Kauai Journals

Kauai - a land called Hanalei

An October 2004 trip to Kauai by JimandBill

Quote: Incredible food, incredible adventures, and incredible scenery.

Kauai - a land called Hanalei

Overview

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This has been one of our most memorable visits to the islands. I do want to experience all of the islands, but I have to say that this one has become my favorite so far. Kauai had plenty to do, from Princeville's Grand Golf and Hotel to Gaylord's historic ranch to Poipu's family-friendly beaches.Quick Tips: Be sure to rent a car - a necessity no matter which island you visit. You'll want to take a couple of days to at least experience both the south/west shores, as well as the east/north shores of this island. Once you've traveled in both directions along the Kuhio Highway, you can begin your journey to more detailed areas of each part of this island paradise. All restaurant recommendati...Read More

Banyan Harbor Resort

Best Of IgoUgo

Hotel | "Banyan Harbor"

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Best Things Nearby:It was close to shopping, restaurants, and the Marriott Resort and Country Club.Best Things About the Resort:It's location on the island was perfect for sightseeing, from the west/southwest to east/northeast routes. The resort itself is not a premium resort - it sports both year-round residents and timeshare use. It has an outdoor pool and the units are clean and laid out well (two-story townhouse style). Resort Experience:This resort needs a face lift, but it's overall usefulness could not be argued with. Its location and view of the harbor was positioned to see the cruise ships arrive. The commercial/industrial look of the buildings s...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on February 21, 2005

Banyan Harbor Resort
3411 Wilcox Road
Lihue, Hawaii 96766
(808) 245-7333

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This was our first dinner out, and as Thai food goes, this was okay. This restaurant came with a 1998-99 Zagat Excellence Award, but we found the food and service to be on the average side, which might explain the lack of a Zagat rating past 1999. There are other Thai restaurants the locals had recommended, ones they felt were better, but we didn't get a chance to try them.

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on February 21, 2005

Mema Thai Chinese Cuisine
369 Kuhio Highway
Kauai, Hawaii
(808) 823-0899

Caffe Coco

Restaurant

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Caffe Coco was one of our second dinning experiences and located next to Mema Thai. This little hole-in-the-wall type restaurant had both indoor and outdoor seating, though the favorite was dining outdoors in the back. They feature live music nightly, and their menu is very eclectic. They have both meat and vegetarian dishes - actually, any dish that has meat can be fixed with tofu for the vegetarian traveling among your group. The dishes are prepared with great care and artistic expression, though their prices tended to be on the high side for the dinning experience you were enjoying. Their desserts were killer. All of their dishes are organic, and their outdoor dinning is served in an infor...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on February 21, 2005

Caffe Coco
Kuhio Highway South of Kapaa
Kauai, Hawaii

Eggberts

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant

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Eggbert’s, what can we say? It was worth trying just because of the name. And I’m sure that’s what most visitors think. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, this chain restaurant ranks right up there as a slightly better Denny’s, Bakers Square, CoCo’s, Applebee’s, or other similar chain American restaurants. As breakfasts go, I usually measure them by their ability to prepare decent eggs Benedict. Eggbert’s, however, was average – it didn’t wow the pants off me. Their list of breakfast items, though, looked like a Florida or other Southern state menu, with rice in lieu of grits. Their signature Fluffy Banana Hotcakes were okay. For the best breakfast on the islands, try Moose’s loc...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on February 21, 2005

Eggberts
Coconut Marketplace
Kauai, Hawaii

Hanapepe Cafe

Restaurant

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The Hanapepe Café was recommended by several locals when we expressed concern about finding fine vegetarian cuisine. This is one of those little gold mines found along the South Shore route of the island on our way to experience the entire south and west shores. We enjoyed a casual lunch atmosphere of vegetarian lasagna, in which the chef used his signature pesto sauce in lieu of traditional marinara. This type of restaurant has a limited amount of select dishes, as it truly is the "catch of the day" or that evening’s specialty. Their soups were killer, and we shared a very special Mediterranean-type salad. Prices are reasonable and the service is excellent. The atmosphere is very Ber...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on February 21, 2005

Hanapepe Cafe
Off Highway 50
Kauai, Hawaii

Blossoming Lotus

Restaurant

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The Blossoming Lotus is a vegan restaurant serving more than just grilled portabella mushrooms. Such wonderfully organic dishes as spanikopita and vegan enchilada casserole were hard to choose from. Their desert menu was incredibly irresistible as well. They use the highest-quality organic and local ingredients wherever possible, and it shows in their care and artistic presentation. Lunch is from 11am to 3pm and dinner is from 6pm to 9pm every day. Their new dine-in location is across the street and down a few doors. Their original location is being converted to takeout and catering only. They have a cookbook (Vegan World Fusion Cuisine) for those looking to take home their orga...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on February 21, 2005

Blossoming Lotus
Kuhio Highway
Kauai, Hawaii
(808) 822-7678

Kapaa Arts Festival

Attraction

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Every Thursday is Arts Fair day within the city of Kapaa. Here we were able to nab several pieces of artists' work, photography pieces, necklaces, etc., for those souvenir requirements. One artist we purchased a framed photography piece from gathered home mailing address information, and we had him mail the piece home so as to limit the amount we had to carry back from the island. Check out Scott Hanft Photography (808-245-7098 / 4130 Hill St., Lihue) or go on line to www.scotthanft.com to see more of his work. So many pieces of his works sparked our interest, but we had to limit ourselves to one. Also check out “Fine Art Images by Kerry Oda” (Makana Aloha Photography, Kapaa / 808-651-7961) or go...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 21, 2005

Kapaa Arts Festival
Kuhio Highway in Downtown Kapaa
Kauai, Hawaii

South Seas Gallery

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction

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This very unique gallery had several pieces we would have liked to have taken home. Alas, one can only fit so many island treasures in those suitcases. We purchase two pieces at this gallery, both by the same artist that was commissioned to replicate from photos egg art done in color. The artist’s original creations were in black and white; however, our pieces and those in the store were limited editions of colored eggshell art copied from photographs of island locations and scenes. The process is that of layering, starting with a black melamine background and adding one layer of eggshell color at a time to create the same scene as in the photograph. Those areas that are black remain as the origi...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 21, 2005

South Seas Gallery
Wilcox Road -Nawiliwili Bay
Kauai, Hawaii

South Pacific Dinner & Theatre

Attraction | "South Pacific Dinner & Theatre"

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This rather high school-like production was charming. The buffet-style dinner was average to good, and the company that we paired with by random table seating was surprisingly local to our hometown area. This was one of those “have to try it once” moments. I guess I was hoping for a better production with Reno-like investment into this product. The Radisson apparently didn’t want to spend too much on this show, so the sets were limited to space and lighting and sound. The keyboard player was very talented, though, even if the cast was a bit limited. Of course, I had to rent the original 1950s musical on DVD to see what I had remembered and of course chuckle at the use of Hanalei Bay beaches, bo...Read More

Member Rating 1 out of 5 on February 21, 2005

South Pacific Dinner & Theatre
Radisson Kauai Beach Resort
Kauai, Hawaii

Kayak Wailua

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "Kayaking down the Wailau River to Secret Falls"

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Our guide was a young guy--sort of Rastafarian Caucasian--who enjoyed this entire trek to the secret falls barefoot. He was entertaining and very cool about having a couple of gay guys on his watch. The entire coordination of paddling vs. steering was a bit of an arm wrestling match between my partner and I. We didn’t kill each other but this definitely tests your relationship. After about 1 mile of paddling, we landed the kayaks on the calm side of a small island. We crossed to the other side of this small island to find a rope that would guide us across the swift/deep waters. The weather had been quite wet of late and our trek to the Secret Falls followed a early man made aqueduct system that ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on February 21, 2005

Kayak Wailua
159 Wailua Road
Kauai, Hawaii 96746
(808) 822-3388

Blue Dolphin Charters

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "Blue Dolphin Tours"

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This catamaran trip was fun but long. It probably would have been just fine if the water wasn’t so choppy, which caused many of the patrons to lose their cookies along the way. Blue Dolphin provided lunch and beverages on the trip. We were able to spot dolphins just as we were exiting the harbor, and some green sea turtles decided to pop their little heads out of the water for us. None of the wildlife came close enough to the boat, except the fish to feed on the items tossed over board. The Na Pali coastline was amazing and long. Images of Jurassic Park came to mind and rightly so, as the original movie’s opening scenes were filmed by helicopter from these cliffs. We were told the waterfall ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 21, 2005

Blue Dolphin Charters
Kukuiula Harbor
Poipu, Hawaii 96756
+1 808 335 5553; +1

Kauapea Secret Beach

Attraction | "#1 -- Secret Beach"

Quote:
Secret Beach came highly recommended from the locals for sunbathing (clothing-optional) desires. None of the beaches on this island are available for clothing-optional sunbathers, but this one is the most secluded and cleanest. We noticed that many of the public beaches that did not border a resort facility were likely to have a great deal of trash. Secret Beach was quite clean in comparison to, say, Donkey Beach located just south of Anahola. We were told that Anahola had lost its right to have a public beach for this very reason, but that time had proven to weaken the local restriction and returned the public beach back to the townsfolk. Again, the weather was quite wet, so scaling the steep in...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on February 21, 2005

Kauapea Secret Beach
West of Kilauea off a dirt road
Kauai, Hawaii