Kauai has mastered eduction with its stunning sunsets, immaculate beaches, and blue sky. But you don’t need to resort to extravagant luxury or tourist trappings to lure the oldest island in the Hawaiian chain. Instead, it appeals to the hassle-free, hassle-free type of traveler. The stations are no taller than a coconut tree (literally). Kauai is your island – there are only two major highways and some areas can only be explored on foot on a Kauai boat tour.
Some say all you need to travel is a good pair of hiking boots, an umbrella, and an adventurous spirit. But we have to warn you: you might also need some money. Kauai values its natural beauty and interesting hikes, and room rates can top $500 a night in the winter. To get the most and save, consider traveling during the shoulder seasons.
The best months to travel
The ideal time to visit Kauai is from August through October when the weather is pleasant, and travel and lodging costs are lower. The November to March wet season is not a deterrent for visitors looking for winter vacation but beware: if you come during this period, you will encounter the highest markups on rooms and flights (c is the peak tourist season. Kauai). However, if you are interested in whale watching, now is the time to go, as it is generally available from January through spring. If winter is too expensive for your liking, consider the spring and fall months as a compromise: Kauai sees a slight drop in prices during these shoulder seasons. Kauai vacations in the summer may not offer the same high prices as in the winter, but they won’t be completely cheaper either.
Culture & Customs
Travelers used to a fast-paced life should take it easy in Kauai, where life is considerably slower than on the mainland. While Kauai’s laid-back attitude might aggravate some less-patient travelers, it tends to suit vacationers seeking relaxation and solace in one of the United States’ most beautiful travel destinations.
While Hawaii is part of the United States, it has its own unique culture that should be honored and respected. Remember that Hawaiian is an ethnicity: Just because someone lives in Hawaii does not automatically mean they are Hawaiian. Equally important: It is impolite to refer to Hawaiians as “islanders” or “natives.” Many Kauai residents speak English but may also speak Hawaiian Pidgin English, which is a creole language that combines words and phrases from many languages, including Hawaiian, Chinese and Japanese. (It’s impolite to speak Pidgin unless you’re fluent, as it can be perceived as mockery.) For additional cultural information, visit Hawaii’s tourism board’s website.
What to Eat
Classic Hawaiian dishes often come in the form of comfort food (don’t expect a whole lot of salads) and are typically a unique blend of the many different cultures that have immigrated to Hawaii. The finest illustration of this cultural immersion is reflected in a dish called saimin. What appears to be plain ramen is actually a combination of broth, noodles, and green onions, which can be topped with anything from sausage to kimchi to dumplings. It’s thought that the dish originated on plantations in the 1800s when workers of all ethnicities would gather for meals and contribute what ingredients they had. Hamura Saimin in Lihue, situated in southeastern Kauai, is said to have some of the best saimin on the island.
Saimin is just the start of imports with a Hawaiian twist. There’s also Spam musubi, which resembles sushi, but instead of fish, you’ll be treated to a slice of flavored Spam. If that’s a little too unconventional for your liking, try manapua. Manapua resembles traditional Chinese pork buns and is packed with delicious fillings such as sweet potato, barbecue pork, or curry chicken, to name a few. For sweet, sink your teeth into a malasada. This dessert was brought over by Portuguese immigrants and is basically a hole-less doughnut coated with sugar and , chocolate, or fruit filling.
Another tradition is the plate lunch, a robust dish that always consists of two scoops of rice and macaroni salad alongside a serving of meat that could range from kalua pork (the type of meat traditionally served at luaus) to mahi-mahi. Loco moco is another favorite, comprising a slab of teriyaki-flavored beef that sits on a bed of rice and is topped with a fried egg and gravy. If that sounds a bit too heavy, try Huli-Huli chicken, a grilled chicken dish coated in a sweet teriyaki marinade.
anyone can’t leave the island without trying to poke. The Hawaiian classic has become increasingly common on the mainland. Traditionally, poke is marinated, cubed raw fish typically accompanied by rice, but it can also be made with shrimp, tofu, or other ingredients. Whatever meals you decide to sample in Kauai, be sure to top it all off with flavored shaved ice (not shaved ice), Hawaii’s delicious cold dessert.
Safety in Kauai isn’t so much about watching out for crime as it is watching out for Mother Nature. Weather is known to be fickle in Kauai, especially when it comes to rain. It’s not unusual for a bright, sunny day to suddenly experience unscheduled downpours. When hiking or going to the beach, it is highly advised to consult local resources about the conditions. Hawaiian state park officials recommend all hikers bring a hiking partner (hiking alone in Kauai is not safe), don proper hiking boots, and wear waterproof attire, sunscreen, and a hat. Bring lots of water with you on your hike to keep hydrated. HIOceanSafety.com provides recommendations for beach safety and a list of lifeguarded beaches.
Another key feature of trails and popular outdoor adventures on Kauai is crossing streams. Streams are subject to flash floods, resulting in numerous deaths on the island. If you see a stream start to rise or it has a high water level, do not cross it. Wait until it goes down. If you’re uncomfortable taking on the terrain, consider booking a tour with an experienced operator.
Equally crucial is to keep in mind the weather conditions at any of the island’s beaches. Generally, winter sees rougher conditions unsuitable for swimming, especially on the northern and western shores. It is advised to only swim at beaches where lifeguards are present; you can find a list of lifeguarded beaches on HIOceanSafety’s website. If you go to a beach but not swimming, you’ll still want to be mindful of the ocean. High tide can quickly sweep in and take an unsuspecting beachgoer close to the shore out to sea.
Getting Around Kauai
The best method to travel to Kauai is by vehicle. Despite being cheap, the bus system does not include accommodations for travelers. Taxis are virtually nonexistent, though you will see them congregate at Lihue Airport (LIH), near Lihue’s town on the southeastern side of Kauai.
There are direct flights into the Lihue Airport from several North American destinations, but many travelers fly through Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL). If you opt for the layover, try to get a seat on the left side of the plane as you island-hop: You’ll have an awesome view of Kauai as you approach the island.
Kauai is meant to be explored; To do this, you will need a car. You will find that driving is easy as the island has only two main highways (Kaumualii and Kuhio Highways). The most crucial action is to book your taxi before you go. Rental cars are in high demand, especially during the winter and summer, as many people choose this option to get around Kauai. There won’t be any rental vehicles available if you don’t book ahead and travel during busy hours. The prices will be much higher if you get caught at the last minute.
Another tip: check your personal auto insurance policy before you arrive. Hawaii is a no-fault state, and rental companies may try to sell you collision coverage. Your policy already covers you when you drive elsewhere. Keep in mind that driving in Hawaii is very different from driving on the mainland. As in Hawaiian culture, driving will take a back seat. Speed limits here range from 25 to 50. Honing your horn here is frowned upon as a way to tell someone to hurry up. Locals only raise their voices when in danger or to say hello to someone they know.
Kauai has an affordable bus system, but it’s inconvenient for tourists. Buses stop near hotel areas like Poipu and Wailua, as well as near the airport, but getting to major attractions, including anywhere near Napali Beach, will be incredibly difficult. Another big downside is that passengers are not allowed to bring luggage or large bags, so if you want to take the bus to your hotel or plan a day at the distant beach, you may not be able to not embark. Baggage Restrictions. Service hours vary by route but generally begin between 5:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. and end between 9:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. Fares range from $1 to $2 per passenger. In addition to the public transport system, there are several private shuttle services, some of which offer tours that include major attractions.
TaxiTaxis are available on Kauai but are scarce compared to more populated islands like Oahu. Still, you can find taxis on the island, but by calling and planning, you’ll have to work harder to get there. So whichever taxi company you choose to use, all prices should be the same. Fares are $3 for the first mile and each mile after that. Locally owned ride-sharing apps like Uber, Lyft, and Holoholo are available in Kauai.
Does Kauai merit a trip?
One of the things Hawaii is renowned for is its lush, wild, and natural beauty. Kauai is a true paradise for beachgoers, hikers, and explorers since it is far less developed than Oahu, the Big Island, or Maui.
Which island is preferable, Maui or Kauai?
Maui undoubtedly seems like the ideal getaway if you’re prepared to exchange the hustle and bustle for diversity and adventure in your life. Kauai is the perfect island paradise if you’re searching for somewhere more sedate and family-friendly with plenty of outdoor activities and stunning scenery.
Is Honolulu superior than Kauai?
If you want a Hawaiian trip that blends the conveniences of a premier city with the spectacular beauty of nature, we suggest Oahu. We suggest Kauai as a calm getaway if you’re looking for a special Pacific Paradise experience.
Is Kauai the most beautiful island in Hawaii?
Kauai, which is our top choice for the most beautiful island in Hawaii, is literally paradise on earth with its craggy cliffs, verdant valleys, and paradisiacal beaches. Even though it would be hard to include everything that makes Kauai unique, we have selected the top three places that you really must see.