PLANNING A VACATION IN KAUAI?

August 12, 2013|  Article By : 

 

PLANNING A VACATION IN KAUAI?

One of the most important factors in determining where to stay on Kauai, is the time of year that you intend to travel. Weather conditions vary greatly on Kauai. The North Shore is the most tropical and gets the most rain, followed by the East, South, and West Shores.  The wettest spot on Earth, Mt. Waialeale is not far from the North Shore. The heavy rainfall is what makes the North Shore one of the most beautiful spots in the World.  Most of the rainfall on Kauai falls during the winter months (December through March). The weather during late Spring, Summer, and early Fall is much drier, as it is on all shores in the Hawaiian Islands.  

Poipu is the most popular destination for travelers to Kauai. It is located on Kauai’s sunny South Shore. Poipu receives approximately 32 inches of rainfall annually, most of which falls at night when the atmosphere cools.  During the summer, temperatures in Poipu vary between the high 80’s during the day to the low 70’s, or high 60’s at night.  Winter temperatures range between the low 80’s to the low 70’s during the day, and high 50’s or low 60’s at night. The best weather is in the spring and fall. The trade winds blow 15-20 MPH year round. 

Many vacationers use Poipu as their home base because of its drier climate, top rated beaches, excellant snorkeling, great surfing, challenging golf courses, and its affordable vacation rentals, not to mention its natural beauty. Centrally located, Poipu is midway between the West Shore and the North Shore.  The airport in Lihue is only 20 minutes from Poipu.

FLIGHTS TO KAUAI

Nearly all of the major mainland based airlines fly to Hawaii, but only a few have direct flights to Kauai.  American Airlines, United Airlines, and Alaska Airlines are currently the only three carriers that fly direct from the West Coast into Lihue (LIH) Kauai.  Hawaiian Airlines may begin service in the not too distant future. The direct flights cut anywhere from two to five hours out of your travel time.  If you don’t fly direct, the usual route is into Honolulu, then over to Kauai on an Inter Island flight. 

Air fares to Kauai are the cheapest in the winter time, with round trips costing approximately $400 from the West Coast.  Summer airfares skyrocket into the high $700’s and even the $800’s.  Prices drop the further in advance that you purchase your tickets. You may find better fares than those offered by the airlines at Expedia and Orbitz

POIPU VACATION RENTALS

Poipu Beach was once rated one of the best beaches in the World by The Travel Channel. If you plan to travel and stay in the Poipu area, start your search for a Poipu vacation rental, or Poipu Condo Rental, six to eight months prior to your arrival date, especially if you plan to vacation in the winter season. The winter months are the busiest time of year in Poipu. Since many condo owners use their property themselves during that time period, the availability of vacation rentals is substantially reduced.  At the height of the busy season, there are often no condos available for rent in the Poipu area.    

The most sought after condos in Poipu are those on the Oceanfront.  Kuhio Shores and Poipu Shores are two of the more popular oceanfront locations on the South Shore.  Many of the vacation rental condos at those Poipu resorts have been completely renovated. Their interiors are more typical of what you would expect to find only in a multi-million dollar Kauai Beachfront Home.  You won’t be disappointed at either location.  Whaler’s Cove and Poipu Kapili also have beautiful  luxury condos in Poipu Beach.  Other oceanfront condominium resorts in the Poipu area are Poipu Palms, Lawai Beach Resort, Poipu McKai, Kiahuna Plantation, Sunset Kahili, and Makahuena. The Hyatt Regency and the Kauai Sheraton are the two major hotels in Poipu.  

KAUAI CAR RENTALS 

Nearly everyone rents a car while vacationing in Kauai.  All the major car rental agencies are located at, or very near the airport in Lihue.  It’s wise to reserve your car prior to arriving on Kauai.  Otherwise, you may end up with no rental car, if traveling during the busy season, or paying more for your rental car, than you paid for your vacation rental in Poipu!  The best rental car deals may be through your airline.  Check their prices and also check with Priceline or HotWire.  The last source of Kauai car rentals that we can offer is Lou Johnson (808)346-5436.  He owns approximately 50 rental cars himself. 

SHOPPING & DINING IN POIPU

Grocery shopping is conveniently located in Poipu, but the best prices, by far, can be found at Costco, near the airport in Lihue. After picking up their rental car, many people stop at Costco, before heading off to their condo rental in Poipu Beach. The main grocery store in the Poipu area is the Big Save, located in Koloa Town. 

If you don’t plan to cook during your vacation, restaurants are everywhere in Poipu.  The best restaurant is the Beach House Restaurant, located next to Kuhio Shores.  It has spectacular ocean views from the dining area, and awesome sunsets too.  Nearly every night, nearly a hundred people gather at the restaurant to watch the sunsets; the same sunsets that you see from inside many of the condos at Kuhio Shores.   Other restaurants in Poipu are:

Plantation Gardens 2253 Poipu Road Koloa Kauai, HI 96756 (808) 742-2121.  The menu of this restaurant features cuisine that belongs to the old plantation days of Hawaii. The menu boasts of dishes that use completely organic products and hence maintains a level of freshness like no other. The most popular dish here is a type of fish that is cooked in plantain leaves with spices. This is accompanied by steamed rice and fried pickles. The coconut shrimp curry is a must try and bursts with flavors.

Casa di Amici 2301 Nalo Road Poipu, HI 96756 (808) 742-1555.  This restaurant was converted into a world class restaurant from a wood and stone structure. This is one of the Kauai restaurants that will give you a true Hawaiian experience. Try the risottos that are made as per your choice using mushrooms, chicken or shrimp. The batter-fried chicken wings are uniquely flavored with local spices. The Italian dishes are influenced by local ingredients and styles of cooking. The salmon and grilled shrimp are a must try.

Casablanca 2290 Poipu Road Koloa Kauai, HI 96756 (808) 742-2929.  Casablanca is a restaurant that has a fun and casual ambiance. The restaurant’s open air dining offers a cool and romantic environment, especially at night. The cuisine here is simple yet filled with local flavors. Try the Agnello, Zarzuela con Mariscos and the Bistecca di Manzo while you are at this restaurant. The restaurant organizes various food festivals and tapas lunches throughout the week. The Sunday brunch has a spread fit for a king. Casablanca is one of the Kauai restaurants that will keep you coming back for more.

Joe’s On the Green 2525 Kiahuna Plantation Drive Koloa, HI 96756 (808) 742-9696.  Joe’s On the Green is a restaurant that caters to the tourist that comes to Hawaii. This restaurant specializes in making familiar American food that tempts and pleases the senses. The burgers here are enormous in size and are extremely juicy. The pizzas and subs are a must try. The bar at this restaurant is a fun place to stir up conversations over a few drinks.

Brennecks Beach Broiler, 808-742-7588:  Casual oceanfront dining. Fresh fish, prime rib and pasta specialities. Lunch, dinner, take-out, afternoon happy hour. Street-side deli at Poipu Beach Park. Right on the Beach, Right on the Price. Open Daily 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Dondero’s (Grand Hyatt) 808-742-1234: Named the Island’s Best Italian Restaurant. Dondero’s blends Old World ambiance with New World energy, making a valuable contribution to the joy of eating. Savor one incredible flavor at a time. The rest is just icing on the Tiramisu. Reservations are recommended. Open for Dinner only. Resort Attire. A private dining room for twelve is available.

Josselin’s Tapas Bar & Grill 808-742-7117: Hawaii regional cuisine chef, Jean Marie Josselin has created another masterpiece at Kukuiula Village with his new Tapas style restaurant. Enjoy island style, small plate dinners, larger entre plates and fresh Sangria like you’ve never had it before. Plan to share several plates and taste even more of Jean Marie’s incredible culinary talents. Located in The Shops at Kukui’ula.

Kalapaki Joe’s: There is something for the entire family at Kalapaki Joe’s Poipu. Enjoy a fresh salad, juicy burger, a pasta dish, steak or fresh island fish tacos while watching your favorite game on one of the many large screen TVs. Choose from over 50 beers, the largest selection on the island. Open for breakfast at 7am on Saturdays and Sundays during football season. Great Food, epic service and televised sports. Happy hour specials from 3-6pm. Kalapaki Joe’s televises all UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) pay-per-view events. For reservations and information on upcoming fights visit KalapakiJoes.com.

Keoki’s Paradise 808-742-7534: At Keoki’s Paradise you are more than our welcome guest, you are Ohana, our extended family. We invite you to stay awhile, relax by our garden pools, cascading waterfalls, and enjoy our delicious island style food; Fresh Fish, Seafood and Prime Steaks. Live contemporary Hawaiian music nightly. Bamboo Bar open for Lunch / Dinner 11am to 10:30pm, Daily Happy Hour 3pm-5pm, Dining Room 4:45pm-9:30pm, Chef’s Sunset Menu 4:45pm-5:45pm. Located in Poipu Shopping Village.

Merriman’s Downstairs Cafe 808-742-2857:  The casual Merriman’s ‘Cafe’ features a Mediterranean menu that combines flavors from North Africa to Greece to Italy with products from Hawaii. This casual restaurant offering salads to pizza to fresh fish, will be open for lunch and dinner. Open daily 11am – 9pm. Located in The Shops at Kukui’ula.

Merriman’s Fish House 808-742-8385:  Chef/Owner Peter Merriman is a three time finalist in the James Beard awards for best chef – Pacific Northwest and Hawaii. Merriman’s Fish House is a more formal dining experience on the second level, with breathtaking ocean and mountain views. This restaurant is open for dinner only and will feature fresh fish indigenous to the islands as well as fresh, locally grown/raised produce and meats. Open daily 5:30pm – 9:00pm. Located in The Shops at Kukui’ula.

Plantation Gardens Restaurant & Bar 808-742-2121:  Surrounded by the beautiful Moir Gardens at Kiahuna Plantation Resort, Plantation Gardens features Pacific Rim cuisine with regional Hawaiian influence. Located in an historic plantation manor, we feature outdoor lanai seating, handcrafted tropical drinks, specialty cocktails, gorgeous views of lush orchid gardens and complimentary parking. A renowned location for weddings and celebrations of all sizes, Plantation Gardens offers a dedicated event planner to help you plan your ideal private party. The bar opens at 5:00pm with dinner served nightly from 5:30pm.

Roy”s Poipu Bar & Grill 808-742-5000:  Special menu that changes nightly, featuring the freshest local fish, produce, meats and game made into wildly creative arrays of appetizers, salads, pastas and entrees, plus delicious desserts. Open 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Located in the Poipu Shopping Village.

Tidepools (Grand Hyatt) 808-742-8884:  The unique Hawaiian setting with its open-air Hale Pele (thatched huts) against a backdrop of waterfalls and Koi filled lagoons create an atmosphere of rustic charm. Reservations are recommended. Children’s menu is available. Serves Dinner only. Casual resort wear.

Tortilla Republic Grill Margarita Bar 808-742-8884: This two story restaurant and bar features the freshest fine Mexican cuisine in a casual chic environment. Enjoy creative Margaritas and cocktails at one of the best Mexican restaurants on Kauai. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Located at The Shops at Kukui’ula.

              

SWIMMING IN POIPU BEACH

Once you settle into your Poipu rental and head for the beach, play it safe entering the water!  Watch where the locals enter the water.  They know where the safe entry and exit spots are.  If you’re not a good swimmer, or not in reasonably good physical condition, take a floating device with you. Ocean conditions can change quickly in Kauai, so try to swim near a life guard. And remember, the rule in Hawaii is:  IF IN DOUBT, DON’T GO OUT!    That said, two of the best swimming spots in Poipu are Poipu Beach Park, and Brennecke Beach.  Brennecke Beach is also a popular boogie board spot.  Public parking at Poipu Beach Park is plentiful, but that isn’t the case at Brennecke Beach.  Lifeguards are located in both locations.  There is a Deli just across the street from the park, along with Brennecke’s Restaurant and a surf shop.   Shipwreck Beach is also good for swimming, but it can get hazardous.  It has a beautiful wide sandy beach and is located next to the Hyatt Regency.  If you’re into wind surfing, Mahaulepu is the beach for you.  It’s very rocky so it isn’t very good for swimming.  There is a fun little surf break at Mahaulepu if the swell direction is just right.  It’s about a mile or so East of the Hyatt.  

GOLFING IN POIPU

There are several great golf course in Poipu Beach.  The Kiahuna Golf Club is a Poipu original.  It offers golfers a beautiful newly renovated 18-hole course nestled in the heart of Po‘ipu, combining the spectacular beauty of the islands with a sense of the enduring history of the region.  Renowned architect Robert Trent Jones, Jr. included many ancient remnants of a Hawaiian village into the design of the course. Kiahuna Golf Club is home to Joe’s on the Green, a local and visitor favorite for its bar and restaurant that overlooks the course.

The Poipu Bay Golf Course is an 18-hole championship course situated on 210 oceanfront acres adjacent to the Hyatt Regency Kauai Resort & Spa. Designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr., Poipu Bay is an ocean links style course featuring spectacular vistas and challenging play. Over the years, Poipu Bay has won numerous awards and has been consistently rated among the top golf courses in Hawaii and the U.S. Since 1994, Poipu Bay has played host to the annual PGA Grand Slam of Golf, one of the most prestigious tournaments in the golf world.  

SNORKELING IN POIPU

Snorkeling is one of the favorite ocean activities on Kauai. There are many different species of colorful tropical fish that live beneath the surface.  On any given day you’ll see angel fish, hawkfish, pennant fish, moorish fish, parrot fish, needlefish, groupers, convict tangs, goatfish, butterflyfish, squid, rays, crabs and lobsters.  There are many more types of fish in Hawaii, but most stay in deeper waters.

One of the best snorkeling spots in Poipu is located next to the condominiums at Kuhio Shores.  The snorkeling area at that location is protected  from the waves by a reef. Poipu Beach Park also has good snorkeling.  Most Kauai condo owners provide snorkeling gear for the people that rent their condos. If the owner doesn’t provide snorkeling equipment, Snorkel Bob’s has all the snorkeling gear that you’ll need.  

The fish that you hope to see once you hit the water, like to “hang out” near rocky areas. To protect your feet from the rocks, you may want to wear foot gear. Many snorkelers like to feed the fish frozen vegetables. Keep in mind that some fish like fingers too, so be careful. Don’t try to ”pet” the fish or the turtles! Monk seals are sometimes in the snorkeling areas. If you don’t bother the seals, they normally won’t bother you!      

SURFING IN POIPU 

The best surf spots in Poipu are located straight out from the condos at Kuhio Shores. The surf spots are called “Smokeys”, “PK’s”, “Centers”, and “Acid Drops”.  Smokey’s is a great left break and doesn’t break on small swells.  PK’s is a right break that reforms after it passes by Smokey’s.  Center’s is primarily a right break, but at times offers a good left.  Center’s gets pretty gnarly once it gets over six feet.  Acid Drop’s is a gnarly right break.  It breaks boards when it gets big.  Boogie Boarding is popular at these surf spots too. None of these surf breaks are good for beginners.  The currents are strong.  The water is shallow in spots and the reef is sharp.  If you have the expertise to surf these spots, but can’t afford the high prices that the airlines want to check your surfboard as baggage, Nukumoi Surf Shop has surfboard rentals, along with all types of beach gear. If you’d like to learn to surf, or take surf lessons, Nukumoi Surf Shop also offers lessons. To see real time surf action from our condos at Kuhio Shores, check out our live Poipu Surf Cam.  Or check out the south shore surf report.

KAUAI WEDDINGS IN POIPU BEACH

One of the best places to get married in Kauai is on the grounds of the Beach House Restaurant in Poipu. Their oceanfront setting is beautiful; so beautiful that people come from all over the Island to enjoy the romantic sunsets as they sip on their favorite tropical drink, or have dinner at the best restaurant in Poipu.  Nearly every evening a wedding takes place on the oceanfront lawn just steps from the surf. The Beach House Restaurant is located next to Kuhio Shores which has plenty of gorgeous wedding suites available for rent.   

POIPU SCUBA DIVING

Kauai has plenty of great scuba diving areas. One of the best scuba diving areas in the Poipu area is in the deep water area 50 yards offshore from Kuhio Shores.  Because of the deep water in that area, the waves don’t break.  Quite often you’ll see 10-15 scuba divers at one time.  Seasport Divers offers lessons and boat trips to some of the best scuba diving areas in Hawaii. They film the entire excurison so that your Kauai vacation scuba diving adventure can be enjoyed for years to come.   

Helicopter rides, boat rides, hiking, golfing, bike riding, fishing, sightseeing , dining out, and shopping are some of the other things to do while vacationing in Poipu

 

HAVE A GREAT VACATION IN POIPU, KAUAI, HAWAII.

 

 

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