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UJustWait84
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These recs all sound great, so TYIA.

I've got tickets to USS Arizona next Tuesday, and a rental car Fri-Mon. I figured it would be best get out of Waikiki during the weekend, and use the bus during the week for stuff like Hanauma Bay, Diamond Head, and USS Arizona.

Any cool places for happy hour or decent nightlife spots to check out?

8/13/2014 1:13:09 AM

roberta
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you'll probably be disappointed in waikiki since you've been to maui -- completely different places and waikiki is just crazy w/ people and tourists

that said, i can recommend dinner at orchids in the halekulani hotel in waikiki

diamond head is worth it, and dukes is a must even though it's touristy (food is good)

hanauma bay is definitely pretty but it can be very crowded (and if you've done a lot of snorkeling elsewhere you may be disappointed)

i rented a car w/ some friends to go to hanauma bay and on the way back we randomly stopped here (just from seeing it on tripadvisor): http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60982-d3974838-Reviews-Spitting_Cave_of_Portlock-Honolulu_Oahu_Hawaii.html

it was pretty cool and an amazing view (less the 'spitting' cave part and more looking out over the pacific)

haven't been up to the north shore in a long time, but i would recommend it for getting out of honolulu/waikiki

8/13/2014 6:22:50 AM

UJustWait84
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Yeah, I figured it's going to be a lot more touristy/crowded than Maui, but I can handle bits of it at a time. Ideally, I'd like to visit each of the four main islands and eventually find a favorite, but I doubt anything can really top Maui or Kauai. I am definitely planning on checking out the North Shore and less crowded areas of the island during the weekend (if they even exist?), and it sounds like the eastern beaches are really nice too.

[Edited on August 13, 2014 at 3:04 PM. Reason : .]

8/13/2014 3:02:33 PM

A Tanzarian
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^ PM sent

8/13/2014 6:45:48 PM

UJustWait84
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Just got back, so I'll post while Hawaii is still fresh on my mind.

Overall, i enjoyed Oahu a lot more than I thought I would.

Waikiki is definitely crowded and super touristy, and if that were the only part of Oahu that I spent time in, I don't think I would have had as great of a time as I did. I'm really not into shopping or chain restaurants, and the beach itself is a little gross (homeless people everywhere and way too many people crammed into the water all at once) during the middle of the afternoon, but around 6am was a great time to go for a walk along the beach since few people were around. After a few days, the place grew on me. I went from hating it and wanting to escape to the other parts of the island, to 'getting it'. Although i can see why a lot of people avoid Waikiki like the plague, I also can see how some people will fly to Hawaii, never leave Waikiki, and still have a great time. It's kinda like Fisherman's Wharf or Time Square- if you're in the right mood, you can find ways to enjoy yourself.

With that said, I vastly preferred the West Side and the Leeward Beaches to anything near Waikiki. A lot of people warned me not to go to Wai‘anae, but I'm glad I ignored them. Two of my favorite beaches were Mahaka and Yokohoma (the surf was kinda scary, but I'm glad I go to experience it for a min). Ko Olina lagoons were nice too, even if they're man made and people there were snooty. Hanauma Bay was definitely worth doing and so was Lanikai beach. I got to them both really early, so I avoided hordes of people and bad traffic. I was a bit underwhelmed by the North Shore tbh. It was super crowded and parking was impossible to find, but it's a pretty drive. Napali lookout and Byodo-In temple were nice detours, and driving the H3 back into to Honolulu is probably the most beautiful stretch of freeway in the entire world.

Diamond head was a much easier hike than I expected and the view wasn't nearly as good as the one from Tantalus, but again, I'm glad I got up early and beat the crowds. Pearl Harbor was cool, and so was the Iolani Palace. Germaine's Luau was fun, but not as well put together as the Luau I saw in Maui (I forget the name). There's a lot more that I wound up doing, but these were the main highlights.

All in all, it was a great trip. My only retreat was that I probably tried to cram too much into a week, and I didn't spend as much time on the beach or in the water as I wanted.

I'm looking forward to another trip to Hawaii soon- hopefully the Big Island next year...

Thanks to all for your great advice.

8/21/2014 6:04:12 PM

wahoowa
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You will love the Big Island for outdoor activities and scenery. We drove to the southernmost point and that was a crazy adventure in itself. Try to do a helicopter tour of the volcano. The only downside is you will do a lot of driving and the road around the island is only one lane which can get really frustrating.

8/21/2014 7:10:30 PM

Money_Jones
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Quote :
"Diamond head was a much easier hike than I expected and the view wasn't nearly as good as the one from Tantalus"


should have hiked up Koko Crater instead for a more challenging hike and pretty great view

8/21/2014 8:28:37 PM

The E Man
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I really enjoyed hiking on the laba flow and taunting the helicopter tours that were like 100 meters away.

8/21/2014 9:13:20 PM

Jeepin4x4
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BTTT. I need recommendations on anything and everything Kauai.


Will be staying at the Grand Hyatt Resort Kauai on the south side of the island.

10/13/2015 11:36:13 AM

OmarBadu
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message_topic.aspx?topic=615103

10/13/2015 11:54:21 AM

Jeepin4x4
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that's a good start. Thanks!

is a 4x4 rental really necessary?

10/13/2015 1:30:26 PM

jbrick83
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I did a week in Kuaui with my mom and step-dad, and we definitely didn't need a 4x4. We did the Napali Coast hike (definitely didn't need 4-wheel drive to get to the starting point), and a good bit of snorkeling and an awesome catamaran tour.

There's probably some stuff where you do need it, but we did a week of beach trips and excursions and never needed an off-road vehicle.

10/13/2015 2:08:11 PM

Gonzo18
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Eat dinner at the beach house at sunset. Make a reservation ahead of time.

10/13/2015 2:58:06 PM

ddf583
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The Coco Palms abandoned resort is pretty cool. They may be running tours so you can see it without trespassing.

10/13/2015 7:55:13 PM

Jeepin4x4
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ok it's official. I'll be there Nov. 13th-20th.

booked a helicopter tour and will renting a car to explore the island!

10/14/2015 9:33:11 AM

Jeepin4x4
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1 week

11/6/2015 9:45:12 AM

Jeepin4x4
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jbrick,
how much of the Napali Coast hike did you complete? I think we may do either the 4 mile round trip to the first beach, or the 8 mile round trip up to the falls. Doubt we'll go further.

11/11/2015 9:14:07 AM

jbrick83
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Pretty sure we only did the 4-mile. We didn't make it to any waterfalls, but I believe we turned back around at a secluded beach. I was with company that couldn't make the full hike.

11/11/2015 9:15:01 AM

EhSteve
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Go to Brennecke's and see if you can book a coast tour with captain Gregg (Kauai Fun Tours)

If the weather is good he will take you inside some kick ass caves and shit

[Edited on November 11, 2015 at 9:34 AM. Reason : g]

11/11/2015 9:33:51 AM

jdennis86
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I hiked to the waterfalls, while it was fun swimming in it and seeing it, I would suggest stopping at the beach.

Going to the beach the scenery is so much better along the coast. When you go to the waterfalls from the beach you go inland and its just jungle and can be sketchy in areas.

It also took us all day to hike to the falls. We were there in July and stopped a lot to rest and take pictures. My wife fell and busted up her knee and nose at the falls so coming back we were even slower.


Through family ties and they keep cooking it for me I have to suggest chicken in a barrel for lunch or dinner

11/12/2015 8:55:53 AM

0EPII1
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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/stairway-to-heaven-hawaii-fee_56425f6be4b02f2a2a6250d0

"Stairway to Heaven"!



11/12/2015 11:24:12 AM

Jeepin4x4
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best trip ever. Kauai was unbelievable. I think we covered every inch of that island.

11/23/2015 9:04:34 AM

UJustWait84
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What was your favorite part of the trip? Have you been elsewhere in Hawaii?

I'm heading back to Oahu in January for a few days, but I can't really decide which island to visit next. Probably the Big Island, although Kauai just sounds like paradise...

11/23/2015 10:04:22 PM

Jeepin4x4
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Kauai was the only island we visited this trip and it was just amazing. I kind of likened it to a "tropical asheville". No real major city centers, everything and everyone seems to operate at a leisurely pace. So much natural untouched beauty.

We stayed on the south shore in Poipu Beach, but the northern coast is the most phone. From Princeville, to Hanalei, out to the Napali Coast at Ke'e Beach and the Kalalau Trail. We had some amazing hikes, explored some really off the grid beaches, and ate some amazing food.

if/when we return we'll probably stay somewhere on the north end between Kapa'a and Hanalei i'd imagine.

11/24/2015 4:04:15 PM

UJustWait84
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I've heard the north shore and the Na'Pali coast are where it's at. Honestly, I wish I was going to Kauai instead of Oahu again, but the condo my friends got was too nice and cheap to pass up. Maybe later in 2016. Hawaii is like crack

11/25/2015 11:24:13 AM

dtownral
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planning anniversary trip

maui, big island, or kauai?

we want relaxing and romantic and like day trips exploring places. no interest in nightlife, but decent restaurants is important.

1/24/2016 3:28:52 PM

Mtan Man214
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My experience was only with Maui on a big family trip. Its awesome.

We stayed in the upcountry on Haleakala. Its incredibly hot and windy at sea level and being up on the mountain meant cooler temps and less breeze. We were able to rent a house in the farm country a lot cheaper and could day trip to any part of the island easily. The kids and grandparents were a part of the trip, so romance wasn't a priority, but a lot of our excursions could easily be romantic without a crew.

My brother lived there for a while and was our local guide during the trip. The thing that really made it exceptional for us was having someone that understood the weather. The winds and currents play a lot into what each beach is like during the day. A beach can be really shitty one day, while the other side of the island is ideal. Then switch completely by the afternoon. If you don't know anyone local, staying in a resort or hotel may be a good idea since they can give you that insight.

1/24/2016 4:17:54 PM

The E Man
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I've only been to Oahu and the Big Island which are both completely different.

I prefer the big island because it is raw and feels like going back to the 1970s with the old american towns that dot the island. The island is much less developed and an active volcano system which makes it much more of an adventure than the others.

As for Oahu, Honolulu is much like any American resort city. Much of the Waikiki and other beach areas feel like Miami or Key West. The north shore is the unique Hawaii surf culture experience that I was looking for. Such a chill place.

1/24/2016 4:40:47 PM

UJustWait84
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I just got back from Oahu and I actually like it more than Maui after two visits to each island. The North Shore is incredible- especially during the winter when the Pipeline is going off. Make sure you get an early start and go during the week if you don't want to deal with the crowds/traffic. Maui is great, but there isn't the variety of things to do that you can find on Oahu, although the road to Hana and Haleakala are definitely worth doing. My next Hawaii trip will be a combo of BI/Kauai, but I would probably go with Kauai if you want quiet and relaxing. Everybody I've talked to has said that you go to the BI for adventure, but you go to Kauai to get away from people and relax. People tend to write off Oahu after only spending time in Waikiki, and I think it's a huge mistake. You can find some of the most beautiful beaches and hiking trails in the world if you're willing to drive a bit. Honestly, Waikiki isn't THAT bad. I vastly prefer it over Lahaina and the resort towns in West Maui. Plenty of awesome restaurants in Waikiki versus the crap you'll pay a lot more for in Lahaina. Oh, and don't stay at a resort or a hotel- they're for suckers. Find a nicer condo on AirBnb or VRBO and do a Costco run for essentials.




[Edited on January 24, 2016 at 7:46 PM. Reason : .]

1/24/2016 7:37:12 PM

JT3bucky
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So what would a week run me down there? doing the costco AirBnB method...and let's say including air from RDU

1/25/2016 12:46:49 AM

UJustWait84
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I live in CA, so flights are obviously going to be cheaper than from RDU, but I'd say you can easily find an AirBnb for $150 a night or less on Oahu, car rental for under $300 for the week, and spend $100-$200 at Costco to save a ton of money on meals; I ate out for 3-4 meals total my entire trip and they were all under $30. If you can find a flight for under $500 from RDU, I guess I would consider that to be a success, but I've only flown out of Oakland or SFO, so I'm not sure. The most I've ever paid for a flight was around $450 R/T to Oahu and the least I've paid is $250 R/T to Maui. Under $400 is considered 'good' out here. Winter is generally more expensive than summer, but it really depends on the month and what days you fly out. Hawaiian, Alaskan, and Virgin have been the airlines I've flown and they're pretty interchangeable.

I was just on Oahu for 8 days and I think I spent around $1500 for everything total, but that's with sharing expenses with two other people. Maui is definitely more expensive in every regard and I bet Kauai is even more expensive than Maui. Not sure about the Big Island; it might be cheaper than Oahu since it's less developed and more rural, but I doubt it. I was in Maui for 5 days last January and I definitely ended up spending more than I did this past trip. Oahu has several Costcos/Sam's Clubs/Walmarts and tons of grocery stores since it's so developed, which means way more competition and cheaper prices.

tl;dr
2k per person for a week is probably a pretty fair number, if you want to throw in activities like a luau or snorkeling and some nice meals, but I am pretty frugal when it comes to traveling. ymmv

1/25/2016 2:04:34 AM

Jeepin4x4
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Quote :
"we want relaxing and romantic and like day trips exploring places. no interest in nightlife, but decent restaurants is important."


Kauai. 100%

1/25/2016 9:04:11 AM

NCSUam0s
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Anyone been skydiving in Hawaii, specifically Oahu?

1/25/2016 9:41:59 AM

UJustWait84
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Going to BI/Kauai next week. I've been to Oahu/Maui multiple times, but these two islands will be new ones. What are some of the top hikes on BI around Volcano NP/Kona areas? I feel like there's a ton of ground to cover. Kauai seems more compact and straightforward (NaPali, Waimea Canyon, etc), but trails with great views off the beaten path sound great...

1/2/2018 11:44:55 AM

Jeepin4x4
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If you want to hike the Kalalau trail make sure you reserve enough time and take plenty of water. There's quite a bit of elevation change and it's a wet trail so be prepared to get a little dirty. Apparently Hanakapi`ai Beach isn't there during the winter months, so you may want to hike to the waterfall instead.

There are tons of "hidden" beaches along the north coast. Also, Queen's Bath is a must stop. Make sure you make it to the right one. A lot of people stop at what they assume is QB and turn around. Keep going and you'll find the right place. If you time it right you can be there when the tide is out and you don't have to worry about the surge. If not, just time the surge and have fun jumping off the ledges.

1/2/2018 1:32:37 PM

UJustWait84
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We are staying in Princeville on Kauai, so the Queen Baths are super close. Sounds like Kalalau trail means getting a really early start, but a good hike. Thanks for the recs.

As for the Big Island, we are staying two nights in Volcano by the park and 3 nights in Kona. I know the lava isn't flowing into the ocean right now, but for anyone who's been to the BI, what are the top trails I should be looking into?

1/5/2018 12:08:57 PM

wahoowa
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I did the Halema'uma'u Trail which takes right into the caldera and next to the actual smoking crater. Its pretty short (within 2 hours I believe). It is hit or miss on availability though because of the fume strength and winds.

If you are looking for a day hike you could do the Crater Rim trail which is about 10 miles I believe. Also may be closed depending on wind/volcanic activity.

To get to the ocean where the lava is still soft takes some effort. I believe you have to drive down to the ranger station and then hike about 4-5 miles.

As you can tell its been a while since I went.

[Edited on January 5, 2018 at 12:48 PM. Reason : a]

1/5/2018 12:45:32 PM

Elwood
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[Edited on January 5, 2018 at 4:30 PM. Reason : ]

1/5/2018 4:28:32 PM

Elwood
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We spent 7 days in Kauai. half at the Westin in Princeville


The hanalei Dolphin Restaurant
a. Awesome Sushi / Poke
b. Also a seafood market
c. Both north and south Kauai

Sleeping Giant Trail Head, Haleilio Road, Kapaa, HI
a. Inland hike that you can see all of the eastern side of Kauai. Really cool/

We did blue Hawaii helicopter tour, but there are tons of helicopter tour

Wailua Falls –short but tough muddy hike with to a huge waterfall. You jump the a barrier and the trail is on the right side of the parking
.Tunnels Beach
. Secret Beach
Paliku Beach (aka Donkey Beach)

If you make it to the south side of Kauai

. Waimea Canyon – you could do a day trip from if you stayed on the Northside, but this offer a ton of hiking, and you would need to stay on the Southside to take advantage.
a. There are so many trails to hike.
b. Swamp trail
c. Kalalau Lookout
d. Pu’u O Kila Lookout

. The Napali coast boat tour will be epic
a. Boats leave from the Southside, we didn’t do this, but it looks amazing.
b. We’ll do this next time we go back.

Polihale State Park

1/5/2018 4:29:37 PM

UJustWait84
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^We booked a Na Pali dinner cruise, but since it's winter, it has to leave from Port Allen instead of Hanalei, which means seeing less of the coast because the north shore waves are so much bigger than during the summer. I will def try to fit all of those suggestions in though. Thanks!

^^^ thanks. I guess it's best to get there and talk to the park rangers to figure out the best hikes.




[Edited on January 5, 2018 at 6:48 PM. Reason : .]

1/5/2018 6:43:33 PM

UJustWait84
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Got back Saturday, but it was a great trip.

The BI was kinda disappointing (I'll explain) and Kauai was even more beautiful and relaxing than I would have imagined.

There are some absolutely mind-blowing things about the BI that definitely warrant a visit, but compared to the other three islands, I was underwhelmed by the scenery/vibe. Volcano NP, while small, is a great park and seeing the caldera/lava lake at sunset/sunrise was unforgettable. It would have been cool to hike to the flows, but it was a 13 mile r/t hike across lava fields and given the hiking we did in the park, hiking on hardened lava is miserable and dangerous. Two nights near the park was probably enough, but an extra day would have allowed for a few more trails. Hilo was nothing special and the Puna area is pretty run-down and depressing.

The Kona area was just OK. It's touristy, the traffic is terrible, and the beaches are pretty lousy, overall. Hapuna is overrated and doesn't belong anywhere near a top ten list of "best beaches in the US". The Kohala area, especially the far northern part was the most beautiful part of the island, and knowing what I know now, I'd much rather stay there next time. Still, as pretty as it is, it just can't compete with the North Shore of Oahu, basically anywhere on Kauai, or non-touristy Maui. South Point was 'meh' and the green sand beach is not worth the time/effort of getting there. Mauna Kea summit was cool, but I felt like we wasted an entire day going up/down to time the sunset and see the stars.

I guess I simply expected too much out of the BI. It was expensive, way too much driving, the beaches suck, and it's generally an ugly island, unless you never get sick of seeing what hardened lava looks like. I get why others like it, but I'm not in any rush to go back. Also, a 4x4 is pretty much essential to do anything highly touted.

Kauai is in a class of its own. Hanalei, Princeville, and the NaPali coast are otherworldly. I won't waste time trying to describe how beautiful that part of Kauai is; you've simply got to see it for yourself.

1/23/2018 8:23:22 PM

tulsigabbard
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I get why you feel that way because i felt like the lava flows, and coastline in the parks up past waimaia (kohala?) were the unique things about the BI and my whole reason for going.




btw, dr beach has very specific criteria so those "rankings" aren't meant to capture the "specialness" of a beach. a lot of them are nice, but underwhelming.

1/24/2018 1:06:01 AM

UJustWait84
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I'm not trying to trash the BI or anything, because it's a cool place to visit if you are into volcanoes/geology/history/etc. I just think I was oversold on the 'beauty' and 'scenery' aspects. The Waipo Valley was pretty, but mostly because the rest of the island is so harsh/scrubby looking. Hawi was probably the coolest town we drove through. Waimea might has well have been Walnut Creek in the Bay Area. I haven't been to the Galapagos yet, but I'm guessing they're pretty similar.


Of all the Hawaiian islands, I've visited I'd rank them:

1. Kauai


2) Oahu (North Shore and a better variety of beaches than any other island. Waikiki is what it is.)
2a) Maui




4) Big Island

1/24/2018 1:48:24 AM

jbrick83
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If I ever get back to Hawaii, I'd only go to Kauai. It's not that there isn't other cool stuff to do see on the other islands...it's that just Kauai to amazing to not be there the whole time.

1/24/2018 6:57:10 AM

UJustWait84
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^If you live on the West Coast, Hawaii is a relatively quick/inexpensive flight, so it doesn't have to be a 'once in a lifetime' type of trip, but If I had to fly 10+ hours from the East Coast and I'd seen other islands, I 100% agree with you. Kauai is just different from the rest of them. The entire island is spectacular, the roads aren't shot to shit, people are genuinely happy and friendly everywhere you go, and driving from place to place doesn't seem like such a chore since it's so compact. I was expecting it to be even more upscale/luxurious than Maui because it's so much nicer, but that wasn't the case at all. There's definitely some annoying traffic between Kappa'a and Lihue (bypass FTW), and you're not on some deserted island with zero people, but once you step off the plane and start driving around you really get that 'Hawaiian paradise' vibe so many people froth at the mouth about. The only real knock I can see against Kauai is that it would be too 'slow' for some people, which could be boring I guess. It's definitely not a place to party 24/7 like Waikiki, and it skews a bit older. If you're dead set on seeing an active or dormant volcano, you're out of luck, too. Otherwise, I honestly don't know why it isn't more popular. The locals told me a funny saying: "People who love Kauai tell all of their friends to go to Maui"

In any event, my fiancé and I decided that Kauai is going to be where we get married since it ticks all of the boxes we were looking for in terms of a relatively 'stress free' destination wedding. Paying for it is another story....

[Edited on January 24, 2018 at 12:55 PM. Reason : .]

1/24/2018 12:51:48 PM

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