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There is a lot of information on this page – be sure to scroll down for the restaurant recommendations~
Make your flight to arrive at Lihue Airport (LIH) if you are arriving from the Mainland or internationally. Lihue has car rentals on site and a car is a necessity for getting around the island. The Lihue Airport is about an hour drive to Princeville.
Princeville also has a private airport where many of the helicopter tours depart from but there are also a few private pilots who will fly you to other islands for about the same price as leaving from Lihue with a lot more convenience. Call 808-826-3040. There are not car rentals here so it is best to fly in first to Lihue.
Getting Around The Island
Unfortunately a car is a necessity on the island of Kauai. There are taxi and Uber services however you will need to allow a lot of extra time to use those services.
There are bike paths and bike rentals along the east side of the island near Kapa’a but biking along the highway is not advised.
There is basically only one major road/highway that runs from the north side of the island beginning at Haena State Park then down to the east at Kapa’a, south near Poipu and finally to the west near Waimea. A quarter of the island, the Na Pali Coast is only accessible by boat in the summer or by helicopter.
After the historic flood of 2018 where over 50 inches of rain fell in Hanalei in 24 hours, much of the roads north of Hanalei were damaged. It took over a year for several of the beaches to be restored. Before re-opening, the locals wanted to manage the traffic and congestion on those back roads and beaches and so a shuttle service was implemented.
Kauai North Shore Shuttle
There is a shuttle pick up at the Princeville Makai Golf Course just a mile from our condo. The shuttle continues north and stops in Hanalei, at a little general store in Wainiha, at Hanalei Colony Resort that has a small gift shop and restaurant overlooking the beach, at Tunnels or Haena Beach Park, the Limahuli Gardens and finally at Haena State Park or Ke’e Beach where the Kalalau Trail begins.
RESERVATIONS ARE REQUIRED and space is limited so it is suggested you make reservations a month in advance. There is a fee of $11/person. Make reservations online at https://KauaiNSShuttle.com
Finally, there are several boat and helicopter tours that will get you around the Na Pali Coast. Most boat tours start on the south side of the island and go north up the west side. There are just a few boat tours that start from Hanalei that provide better views of the Bali Hai mountain. For the boat tours I highly recommend taking a catamaran as those will cut through the waves easier than other types of boats which will help with sea sickness. Either way, I also highly recommend taking a motion sickness medication before you go. The ocean is calmer on the North Shore in the summer so that is the only time of year the boats can give tours of the Na Pali Coast. During the winter the waves can be over 20 feet tall along the Na Pali Coast.
We’ve not ever taken a helicopter tour ourselves but from all the folks that have, they couldn’t say enough about how beautiful and amazing it is to see multiple water falls and many other uncharted places.
Princeville has very limited public parking. There is parking in the Princeville Shopping Center, and then there are two other small lots – one by Queens Bath and the other by Hideaways.
Our condo complex has plenty of parking however it is for guests only. No assigned spaces and no parking permits however the onsite resident manager can call Princeville security to issue tickets for those who are parked illegally. Within Princeville, do not park on the grass, use designated parking spaces only.
The Princeville at Hanalei Community Association has a Patrol person on duty 24/7. Patrol is responsible for enforcing the Protective Covenants and PHCA Rules including noise violations between 10pm and 8am, parking in grassy areas, feeding wild animals and birds and for keeping an eye out for suspicious behavior. You can email Patrol at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Although we would like to think Kauai is full of aloha, tourists are on occasion targeted for theft on beaches, in cars and in vacation rentals that are not locked. Please keep all of your valuables hidden and locked to prevent such crime.
We STRONGLY encourage Travel Insurance that will cover COVID-19 travel issues and we offer a $50 discount to our guests who purchase a policy (that covers lodging expenses) at the time of booking through our affiliate link:
Squaremouth offers a variety of choices of insurance companies and policies to fit your needs.
Another option for Travel Insurance is Travel Guard.
Birds however are a different story. Hawaii is home to over 350 species and the state of Hawaii has 59 endemic birds that have not been found anywhere else on earth. So to say it is a bird’s paradise on The Garden Isle is quite accurate. Therefore Kauaiians have done everything possible to preserve and protect native bird species.
That said, we are told that after Hurricane Inkiki hit a chicken farm in 1992, the domestic birds mingled with the jungle fowl brought to the island by the Polynesians 1,000 years ago and now they are populating the island! You will find chickens just about everywhere you go!
HELP SAVE SEABIRDS: Each year several species of seabirds come to the island cliffs of Kauai to breed. When the fledglings make their initial flight back to sea, they can often be confused by bright lights and fly in circles around them never making it back to sea. Kauai has implemented a “Save Our Shearwaters” program and asks for minimal
outdoor lights to be turned on and to close the blinds on windows at night to minimize interior lights to be seen by them.
For more information check outKauaiseabirdproject.org
FEEDING BIRDS PROHIBITED: Please do not feed the birds. Kauai has many endangered birds, feeding them and giving water takes them out of their natural eating habits. The State imposes large fines to violations of protecting these birds.
Frequently Asked Questions
Check out this site for a list of frequently asked questions about Kauai…
SHUTTLE SERVICES North Shore
Kauai North Shore Shuttle Shuttle Reservations are REQUIRED and will get you to Haena State Park.
Expect groceries to cost more. A gallon of milk might be $6 while a dozen eggs might be $8. There is a Foodland Grocery store in Princeville, a Safeway in Kapa’a and a Costco in Lihue. Our tradition is to head straight from the airport to Costco before heading up to the condo (an hour drive).
Must do: The Princeville Resort Makana Terrace Breakfast buffett (right next to condo complex). Very expensive- $40/person (still casual dress ok), fantastic food and an unbelievable view. Get there early in the morning (6:30am) to get a seat with the best view.
Hideaways Pizza (within walking distance in the condo complex next door) so a good choice if you are tired but don’t want to go drive somewhere) – good pizza and huge salads. The restaurant can be a little too warm after a hot day so we often just do “take out” but the atmosphere and service is good if you decide to stay.
There are some great breakfast places in the Princeville Shopping Center with good ice cream and dinner options too!
The Dolphin Restaurant – If you love seafood – everyone rants and raves about this place – casual and almost always a line but sits beside the river so pretty views. In my opinion, the servings were small and the price seemed expensive but it’s the place to go in Hanalei.
JoJo’s Shave Ice is the best and it is right in the center of Hanalei.
Fredericos has good Mexican food right across the street from JoJo’s. Super casual, limited seating but there are several park picnic tables to use in front.
Hanalei has a ton of restaurants and over the years we’ve eaten at many with no complaints nor extraordinary impressions so I’d say go and enjoy what sounds good.
Keoki’s in Poipu – authentic Hawaiian feel, open air seating with singing in the evening near the bar and great food!
Bubba’s Burgers in both Kapaa and Poipu (used to be in Hanalei too) – fun, popular and great burgers. Be sure to ask for lettuce, tomato if you want it – it comes plain unless you ask. The Poipu location seems nicer with a better atmosphere since it is not on the highway like the one in Kapaa.
Puka Dog’s in Poipu – Polish sausage with tropical relishes – fun for a small meal or quick snack for my boys.