Recovering The SelfA Journal of Hope and Healing


4 Tips for Exploring the Hawaiian Island of Kauai

Kauai is the oldest of the visitable Hawaiian Islands and is well-known for its relaxed vibe and Aloha spirit. It’s an ideal place for a peaceful, healing getaway. However, there’s no guarantee that traveling to Kauai is hassle-free. Without the proper research and knowledge, you could wind up stressed out instead of blissed out. As we note in our “8 Common Travel Problems and How to Deal with Them” post, being unprepared is a big issue, and it could lead to more significant problems that can negatively affect the trip. You can avoid this trouble by knowing the ins and outs of your destination. For a stress-free vacation, here are four tips for exploring the Hawaiian island of Kauai.


Image @ Unsplash

Reserve early and secure permits

Nothing is more frustrating than making your way to a location and finding out you can enter without a permit or reservation. When planning out your Kauai trip, make sure that you book your must-see sites far in advance. Places like the Kalalau Trail, one of the country’s most popular and beautiful hiking trails, require a permit to control crowds brought on by high demand. Permits are available 90 days from your trip date but sell out quickly during peak travel times. If you want to experience what the island offers, booking in advance is worth the effort. Besides the popular nature spots, making reservations for dining spots is also something to consider. More casual places may not need to be booked ahead of time, but if some popular restaurants are on your bucket list, you might find it hard to eat there without reserving. Do your research and ensure you have secured all your reservations and permits for a hassle-free trip.

Rent a car

Kauai is a spread-out island, and the distance between locations isn’t easy to navigate without the proper vehicle. If you want to experience the beauty of Wailua Falls, view the artist shops at Hanapepe, or turtle watch on Poipu, renting a car is the best way to ensure you see all the sights you want. A car rental in Kauai is preferable to a company tour, as you will have complete control over where you go. It’s also much cheaper than taking taxis or other modes of public transport to multiple locations because the fares can add up quickly. You don’t have to worry about going with the flow of a tour or being unable to ride a bus; you can enjoy a more stress-free, healing trip when you have more control over where you go and what you do.

Take a road trip

With a rental car, you could drive around Kauai in one day; the island is just under 30 miles, tip to tip and side to side. Though that’s a viable travel option, you can divide this road trip in half, giving you more of the day to enjoy each location more leisurely. Depending on your lodgings, you can start exploring from there and drive up to the next half of the island. For instance, if you start from the west portion of Kauai, you can go up to the north or south area, depending on the sights you’d like to see first. The next day, traverse the other half. This method is ideal if you want to scour the island for your favorite spots to come back to them in the coming days. You could divide the trip even further if you wish to have a more slow-paced, relaxed experience, allowing you to focus on small areas at a time to immerse yourself in Kauai’s sights.

Appreciate Hawaiian culture

The locals do a lot to preserve and promote a broader awareness and respect towards Hawaiian culture. When exploring Kauai, research the locations you visit and how they’re rooted in the state’s history and traditions. A spot like Hanalei Beach is well-known for its idyllic, picturesque views, making it popular for travel and shooting movies. Besides its beautiful sights, it’s also a profoundly sacred place revered in Native Hawaiian culture. Hanalei is home to some of Hawaii’s most renowned cultural traditions, including surfing, outrigger canoe paddling, sailing, and navigation. When stopping by other iconic destinations, take time to learn about the area’s history and culture. You’ll be more appreciative of the bigger picture you’re a part of, and you can learn how to keep these places safe and alive.

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