Kauai, Hawaii: A Fortnight in Princeville (with Chickens) - PassPorter.com
Award-winning travel guidebooks

   guidebooks   |   news   |   podcasts   |   boards   |   blog   |   worksheets   |   photos   |   articles   |   updates   |   register   |   follow us on

Hi, Guest!
Globetrotting Planning Articles

Globetrotting Traveling Articles

Globetrotting Lodging Articles

Globetrotting Touring Articles

Globetrotting Dining Articles

Globetrotting Making Magic Articles

Globetrotting General Travel Articles
12 Tips to Hotel Bliss
Assateague Island National Seashore
Back To Barcelona
Bellagio of Las Vegas
Bonaire, Antilles
Cairo, Egypt
Cape Cod
Carcassonne, France
Carlsbad Caverns
Chateau de Chenonceau
Chincoteague, Virginia
Costa Blanca
Discovery Cove
Disney on Broadway
Disney's Magical Express
Disneyland Paris
Exploring Chicago's Museums
Flying Premium Economy
Geneva, Switzerland
Gloucester, Massachusetts
Grotte de Pech-Merle, France
Harvard University
Hastings, England
Hersheypark, Pennsylvania
Hever Castle
Hiroshima, Japan
Hong Kong Disneyland Celebrates
Kauai, Hawaii
Kennedy Space Center
Key West
Lake Constance, Switzerland
Lake Powell
Lake Thunersee, Switzerland
Learning the Language
London, England
Longwood Gardens, Pennsylvania
Making Your Way by Ferry to the Magic in Disneyland Paris
Managing Memories
Miami, Florida
Montezuma Castle National Monument
Montserrat, Spain
More of Hilton Head Island
Mount Fuji & Hakone, Japan
My Quest for the West
New Orleans Revisited
Nikko, Japan
One Place is Never Enough!
Palacio Real
Palm Beach, Florida
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Portsmouth, England
Rocamadour, France
Seattle, Washington
Serendipity 3 in New York City
St. Paul's Cathedral, London
Star Wars in Concert
Taking to the Road
The 'Other' Jersey
The Billie Swamp Safari Park
The Egyptian Museum
The Gardens of Versailles
The Green Heart of the Big Apple
The Manatee Tour
The Palace of Versailles
The Pyramids of Giza
The Walt Disney Family Museum
Tired, Tried And True
Tokyo Disneyland
Tokyo DisneySea
Tokyo, Japan
Traveling the Northern Oregon Coast
Valencia, Spain
Valley of Fire
Viewing Cities From Above
Visiting the French Alps
Willcox, Arizona
Wimbledon Tennis Museum
You Don't Have to Cruise to See Alaska
Zurich, Switzerland

View all PassPorter articles

Kauai, Hawaii: A Fortnight in Princeville (with Chickens)

U.S. Travel photo
by Roger Sauer, PassPorter Guest Contributor
Last modified 05-27-2010

Cool Tip: Click here to get a FREE PDF version of this article, fully formatted to print and put into your PassPorter Deluxe Binder!

Filed in Articles > U.S. Travel > General Travel  

With tourism still slow domestically, trips to the Hawaiian islands can still be bargains if you plan ahead and shop around on the Internet or use a good travel agent. During shoulder seasons airfare can run as low as $400 from the West Coast and lodging can, depending on the level of amenities, range from $100 to $400 a night.

While we have spent most of our Hawaii time on Maui in recent years, this spring we decided to try the island of Kauai. The island has been used in movies from "South Pacific" to "Jurassic Park" to several movies with Elvis Presley. At the time we visited George Clooney was in Princeville filming "The Descendents." And local residents were eagerly anticipating Johnny Depp who would be arriving soon for his fourth "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie. Visitors can even take a Kauai "Movie Tour" bus around the island and check out the filming locales).

The largest town and the principal airport is Lihue on the southeast shore. Lihue is a small town that appears to be sliding down a hill into the ocean were it not held back by the overgrowth of vines clinging to buildings and anything with a vertical height over two feet.

As we were staying for two weeks, we stopped at the island's Costco for supplies. This warehouse store is about ten minutes northwest of the airport. Although we were very familiar with Costco stores, we were unprepared for dodging wild chickens with our rental car in the parking lot. Hmmm ... something was very different here.

Princeville Kawaii Hawaii photo
Princeville Kawaii Hawaii

Tunnels Beach west of Princeville - photo by rsauer3473

There are two major resort areas on Kauai: Poipu, on the south point of the island not too far from Lihue and Princeville on the north coast. We were headed north. Highway 56 winds around the east and north side of Kauai and passes through small towns like Kapa'a and Wailua. Traffic was slow- 25 miles an hour in many places, lower in the numerous construction sites.

We crossed several rivers flowing into the ocean to the right. But the wonder was in looking to the left and imagining the sources of the streams and what views are to behold on their way down these oldest mountains in Hawaii. Local adventure outfitters provide both ocean and river kayaking experiences in the interior and along the rivers.

A cursory look at a map shows the Hawaiian islands extending like a series of sprayed paint drops on a field of blue from southeast to northwest. The islands were created by a volcanic "hot spot" on the earth's crust pushing hot magma up through the crust into the sea. The oldest islands are in the northwest. Islands actually extend thousands of miles to the northwest but the oldest ones have eroded away by wind and water and gravity. Midway Island is over a thousand miles away from the major chain, but it, too, was near present Hawaii at one time. Hawaii (the Big Island) is the newest and it still growing as evidenced by its current vulcanism at Mount Kilauea. The next youngest island, Maui, had its last eruption in the late 1700s.

This northernmost island is called the "Garden Isle" for its lush green ground cover. On the day we arrived the temperature was about 80 degrees and quite humid -- great weather if you are a green leafy aralia or fan palm. Where there are dry expanses of grass field tumbling down the hills on Maui, on Kauai there are blankets of green extending up to the craggy mountains at the island's center.

The mountains were verdant, almost vertically wrinkled colossi extending into a cloudy sky. Rain intermittently covered the windshield on our thirty mile drive. The sun peeked out from behind the clouds from time to time. This brightness with the shadows of the trees directly in front of our rental car made driving the two lane road challenging. It's not that the sides of the road have lots of trees, it's that the trees by the sides of the road appeared to be being absorbed by more primal foliage growing out of a more ancient part of the island.

We were staying at Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas, one of the Starwood Corporation's ever-growing network of vacation ownership (read "timeshare") resorts. Built on one of the last undeveloped ocean front parcels in Princeville, the resort is comprised of several three story buildings with studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom condo units on a picturesque bluff overlooking the Pacific. The resort ambience in understated elegance. Rates on its Starwood Preferred Guest website ranged from $320 per night (studio) to $750 per night (two bedroom villa). People we met at the resort claimed they'd received a $120 per night rate through Priceline.

The main resort facility has a restaurant, workout area, upscale barbecue grill facilities, three pools each with an "infinity" feature with cascading water, and expansive lawn areas upon which many geese and chickens have taken up residence. It takes only a few roaming chickens to remind a guest that Hawaii and especially this smallest island are very rural environments broken up with occasional high-end resort properties of which Princeville is one. 

There is a full complement of concierge staff able and willing to assist with activities and restaurant reservations. Featured are helicopter rides (about $200 per person) and a variety of boat rides for snorkeling and viewing the towering cliffs on the NaPali coast west of Princeville. (Eighty percent of the island is accessible only by helicopter.) A nearby horse ranch has day trips into the interior for viewing of the tropical jungle and scenic waterfalls. Many activities are located back in the Lihue and Poipu areas but some are now available in and around Hanalei (less travel, more activity time). Two well-manicured golf courses are nearby and two of these border each side of the Westin.

One advantage of staying at the Westin Villas is that guests have access to the nearby St. Regis Resort to the west on Hanalei Bay. This is the only five-star resort on the island and the Grill restaurant we visited on Mother's Day left my wallet $200 lighter after trying the "tasting" menu. While they do not have pool privileges, Westin guests have a special area of the lawn between the pool and the bay on which to luxuriate. This is intended to compensate for the Westin's not having easy ocean access as it rests on a bluff above the sea. There is a steep dirt (or muddy when wet) path that extends down about a quarter mile from the Westin to one terminus of Anini Beach where there is very calm water due to a reef about half a mile out. The beach can also be reached by car by driving east to an entrance a few miles away.

The first hundred yards or so into the sea are very shallow though there is a coral and rock bordered channel. Both times we snorkeled there were disappointing as few fish were present and the silted bottom and even the coral outcroppings were a monochrome brown. It must be noted that in Hawaii, all beaches are public. However, nearby parking and access is sometimes difficult unless the beach is part of a state park. Reaching the beach often requires traversing a long path or accessing a trail between private homes. Never leave valuables in your parked car when you head to the ocean.

Hanalei is the small town just west of Princeville though many signed seemed to indicate that Princeville is a region of Hanalei. Very touristy with abundant t-shirt, sun wear, and art boutiques, Hanalei is as laid back as one can get here. There are several restaurants but, as the noon hour arrived, Bubba's Burgers fit the bill. The burger was good though overpriced. The place has been a popular dining spot for celebrities (Bill Clinton, Jack Black and Ben Stiller, for example) given the photos on the wall. The road into the town passes some extraordinarily beautiful scenery of acres as of taro plants in patchwork of bogs backed by sweeping tall mountains. The area is reminiscent of theLi River Valley in the Szechuan province of China. And, yes, there are plenty of chickens scurrying around.

Beyond Hanalei are a number of beaches and the Limahuli Gardens; a tour through a fascinating tropical botanical garden runs $15. (The gift shop proudly featured more photos of Bill and Hillary Clinton ambling through the gardens.) A favorite beach in this region is "Tunnels" Beach which is the informal name for the eastern stretch of Ha'ena Beach State Park. As in many public beach venues in Hawaii, the access trail can be difficult. The best way to get there is to park in the lot past Tunnels then walk about a quarter mile. There is ample parking (at least early in the day.) Avoid parking near private residences. Snorkeling here is much better than on Anini Beach. Large coral outcroppings extend up to twenty feet above the sea floor and the fish variety is significant due to the coral on which the fish feed.

Travel to Kauai
There are no direct flights to Kauai from the mainland U.S. though there are seasonal direct flights from Vancouver, British Columbia. Travelers will need to fly first to either Honolulu on Oahu or Kahului on Maui. The inter-island flights are short and our flight to Kauai was not much longer than our taxiing at the Lihue airport. United, Delta, American, Alaska, and Hawaiian are the major airlines from the states. As we live on the west coast, we like Hawaiian. Most car rental companies are represented at the airport and can be reached via a short van ride.

Costco is ten minutes northwest of the airport; there is a Safeway and Foodland in Kapaa and a smaller Foodland in the Princeville Shopping area. Prices for food and gasoline are higher than stateside as might be expected. The Kukui Mall across from Costco contains a Macy's department store and several other small retailers as well as a Borders Books and Music at the mall's south end. Art shops with paintings, crafts, and Hawaiiana abound in each small town. We picked up some nice items in Kilauea east of Princeville.

The only major hotel brand in Princeville is Starwood with its Westin Villas and St. Regis resort. Hyatt, Marriott, and Sheraton can be found at Poipu. However, there are many condo developments and timeshare resorts. Future visitors can look up these rentals opportunities through querying Expedia or other travel search engines such as Vacation Rentals by Owner. Rates for ocean view condos can run as low as $100 per night.

While it is true that Kauai like all the Hawaiian Islands will someday erode into the sea from which they came millions of years ago, there is still plenty of time to enjoy this island which derives its magic and charm from its primordial beauty. And its ever-present chickens!

Princeville Kawaii Hawaii photo
Princeville Kawaii Hawaii

Westin Princeville Ocean Villas - photo by rsauer3473

About the Author:
Roger and Donna Sauer are avid Disney fans who have visited every Disney park around the world. Their next Disney adventure will be the September westbound transatlantic cruise on the Disney Magic after traveling for three weeks in Italy, Greece, and Spain.

Related Links:
Serendipity 3 in New York City - A Dining Review last updated 12/29/2008
Hong Kong Disneyland Celebrates - A New Year In A New Disney Park last updated 12/18/2008
Valencia, Spain - Travel Tips last updated 11/27/2008
Bellagio of Las Vegas - Simply Bellissimo! last updated 1/08/2009
Hever Castle - Kent, England last updated 1/15/2009

Reader Comments:

I just wanted to make a correction to your information about flights in to Kauai. They are available stateside, year-round on Delta and US Airways (America West) at the very least. We flew from Dallas to Phoenix, and from Phoenix directly in to Lihue. I know there are flights from LAX to LIH as well. Just wanted to clarify that, as I am not sure which airline you were looking at.smiley for :cool:

     Scrubbyfrog on May 27, 2010 @ 10:07 pm
I really enjoyed the article as it was very descriptive. The points about the accommodations, food, and access to beaches would be most helpful to anyone planning to visit.

     sheddinglight on May 27, 2010 @ 11:21 pm
Kauai is our favorite Hawaiian Island.... thanks for the memories....

     truckdriverfritz on May 28, 2010 @ 8:10 am
View all 3 comments in forum thread

So what do you think? Click here to share your comments, feedback, and experiences on this article and topic!

(Note: You must be a member of our PassPorter Message Board Community to leave comments. Join today for free!)

Updated 05-27-2010 - Article #480 

Read additional articles from PassPorter.com

Subscribe to our free e-mail newsletter, PassPorter News, published for more than 58,000 opt-in subscribers worldwide. As an added bonus for subscribing, you will receive a 20% discount coupon for the PassPorter Store -- no catch!

E-mail Address:

First Name:

E-mail Format:
-Text/Don't Know  



We respect your privacy and never sell or rent our subscriber list. Subscribing will not result in more spam! We guarantee it.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Copyright 1999-2014
by PassPorter Travel Press, an imprint of MediaMarx, Inc.

Learn More With Our Award-Winning Guidebooks


RSS General PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, and General Travel - Globetrotting: General Travel Planning
PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disn...
Planning a trip around the globe, or just away for the weekend? Ask questions and share experiences! Forum Sponsored by CruisingCo.com

Copenhagen ?
by Pris
23 Jan 2015 at 6:29pm
DH and I are sailing on our Disney cruise out of Copenhagen. We will be there 1 1/2 days before the cruise. I'm looking at possibly the canal tour...
(click title above to view replies)

Debating..... any advice?
by Alaskan Mom
22 Jan 2015 at 4:55pm
Am deep into planning Europe trip for DD's high school graduation trip and am trying to decide whether to take 4-5 out of 11 days in UK to travel on...
(click title above to view replies)

savings support group?
by Coreada
6 Jan 2015 at 3:37pm
We're saving up for a trip to Disneyland Paris (and possibly Hong Kong), and on my fixed income, the prospect is *daunting*. Is anybody else in this...
(click title above to view replies)

Hawaii Input Appreciated
by SheLovesAriel
3 Jan 2015 at 11:21pm
It looks like our next major trip will be to Hawaii for 2016 - thinking summer time frame; I guess this is a low crowd time of year? We are just...
(click title above to view replies)

What are your 2015 travel plans?
by chezp
1 Jan 2015 at 5:33am
As we're just starting a new year, what are your travel plans, big or small, for the next 12 months? We're making three trips to America this...
(click title above to view replies)

looking for hotel in Chicago
by oldmom
30 Dec 2014 at 12:50pm
We will be taking the train into Chicago and are looking for a hotel that is close to Union Station, possibly close walking distance. However, I...
(click title above to view replies)

Airfare to Hawaii
by Salty
30 Dec 2014 at 12:26pm
Not sure where to post this but on Thursday we can book Aulani for August! I've started looking at airfare from NY and I'm wondering if $856 round...
(click title above to view replies)

First time to London/Paris
by WDW1102
27 Dec 2014 at 9:46am
We are starting to plan our first trip to London/Paris. I am looking for a planning guide similar to Passporter. It helped me so much when I planned...
(click title above to view replies)

Total Visits: 7158

PassPorter ~ 1998-2015 ~ 17 Years of Making Dreams Come True!
Publishers of bestselling travel guidebooks and proud recipients of 13 national book awards
About PassPorter
About Us
Site Map
Privacy Policy
Images & Artwork
News & Updates
Message Boards
Concierge Desk
Books & E-Books
Customs Office
Register Books
Book Updates
Help & Info
Finding Answers to Questions
Help Desk
Using Your PassPorter Forum
Store Customer Service
E-Mail Us
Follow Us
PassPorter.com Front Page (Updated Daily!)
PassPorter Newsletter (weekly and free)
Latest Posts
YouTube Channel
Questions? Check our Site Map and visit our Help Desk to learn how to contact us online, by e-mail, and by phone.
Please feel free to link to this page so that other vacationers can find it.