kauai Travel Guide

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Whenever I get an email asking for travel recommendations to Hawaii, I wish I just had a pre-made list of my favorite things that I could just copy, paste, and reply with immediately. But I don’t and usually procrastinate in getting back to the person, because I take this kind of stuff very seriously, love helping out, and like to do a thorough list of recs. Let’s remedy this, shall we? We shall. Over the next month I’ll get a guide to Kauai and Oahu up here for ya.

So, here’s my mini, brief, bullet-pointed and full of incomplete sentences, guide to Kauai. 

I’ve been going there for 13 years now, maybe more, (High five for time shares. And, yes, I STILL need to watch that South Park episode.)…and seem to find something new each time. Even if it’s just a place to swim, or a new boutique, or a food truck. It’s such an amazing place.

Enough rambling. Here we go.

The non-negotiable:

Rent a car. The island is amazing. Get out and explore. Deal? deal.

To stay:

I mainly have stayed at my parents time share down south in Poipu, Airbnbs or at friend’s places. So, I always say check out Airbnb first, so you can have a kitchen, and make your food, etc. But The Palmwood setup looks absolutely freakishly amazing, and the Koa Kea is right by where I always stay, and looks sweet. I mooch their outdoor showers. They are quite lovely.

To eat:

Note: I am not a foodie at all, so sorry if this section is brief.

Kalaheo Cafe (great breakfast)

Java Kai in Kapa’a (grrrreat coffee)

Little Fish Coffee – In Poipu, or Hanapepe. Freakishly delicious everything. 

Ice Cream and Macadamia nut rolls at Lapperts (Tutu’s Anniversary. Try it.)

Pineapple whip at banana joe’s fruit stand – it’s just pineapple, but tastes like ice cream

Makai Sushi – In kukuiula Market. Great sushi and poke bowls.

Aloha Aina Juice bar – Also in Kukuiula market. It is just so…YUM!

The Fresh Shave – This is THE BEST SHAVE ICE EVER! I am not Exaggerating.

Dark Roost – Great Coffee Truck. Great cold brew too.

Scorpacciata – Delicious brick oven pizza truck. 

Hanalei Dolphin – Great Sushi/Date spot.

Kauai Juice Company – Amazing fresh local juice place.

and finally…

The Mahana Terrace at the St. Regis might have one of the best views for a restaurant. Ever.

Favorite beaches:

Hanalei bay. – One of my top 3 favorite beaches and places on the planet. 

Lumahai Beach. – Gorgeous

Tunnels Beach – Also gorgeous

Poipu Beach – Also very gorgeous.

Polihale Beach – Is also very super gorgeous. And it’s worth the bumpy road. Trust me.

Things to do:

• See the Na Pali coast in some shape or form. Anyway, anyhow, it’s simply breathtaking.

• If you can fork out the dough, a helicopter tour is pretty spectacular. I did an open air one eight years ago and my eyeballs wrote me a thank you note.

• Hike in Koke’e – I really liked the Awaawapuhi trail. There’s a bunch of cool ones though.

• Check out Waimea Canyon. It’s gorgeous, hike there too if you have time.

• Hike as little or as much of the Kalalau trail as you can. Just be sure to check at least part of it out.  

• I am a coffee dork, and love getting super buzzed with free coffee tastings at the Kauai Coffee company.

• Be sure to get out and watch the sunset each night.

• Surf.

Favorite shops:

Aloha Exchange in Kalaheo – This is a GREAT surf shop that carries super rad gear, clothes, swimmer, and locally designed awesomeness.

Shipwrecked Kauai In Kapa’a (Right text to Java Kai) – It’s a new über cute boutique that is full of gorgeousness. Serious gorgeousness.

I heart Hanalei – I heart this great boutique that carries all the latest swimwear and beachwear. Visas beware.  

• The Malie Organics store – Your nose and skin will write you a love note.

Ohana Shop Kauai – Just go here. It’s stunning and full of locally made products.

And finally….

• Nukumoi Surf shop – My husband is obsessed with their tees. And a little known fact: this is where I bought my first “nice” bikini 13 years ago. It was by ViX.

And last but not least, just drink up the clean, humid tropical hair, enjoy the rain that comes and goes, get in the ocean, pick some plumeira, and have fun, but take time to slow down and soak it all in. 

There you have it.

Kauai rocks. Have a blast. I always do.

I am sure I’ve missed some things, and I know there are a quite few people who live on Kauai who follow the blog 🙂 … so please feel free to add in your recs in the comments below.

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