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Planning a trip to Kauai? Learn about Kauai from local Kauai writers. Fun stories, events and things to do on Kauai.

Summertime Blossoms on Kauai

These trees are often planted around parks or alongside roadways where they “shower” the ground with brightly colored petals and waft fragrant scents into the air. The entire tree seems to be an explosion of color. They can be found in white, yellow, pink, and a combination of these colors. Peak blooming season for these trees is July and August. You are most likely to see these trees on the road that leads to the Grand Hyatt in Poipu.

Royal Poinciana Tree:

This tree is also known as the flame tree because the blossoms are so plentiful and vibrant, that the tree appears to be on fire with color. These trees have a beautiful shape and are commonly used for landscaping parks, libraries and schools, and of course resorts across the island. Royal Poinciana trees are native to Madagascar and boast a spectacular floral display that will have you reaching for your camera.

Plumeria:

The plumeria is the iconic Hawaiian flower. Plumeria blossoms come in plethora of different colors including hot pink, burgundy, white, yellow, and combination of pink and yellow that appears to be bright orange. Their sweet fragrance is most pungent at night when the trees try to lure their pollinators. Plumeria blossoms are commonly used for making leis. Also known as frangipani, Plumeria is a popular scent for candles, perfumes, lotion, and infusers.

Orchids:

Thousands of varieties of orchids have been used to landscape gardens and resorts across the island of Kauai. Many varieties begin blooming in the spring, but it is possible to see amazing displays of orchids throughout the summer. There are so many shapes and colors that you may be overwhelmed with their beauty. One of the best places to observe an unrivaled display of orchids is in front of Plantation Gardens Restaurant in the Kiahuna Plantation Resort in Poipu. There is no charge to walk through the garden and the enormous sprays of exotic blooms are likely to take your breath away.

It is interesting to note that almost none of these flowers are native to Hawaii. The environment in Hawaii makes propagation easy and the perfect climate allows many types of flowers to bloom year-round. No matter where you visit on Kauai, you are sure to enjoy the abundant blossoms and fragrances of summer.

Tips for Getting Married on Kauai

 

Getting married on Kauai is a dream come true for many couples. There is no better location for a destination wedding than Kauai. If you want to plan a wedding on Kauai, here are a few tips to help relieve your stress, save you money, and have the best wedding ever. These tips are meant to help you make more informed decisions so that all you have to worry about is showing up.


Hiring a Wedding Coordinator:

The most important part of planning a Kauai wedding is to hire a wedding coordinator. There is nothing more stressful than trying to plan a wedding in an unfamiliar place without one. If you cannot afford to hire a coordinator from start to finish, make sure you hire one for the day of your event, and have a family member on-hand to help with all the other details.

There are many reasons to hire a coordinator. Here are a few.

Wedding coordinators are experts at wedding planning. You cannot rely on your food and beverage staff, your resort, your DJ, or your Kauai photographer to help you with coordinator tasks on your wedding day. Any coordinating duties that are assigned to these folks, will take them away from what they do best. Let your wedding coordinator take care of all your needs on your wedding day.

Wedding coordinators know the local vendors. They know who works well together. They know who lives closest to your wedding destination. Kauai wedding planners know Kauai. They know the culture. They know how to get things done right. They know the weather. They can help you with decorations, suggestions, and working with all the people who make up your wedding team.

Because of their knowledge, it is important to listen to your wedding coordinators suggestions and be open. They may be able to make suggestions that will save you time, money, or even save your marriage. Don’t forget to check out our Kauai Wedding Guide for more information on wedding coordinators.


Choosing a venue for your wedding:

The most popular place for weddings on Kauai is the beach. If you are thinking about walking down the aisle barefoot in the sand, here is an important tip. The Department of Land and Nature Resources requires a permit for all wedding ceremonies held on public beaches. Work with your coordinator to choose a beach near your reception location and to help you with obtaining your permit.

Many other popular wedding locations include waterfalls, gardens, and resorts. A reservations and/or a site fee may be required to hold your ceremony in one of these locations. Our Kauai Wedding Guide can help you find the perfect venue for your wedding.
Planning for Weather:

Kauai has mild weather year round, so it is the perfect place for a June wedding anytime of year. That being said, there are still some things to plan for. First, it rains somewhere on Kauai everyday. Without the rain, Kauai couldn’t be called the Garden Island. To prepare for the weather, avoid the rainiest months (March and April), bring umbrellas, and most important have a Plan B (something your coordinator can help you with).

Secondly, Kauai’s sun is intense from 9am-5pm. If you are getting married on the beach during this time, consider bringing or finding some shade and keep your ceremony short. Grooms will sweat through their suits and blushing brides can melt their makeup. You and your guests can get sunburned, or even heat exhaustion. Make sure to bring plenty of cold water to avoid getting dehydrated.
Photographs:

Photographs are a must have memento of you special day. Choosing a photographer on Kauai is easy due to the large pool of local talent. Photography is an art and getting perfect wedding day photos take time. Tip: If you plan to have a beach wedding, you may be sweaty and wind-blown by the end of the ceremony. Consider having your photos done before your wedding when you are freshly dressed and looking your best. Some couples even opt to have photographs taken the day before the event. Taking your photos before the wedding will also allow you to spend more time with your guests and on the dance floor, since many hotels and dining establishments have strict policies about noise curfews.


Cutting costs on the Toast:

 

The toast is a time when groomsmen roast the groom, and bridesmaids tell sweet stories about the bride. It may be elegant to toast with champagne but did you know that only about one half of the champagne poured will be consumed? Many couples are now opting to toast with “drink in hand” and avoid this extra expense.


Choosing Flowers and Décor:

Extravagant floral arrangements, colorful linen, and other fanciful wedding décor help create the mood for an event so stunning that it will never be forgotten. For couples that desire exotic flower arrangements, there are numerous local florists on Kauai that can provide you with your dream centerpieces and table decor.

Tip: Did you know that flowers are one of the most expensive components of your wedding décor? For couples on a budget, remember that having your wedding at one of Kauai’s spectacular venues will awe your guests with natural beauty by itself. Adding just a few simple decorations can complement the overall experience and cut costs at the same time. Simple, affordable decor like Monstera leaves and pineapples make memorable Hawaiian place settings, and can be taken home by your guests and consumed.


Choosing the perfect favors:

Favors are a nice way to thank your guests for coming all the way to Kauai to share your special day with you. Purchasing favors from local crafters and businesses is a nice way to ensure that your guests take a little Kauai home with them. Popular choices for Kauai-made favors include locally made soaps and candles, coffees and chocolate, and locally grown specialty teas. These gifts are functional and affordable and your guests will love them.

 

Your Kauai wedding will be one of the most memorable days of your life. Check out our wedding guide pages for more ideas to help celebrate your perfect day.

What to Pack for Your Kauai Vacation, Tips from a Local

It’s official! You are headed to Kauai for your vacation and you couldn’t be more excited. Now, it’s time to pack and you might just be interested in a few tips from a local perspective. After thirty years in the travel industry, I have nearly seen it all. Most folks get it right, or pretty close, but I often hear, “I wish I would have known….I wish I would have brought.”

When traveling to Kauai just remember that old adage, “less is more”. In a humid climate, you need light clothing that keeps you cool and dries fast. Re-purposing is the name of the game.

The number one mistake I see is when travelers pack their summer whites. Summer whites make you look crisp, clean, sharp, and stylish, but on Kauai, your summer whites will make you look just plain dirty. Unless you are spending your entire vacation at a resort, I would recommend that you leave your whites at home. Just one hiking excursion can leave you permanently stained with Kauai red dirt. Red dirt is so troublesome on Kauai, that some companies actually use it as dye to make their red dirt shirts.

Avoid bringing jeans; they are bulky and retain moisture. Instead, opt for a lighter-weight pant that you can use for hiking and other outdoor activities. For dinner outings, bring khakis or capris. In fact, there is no need to overdress; most dining is casual. For men this means khakis or cargo shorts and an aloha shirt, and for ladies a summer dress. Sandals work well, but heels tend to get stuck in unpaved areas that are common in garden areas surrounding Kauai’s restaurants and Luau grounds.

Bring rubber flip-flops (locals call them slippers) for the beach. They can double as foot protection in the shower. Leave the reef walkers home! They will not protect your feet; they will facilitate your fall. Kauai’s reefs and river rocks are covered with slippery algae and reef walkers do not offer good enough grip. Locals use felt soled shoes called tobbies for fishing and reef walking. A good pair of sneakers is a must for outdoor activities; just make sure you are willing to get them dirty.

It rains everyday somewhere on Kauai. Bring a light rain jacket. During winter months (January-April), also bring a fleece jacket. While the temperatures listed on the weather report may look mild, when the wind turns north, it can suck the heat right out of you.

Please help keep Kauai sustainable and bring your own water bottle. Plastic water bottles that you purchase have to be shipped off-island for recycling. Also bring a re-usable shopping bag. Kauai has banned the use of plastic shopping bags, so you will need to bring your own. It won’t go to waste. You can use it as your beach bag and on the plane to bring home your souvenirs.
Here’s a tip you probably won’t hear elsewhere. Bring a small collapsible cooler. This will make a great lunchbox for car excursions, sightseeing, and trips to the beach. To keep your drinks cool, just fill Ziploc bags with ice from your hotel.

Please bring reef-friendly sunscreen. It has been shown that chemical sunscreens can kill corals. Try chemical-free sunscreens instead. Another option is a good hat and rashguard, which can protect you from the sun without having to apply anything to your skin.

Now that you know what to pack, it’s time to start planning and booking  your Kauai Activities.

Monchong: Ugly yet Delicious!

kauai-fish-recipeThe Garden Island may be known for its raw beauty and natural setting, but you have probably come for more than just the beach. In fact, you desire a complete experience and that means dining. You didn’t come this far to have a burger. No, you want some fresh local fish.

In anticipation of your first romantic fresh-fish dinner, you’ve washed off the salt and sand, and put on your best island duds. You’ve taken a recommendation from a friend and picked out the perfect restaurant with an unsurpassed view. Your reservation is scheduled for sunset and you are ready to feast on the flavors of Pacific Rim cuisine. You are in luck, because tonight’s menu features Monchong, a fish that you have probably never heard of before.

So, you may ask,  “What is monchong?” Monchong is also known as the Sickle Pomfret , scientific name Taractichthys steindachneri and it may be the ugliest fish you ever saw! Luckily looks and taste are not related. Monchong is an extremely versatile fish; it is delicious steamed, crusted, baked and grilled. It has pinkish flesh that turns completely white when cooked. The meat is denser and the flake much smaller than that of a Mahimahi. The oil content is high, so unlike Ono, it rarely dries out. Instead, it remains soft and moist no matter how it is prepared. Monchong used to be considered a delicacy, but now it is making a common appearance on the menu at many Kauai restaurants. Check out the Plantation Gardens Restaurant and check out their nightly specials.

If you decide to give it a try, you will probably come back for more. Despite being dense and somewhat firm, it has the delicate qualities of other bottomfish like the snappers and sea bass. In fact, Monchong is often brought up with these same fish from depths of 900-1200 feet. There is no apparent seasonal trend for this fish, so you are likely to find it year-round.

When ordering Monchong, you won’t want to confused it with the game, Mahjong. Monchong is pronounced just like it is spelled.

For fisherman, Monchong is not considered a target species. Instead, it is referred to as incidental catch. Since the population hasn’t been assessed in the Pacific Ocean, the impacts of fishing are unknown. What that means for diners is that Seafood Watch designates Monchong as a “good alternative”.

After that first romantic dinner, you may want to buy some Monchong at one of the local fish markets and cook it for yourself back at the condo. Maybe you can share some with the kids and your mother-in-la, that you left behind on your first night out. Here is an easy recipe to get you started. Most of the ingredients can be purchased from on of the many farmers markets held on Kauai.

 

Grilled Monchong with Local Green Papaya Salad

4- Monchong Filets

Cooking oil (coconut or avocado)

Hawaiian salt

1 large green papaya

2 carrots

1-bunch green beans (optional)

1 bunch cilantro finely chopped

½ c lime juice

1-clove garlic finely chopped

1-Hawaiian chili pepper seeded and chopped

1 TBS fish sauce (you can substitute soy sauce or Bragg’s)

2 TBS sugar or agave

1 cup cherry tomatoes cut in half

green onions and basil for garnish

kauai-fresh-fish

Prep the green papaya salad

Peel and grate the green papaya. Grate the carrot on top of the papaya. Add the cilantro and cherry tomatoes. Mix together. Blanch the green beans. Cut into small strips and toss into the papaya mixture.

To prepare the dressing, mix ½ cup fresh squeezed lime juice with sugar and fish sauce. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the finely chopped garlic. Remove the seeds from the chili and chop the flesh into very small pieces. Mix the dressing together and let sit while your prepare everything else. This gives the dressing a chance to absorb the spice from the chili. Dress and garnish the salad just before serving.

Rub the fish with a little coconut or avocado oil, this will prevent sticking and seal in moisture. Sprinkle with a little Hawaiian salt. Place on a hot grill and cook for 3-5 minutes on each side. Fish should still be translucent on the top when you flip it. Serve the fish on a bed of Green Papaya Salad.

Article and photo contributed by: Monika Mira

Hanapepe Art Night – A glimpse of Kauai’s West Side

Little Fish Coffee ShopCome and experience Hanapepe Town Art Walk every Friday night from 6-9pm. Meet and enjoy local artists, musicians, photographers, painters, sculptors and craftsmen. Grab a bite to eat and and enjoy the hidden treasures of Kauai’s West Side.

The Art Walk in Hanapepe has been around for years, a gem of a town, with unique shops, galleries, local artist, and eateries.  Put it on your itinerary to explore the streets of Hanapepe on a Friday night and you will be pleasantly surprised.

Hidden away off the main stretch of road on Kauai’s West Side lies the quaint town of Hanapepe. The half mile stretch of shops and galleries resembles the set of an old western movie, but don’t be fooled by the ghost town feel. Here you will find many treasures among the wooden facades and old town charm.

Hanapepe Talk Story Bookstore

Talk Story Bookstore

Light Source Photography by Lee Scott is one of the newer galleries to check out. You will everything from handmade Christmas ornaments to large furniture pieces made from local wood.  Kauai’s Talk Story Bookstore is one of those must do on Kauai.  Hunt through the thousands of fine used, rare and collectible books. A good testament to this good find is how quickly my children’s cries of  “Mom we’re starving”, turned  to quiet contentment on the dusty plantation floors of Kauai’s only bookstore.

Stroll down the streets of Hanapepe during the week and you will find an eclectic assortment of art galleries,  The Storybook Theatre Hawaii and dozens of unique gift and specialty shops. At the center of town you will find the Hawaiian Congregation Church and another must do attraction the Hanapepe Swinging Bridge.

Little Fish Hanapepe

Little Fish, Hanapepe

Grab a bite to eat at Little Fish Coffee House, where you can find a great cup of coffee, ginger teas, fresh baked scones, panini sandwiches, musubi and smoothies.

You wont find a big box store in Hanapepe,  but you will find heart and soul of Kauai’s Artist community, local charm and the Aloha Spirit. This is one of the many places that makes Kauai the place people love to visit and the place we call home.

 

 

Kauai Laysan Albatross “What are those big birds walking across the street?”

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Every year in early November, Laysan albatrosses begin to arrive on Kauai.  Some come to nest, others to find a mate. When they are not here, they are out at sea, often flying as far north as Alaska and the Aleutian Islands.  They may rest on the water, but they will not touch land until they return here.  Most albatrosses live on islands not that are not inhabited by human beings.  Kauai is the only place in the world where albatrosses can be found in residential areas and on golf courses.

One year a chick from a nest next to a fairway was determined to sit there on the manicured lawn instead of near his nest.  A message was included on all golf carts warning the visitors to watch out for him.  They did.

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The majority of he world’s Laysan albatrosses live on Midway, site of a famous WWII battle and home to over a million seabirds.  Midway is the home of Wisdom, an albatross in her sixties who is still raising chicks.  There are smaller colonies of these albatrosses on islands off of Mexico and on Oahu and Kauai. Many of the Laysan albatrosses that come to Kauai were raised here. Albatrosses have been nesting on the North Shore since the 1970s.  They will almost always return to the area where they grew up.  All of the birds without mates will participate in elaborate displays that somehow help them to find the perfect one to nest with.  Not even construction can keep them away from their favorite spots.

albatross-kauai (2)

An albatross that will be nesting does not spend much time displaying.  Mated pairs sit close together and gently groom each other.  They show great affection for each other.  Choosing the right mate is the most important decision of their lives.  They need someone who will share nesting duties: incubation of the egg, protection of the newly hatched chick, and the feeding of that chick until fledging time. They often mate for life, although divorces are not unheard of.

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As the chick gets older and requires more to eat, the parents will fly further away from Hawaii.  They will have to leave the chicks alone in their nests.  Some visitors worry that a chick may have been abandoned, but the parents must spend all of their time finding food.  They feed the chick squid, small fish, flying fish eggs and crustaceans.  Unfortunately, every feeding also includes some plastic, which is now quite prevalent on the ocean’s surface. At five or six months, the chicks will take their first flight, leaving Kauai and not returning until they are at least three years old.

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Albatrosses do not appear to be afraid of people, and it is very tempting to treat them like the birds people often feed in their yards.  But an albatross must learn to survive in harsh environments, not just on a lawn with people who like them.  It is safer for them to avoid other species that share their world; some of them may prove to be a threat.  In the past, some have been killed or injured by unleashed dogs, and there are some people that do not appreciate them and harass them. A good rule of thumb is to stay at least fifteen feet away from an albatross, if possible.  They may not look nervous to you, but a bird does not always react to stress the way a pet or a person might.  A sign may be put up to remind people to stay back.
Albatrosses can read!

Occasionally concerned people will leave food near the nesters or chicks.  This food can attract predators and can also expose the birds to bacteria that can harm them. A nesting couple takes turns incubating the egg and flying out to sea to feed themselves, they will not starve.   They both feed their chick.  In some cases, their parents feed them so well that the chicks must actually lose weight before fledging, Enjoy your time on Kauai, and remember the time you were treated to a glimpse into the life of the Laysan albatross—-devoted mate, dedicated parent, and a connection to all that is wild and beautiful.

slow-albatross

Note from the Author Cathy Granholm:

For the last ten years I have been collecting data on the Princeville albatrosses almost every day they are here.  I also field questions from visitors and residents and handle any problems that may arise.  We now have three generations of albatrosses nesting in Princeville.  We had 22 chicks fledge this year but next year we may have a lot less, because we are expecting El Nino conditions in the Pacific.  The water will be warmer than usual and that will affect the food chain in the ocean.  When food is more scarce, fewer albatross couples will nest; feeding a chick may be too difficult.
Since 2011 I have been writing about the Princeville albatrosses at www.albatrossdiary.com, which I am working on updating before the next season.  Sometimes their lives bear some resemblance to a soap opera, as they show emotions that people do not commonly associate with birds.  They are never boring!

Top Five Reasons To Visit Kauai

 Visit Kauai this Summer

If tropical breezes, spectacular scenery, world class dining, and crystal clear water aren’t enough reasons to plan a Kauai vacation this year, here are few more to add to your list.
Top Reasons To Visit Kauai

Rest and Relaxation

The results are in! Beautiful scenery and encounters with nature have been proven to reduce mental fatigue and stress, provide a calming effect on the mind, and improve cognitive function. You deserve it! Months of hard work and daily stress can wreak havoc on your nervous system. Just coming to Kauai and sitting on the beach, going for hike, or strolling through one Kauai’s numerous gardens can restore your state of mind and provide you with many other health benefits. All you need to do is start planning your vacation and you will begin to feel the stress melt away.

163If you visit Kauai during the summer months, you will have no doubt why Kauai is nicknamed the Garden Island. Hawaiian Flame trees and Rainbow Shower Trees litter the ground with bright colored petals. You may have walked down the aisle on a bed of roses, but have you ever driven on a path of petals? You can do this only during the summer months on Kauai. The bougainvillea and flowering trees are so stunning that you will see tourists pulled over on the side of the road to photograph the site. Don’t miss the photo op! (But be sure to drive safe.)

Outdoor Adventures Abound

Niihau-Boat-Trip

 

There is really no place that rivals Kauai when it comes to outdoor adventure. In a single day, you can kayak up a lazy river, hike to a cascading waterfall and zip line across lush valleys and still be back to your hotel in time for dip in the ocean, before catching the sunset. There are so many outdoor adventures available on Kauai that it is impossible to do them all during a single vacation. Water adventures are particularly favorable. Taking a Boat Cruise and snorkeling on the Na Pali Coast is an adventure you are certain to treasure. The best adventures can sometimes be the ones that you create yourself, like taking a hike to the top of the Sleeping Giant. Who knows what you may discover?

Family Timekee-view

You’ve worked hard all year and now it is time to spend some quality time with your family. Kauai is the place! Playing in the ocean with the kids is hard to beat when it comes to family time! Of course, Kauai also boasts some of the biggest and most elaborate hotel pools in the state! Hiking, kayaking, and horseback riding are also popular with the kids, or visit one of the festivals listed below.

Kauai Festivals and Events 

kauai-event-calendar

Kauai offers up unique family festivals in the summer that give you numerous opportunities to bond with the kids. Koloa Plantation Days is a week-long festival that takes place in July and offers everything from free hikes, to historical and cultural activities, to cooking demonstrations, parades, water slides, jump houses and live entertainment, and most of the events are FREE. Summer time is also Bon Dance season. If you have never been to a Bon Dance, now is your chance to immerse yourself in a little Japanese Culture on Kauai. Other exciting festivals and events this summer include the 4th of July Concert in the Sky, Hiccup Circus, Kauai Music Festival and the Kauai Sand Festival.

Need help planning your Kauai Vacation? We look forward to help planning your trip

1-808-VACATION (1 808 822-2846)

Kauai’s Best Coffee Shops

  • Small Town Coffee Co. "Old School"

    Small Town Coffee Kapaa Old TOwn
  • Small Town Coffee

    Small Town Coffee Kapaa
  • Hemmingways Kapaa

    Hemmingways Coffe Art Kapaa Kauai
  • European Treats at Hemmingways

    Hemmingways Coffe Art Kapaa Kauai
  • Buttery Cafe Kapaa

    Buttery Cafe Kapaa Kauai
  • Ha Coffee Bar Lhue

    Ha Coffee Kauai
  • Ha Cafe Lihue

    Ha Coffee Kauai
  • Hanalei Coffee Roasters

    Hanalei Roasters Kauai
  • Java Kai

  • Kilauea Bakery and Pau Hana Pizza Kilauea

    Pau Hana Bekery Kauai
  • Koloa Mill Coffee

    Koloa Mill Coffee
  • Lapperts Coffee and Ice Cream

    Lapperts Coffee
  • Aloha N Paradise Waimea

  • Kalaheo Coffee

  • Little Fish Cafe Hanapepe

    Little FIsh Hanapepe Kauai
  • Little Fish Hanapepe Town

    Little Fish Hanapepe

photos and article by Eric Perez

Part of the fun of traveling is trying new things, finding your new favorite place, tasting new foods, relaxing and creating memories. No matter where you travel if you are a coffee drinker you are sure going to find your best new spot for that morning or afternoon cup of brew. Here are some of our favorite local Kauai coffee houses.

The whole purpose of places like Starbucks is for people with no decision-making ability whatsoever to make six decisions just to buy one cup of coffee. Short, tall, light, dark,  decaf, low-fat, non-fat, etc. So people who don’t know what the hell they’re doing or who on earth they are can, for only $2.95, get not just a cup of coffee but an absolutely defining sense of self: Tall. Decaf. Cappuccino.

In the words of Joe Fox (F-O-X)

–You’ve Got Mail

Small Town CoffeeSmall Town Coffee Co., Kapaa
Near all the colorful flags towards the north end of Kapaa, Small Town Coffee prides itself in being old school. It’s got a casual island feel.  Enjoy using the internet inside or chill out in the front where its like hanging with friends in your own backyard.

Art Cafe Hemingway, Kapaa
Next to the Moikeha canal in Kapaa, in a historic two story building, Art Cafe Hemingway is run by a friendly German couple. The atmosphere is sophisticated in an artsy way but friendly in a small town way. Ordering from your table or couch, the service is warm and professional. Young couples as well as families can easily find their happy place amongst the many zones throughout the upstairs, downstairs interior and outside porch areas.

Aloha N Paradise, Waimea Town
Located one street off the highway in Waimea town and run by  Candy, a women who loves her craft. Because it’s away from the hustle and bustle of the busier towns, she has the time to passionately customize your latte or cappuccino and is happy explain the nuances of the process. The ambiance of Aloha in Paradise has a retro feel which perfectly fits the old west side town of Waimea.

Ha coffee bar, Lihue
This spacious, stylish and understated coffee bar is on the Nawiliwili side of Lihue.  It’s great place to get some online work done, read the paper or meet with friends. Take your pic of a large table, small private spots near the windows, or a comfy love seat.  It’s got the coolness factor many chain coffee establishments would love to have.  Not on the main drag but worth a trip if this sounds like your kind of place.

Java Kai, Kapaa
Located in a solid little art deco building on the main drag in Kapaa, Java Kai is the cool place to go for the “with it” in Kapaa. Even though it’s a popular spot, the staff is worm and friendly.  The funky and colorful decor makes it a unique place to stop while exploring the eclectic east side of the island.

Kalaheo Cafe & Coffee Co., Kalaheo
Located on the main drag in Kalaheo, this is the kind of place you would feel comfortable taking your mom or a large family. The pies on display looked amazing. and the full kitchen serves lunch, and on select nights dinner. Kalaheo Cafe & Coffee Co. was clean and relaxed and felt like a restaurant you might find in the quiet section of a theme park.

Kilauea Bakery, Kilauea
On the way to the light house in the Kong Lung Market Center you can stop here for a coffee and scone, or on the way back for a calzone or pizza. A small interior dining area and large ground level porch with “Kilauea Bakery Bookshelf” says stay a while. The internet connection was good.

Koloa Mill Ice Cream and Coffee, Old Koloa town

 Right in the heart of Koloa town it reminded me of a nice fun ice cream, coffee and sweets shop experienced in many holiday resort towns. Along with the obvious, there were plenty of tasty Hawaii gifts and even a caned spam display next to the packaged candies.  Although it felt like a family sweet shop, the internet was fast and loaded YouTube videos buttery smooth.

Lapperts Ice Cream & Coffee Island Locations
Founded on Kauai, Lapperts ice cream and coffee has multiple locations throughout Kauai, one on Maui and Honolulu . The store at Kukuiula Village Shopping center in Koloa has comfortable inside and outside seating and is a good place to grab a snack while waiting for others in your group to shop at the many nice stores at the Village. It has a franchise feel but was still a good place to eat and drink.

Little Fish, Hanapepe Town
Worth taking the curve off the main highway into Hanapepe you’ll find a cool little coffee shop. The friendly staff seams like they just got out of the water from a good surf session. It’s a small place at the writing of this, but I heard the owner discussing the design for it’s expansion. The interesting poster art and the abundance of surfer magazines give the feel of something you experience in a cool coastal town around the world. The internet connection was finicky.

 

Outstanding in the Field Returns to Kauai’s Kunana Dairy

outstanding-in -the-field-kauai
“Restaurant without walls”  partners with island chefs for table-to-farm dinners set between the soil and sky 

Outstanding in the Field returns to Hawaii this Winter to stage five family-style feasts at five farms on Maui, Kauai, Hawaii and Oahu. The roving farm-dinner troupe, which has inspired pop-up supper clubs across North America and around the world, is partnering with four island chefs and an Oahu-born chef who’s made his mark in San Francisco’s culinary scene. Read more

Villas of Poipu Kai Stay-cation

When you live and work in one of the worlds most sought after vacation destinations it is hard to really put yourself in the shoes of the visitor and traveler. So we did just that and had a stay-cation on Kauai ‘s south shore. Poipu is a resort destination with dozens of accommodation choices. Big name resorts, vacation homes, condominiums and luxury boutique resorts are among the many choices for your Kauai vacation. The south shore of Kauai is where you can count on the sun shining through even if the rest of the island is being sprinkled with rain. You don’t have look far to find great beaches, art galleries, shopping and a varied selection of tasty dining choices.

 Poipu has been named one of the world’s best destination vacation. Looking for great beaches?  Poipu has a beach for every type of traveler.   Poipu Beach – three white sand beaches meet the turquoise waters of Kauai’s south shore offering excellent swimming, surfing,  snorkeling,  as well as ample opportunity to relaxing under a palm tree swaying in the wind.  If you are looking to take a surf lesson or other Eco-friendly adventure you will find several surf schools, scuba diving tours,  ATV tours and zip-line adventures all within the Poipu area.

Poipu Kai Villas Kauai

Villas at Poipu Kai

The Villas of Poipu Kai  is nestled amongst the tropical landscaping of  palms, lush ferns and red ti leaves, an inviting welcome for our weekend retreat.  Plantation style architecture gives the property a feel of old Hawaii with the attention to detail, furnishings and amenities of a modern resort.  The  foyer of our villa opened up to a gourmet kitchen, great room and large covered lanai which overlooked the waterfall spa, swimming pool and BBQ area.  It didn’t take long to unpack, claim our suites, and start to explore.

The Villas at Poipu Kai offers a great alternative to staying in a hotel.  Spacious, private and luxurious with all the conveniences of home are included with your rental.  The gourmet kitchen gives you the option of eating in, a huge savings when you don’t have to eat out every meal.  Each unit comes with its own laundry room, WI-fi, movies and parking ,  no extra charges or hidden fees.  Located in the center of Poipu Kai Resort, the Villas at Poipu Kai is a great choice for your next Kauai vacation.

Poipu Turtle

Kauai Sea Turtle

While on Kauai’s south shore you will discover endless beauty and wildlife.  Allerton National Botanical Gardens offers daily tours, hike along the undeveloped coastline of  Mahaulepu Heritage Coastal Trail where limestone formations, sand dunes and numerous rocky inlets offer safe havens for sunbathing sea turtles and the endangered Hawaiian monk seals.  There is so much to explore and experience on Kauai.  From the white sand beaches of Poipu to the canyons of Waimea and the scenic drive to Kauai’s north shore.  You will need more than a weekend to fit it all in.   A lifetime on Kauai and I am still amazed by the wonders and charm of our Garden Island home.  So much left to discover…

September on Kauai

kauai-in-septemberSeptember is one of the best times to visit Kauai.  Why, you might ask. Well, when the kids go back to school, it creates a void in the traffic to Kauai, making it one of the most enjoyable times to visit.  Imagine the warm trade winds, empty beaches, walking into your favorite restaurant without reservations and without having to wait. Imagine not having to worry about getting up early to avoid the traffic and being able to find parking at some of Kauai’s best attractions.  This is what September is like on Kauai.

All summer, the beaches are flooded with families enjoying their summer vacations. In September, the beaches are a bit more still.  You can enjoy a leisurely morning before starting your adventure for the day because you don’t have to fight the crowd.  Suddenly you can find parking everywhere and the restaurants are happy for your business.

Here’s a great way to take advantage of this lull on Kauai when you are touring or dining:  If you notice that there are few customers in the restaurant or on your tour, ask your server or guide if he has time to answer a few questions.  Did you know that much of Kauai’s wait staff is highly educated and quite knowledgeable about the island?  Your tour guides are equally, if not more knowledgeable. Use their knowledge to find out about the best hiking spots, the best snorkeling spots and their favorite plate lunch.  Ask them for tips about surf lessons and other fun activities, and which ones they think would suit you best.  Ask them about the history of their restaurant, or any special events that are happening in September.  You might just learn something that is not listed in the guidebooks.  They might be able to help you plan your whole stay.  Of course, make sure to thank them and make it worth their while, a couple extra bucks in their tip goes a long way.

September is also a great month to visit if you love music, hula, or other Hawaiian cultural events.  The Westin Princeville Hotel hosts a Jazz and Wine festival, Leon Russell will be in concert at the KCC Performing Arts Center and you can find a Slack Key Guitar Concert almost every other day.  Check out our Kauai Event Calendar to learn about other September events like the Roller Derby Battle of the Islands, the Kauai Rice and Spam Jamboree, the Kauai Aloha Festival, and the Kauai Powwow.

Best Beaches on Kauai for snorkeling with kids

Kid Snorkeler
Snorkeling with kids is an exciting activity that will bring your family many wonderful memories. On Kauai there are dozens of great snorkeling beaches, but only a handful are recommended for snorkeling with children. Ocean conditions can be highly variable and coral, rocks, currents and swells can make snorkeling in some locations downright dangerous. When snorkeling with children, it is best to seek out beaches with a posted lifeguard and a fringing reef or rock wall that buffers the wave action. Below is a list of beaches that meets these criteria. However, it is still advised to check with the lifeguards before you enter the water.

Lydgate Beach Park

Lydgate Beach Park is located on the East side of Kauai adjacent to the Wailua River. This Beach Park offers families a calm snorkeling area due to the manmade rock walls that buffer the surf. The ponds allow the water to move freely through the crevices in the rocks. Juvenile fishes move into the pond through these same crevices and as they grow are unable to escape. As a result, it is possible to view many different species of fish when snorkeling here. Turtles and eels can also be found in the pond from time to time, especially after a high tide. The protected area, calm water, posted lifeguard and variety of fish make this the perfect beginning snorkeling spot.

Salt Pond Beach Park

On Kauai’s Western shore, Salt Pond Beach Park boasts a number of protected shallow pools that offer great snorkeling for the little ones. The water is generally quite clear here and the natural fringing reefs help keep the water fairly calm. Tide pools on the East side of the beach are a great place to discover additional Hawaiian marine life. A lifeguard is posted here and you will find restrooms, showers, and shade pavilions in the park.

Salt Pond
Poipu Beach Park

Poipu Beach is located on the sunny South side of Kauai. Poipu has all the amenities that families will need including a park and playground, bathrooms, showers, pavilions, a posted lifeguard and even nearby restaurants for lunch. Shallow wading pools are perfect for infants and toddlers and a fringing reef offers some protection from the surf.

Anini Beach Park

Although there is no lifeguard posted at Anini, it is considered to be one of the safer beaches on Kauai’s North Shore. This is due to a fringing reef that is located just offshore and keeps the water relatively calm for family friendly snorkeling. ALways use caution during winter months when there is large sell and wave activity.

Anini is usually less crowded than Poipu or Hanalei and is really quite breathtaking. You will probably encounter less fish at Anini than some of the other south shore locations, but if you are lucky, you might just spot one of the resident turtles who will come in to the sea grass beds to feed. The Beach Park here is quite extensive and offers shade trees, picnic tables, pavilions, restrooms and showers.

Anini
When snorkeling on Kauai always remember to exercise caution and practice reef etiquette.