Kauai Getaway Guide
Did you find a great airline deal and now you’re ready for a Kauai getaway? Perfect. If you have four days and a plane ticket, I’ll take you from here.
On every vacation, I like to put equal efforts towards exploring and relaxation. This trip, I also focused on poke stops. I don’t know if it’s the countless deep sea fishing trips I’ve taken, but I find myself craving poke almost weekly. When in Hawaii, those cravings amplify into a daily hunter-gatherer mentality. Must. Find. Poke.
Land and seek out poke stop.
Maka Sushi (see here) is nestled within a grocery store. Noticing a line out front? That’s for Da Crack tacos (more here). Although Da Crack has raving Yelp reviews, I’m from SoCal, and I am fairly certain that, aside from my Tia’s kitchen, we offer the best tacos in America. Maka Sushi bowls offers creative bowls and high prices. Maybe it’s the Gorilla bowls Maui onion, maybe it’s the fresh tuna, either way, I don’t regret the $18 I spent for one second.
Kauai has a magnificent coastline, take time to suction cup your nose to your window and look at every tree and beach you pass. Sometimes you’ll drive through miles of forest and then the sky opens up to a breathtaking turn. Cliffs to you right reveal one of the many beaches Kauai has to offer. In fact, Kauai has more beachy coastline than any of the other Hawaiian islands.
My family and I stayed in Princeville, and thank goodness we did. A devastating storm hit Hanalei a week before I arrived, and the rebuilding efforts were on island time. Good news though! Ama Kauai and Bar Acuda seemed to be in great condition. Both restaurants offered tasty local fare in small portions. After a sizable poke and taco lunch, small portions and creative cocktails satisfied my crew’s tastebuds without overstuffing our bellies.
Hot Tip: If you’re looking to eat at Bar Acuda, call at least two weeks in advance, or be prepared to sit at the bar.
We were perfectly happy enjoying dinner at Ama Kauai. Same owners, lower prices, and ramen! Turns out that chefs in Kauai know their ramen and brussels sprouts. Please promise to try them as they offer a taste bud explosion!
I started every day off in Kauai with kombucha from Kauai Juice Co. there is something about the zing of kombucha that makes me feel alive. Kauai Juice Co. kombucha is on tap in the ironically named, Big Save market in Hanalei, at The Health Food Store and at the numerous Kauai Juice Co. stores on the island. Speaking of Big Save, if you’re in the area and it’s before 11, try a Loco Moco and a freshly baked pastry from Village Snack Shop and Bakery next door. The gravy might counteract the health benefits of the kombucha, but the rich flavor makes all that guilt disappear.
Kauai spans 552 square miles and only 20% of the island is walkable. On day two, I highly recommend a view from above or the side of the island. We took a tour on Sunshine Helicopters. Next time, I’d love to try a NaPali boat tour on Capt Andy’s.
Recharge with a coffee from Trilogy Coffee and head down the coast to Poipu. I didn’t spend much time in this area, but the beaches are spectacular.
Try lunch at the family-owned, Koloa Fish market. It’s been around since 1984 and I found myself visibly impressed with the varieties of poke they offered (yes, my jaw dropped). Wasabi, Avocado, and even Korean flavored left me unable to choose, so, as I usually do, I asked them to dish up their favorites.
We avoided the temptation to take a post-meal nap on the beach and instead pushed on to The Spouting Horn . There are local vendors scattered about at this spot, and the answer is yes, you do need the wave-shaped ring!
Poipu beach park is one of the Travel Channel’s 10 best beaches, but if you can’t find parking, the Poipu Plantation Resort is just as nice. I figured out that the wind picks up pretty consistently in Kauai around 4:30pm. This same thing happens in Cabo. I wonder if it’s a memo that vacation towns get.
Drive up to Paniolo BBQ Kauai for dinner in Kapaa. They offer live music outside, Santa Maria style BBQ Tri-Tip Steak and Grilled Ono. There are a whole bunch of other things on the menu, but those were my favorites.
Hot Tip: The place is BYOB, so pick up a bottle of wine at the market around the corner and bring it in with you. Fancy plastic cups play well with the BBQ vibe.
This is your day to hike, snorkel, or explore shops! We didn’t hike on this trip, but Waimea Canyon is at the top of my list for the next visit. For snorkel rentals, Pedal N Paddle Snorkel Gear can’t be beaten at $3 per snorkel. This spot is in Hanalei, so I’d take your snorkel to low-key Anini Beach for convenient turtle watching. Do not feed the birds. I promise it’s not worth it. Those roosters, cardinals, and chickens are fierce. My dad threw a bunch of bird seed out before he went snorkeling with my step-mom. I closed my eyes to rest only to find myself surrounded by a fowl feasting festivity within a matter of minutes.
My pick for Day 3 lunch is the most amazing Chili Peppa Chicken $10 can buy at The Village Snack Shop and a sugar-filled Shave Ice for dessert.
If you’re spending the day shopping, there are tons in Hanalei to explore, a fun yogi den in between, and even more in Kapaa. I absolutely loved our last meal at Kalypso in Hanalei where I had my first fried calamari steak and a fresh poke salad. I had no idea octopus could taste so delicious! Honestly, octopus gives me nightmares, but it was worth it.
Below are a few places I’d recommend for your trip to Kauai. I’m a little biased and prefer the North Shore!
Do you have any favorite places in Kauai? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below. Thanks for following and enjoy your tropical getaway!