Frommer's Kauai (Frommer's Travel Guides Series)

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You'll never fall into the tourist traps when you travel with Frommer's. It's like having a friend show you around, taking you to the places locals like best. Our expert authors have already gone everywhere you might go--they've done the legwork for you, and they're not afraid to tell it like it is, saving you time and money. No other series offers candid reviews of so many hotels and restaurants in all price ranges. Every Frommer's Travel Guide is up-to-date, with exact prices for everything, dozens of color ...
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Overview

You'll never fall into the tourist traps when you travel with Frommer's. It's like having a friend show you around, taking you to the places locals like best. Our expert authors have already gone everywhere you might go--they've done the legwork for you, and they're not afraid to tell it like it is, saving you time and money. No other series offers candid reviews of so many hotels and restaurants in all price ranges. Every Frommer's Travel Guide is up-to-date, with exact prices for everything, dozens of color maps, and exciting coverage of sports, shopping, and nightlife. You'd be lost without us!

Meticulously researched by one of Hawaii's most noted journalists, this is hands-down the most reliable, up-to-date, and comprehensive guide to Kauai.

Each of our candid hotel reviews is based on a detailed personal inspection. You'll find lavish beachfront resorts, intimate rain-forest B&Bs, family-friendly condos, and much, much more. Our dining reviews are simply the best in the business, whether you crave cutting-edge Asian-fusion cuisine or a hearty, affordable plate lunch.

Our author makes sure that you'll truly experience the spirit of aloha, and she'll help you steer clear of anything that's overpriced, touristy, or inauthentic. With Frommer's in hand, you'll know where to find secluded beaches; secret spots for snorkeling; the best outfitters to choose for everything from diving to deep-sea fishing; and where to find the top galleries and shops.

Inside you'll find extensive coverage of family-friendly accommodations and activities; tips on how to get married in the islands; recommendations for the best honeymoon resorts; and valuable advice on finding the best airfares and package deals. Whether you want to learn how to surf, hike through Waimea Canyon, play a challenging round of golf, snorkel with sea turtles, or simply kick back with a mai tai to watch the sunset, you can design the perfect trip with Frommer's Kauai.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780764555206
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 2/16/2004
  • Series: Frommer's Complete Series , #137
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 7.90 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeanette Foster is a resident of the Big Island, she has skied the slopes of Mauna Kea––during a Fourth of July ski meet, no less––and gone scuba diving with manta rays off the Kona Coast. A prolific writer widely published in travel, sports, and adventure magazines, she’s also a contributing editor to Hawaii magazine and the editor of Zagat’s Survey to Hawaii’s Top Restaurants. In addition to this guide, Jeanette is the author of Frommer’s Hawaii, Frommer’s Hawaii from $80 a Day, and Frommer’s Honolulu, Waikiki & Oahu.
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Table of Contents

List of Maps.

1. Best of Kauai.

2. Planning Your Trip to Kauai.

3. For International Visitors.

4. Where to Stay.

5. Where to Dine.

6. Fun in the Surf & Sun.

7. Exploring Kauai.

8. Shopping.

9. Kauai After Dark.

Appendix: The Hawaiian Language.

Index.

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First Chapter

Frommer's Kauai


By Jeanette Foster

John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 0-7645-5520-0


Chapter One

Best of Kauai

On any list of the world's most spectacular islands, Kauai ranks right up there with Bora Bora, Huahine, and Rarotonga. All the elements are here: moody rainforests, majestic cliffs, jagged peaks, emerald valleys, palm trees swaying in the breeze, daily rainbows, and some of the most spectacular golden beaches you'll find anywhere. Soft tropical air, sunrise bird song, essences of ginger and plumeria, golden sunsets, sparkling waterfalls-you don't just go to Kauai, you absorb it with every sense. It may get more than its fair share of tropical downpours, but that's what makes it so lush and green-and creates an abundance of rainbows.

Kauai is essentially a single large shield volcano that rises 3 miles above the sea floor. The island lies 90 miles across the open ocean from Oahu, but it seems at least a half century removed in time. It's often called "the separate kingdom" because it stood alone and resisted King Kamehameha's efforts to unite Hawaii. In the end, a royal kidnapping was required to take the Garden Isle: After King Kamehameha died, his son, Liholiho, ascended the throne. He gained control of Kauai by luring Kauai's king, Kaumualii, aboard the royal yacht and sailing to Oahu; once there, Kaumualii was forced to marry Kaahumanu, Kamehameha's widow, thereby uniting the islands.

A Kauai rule is that no building may exceed the height of a coconuttree-between three and four stories. As a result, the island itself, not its palatial beach hotels, is the attention-grabber. There's no real nightlife here, no opulent shopping malls. But there is the beauty of the verdant jungle, the endless succession of spectacular beaches, the grandeur of Waimea Canyon, and the drama of the Na Pali Coast. Even Princeville, an opulent marble-and-glass luxury hotel, does little more than frame the natural glory of Hanalei's spectacular 4,000-foot-high Namolokama mountain range.

This is the place for active visitors: There's watersports galore; miles of trails through rainforests and along ocean cliffs for hikers, bikers, and horseback riders; and golf options that range from championship links to funky local courses where chickens roam the greens and balls wind up embedded in coconut trees. But Kauai is also great for those who need to relax and heal jangled nerves. Here you'll find miles of sandy beaches, perfect for just sitting and meditating. There are also quiet spots in the forest where you can listen to the rain dance on the leaves, as well as an endless supply of laid-back, lazy days that end with the sun sinking into the Pacific amid a blaze of glorious tropical color.

1 The Best Beaches

Kalapaki Beach: Kalapaki is the best beach not only in Lihue but also on the entire east coast. Any town would pay a fortune to have a beach like Kalapaki, one of Kauai's best, in its backyard. But little Lihue turns its back on Kalapaki; there's not even a sign pointing the way through the labyrinth of traffic to this graceful half moon of golden sand at the foot of the Kauai Marriott Resort & Beach Club. Fifty yards wide and a quarter mile long, Kalapaki is protected by a jetty, making it very safe for swimmers. The waves are good for surfing when there's a winter swell, and the view from the sand-of the steepled, 2,200-foot peaks of the majestic Haupu Ridge that shield Nawiliwili Bay-is awesome. See p. 130.

Poipu Beach Park: Big, wide Poipu is actually two beaches in one; it's divided by a sandbar, called a tombolo. On the left, a lava-rock jetty protects a sandy-bottomed pool that's perfect for children; on the right, the open bay attracts swimmers, snorkelers, and surfers. You'll find excellent swimming, small tide pools to explore, great reefs for snorkeling and diving, good fishing, nice waves for surfers, and a steady wind for windsurfers. See p. 131.

Polihale State Park: This mini-Sahara on the western end of the island is Hawaii's biggest beach: 17 miles long and as wide as three football fields. This is a wonderful place to get away from it all, but don't forget your flip-flops-the midday sand is hotter than a lava flow. The golden sands wrap around Kauai's northwestern shore from the Kekaha plantation town, just beyond Waimea, to where the ridgebacks of the Na Pali Coast begin. The state park includes ancient Hawaiian heiau (temple) and burial sites, a view of the "forbidden" island of Niihau, and the famed Barking Sands Beach, where footfalls sound like a barking dog. (Scientists say that the grains of sand are perforated with tiny echo chambers, which emit a "barking" sound when they rub together.) See p. 133.

Anini Beach County Park: Kauai's safest beach for swimming and windsurfing, Anini is also one of the island's most beautiful: It sits on a blue lagoon at the foot of emerald cliffs, looking more like Tahiti than almost any other strand in the islands. This 3-mile-long, gold-sand beach is shielded from the open ocean by the longest, widest fringing reef in Hawaii. With shallow water 4 to 5 feet deep, it's also the very best snorkeling spot on Kauai, even for beginners. On the northwest side, a channel in the reef runs out to the deep blue water with a 60-foot drop that attracts divers. Beachcombers love it, too: Seashells, cowries, and sometimes even rare Niihau shells can be found here. See p. 136.

Hanalei Beach: Gentle waves roll across the face of half-moon Hanalei Bay, running up to the wide, golden sand. Sheer volcanic ridges laced by waterfalls rise to 4,000 feet on the other side, 3 miles inland. Is there any beach with a better location? Celebrated in song and hula and featured on travel posters, this beach owes its natural beauty to its age-it's an ancient sunken valley with posterosional cliffs. Hanalei Bay indents the coast a full mile inland and runs 2 miles point to point, with coral reefs on either side and a patch of coral in the middle-plus a sunken ship that belonged to a king, so divers love it. Swimming is excellent year-round, especially in summer, when Hanalei Bay becomes a big, placid lake. The aquamarine water is also great for bodyboarding, surfing, fishing, windsurfing, canoe paddling, kayaking, and boating. (There's a boat ramp on the west bank of the Hanalei River.) See p. 136.

Haena Beach: Backed by verdant cliffs, this curvaceous North Shore beach has starred as paradise in many a movie. It's easy to see why Hollywood loves Haena Beach, with its grainy golden sand and translucent turquoise waters. Summer months bring calm waters for swimming and snorkeling, while winter brings mighty waves for surfers. There are plenty of facilities on hand, including picnic tables, restrooms, and showers. See p. 138.

2 The Best Kauai Experiences

Hitting the Beach: A beach is a beach is a beach, right? Not on Kauai. With 50 miles of beaches, Kauai offers ocean experiences in all shapes and forms. You can go to a different beach every day during your vacations and still not get tired of seeing them. See chapter 6.

Taking the Plunge: Rent a mask, fins, and snorkel, and enter a magical underwater world. Facedown, you'll float like a leaf on a pond, watching brilliant fish dart here and there in water clear as day; a slow-moving turtle may even stop by to check you out. Faceup, you'll contemplate green-velvet cathedral-like cliffs under a blue sky, with long-tailed tropical birds riding the trade winds. See chapter 6.

Meeting Local Folks: If you go to Kauai and see only people like the ones back home, you might as well not have come. Extend yourself-leave your hotel, go out and meet the locals, and learn about Hawaii and its people. Just smile and say "Howzit?"-which means "How is it?" ("It's good," is the usual response-and you may make a new friend.) Hawaii is remarkably cosmopolitan; every ethnic group in the world seems to be represented here. There's a huge diversity of food, culture, language, and customs.

Feeling History Come Alive: It is possible to walk back in history on Kauai. You can see ancient, ancient history, from the times when the menehune were around, at the Menehune Ditch and Menehune Fishpond. Or experience Hawaiian history at the Kauai Museum, the archaeological sites at Wailua River State Park, and the Ka Ulu O Laka heiau. For more recent history, since the arrival of Captain Cook, check out Grove Farm Homestead Museum, Kilohana, and Waioli Mission House Museum. See chapter 7.

Going Deep-Sea, Big-Game Fishing: Don't pass up the opportunity to try your luck in the sportfishing capital of the world, where 1,000-pound marlin are taken from the seas just about every month of the year. Not looking to set a world record? Kauai's charter-boat captains specialize in conservation and will be glad to tag and release any fish you angle, letting it go so someone else can have the fun of fighting a big-game fish tomorrow. See chapter 6.

Exploring the Grand Canyon of the Pacific: The great gaping gulch known as Waimea Canyon is quite a sight. This valley, known for its reddish lava beds, reminds everyone who sees it of the Grand Canyon. Kauai's version is bursting with ever-changing color, just like its namesake, but it's smaller-only a mile wide, 3,567 feet deep, and 12 miles long. A massive earthquake sent streams into the single river that ultimately carved this picturesque canyon. Today, the Waimea River-a silver thread of water in the gorge that's sometimes a trickle, often a torrent, but always there-keeps cutting the canyon deeper and wider, and nobody can say what the result will be 100 million years from now. See chapter 7.

Watching the Hula: The Coconut Marketplace, on Kuhio Highway (Hwy. 56) between mile markers 6 and 7, hosts free shows every day at 5pm. Arrive early to get a good seat for the hour-long performances of both kahiko (ancient) and auwana (modern) hula. The real showstoppers are the keiki (children) who perform. Don't forget your camera!

Bidding the Sun Aloha: Polihale State Park hugs Kauai's western shore for some 17 miles. It's a great place to bring a picnic dinner, stretch out on the sand, and toast the sun as it sinks into the Pacific, illuminating the island of Niihau in the distance. Queen's Pond has facilities for camping as well as restrooms, showers, picnic tables, and pavilions. See chapter 6.

Soaring Over the Na Pali Coast: This is the only way to see the spectacular, surreal beauty of Kauai. Your helicopter will dip low over razor-thin cliffs, flutter past sparkling waterfalls, and swoop down into the canyons and valleys of the fabled Na Pali Coast. The only problem is that there's too much beauty to absorb, and it all goes by in a rush. See chapter 7.

3 The Best Adventures

Take a Helicopter Tour of the Island: Don't leave Kauai without seeing it from a helicopter. It's expensive but worth the splurge. You can take home memories of the thrilling ride up and over the Kalalau Valley on Kauai's wild North Shore and into the 5,200-foot vertical temple of Mount Waialeale, the most sacred place on the island and the wettest spot on earth. (In some cases, you can even take home a video of your ride.) See p. 172.

Explore the Na Pali Coast by Water: Unless you're willing to make an arduous 22-mile hike (p. 156), there are only two ways to see Na Pali: by helicopter (p. 173) or by boat. Picture yourself cruising the rugged Na Pali coastline in a 42-foot ketch-rigged yacht under full sail, watching the sunset as you enjoy a tropical cocktail, or speeding through the aquamarine water in a 40-foot trimaran as porpoises play off the bow. See p. 139.

Kayak Kauai: You can take the Huleia River into Huleia National Wildlife Refuge (located along the eastern portion of Huleia Stream where it flows into Nawiliwili Bay). It's the last stand for Kauai's endangered birds, and the only way to see it is by kayak. The adventurous can head to the Na Pali Coast, which features majestic cliffs, empty beaches, open-ocean conditions, and monster waves. Or you can just paddle around Hanalei Bay. See p. 141.

Duck Underwater: You haven't really seen Hawaii until you have seen the magical world underwater. Beneath those blue waves is an entire universe in itself. You'll see schools of rainbow-colored fish, dazzling corals, graceful manta rays, lumbering turtles, and quick-moving silvery game fish. If you are really lucky, you may see playful dolphins or the frequent winter visitors to Hawaii, humpback whales. See chapter 6.

Hike Until You Drop: Kauai is made for hiking, from the numerous trails in Waimea Canyon to the high forests of Kokee to the interior trails that give the island its special beauty. See chapter 6.

4 The Best of Natural Hawaii

Waterfalls: Rushing waterfalls thundering downward into sparkling freshwater pools are some of Hawaii's most beautiful natural wonders. Kauai is loaded with waterfalls, especially along the North Shore and in the Wailua area, where you'll find 40-foot Opaekaa Falls, probably the best-looking drive-up waterfall on Kauai.

Continues...


Excerpted from Frommer's Kauai by Jeanette Foster Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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  • Posted December 18, 2011

    Good information

    The book provides lots of good info...but what is missing is pictures.
    The other books I've gotten from Frommer's usually has some pictures in it, but this one has none. Therefore, I will getting additional inforamtion since I like to see pictures of the area I want to go to.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2004

    Money's worth?

    Agonizingly dull and unoriginal. The book needs expanding in all topics. I took several guided tours and in the process learned so much about Kauai's geology and history -- a better deal all around. Frommer's didn't do their homework on this one.

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    Posted May 24, 2011

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