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Kauai 2023

We are looking to travel next Feb/March to the beautiful island of Kauai. We are looking to stay in the Poipu area. I’ve looked at resorts and one smaller owner-owned property. We will plan to be active and do something away from our lodgings almost every day, but it would be nice to relax by a pool at the end of the day. But, not having a pool would not be a deal breaker. This will be a return trip for us, but first time staying in the Poipu area. Often, this forum has advice on “little gems”. Hawaii is expensive, but fairly easy for us to travel to and we have fallen in love with Kauai. Any advice appreciated!

Posted by
2574 posts

We returned from Poipu a few weeks ago. We’ve been visiting that area for over 30 years (should have bought a place!) We obviously, love it there. We stay at the Kiahuna Plantation. These condos are managed by three companies, Castle, Outrigger and Parrish. You can also find units on VRBO and some owners have sites. We’ve sought 2 bedroom units in the past and there are not many of those, most being one bedroom. This time we traveled as a couple and stayed in a one bedroom. Kiahuna fronts on a large lawn which spills onto a beautiful beach. There is a beach shack that has towels, chairs, boogie boards, etc. There is no pool on premise but rental includes access to the Poipu Athletic Club with a nice pool, restaurant with poolside service and an open air gym just across the road. The unit we had was not updated but had two things we find valuable-a tub and a washer/dryer in the unit (there is a coin operated launderette on premise but we like to pack ultra-light and do small loads daily in the unit). It was right on the ocean. We walked every morning along the ocean to see the turtles, going for a cappuccino or light breakfast. We had some very good meals and one night sat next to Carlos Santana! PM me if you want details or other Poipu information.

Posted by
2272 posts

Good advice from Alan. We lived in Poipu for a number of years and can confirm that Kiahuna is one of the nicer properties in the area as well as being the best value for the money - it's where we sent our own overflow guests when they were visiting.

There are a number of good guidebooks to get you oriented, but my basic advice would be to stick to the south and west shores. Hanalei and the north shore are beautiful but the traffic getting there and back would make for a frustrating day trip. Besides, the southwest is the sunny side with plenty to explore without trekking to the other side of the island.
At the end of Poipu Rd you'll find Mahaulupu Beach - used to be something of a local secret but then some bozo put it one of the guidebooks so it's not as private as it used to be. Still gorgeous though - with several small sandy beaches you can hike to from the parking area. Just try to get there early.

Posted by
6782 posts

Its been a long time for us. Is Koloa still a relatively cool place, or has it been developed into submission?

Posted by
2574 posts

No Koloa town remains small. Businesses have come and gone. Laperts Ice Cream remains as does the fish market, although that has moved around the corner. There is now a very good Italian restaurant , La Spezia and a decent wine bar, The Tasting Room. A lot across from the main drag hosts food trucks.

Posted by
128 posts

Thanks for the replies, looking forward to visiting this beautiful island!

Posted by
122 posts

If it is in the budget--the Hyatt. We have a Marriott timeshare and lucked out to use the timeshare in Poipu right when the quarantine requirement ended in 2021. If you can get into that, it would be another option. (Sometimes, if it's not filled, Marriott VC will rent out units like a hotel. They are very nice, with a full kitchen.). Of course there are the Airbnb's. They may be more economical, and from what I could see on the outside, the condo places were nice.

The local mall has a Sunshine Farmers Market on Wednesday. Great place to get local fruit as well as at a local stand on the side road into Poipu. Hanapepe is a cool town and hopefully their Friday night art festival is back. Take the Heritage Walk -- will see some great ocean views with lots of sea turtles playing in the surf. It goes right by the Hyatt. The better views start before the Hyatt.

There is a dive supermarket that has the best poke you can have as well as fresh local baked goods. Kukuilula market. Look for the little Yellow Submarine as a landmark. Hanalei is a cool place to visit on the north side. Great snorkeling there and it's off the beaten path for just walking around. We couldn't get there last year due to roads being washed out. Best chocolate farm tour--Lydgate. Must book in advance and I suggest early in your trip because you will sample local fruits that you can buy at the sunshine markets and impress the locals that you know what the fruits are. Best local food is in Lihue--Mark's Place (THE best plate Lunch), Tip Top Cafe (amazing breakfasts) Hamura Saimin for a noodle place.

Waimea Canyon-- however, bring walking sticks. The red dirt of Kauai never comes out. Trust me. There is a cool lodge, Koke'e Lodge that is alot of fun. We had live music when were there, plus a fun bar, good food and good bar.

Bring gortex. You will have rain.

Posted by
5789 posts

RE: "The red dirt of Kauai never comes out."

Red dirt dyed shirts: https://reddirtmaui.com/collections/dirt-shirts

On September 11, 1992, Hurricane Iniki hit the island of Kauai,
causing nearly 2 billion dollars in damage. Among the businesses
affected was a small screenprint shop. All of the white shirts waiting
to be printed were drenched with water and stained with the red dirt
blown in from the storm. In order to save the business, the resulting
t-shirts, stained with the ultra iron-rich soil, were sold as
"souvenirs" of the hurricane, and a dirt dyeing process was born.

Posted by
2574 posts

Hanapepe is a cool town and hopefully their Friday night art festival is back.

Yes it is a cool town and if you read the website like we did you’d assume the art walk on Friday night is back. Wrong (at least for now). A shop owner said it’s been off since the pandemic began but the website was never updated! Anyway, we walked the rope bridge and had great sushi at Japanese Grandma’s Cafe sitting in the lovely back yard. Food was so good we returned for lunch as they feature ramen two days per week. Stopped at the poorly signed chip place where an elder who never seems to age makes taro, sweet potato and potato chips in giant woks. Only good that day, no preservatives.