Local Attractions and Info
We would love to recommend a few things to do in Kauai in the Poipu area and beyond. First let’s talk about food. Your house/condo will have a fully equipped kitchen, but you will need some groceries when you arrive. We usually pick up what we need on the way in from the airport. Costco is about a mile and half from the airport on highway 50 on the way to Poipu. It is just past the Kukui Grove Shopping Center. You will see Macy’s, etc off to the left. For fresh produce (and flowers too) there is the Farmer’s Market. It is like a mobile swap meet held by local family gardeners at different locations on the island. The one in Koloa is on Monday at noon in the school parking lot. You can check the local shopper’s guide that is given away at many places in Koloa. It is fun if you like crowds. Get there right at noon or a little before or you will miss out on the best stuff.
Just for fun you can watch the beach live at the north and south shores via these webcams:
Now if you are energetic and want some exercise Kauai offers a great series of hikes and drives, some with breathtaking views. We enjoy the hike along the beach East behind the Hyatt and then up along the cliffs to the long sandy beach. It’s about 4 miles and well worth it. You can drive directly to this beach by following the road past the Hyatt. Be forewarned you have never seen so many potholes in one road. Try these links for more fun stuff: www.princevilleranch.com or there’s a great downhill bike ride in Waimea Canyon: www.outfitterskauai.com For a Helicopter ride the Jack Harter one is really good: www.helicopters-kauai.com/ Ever tried snuba? I have to try this sometime: www.snubakauai.com Here’s a great boat tour: Makana charters, it’s owned by native Hawaiians and their tours are limited to 12 people, www.makanacharters.com : call 888-335-6137 for more info and reservations.
There is a great hike that overlooks the Napali coast. Drive west past Hanapepe to Waimea. Take the Waimea Canyon road (550) up to the end. It winds above the Waimea Canyon (Grand Canyon of the Pacific) with incredible views. At the end of the road is a several mile hike that leads to a lookout over the Napali coast. I can’t begin to describe it. You look down on rolling seas, clouds and helicopters that look like toys.
A note about hiking in Kauai… the dirt everywhere is a brownish red clay. It will stain your clothes, shoes, furniture, towels, etc. It can be very slippery just after a rain so please be careful.
There are several nice hikes along the Wailua river by Kapaa, and then at the very north end of the road past Hanalei there is a strenuous hike to a very impressive waterfall at Haena. There is a guide book at the house that will help you with details as you plan your days.
In all your planning, don’t forget to book time at the beach. The water is incredible, clear and full of beautiful fish. The wonderful thing about the water is the temperature. It is not bath water but very near it, even yours truly who is known as a real sissy when it comes to cold water enjoys hours of floating, swimming and snorkeling.
Try the zip-line tours if you are adventurous and not afraid of heights. They are becoming very popular. Try these links: www.adventureskauai.com or www.outfitterskauai.com or this shows a short video clip of someone doing it: http://ziplinetourskauai.com/
Now for the restaurants: Brennecke’s restaurant located across from Poipu Beach is a great place for lunch or dinner at the beach; good burgers, fish and drinks. Don’t forget Lapperts ice cream for a real treat. It’s fresh made in Hanapepe and definitely a landmark destination. They are located throughout the island: Hanapepe, Koloa, Kapaa, Princeville, Hanalei, etc. The one in Koloa is just a couple of miles up from Poipu Road on the main street of town. If you are looking for a good breakfast go the Ilima Terrace at the Hyatt. They have a very nice brunch every day of the week. Roy’s Restaurant just down the road in the Poipu Village shopping center is famous for their coconut shrimp, try it you’ll love it.
The Hyatt is the place to go when you want to get dressed up and go to a really nice restaurant. It’s a mile or less from the house/condos, go East on Poipu Rd. until you come to the Hyatt. Incidentally getting dressed up in Kauai for a guy entails a nice pair of shorts and a breezy Hawaiian shirt and sandals. The ladies usually wear something slinky and cool with heels. Get her a nice lei for the occasion (Star Market or in Koloa at the Big Save). We really enjoy the Ilima Terrace restaurant, but there are two others just as nice at the Hyatt as well: Dondero’s(Italian food), and Tide Pools (Seafood). They also have a killer luau once a week. Here is the number at the reservations desk: 800-233-1234. Best to make reservations no matter which one you choose. After dinner take a slow stroll around the grounds. The Hyatt continually gets awards for the beauty of its resort. Check out the torch lighting ceremony and the Hula show at the Seaview Terrace evenings around 6:00. The ladies may want to take advantage of the Anara Spa. It’s open to the public and they offer wonderful massages, facials, exercise classes, etc.
Please take the time to visit Kauai’s lush tropical botanical gardens. Allerton Gardens just past Spouting Horn in Poipu and the Na’Aina Kai Gardens up by the Kilauea Lighthouse; Plan on spending most of the day and really enjoying yourself. Most of the tours are guided and cover a lot of territory, so wear comfortable shoes and take a hat.
If you want to experience a Hawaii Luau, Kauai is a great island to do it. There is a different Hawaii luau Kauai hosts several nights a week offering a good choice for visitors. Many of the top Kauai resorts host regular luaus. Most people want to know which is really the best Kauai luau. If want to attend a Kauai Luau the best tend to be those that are most authentic. Some say the best luau in Kauai is Kauai Best Luau. The luau features traditional dance and music and legends and chanting of old Hawaii.
The Punua family has stayed close to their roots and illustrates the best luau in Kauai with grace and expertise. Entertaining the likes of Marilyn Monroe and Tiger Woods, this Hawaii luau Kauai group is one of the best on the island. Kauai Best Luau shows are featured at the Mariott Resort each Tuesday evening. Leis are given out upon arrival and the fully stocked bar serves up tasty Blue Hawaiians, Maia Tais and other colorful cocktails. Some of the most exciting parts of Kauai Best Luau are the Samoan Fire Knife features and genuine Tahitian dancing. At this Hawaii luau Kauai dancers prove their incredible skills and expertise. Here is the link: http://www.hawaiialiveluau.com/
You could also try Smith’s Tropical Paradise luau. We have heard good reports and not so good reports on this one. The main complaint is that it seems very commercial and tourist oriented. Here is the link: http://www.smithskauai.com/
We have heard that many people have enjoyed the luau at the Kilohana Planation. Here is the link to their site: http://kilohanakauai.com/
The Grand Hyatt has a similar luau situated on Poipu Beach called The Drums of Paradise Luau At the Hyatt a traditional imu oven is used, a complex type of underground oven, to cook much of the feast. The feast is eaten near the coastline with the ocean as the background for both dinner and the following dance. Here is the link: http://www.luau-hawaii.com/kauai/hyatt-regency-luau.htm
Another Hawaii luau Kauai hosts is at Princeville Resort on the North Shore near the Napali Coast. Pa’ina O Hanalei is staged on Monday and Thursday evenings at sunset on Hanalei Bay beach, another of the beautiful, golden Kauai beaches
As for shopping there are a few recommendations. Close to town there is the Poipu Village shopping center just west on Poipu Rd: Whalers’s drug store, several clothing boutiques, and a couple of restaurants (one is open for breakfast). Koloa Town, just a couple of miles up the road, has many quaint shops, a pizzeria, and a little museum. A great new place to shop in Poipu is at The Kukui’ula Village Shopping Center Nice boutiques and fine restaurants.
For the serious shopper you will need to go to Kukui Grove, or Lihue, or the Coconut Grove in Kapaa. WalMart is in Lihue as well as Home Depot if you are interested. The local Costco (next to the Home Depot) has lots of island stuff unique to Kauai. There are also some fun shops, boutiques, etc. in Kapaa town on the old main street. There is a well stocked health food store in Poipu called Living Foods you may be interested in, it is in the Kukui’ula Village Shopping Center
Hopefully this will give you some idea of where things are and what to do in Kauai. Just remember that it’s ok just to do nothing but unwind, read, sleep, eat, and of course work on your tan.