We spent two weeks in Kauai in February to take it easy, enjoy the sites, and explore a little deeper into Kauai than we have in past visits. We stayed on the North shore in Princeville, and the East shore at Waipouli / Kapa'a.
by MattF on March 5, 2010
We spent our first week on Kauai at the Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas in Princeville, and then moved down the coast to Kapa'a to stay at the Outrigger Waipouli Beach Resort. The resort is actually a little south of Kapa'a in a small town called Waipoli. It's close to shopping and restrauants, theres a Safeway across the street, and you can walk to numerous shops and restraunts. It is a condo resort and the units were beyond well equipped. We had a one bedroom condo, with a large sitting area, dining area, and patio. These units are well equipped with Sub Zero refrigerators, Wolf cook top and oven, granite countertops, tavertine floors, and the list goes on. The bathroom was very large with a walkin shower, large two person bath tub, and plenty of room. You couldn't ask for much more.We were on the bootom floor facing the swimming pool. There was easy access to the pool and the BBQ grill (they really need to add more though). The facility is beautifully landscaped and well maintained. The service staff were very friendly and helpful.The pool area was designed with kids in mind. They had a river pool, water slides, and a pool beach with sand. The three jacuzzis even had sand in them. It was very pleasent and peaceful (when the kids weren't running around). They do have jacuzzis set aside for adults only, which was a much appreciated.The beach was just behind the resort and was equipped with lounge chairs, tables, and palapas. We spent alot of time on the beach and in the pool, and really enjoyed the resort. We will definitely keep this one on the list for future visits, and will recommend it to friends. If your looking for a little luxury during your stay, this is the place.
After a number of visits to Kelia Beach, above Kapa'a, we noticed alot of people were biking along a paved hiking and biking trail that runs along the coast between Kapa'a and North of Kelia Beach. After we moved from Princeville down to Waipouli during our second week on the island, we decided that we should check out how we could rent a bike so we could spend the day riding, visiting the beaches, and watching the people.Just outside the Outrigger Waipouli Beach Resort there is a small tour business called Wailua River Guides. They rent bikes, kayaks, and other items, as well as provided guided kayak river excurions up the Wailua river. After inquiring about renting bikes and getting an idea how to get to the biking / hiking trail, we rented two beach cruiser bikes ($10 a day) and headed out.Our first stop along the way was breakfast at the Country Kitchen in Kapa'a. The Loco Moco here is especially tasty because they use Kalua Pig instead of hamburger. Trust me, it's awesome. After breakfast we got back on the trail and headed up to the northern most point (a couple miles north of Kelia Beach). On the way we found a beach just past Kelia Beach that was absolutely deserted. No one on it and it was beautiful. We walked the bikes down to the beach across a dirt trail, parked them, and headed to the beach. It was amazing to be sitting on a beach all by ourselves.The only footprints in the sand were our own. That's worth the trip all by itself. After getting some sun and exploring the rocky points on our own deserted beach, we got back on the trail and rode down to Kelia Beach and sat out on the beach, caught some more rays and watched the surfers.Later in the day we headed back to Waipouli and returned the bikes, a little tired, but extremely satisfied with our day's adventure. If you want to see and do something a little different and enjoy the beautiful coastline, see new sites, and visit a deserted beach, we recommend renting a bike and riding up and down the east coast on this fabulous hiking and biking trail. You'll see Kauai in a new light and from a different perspective.
During our stay at the Westin Ocean Resort Villas in Princeville we kept noticing people hiking up and down a trail near our condo. After a couple of days our curiosity got the best of us and we decided to see what all the fuss was about.There is a beach access point right next to the resort with a hiking path down to the beach. We put on our shoes (for the first time) and walked out to the trail head to see what was lying below at the beach. This was a fairly short hike, but watch out, it's slippery and is a pretty sharp grade going down the trail, and unfortunately up at the end of the hike. It was quite beautiful walking through the "jungle" to the bottom, which then unfolds into a beach that is very serene and quiet.You can see Anini Beach to the South and Hanalei Bay to the North.The beach is at the bottom of the Princeville cliffs and is very narrow. The beach is dotted with lava rocks that intertwine with the sand, surf, and root systems of the trees. The beach is shaded by overhanging tress and branches, so this is not a place for sunbathing. We set out and explored along the "secret" beach under the cliffs for a couple of hours. Just exploring between all the rocks looking for coral and shells made for wonderful day. The serene and quiet nature of this beach will leave an impression on you. It feels like you are on a primal deserted island all to yourself. We would recommend this to anyone who would like to see a different kind of a beach than what you see in the brochures. It was very peaceful and relaxing.
by MattF on March 3, 2010
During our recent two week trip to Kauai, we decided to split our vacation stay to two different locations on the island. Having stayed in Poipu and Lihue on prior trips, we decided to spend the first week of this vacation in Princeville, and the second week in Waipouli, just south of Kapa'a. We decided, through a friend's timeshare club, to stay at the Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas in Princeville. We stayed in a one bedroom condo and were very pleased with the condo and the facilitities. The condo was equipped with all new appliances and had marble counter tops in the kitchen. It had a full dining area and sitting area, a separate bedroom, flat screen TVs w/ DVDs, and a massive bathroom that included a walk-in shower as well as a jacuzzi tub for two. We were on the first floor of the three story building, so we had a nice patio off the bedroom where we could lounge in the evenings, feed the chickens, and sip wine as the sun went down.Fortunately for us, the Westin had numerous grill areas, with up to six well appointed high end gas grills in each one. I love to grill when we're vacationing, and the Westin obviously accomodated that desire graciously with their facilities. There were more than enough grills to meet the needs of the residents, and they also had tables and chairs available in the areas for an outdoor dining experience.Among the other benefits of this great resort were a extensive pool area with multiple jacuzzis, and a pool side bar. It also had a large and well appointed fitness center that include a steam room and a sauna. We got alot of use out of the fitness center those first couple of days as we worked off the every day so we could ease into our vacation.They also have an on-site restaurant (which we did not try) and a market where you could buy breakfast / fast food, but they also had meat and vegetables should you decide to eat in. The resort is within a 15 minute walk from the Princeville Center where you will find a Foodland grocery store, numerous restaurant options, shops, etc.The only thing we were not pleased with had nothing to do with the resort, it was it's location on the North shore. When we were there the County was doing alot of road work and tree trimming. This caused significant traffic delays leaving Princeville to points South. So next time, I will stay further South down the coast for better access to the rest of Kauai's treasures.Overall, the Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas is one of the best resorts we have stayed at on Kauai. It has everything you need for a long and slow vacation, is close to restaurants and stores, and has alot to offer. They get high points from us.
by MattF on March 2, 2010
During our stay on the North shore of Kauai, we spent each evening out eating in the various venues available in Princeville and Hanalei. During one evening we had a charming conversation with a couple of ladies that had visited the island many times over the past couple of years. It wasn't long before the conversation turned to eating establishments; what was good, what was unique, and what they thought was the best meal they had so far on this trip.Without hesitation, both ladies expounded upon the virtues of a local restaurant in Hanalei called "Postcards Cafe". They said we "had to go there" before we left the North shore, and that we would not be sorry for our efforts. Not being a couple that sits on good advice, my Wife and I called that evening and made reservations for Thursday night. The Postcard Cafe restaurant is located just on the outskirts of town as you drive up the Kuhio Highway. It is a quaint little cottage house that will be on your left. This little place has great atmosphere, friendly and efficient service staff, and the chef knows how to make a unique dining experience come to life. They offer daily specials based upon what the catch of the day is, and they accent the catch with very tasty organic and locally grown side dishes. They also have a pretty good wine list.My Wife had the Walu Special and I had the Monchong in a macadamia butter sauce. Our dinners were accented with sides of wild brown rice sauted with cinnamon, pure'ed carrots, fresh vegetables, baked tomatoes topped with parmesan cheese, and bread with hummus. We split the decadent Chocolate Volcano for dessert. The food preparation, service, and wine was excellent. According to my Wife, Postcards is on the top of her list of all the restaurants we've eaten at on Kauai - over the past three visits! That's is saying alot! We highly recommend the Postcards Cafe to all our firends, and you can bet we will be back on our next visit.
by MattF on February 24, 2010
One thing you always expect to see in Hawaii, regardless of the island you are on, is rain. In our previous trips (in August and then again in March) it usually comes in miss and hit showers that are short lived and easy to live with. This time it was a little more intense with it raining a little more frequently than we were used to, and remaining cloudy pretty much all day long on three of the days we stayed. The locals will tell you that if it's wet on your side of the island, head for the other side because it is probably dry. For the most part this is true. When it rained in Princeville the first two days we were there, we headed south to Lihue, but evidently that wasn't far enough. Not to be deterred from a good time, we stopped at the Kilohana Plantation in Lihue for some shop browsing and Rum Tasting at Koloa Rum. Then ran through town out to Poipu and just explored. Then a couple of days later it rained again so we decided to head southwest and took off for Waimea. That was the ticket! The clouds were still there, but the rain was not, and due to great timing we got there shortly after the high school got out. This turned out to be a great time for us as all of the high school students headed to the beach to surf and boogie board. Let me tell you - these guys and gals are GOOD! Imagine 20 to 30 surfers and boogie boarders out in the surf cutting it up! We were entertained for a couple of hours, got some great pics, and when we left we had missed all the traffic back to Princeville.Another little tidbit we learned about driving in the rain in Hawaii that may be of some interest. We always rent a convertable when we go to Hawaii because we love the open air and the views. If you're driving in a convertable and it starts to rain - you stay high and dry! I've got a great video of the countryside on the north shore being shot from the car, with the top down - with the rain coming down. It was awesome! The downside, when you stop the fun is all over.
This was our third trip to Kauai, and each time we go we search out new things to do and try. On this trip we happened into a couple of treats; one we planned on trying, and another we stumbled into on our way from Princeville to Kapa'a.The first delicacy was Manapua. I read about this little taste treat from an IgoUgo writer and decided I had to try it out. The writer said that the only place he could find the tasty morsel was at 7-11 stores, so the search was on. Well let me tell you about Manapua, then I'll tell you where we found it. Manapua is a doughly bread treat that can be stuffed with dollup of different ingredients inside. You can get Curry Chicken Manapua, Sweet Potatoe Manapua, Kalua Pig Manapua, and I'm sure others. The bread dough is "steam" cooked so it has an interesting "doughy" texture. These are a great snack for a quick bite and are definitely "island fare" for those that want to try a little local cuisine.Finding them was a challenge - and he was right! The only place I could find them already prepared and ready to eat was in a 7-11. There are two on Kauai, both in Lihue. So if you want to try this tasty treat, go to one of the 7-11s in Lihue and get them. They cost about $1.30 each - so it's a bargain!The other place we found them was at the Costco in Lihue. They are available in the refrigerated section, ready to be heated up. You can get them in the "steamed" dough version or a baked version. BTW: Costco carries quite a variety of local "island fare" if you want to enjoy back at the condo.The second treat we stumbled into at a Farmer's Market in Anahola, between Princeville and Kapa'a. On a Saturday, just off the road as we were driving to Kapa'a, we saw a sign for a Farmer's Market and stopped to get some locally grown tomatoes, onions, and whatever else suited our fancy. As we drove up you could smell this awesome BBQ being cooked. Of course we were hungry and the sweet smells of the grill caught our attention immediately. After a little conversation with the gentleman at the grill, we found out that he was grilling a Wild Boar that he had trapped on the island and he offered us a taste. Let me tell you it was the tastiest and smokiest mouthful of joy I have had in a long time. Even my Wife, who is not a fan of game animal meat enjoyed the Boar! He was selling a plate of BBQ, with grilled corn on the cob, and fried potatoes for $10.00. We couldn't pass that up, so we bought some and walked back to the car and ate it right there before we left. Based on the number of cars that pulled into the market and left with Wild Boar, I'd say they had a winner on their hands! We both think that was the best meal for the price we had during our two week stay! So I guess my advice would be; look into the local "island fare" and try something new that is only available in Hawaii on your next trip. You won't be sorry!
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