Best months:
October to March


Surfing guide
LAST UPDATED 21/02/2008
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MattWright: Colored locator map for the island of Kauai; 30 July 2007

Kauai is an island of Hawaii northwest of Oahu. It is the fourth largest Hawaiian Island with the area of 1430.4 km². The 2000 census has showed that the population of Kaua'i was 58,303.

Tourism is Kauai's largest industry. In 2007, 1,271,000 visitors came to Kauai, and the two largest groups were from the United States (84% of all visitors) and Japan (3%).


Fawcett5: The view north along the Na Pali Coast, Kauai; 2007

An island with excellent exposure to all swells and good to fair reef and beach construction all over. Excellent point combinations on the western tip of the island that work in North and south swells with some of the best white sand beaches in the islands. You will be surfing right next to the Pacific Missile Range Facility - what's the worst that could happen?

A lot more infrastructure and accomodation options than some of the more remote islands and so the ability to travel pretty much the entire circumferance of the land. Be sure you do this to maximise whatever swell / wind combo you are experiencing, you will find a wave somewhere most likely with no one on it.


Clawed: Photo of a Piaggio X9 250; 2 March 2006

Plane, bus, boat, car - all these means of transportation are available in Hawaii. Airlines are quite good and you can find virtually all flights between the islands. And you can actually save money and time by planning "triangle routes" that arrive in Hawaii on one island and leave on another. An of course, booking in advance will save you money as well.

If you want to travel by car, book in advance (Waikiki is the only exception) and note that insurance coverage is very expensive - it can pretty much double your daily rate or more. Gasoline won’t be cheap as well. In this situation renting a scooter or taking a bus can be good alternatives. Renting a scooter won’t be as expensive as renting a car (about $50 per day), plus the gas is cheaper as well. And Oahu has an excellent public transportation system - TheBus. The route information on how to get around the island is available from the booklet “TheBus” at local ABC Stores. There are buses on the neighbouring islands, but the system is less developed.

If you prefer to get around by water, than the following options are for you.  There are ferries that operate between Oahu, Maui and Kauai daily, as well as charter boats between some islands, especially the Maui-Molokai-Lanai area.

where to stay

Alejandro Bárcenas: Hanalei Town, Kauai w/ a view of Mt. Mamalahoa & Mt. Hihimanu, 18 May 2008

Before looking at which place you want to stay, it is neccesarily to think about the activities and sightseeings you want to do. The one main highway is only one lane each direction, so even though the island is fairly small, the road tends to get fairly congested at times, and so is better to lodge somewhere closer.

The "windward" side, especially the north coast can get up to twice rain than the sunny south coast. If you come from a cold and rainy region looking for a sunny Hawaiian vacation you could be disappointed if you stay on the lush, green, tropical - and wetter - north coast. 

Make your reservations early to get the best choices. Larger condo resorts often have multiple owners so search the Web by resort name and compare prices.

Another option is camping. There are many county and a state park where camping is allowed. Permits are cheap but required.

Some options you may want to take a look at:

Budget Travellers 

  • Kauai BeachHouse - World's only beach front hostel. Prices start from $27 (Dormitory) to $45 (Double) and $65 - $70 for a private room with an ocean view.
  • Kauai International Hostel - Prices starting from $20 (Dormitory) to $50 (Double).
  • Waikomo Stream Villas - Prices starting from $115.
Mid-range (Renting a condo or house)
  • RE/MAX Kauai vacation rentals - Offers a variety of vacation rental homes and condos around the island. Price vary from $100/night condos to $650/night beachfront homes.
  • Kiahuna Vacation - Kauai oceanfront condominiums by private owner in the Kiahuna Planatation at Poipu Beach. Nightly rates are $160 per night.
  • Outrigger Kiahuna Plantation - Beachfront condominiums on the world-renowned Poipu Beach.
  • Aloha Beach Resort - Provides family-friendly accommodations, with educational programs featuring various aspects of Native Hawaiian culture. Enclosed ocean area at Lydgate Beach Park within walking distance, snorkel gear available for rent. Prices from $85 double with garden and ocean views available and $220-359 for cottages.
  • Kauai Vacation Homes - 3 bedroom homes starting at just $215 per night.

what to pack

Mohylek-Fujifilm Finepix S9000; 1 April 2007

Trainers, loose clothing - everything for the hot weather. Definitely take along some bug repellent spray, good sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses! Have at least one set of nicer clothing for more formal occasions.

Bring plenty of memory for digital cameras and bring plenty of batteries. Take your snorkelling gear with you – you won’t regret.

A small backpack makes a good carryon bag and will be useful in daily life. Women: remember to take a good flat pair of shoes.... And for everybody: pair of comfortable walking shoes will be great for walking.  

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