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Kauai-what to do. Which TS?

elaine

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We've been to Kauai 25 years ago. Thinking of adding a 2nd week to HGVC in Waikoloa. Is there enough to do in K in Sept/Oct to make it worth a flight? We like to shore snorkel if we don't have to swim out too far. We didn't hike the valley yet. Is it too strenuous? We would need some wikes (walks/hikes) of about 2-4 miles RT. And, which resorts do you like (not) trading with RCI, and north or south side?
 

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Go tubing through the irrigation canals. It is great!

There are also several zip lines in Kauai and we really enjoyed them.

 

elaine

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no zip lines. yikes!!! and not going thru any tunnel that I need a light. any open tubing?
Also, we're fine with a few excursions, but, as it's a 3 week trip, we're looking for things that are free/low cost. Such as shore snorkeling vs. boat.
 
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controller1

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no zip lines. yikes!!! and not going thru any tunnel that I need a light. any open tubing?

Ahhh, you're missing out on both! ;) We're both in our 60's and can't wait to go again!
 

elaine

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getting wimpy as I near 60. also no thrill rides at WDW. But, still love to hike and snorkel. And sit in a hammock!
 

klpca

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no zip lines. yikes!!! and not going thru any tunnel that I need a light. any open tubing?
Also, we're fine with a few excursions, but, as it's a 3 week trip, we're looking for things that are free/low cost. Such as shore snorkeling vs. boat.
I love Kauai. There are some good hikes, occasionally muddy (although Sept/Oct should be less muddy). Here's a nice collection, https://www.kauai.com/hikes . When I hike with folks who think that they don't like to hike, I do the Kuilau Ridge Trail (beautiful views, can be muddy) and the Cliff trail to Waipoo Falls. Bring hiking shoes/boots - your shoes will get muddy on Kauai, and when you drive to the trailhead, bring plastic bags for your shoes to keep the mud off of the inside of your rental car.

Not cheap but worth the price is a Na Pali tour with Capt. Andy's. Great if you don't get seasick, awful if you do. I can't recommend the sunset sail though. That was really boring. https://www.napali.com/

Quite a bit of the tubing was outside, and when you are in the tunnels you are wearing a light so it's not bad at all but if you can't do it, you can't do it.

We haven't been able to snorkel on the north shore because of the time of year of our visits, but snorkeling on the south side near Poipu was nothing special. Compared to the Big Island it is a disappointment. Plan on doing the majority of your snorkeling when you are on the Big Island.

Another low cost thing that we enjoyed was paying for and downloading the Shaka Guide app on one of our phones. It is essentially a guided driving tour that uses the gps on your phone. We used it when driving from the North Shore to the west side, for example and took a few side trips along the way. I think it cost $20 and was well worth it. https://www.shakaguide.com/kauai

As far as RCI timeshares, I would try for Shearwater or Lawai Beach Resort. I can't remember if the Point at Poipu is in RCI anymore, but if so that would be another nice option in Poipu.
 
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elaine

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thanks for info. decisions...a good escape from ground hog Covid days.
 

slip

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You will have plenty to do and many free. Diving to the canyon, some waterfalls, glass beach, plenty of short hikes.

Plenty of great choices for places to stay too. Of course, we like the Pono Kai in Kapaa but you can’t go wrong with most places. It will probably be a little warm then so if you are an a/c person, you will need to make sure the unit has a/c. There’s a lot of timeshares that don’t have a/c there.
 

geist1223

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Kauai: Remember there is only 1 two lane Hwy from north to south. Down south you have Waimea Canyon. To do this properly is about a day. Take a picnic lunch. Drive to the top. Resist the turn outs. Drive as far as you can and then hike past the top parking a bit. There are several View Points up there. Have your picnic lunch in the Park at the top. Then stop at all or most of the View Points on your way down. There is the Kauai Coffee Planation. There is zip lining in Koloa. There is an inner tube float down the old sugar cane canals in Lihue. There is Poipu Beach. There is the Alakai Swamp Trail. There are Cruises out of Hanapepe Bay to the Napali Cliffs and snorkeling. There is the Spouting Horn. There is the Mala'ulepu Trail that starts on the top of the Cliffs just north of Shipwreck's Beach. There is the Makauwahi Cave. Almost forgot about the light house - a National Park. Also a bird nesting area. Luau: some of the large Hotels have Luau. The two I would recommend are Kilohana just outside of Lihue or Smith Family by Kapa'a. Kilohana has the more traditional entertainment telling the Polynesian story through song and dance. Smith Family has greater diversity to honor the many people that have emigrated to the Islands. Remember Poi is not a dish by itself but to dip your Pork. There is Anini Beach. The town of Hanalei. The beach at Hanalei. To go to Ke'e Beach you need to go online and make a Reservation - either AM or PM. Kayaking up the Wailua River to the Fern Grotto and Secret Falls. It is about a mile hike to the falls. Sometimes the trail is very muddy. In Lihue there is a Costco. Cheapest gas on the Island by a lot. Great Fish Tacos at the Food Truck by Hanalei Pier. Some of the best Chili Pepper Chicken is at the Chevron Station in Priceville. Best Loco Moco is at the Food Shack on the side of the Sueoka's Market in Koloa. Jump off the Cliff just north of Shipwreck Beach and swim to Shipwreck Beach.

If you have an upcoming trip to Kauai and plan on going to the North Shore, this thread on TripAdvisor's Kauai Travel Forum might be helpful. It's a long thread, but has regular updates on what's going on.
https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTop...-o100-The_Road_Past_Hanalei-Kauai_Hawaii.html (See post below)

Visiting Haena State Park (by car, bike, on foot) now requires a pass, which you can buy up to two weeks in advance. There are only 100 parking spaces, so if you are driving, you need to reserve a spot for either 6:30am-12:30pm or 12:30pm through the end of the day. The afternoon permits sell out fast, so book early. People are reportedly buying more than one pass (one at a time). Parking permits are $5/car and include entry for all passengers. The park website is: https://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dsp/parks/kauai/haena-state-park.

If you're not into walking or biking in, another other option is to buy a ticket for the hourly hop-on/hop-off shuttle bus @ $11/per person (includes the $1/pp park entry fee). The shuttle website is: https://kauainsshuttle.com/reservations/ and https://kauainsshuttle.com/shuttlestops/ It has just started, so how it will handle the flow of tourists will be interesting.

• A “no parking” zone has been established between Haena Place and Kee Beach. Parking along Kuhio Highway in this zone is a violation of Chapter 291C-111 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes and could result in fines of $200.

• Access to the Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Haena State Park is by reservation. More information is available at https://www.gohaena.com/

• Information on the community-run Kauai North Shore Shuttle is available at https://www.hanaleiinitiative.org/.
 

Lv2Trvl

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Great Kauai review/report Geist1223! I am always amazed when I hear someone say there is nothing to do on Kauai or it is too quiet! Should have been there April-May but now looking forward to November-December. Aloha

Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk
 

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We went to all 4 islands (cruised) last October and had really nice weather (I'm not sure how, but we avoided rain altogether). When in Kauai, we rented a car and drove to the S shore to see the Lawaii Beach Resort which we were considering trading in to (it looked very nice) and the next day we did the movie tour thru Roberts, which we really enjoyed. Nothing that involved too much activity, although I did want to tube thru the canals, but my partner vetoed that idea.
 

geist1223

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We love Kauai. Every 5 years or so Patti lets me choose Maui. If we won the Lottery we would be looking for a House on the Beach on Kaua'i. About 6 years ago when we were 60 we hiked the Hanakapiai Trail to the Beach ( about 2 miles and do not swim at the Beach) and then the two miles up to the Hanakapiai Waterfall. This was before the big storm several years ago in April that wiped out parts of the trail. Total time for the 8 miles was 8 hours. This included an about 30 minute stop at the Beach and about 60 minutes at the waterfall. If you want to swim in waterfall pools it is always cold and wear water shoes or diving booties. There are always sharp rocks in the Pool. Patti spent the next day with her knees elevated and ice packs on each knee. This walk convinced us to get Trek Sticks.

Remember where ever you hike take lots of water and food. In an emergency you can pick the Ginger Flower, turn it upside down and squeeze out the liquid. It makes a good bug repellant and sunscreen.
 
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ski_sierra

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Kauai: Remember there is only 1 two lane Hwy from north to south. Down south you have Waimea Canyon. To do this properly is about a day. Take a picnic lunch. Drive to the top. Resist the turn outs. Drive as far as you can and then hike past the top parking a bit. There are several View Points up there. Have your picnic lunch in the Park at the top. Then stop at all or most of the View Points on your way down. There is the Kauai Coffee Planation. There is zip lining in Koloa. There is an inner tube float down the old sugar cane canals in Lihue. There is Poipu Beach. There is the Alakai Swamp Trail. There are Cruises out of Hanapepe Bay to the Napali Cliffs and snorkeling. There is the Spouting Horn. There is the Mala'ulepu Trail that starts on the top of the Cliffs just north of Shipwreck's Beach. There is the Makauwahi Cave. Almost forgot about the light house - a National Park. Also a bird nesting area. Luau: some of the large Hotels have Luau. The two I would recommend are Kilohana just outside of Lihue or Smith Family by Kapa'a. Kilohana has the more traditional entertainment telling the Polynesian story through song and dance. Smith Family has greater diversity to honor the many people that have emigrated to the Islands. Remember Poi is not a dish by itself but to dip your Pork. There is Anini Beach. The town of Hanalei. The beach at Hanalei. To go to Ke'e Beach you need to go online and make a Reservation - either AM or PM. Kayaking up the Wailua River to the Fern Grotto and Secret Falls. It is about a mile hike to the falls. Sometimes the trail is very muddy. In Lihue there is a Costco. Cheapest gas on the Island by a lot. Great Fish Tacos at the Food Truck by Hanalei Pier. Some of the best Chili Pepper Chicken is at the Chevron Station in Priceville. Best Loco Moco is at the Food Shack on the side of the Sueoka's Market in Koloa. Jump off the Cliff just north of Shipwreck Beach and swim to Shipwreck Beach.

If you have an upcoming trip to Kauai and plan on going to the North Shore, this thread on TripAdvisor's Kauai Travel Forum might be helpful. It's a long thread, but has regular updates on what's going on.
https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTop...-o100-The_Road_Past_Hanalei-Kauai_Hawaii.html (See post below)

Visiting Haena State Park (by car, bike, on foot) now requires a pass, which you can buy up to two weeks in advance. There are only 100 parking spaces, so if you are driving, you need to reserve a spot for either 6:30am-12:30pm or 12:30pm through the end of the day. The afternoon permits sell out fast, so book early. People are reportedly buying more than one pass (one at a time). Parking permits are $5/car and include entry for all passengers. The park website is: https://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dsp/parks/kauai/haena-state-park.

If you're not into walking or biking in, another other option is to buy a ticket for the hourly hop-on/hop-off shuttle bus @ $11/per person (includes the $1/pp park entry fee). The shuttle website is: https://kauainsshuttle.com/reservations/ and https://kauainsshuttle.com/shuttlestops/ It has just started, so how it will handle the flow of tourists will be interesting.

• A “no parking” zone has been established between Haena Place and Kee Beach. Parking along Kuhio Highway in this zone is a violation of Chapter 291C-111 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes and could result in fines of $200.

• Access to the Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Haena State Park is by reservation. More information is available at https://www.gohaena.com/

• Information on the community-run Kauai North Shore Shuttle is available at https://www.hanaleiinitiative.org/.
As usual, Tom comes up with well researched details on sight seeing. Such an asset to the forum!
 

T_R_Oglodyte

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We've been to Kauai 25 years ago. Thinking of adding a 2nd week to HGVC in Waikoloa. Is there enough to do in K in Sept/Oct to make it worth a flight? We like to shore snorkel if we don't have to swim out too far. We didn't hike the valley yet. Is it too strenuous? We would need some wikes (walks/hikes) of about 2-4 miles RT. And, which resorts do you like (not) trading with RCI, and north or south side?
Don't worry about finding enough to do. We've been going to Kauai almost every year since 1999 and we're still finding new things. We've also spent time on every major island except Lanai, with the Big Island and Maui being the ones other than Kauai that we've visited the most.

The first thing to say is that if you like just spending time sitting on a beach Kauai is ideal. Kauai has more beach area than any other island, and since it it less populated your chances of finding an isolated spot on a beach are excellent.

Some easy and wonderful hikes that aren't strenuous, and are greatly rewarding:
  • The waterfront hiking/biking path that goes from Kapa'a to Donkey Beach. A paved path that is the grade of an old railroad line. So no steep grades. Used extensively by both hikers and bikers (non-motorized). You can rent bikes in Kapa'a if that's what you want.
  • Mahaʻulepu shore hike. Starting at Gillin's Beach. Nice shoreline trail hike with spectacular sandstone formations.
  • Makawehi Bluffs trail. This is is in the same vicinity as the Maha'ulepu shore hike. This one starts near the Hyatt Hotel on Shipwreck Beach, then winds through sandstone sea cliffs and bluffs.
  • Pihea Trail. This starts at the Pu'u O Kila lookout, which is the end of the road in Koke'e State Park. You will want to go to the lookout anyway for the spectacular view of the Kalalau Valley (if the clouds permit). Then just go down the Pihea Trail as far as you would like, then turn and and double back.
  • Polihale Beach. Polihale Beach has a rough access road, though we have driven it many times in an ordinary compact or mid-size rental car in August. Other times of the year it may be more difficult. Once you get to Polihale, you can walk for miles, with almost nobody there (especially if you go mid-week). The water and currents can be rough. Under summer conditions, if you don't have physical conditions, with caution go in the water up to your waist, and never turn your back on the ocean.
  • Almost any beach on the northeast and north shore between Larsens Beach and Hanalei that does not have direct road access. Any beach in this area that does not have direct road access will require a bit of a hike to reach, usually including a steep section of trail to make the descent to the ocean from an upland area. Our favorites in this area include Secret Beach, Wyllie's Beach, and Sealodge Beach.
  • Wailua River kayak trip, with hike to waterfall. You are probably best doing this as a guided tour if you are not familiar with local conditions. A half-day trip, kayaking up the Wailua River, with a visit to Fern Grotto and a hike to a waterfall.
Other ideas/suggestions:
  • Hanapepe "Art Wallk" - I hesitate to call it an Art Walk because over the the last five or years it has turned into more of a street fair. Still fun, though, and be sure to check out the swinging bridge.
  • Any farmers market. The local produce is outstanding.
  • Poke. Even Safeway grocery store poke is amazing. Any place you go, be sure to ask for samples. Because the best poke is raw, I am cautious about who I buy from.
  • Best snorkeling at that time of year is probably Tunnels Beach (North Shore) and Lawai Beach (South Shore). Pay attention to North Shore surf conditions, particularly as you move into October. October is the end of the summer season, and when water conditions transition, the north and east shore seas are extremely dangerous. Also any time you are snorkeling be sure to note where waves are breaking over the reef, and where the water is draining back to the ocean. Also note and reference (using marks on land) where you can easily and safely get back across the reef if necessary. The currents will pull you toward the outlets, and if you get too close to the outlet you may be better off letting the current take you across the reef, then find your way back across the reef. I've done this several times on north shore beaches in August - much easier than fighting the current to get back in if you get too close to an outlet. Also note that because Kauai is the most lush of the Hawaiian Islands, overall it has the least favorable conditions for snorkeling. That's because the lushness of the island means that there is organic material and sediment in the streams and rivers.. That's just a tradeoff that you make. And that's not to say that Kauai snorkeling is bad; it's just not outstanding like can get in other locales. BTW - If you do a snorkeling trip on a boat, it's almost guaranteed that they will anchor at a place where the snorkel operators chum. Chumming ensures that there will be lots of fish, because fish will learn to come for the food. However, chumming disrupts the natural ecosystem of the reef. There are more fish, but less diversity. For ourselves, we choose not to support snorkel cruises that chum or that anchor at locations that chum. Lehua (off of Niihau) is a nice snorkel site. Lehua requires more effort to reach, so operators who chum generally aren't interested in going there.
  • Allerton Gardens. admission fee required.
  • Kukuiolano Park. If you have any golfers in the group who are just ordinary, casual golfers, this is the place. A nine-hole municipal course with nice ocean views. ~$10 green fees. What a deal!!!!
  • Sometimes we rent a kayak for the week, then just put it in the water when and where we want to. We also rent a waterproof insulated pack, and put a lunch in the pack. Kayak up a river of your choice until vegetation closes off the stream, then find a place to put to shore and have a picnic lunch. But don't forget your DEET. Buy the strongest formulation you can get. It's worth the price.
And there are many, many other ideas and suggestions in The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook. Including many hikes I haven't mentioned, as well as more detailed discussions of some of the items I discussed generally above (such as the northeast and north shore beaches).
 

elaine

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thanks so much! excellent, detailed info. Just what I was looking for. Still debating whether a week in K is worth an extra flight vs. just adding extra week in Kona before moving up to Waikoloa--which might be our lower key, lounge around week. It's tempting, esp. as K has so many very nice "easy trade" TS.
also debating adding on S. Calif. week on the way home to break up the flight--which would knock out 3rd week in Hawaii.
 

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thanks so much! excellent, detailed info. Just what I was looking for. Still debating whether a week in K is worth an extra flight vs. just adding extra week in Kona before moving up to Waikoloa--which might be our lower key, lounge around week. It's tempting, esp. as K has so many very nice "easy trade" TS.
also debating adding on S. Calif. week on the way home to break up the flight--which would knock out 3rd week in Hawaii.
If you decided to stay on the Big Island and just want to move locations, also consider taking a night or two and spending it in Volcano Village. It's a nice change and you can spend some time at Volcano National Park.
 

elaine

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stay on the Big Island and just want to move locations, also consider taking a night or two and spending it in Volcano Village.
thanks. that's probably the plan, as we check out day of Ironman--so planning to lay low in Hilo for a few days.
 

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thanks. that's probably the plan, as we check out day of Ironman--so planning to lay low in Hilo for a few days.
I'm not sure what the status is currently but we loved staying at the Kilauea Lodge. It's been sold since the last time we stayed there, but it sounds like it's just as good as it was. They have one of the best restaurants on the island. We would stay in Tutu's Place, which is off premise. It doesn't look like from their website that Tutu's is part of the property any longer. They also used to serve an amazing breakfast for their guests. Not sure if that is still available.

https://highwaywestvacations.com/properties/kilauea-lodge
 
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