Kauai

Guide


From the soaring cliffs of the Napali Coast to the vast chasms of Waimea Canyon, Kauai embraces the senses like no other destination. Explore the island via land, sea or air to experience settings you’ve only dreamed about. Discover 80 kilometres of heavenly beaches from Poipu Beach to Hanalei Bay. Explore charming and historic small towns like Hanapepe and Koloa, where no building is taller than a coconut tree. With so much to experience, “Hawaii’s Island of Discovery” is begging to be explored.

  • The sunny West Side is home to a few of Kauai’s most historic places and scenic wonders.
  • The sunny South Shore of Kauai is home to the historic area of Koloa and the resort area of Poipu.
  • Lihue is the government and commercial centre of the island as well as a cultural and historical area.
  • East Side the most populated district on the island, the Coconut Coast is home to historic places, amazing beaches and memorable attractions.
  • Kauai’s dramatic North Shore is an enchanting setting full of lush taro fields, heavenly beaches and spectacular sea cliffs.

Key facts


Capital:Lihue
Land Area:1,456 sq. km | 562 sq. km
Population:65,700
Languages:English, Hawaiian
Currency:US Dollars
Exchange Rates:UK£1 = US$1.6
Money:ATM’s available and credit cards widely accepted
Visas:None for stays up to 3 month subject to eligibility

Getting there and around


Long Haul Flights

From the U.K there are numerous daily services offering “one stop” connections to Kauai – Lihue Airport. Typical journey times last at least 18 hours and therefore it is important to take into account such things as refuelling stops and seat comfort when choosing a carrier and fare. The Hawaiian Islands are very well served from mainland North America and you may wish to stopover on-route (see USA/Canadian Destinations below). We have a selection of suggested City and Fly Drive stopover packages that can be tailor-made to your exact requirements.

Itinerary suggestions:

It is possible to fly out of one US City and into another e.g.
London – Los Angeles – Lihue (Kauai) – San Francisco – London

If visiting two or more of the Islands, fly non-stop into Honolulu, take an inter-island flight from Honolulu to Kauai and then a non-stop flight back to Los Angeles e.g.
London – San Francisco – Honolulu (Oahu) – Lihue (Kauai) – Los Angeles – London

US/Canadian Destinations: Vancouver, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver, Phoenix, Seattle, San Diego
International Destinations: None – must transit via Honolulu (Oahu)

Inter-Island Flights

Kauai’s main airport is Lihue Airport in south eastern Lihue. Many airlines now offer non-stop service to Kauai. Click here for additional inter-island flight times.

Lihue Airport Destinations: Honolulu Airport (Oahu), Kahului Airport (Maui)

Note: There are non-stop flights from the US mainland to Maui, Kauai, and Hawaii’s Big Island. For the neighbouring islands of Lanai and Molokai you will need to connect through Oahu (Honolulu) or Maui (Kahului).

Driving

If you’re planning to explore the island, it’s best to rent a car. This will allow you the flexibility to tour Waimea Canyon one day then spend the next in Hanalei Town. Reserve your rental vehicle in advance because quantities can be limited on some islands.

Distances from Lihue Airport to:

  • Hanapepe: 30 minutes
  • Kalalau Lookout: 1 hour, 40 minutes
  • Koloa: 25 minutes
  • Poipu: 30 minutes
  • Princeville: 1 hour
  • Wailua: 15 minutes
  • Waimea Canyon: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Public Transport

Shuttles and tours are also available, though stops will be limited.

When to go


Step off the plane and feel the warm embrace of Kauai with average yearly temperatures ranging between 84 and 69 degrees. Ocean temperatures are also perfect ranging from 71 to 81 degrees year round.

Kauai offers seven distinct microclimates, from lush interior spots to arid areas on the West Side. Mount Waialeale (elevation 5,148 ft) is at the heart of Kauai’s uninhabited interior and is a quintessential rainforest with over 400-inches of rain per year. The rain that falls around Mt. Waialeale generally does not affect the coastal parts of the island, which get far less rain than the central spots (as little as 18-inches a year in western areas). Much of Kauai’s rainfall is a nightly occurrence, and the rain showers that do occur are almost always brief. When you do see rain, wait for the beautiful rainbows that follow.

The trade winds in Kauai also keep things cool for visitors. The winds are generally light and help chase away much of Hawaii’s humidity. With such great weather, any time of year is a good time to visit Kauai.

Lihue
Mean Daily Temperatures – Centigrade/Fahrenheit

 

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
High | LowHigh | LowHigh | LowHigh | LowHigh | LowHigh | LowHigh | LowHigh | LowHigh | LowHigh | LowHigh | LowHigh | Low
Temp (C)25 | 1725 | 1726 | 1726 | 1827 | 1928 | 2029 | 2129 | 2129 | 2129 | 2027 | 1926 | 18
Temp (F)77 | 6377 | 6379 | 6379 | 6481 | 6682 | 6884 | 7084 | 7084 | 7084 |6881 | 6679 | 64
Rain Days151317181616191716181816
When to go A good time but may be some considerations destination-2-tick-blk destination-2-tick-blk destination-2-tick-blk destination-2-tick-blk destination-2-tick-blk destination-2-tick-blk destination-2-tick-blk Best time to travel Best time to travel destination-2-tick-blk destination-2-tick-blk

Travel possible but not recommended
A good time but maybe some considerations.
Best time to travel.

Things to see and do


An outdoor adventure sailing the Napali Coast or ziplining above Kauai’s lush valleys? A romantic escape to amazing beaches and luxurious resorts? A cultural journey discovering authentic hula, exploring Hawaiian fishponds and learning about Kauai’s most historic places? Or maybe just a quiet horseback ride in the pastures of Princeville?

North Shore

  • Timeless Hanalei Town is home to taro farms, art galleries and the Hanalei Pier overlooking beautiful Hanalei Bay.
  • Kilauea Lighthouse, on Kauai’s northernmost tip, is a wildlife refuge offering amazing views.
  • Waioli Mission House and Church is a Hanalei landmark, giving a glimpse of what Kauai was like in the early 1800s.
  • The Napali Coast is a breath-taking coastal range that can only be accessed by hiking, sea tour or helicopter tour.

East Side

  • Opaekaa Falls – With a roadside lookout, this is one of Kauai’s most accessible major waterfalls.
  • The Fern Grotto is a beautiful lava-rock grotto covered with hanging ferns, popular for weddings.
  • Wailua River – Kauai has the only navigable rivers in Hawaii, and the Wailua River is one of the most popular.
  • Nounou Mountain (Sleeping Giant) –  Legendary mountain range that looks like a sleeping giant featuring a scenic hiking trail.
  • North of Wailua on the East Side is Kapaa Town, a great area for shopping on Kauai.

West Side

  • Known as “Kauai’s biggest little town,” charming Hanapepe Town is the art capital of Kauai.
  • Kokee State Park features 72 kilometres of Kauai’s best hiking trails and is the home of the Kalalau Lookout.
  • Waimea Canyon, on Kauai’s west side, is nicknamed “The Grand Canyon of the Pacific.”

Lihue

  • Located in Lihue, the Kauai Museum features amazing collections from the artisans of Kauai and Niihau.
  • Wailua Falls is an easily accessible, 24-metre-high waterfall located north of Lihue.
  • According to legend, the Menehune built Alekoko Fishpond on Kauai’s southeast shore in one night.
  • Kilohana Estate –  Past Lihue is Kilohana, a restored plantation estate that provides a glimpse of life in the 1930s.
  • Grove Farm Homestead Museum –  Founded in 1864, this 40-hectare sugar plantation museum in Lihue provides a fascinating look into Kauai’s plantation past.

South Shore

  • Koloa Heritage Trail, on Kauai’s south shore, spotlights significant cultural, historical and geological sites.
  • Spouting Horn Park features a blowhole that’s one of the most photographed spots on Kauai.
  • Poipu Beach Park, on Kauai’s south shore, was once voted “America’s Best Beach.”
  • Old Koloa Town, in south Kauai, is a charming area with a historic plantation past.