The Complete Kauai, Hawaii Travel Guide
Aloha! The first time I stepped onto the majestic island of Kauai was in 2012, the summer after graduation. After taking in the endless sunrises and sunsets, I immediately knew I would be coming back for another visit.
Kauai is a beautiful island located in the Central Pacific, and is known as " The Garden Isle." The majority of the island being covered by a tropical rainforest makes for the dreamiest setting.
What I love most about Kauai is the crystal-clear water, the overall beauty of the island, the delcious fresh fruit, and the friendliness of the locals who live there. Now that I have left, I keep daydreaming of the next time I can go back to breathe in that fresh-salt air, swim with the turtles, and bask in the warmth of the Island sun.
Kauai's North Shore is by far my favorite part of the island - it has gorgeous beaches, mountain views, Kilauea Lighthouse, and is located between Hanalei Bay and Anini Beach.
Where To Stay:
The Cliffs at Princeville - If you want a great view of the ocean as well as being close to everything Princeville has to offer; this is the place to stay!
The Cliffs at Princeville staff are incredible! They are super friendly and hospitable.They are always available to answer any questions you may have or share recommendations about the island. Every other day I recieved texts from them asking how my stay was, and to call them if I needed anything. To me this type of customer service speaks huge volumes!
The view from the lanai (Hawaiian word for porch or veranda) is indescribable. Each morning I awoke to the sound of roosters crowing as the rays of sunlight beamed into my room. I enjoyed drinking a cup of coffee and eating fresh fruit from the local markets; all while watching the sun rise.
Each evening we took a dip in the pool and relaxed in one of two jacuzzi's. Not to mention, they also have local food trucks in the evenings for individuals who want to enjoy a relaxing "night-in." and an occasional cocktail hour which gives you time to mingle & relax with a Mai Thai.
House Rentals - Hanalei Bay Resort also a great place for ocean views. Often times resorts also use Airbnb for vacant rooms. (Here's 15% off your first Airbnb booking!)
Where To Eat:
Kountry Kitchen - my favorite place to eat breakfast! You can't go wrong with the Kauai Benedict: feauring Eggs Bene on Hawaiian sweet bread with kahlua pork. Also, the Kountry pancake which is perfect to share with their homeade coconut syrup.
Bobbie's - Literally the best place for homeade Hawaiian food. Order the mac salad, huli huli chicken, roast pork with gravy, and the chicken katsu.
Paco's Taco's - If you're craving some bomb taco's this is your spot!
Foodland (Princeville) - Believe it or not, their sushi and poke bowls are awesome! They make their sushi and tuna poke fresh daily.
Kalapaki Beach Hut - The Teryaki Beach Burger is to die for! Fresh pineapple added!
The Right Slice - The Mango Lilikoi pie is where it's at, but be aware they sell out fast!
Kauai's Best Shave Ice - If anything, you must treat yoself to some Hawaiian Shave Ice. My favorite is the Hawaiian Sunset: Mango, Guava, & Passionfruit. All syrups are locally made. Tip: Order Hawaiian Style with the "snow cap" on top and a scoop of homeade Macademia nut icecream on the bottom.
Kauai Juice Co - Literally the BEST fresh juice ever. You can only get in Kauai. My favorite was the Starburst: Strawberry, Pineapple, and Orange. You can't go wrong with any flavors, they are all made fresh on the island.
Where To Swim:
Hanalei Bay - Endless views of the 2 mile beach & mountain views. Perfect for body surfing!
Poipu - Based on the southern part of the island, this beach is family friendly and great for snorkeling. When the northern side of the island is raining, chances are it's sunny here!
Anini Beach- Known for it's lava rocks throughout the beach, you can catch a glimpse of the Kilauea Lighthouse from the point.
Queen's Bath - Keep in mind, the hike down to Queen's Bath is often slick and can be treacherous after a long rain. My favorite place to swim with the turtles. Be cautious, as this is a swimmable sinkhole and in the winter is known to be extremely dangerous.
Where To Go
Na' Poli Coast - A beautiful coastline that you must not miss! Unfortunatey it was closed when I went to visit due to a storm from last year. It recently re-opend June 17th. Take the Kalalau Trail for some of the best views on the island!
Waimea Canyon - Known as Kauai's "Grand Canyon" Waimea boasts beautiful views. Drive to Waimea and hike the Waimea Canyon Trail!
Wailua Falls - A beautiful scenic overlook showcasing the Wailua Falls.
Hanapepe - A beautiful little town that hosts an Art Night every Friday. Here you will find artisans sharing art, jewelry, pottery, and food. Tip: Eat at Bobbie's
Kauai Farmers Markets - I recommend Hanalei Farmers Market & Kauai Community College Saturday's & at 9:30 am – 12:00 pm. There are plenty to discover, check link for more. Be sure to pick up some fresh pineapple and papaya.
Kilauea Lighthouse - Kilauea Wildlife refuge works to protect several seabirds that inhabit the area. You will also want to checkout the breathtaking views of the light house.
What to Do
Deep Sea Fishing - If you love to fish, checkout Hawaiian Style Fishing! Ran by a Terry and his twin sons, Josh and Tyler. We had a blast catching fish with them!
Sunset Catamaran Tour - Take a breathtaking sunset cruise while taking in the views of the Napali Coast. Included: Dinner Buffet, Soft Drinks, and Cocktails.
Bike Ride - If close to the Princeville area, rent a bike and ride to one of the resorts for Happy Hour. I recommend the Happy Talk Lounge; gorgeous view, delicious appetizers, and cocktails worth biking back for.
Helicopter Ride - Want to see the island from above? Book your helicopter tour here.
Can you see why I love Kauai so much now? I hope my guide inspires you to take a trip there, and if you visit I would love to see your photos! Be sure to tag #nomadicniche on your next adventure!
Til next time my fellow travel loves,