Introducing the city

£1.00 | $1.28


Gasoline £0.48 | $0.61

One-way ticket £1.76 | $2.26

Beer £3.13 | $4.02

Main Course £10.18 | $13.06

About Kauai

Emerald green cliffs, prehistoric canyons and lush riverbeds, Kauai isn't your average Hawaiian Island. Known as the 'Garden Isle' its famed coastline (which was used in Jurassic Park) is a mystical, ancient oasis that offers deserted beaches, panoramic vistas and other-worldly scenery.

Magical Kauai - with its dense, verdant forests and golden, isolated beaches - is an island with spirit. Used in a multitude of Hollywood blockbusters (including Raiders of the Lost Ark) it's home to the dramatic Na Pali cliffs which soar majestically out of the aquamarine waters. Waimea Canyon and Koke'e National Park are two areas of natural beauty that are also well worth visiting. Home to rare plant and bird species, visitors can hike, bike and camp here (check conditions first). Kauai boasts more waterways and rivers than any other Hawaiian island, so kayaking and canoeing are other sports popular with the locals.

Despite its reputation for adventure and outdoor activities, Kauai still has one similar pastime that is found throughout the Hawaiian archipelago - going to the beach. Popular palm fringed Poipu resort is one for the bucket list and has great snorkeling opportunities (look out for turtles, whales and seals); alternatively try Hanalei for a laid-back, backpacker vibe.

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When Should You Visit?

April - the weather is pleasant and (reasonably) dry and resort prices lower.

Like much of Hawaii, Kauai's weather is moderately tropical all year round. Average temperatures rarely fluctuate and range from between 22 to 26 degrees Celsius. Unlike the other islands however Kauai often sees localized weather and micro climates around the mountainous areas - the weather here is often cooler and wetter. The rainiest days tend to fall between October to March while the summer months are the driest. Having said that, the island makes a great year round destination with temperatures staying fairly consistent month to month.

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Travioor top tips


Insider Info

  • The dramatic scenery coastal scenery is best seen from above or from the sea - book a helicopter tour or a (cheaper) boat trip.
  • If you're planning on hiking or biking (particularly around the Waimea Canyon) visit the local park office for real-time updates on current conditions.
  • Although it's predominantly a shopping place, the General Store of Hanalei also boasts an art gallery, free morning and afternoon events plus live music most evenings.

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Food and drink

Main Course £10.18 | $13.06

3-Course Meal £39.16 | $50.23

Cappuccino £3.04 | $3.90

Beer £3.13 | $4.02

The Scene

Kauai cuisine is closely linked to its neighbours - like all of the islands, seafood is the staple part of any meal. Freshly caught, you'll usually find tuna, snapper or monk fish available that's been steamed, fried or boiled. Kauai also has plenty of Asian influences as is apparent in local dishes like saimin (noodle soup with fish cakes, pork and boiled eggs) and spam musubi (fried spam, teriyaki sauce, seaweed and white rice). If it's fresh fruit you're after then you've come to the right place; Kauai (thanks to its micro-climate) is able to grow fruit not available on the other islands, including pineapple and guava. Sugar cane is also widely available, although if you try only one sweet thing make it malasadas, fried balls of dough dusted in sugar and cinnamon.

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Kauai's Story

Geologically speaking, Kauai is the most ancient of all the Hawaiian islands; its terrain is volcanic in origin and dates back around six million years. King Kamehameha - one of Hawaii's most famous monarchs - tried (unsuccessfully) to invade the island in the early 19th century, but ruling King Kaumualiʻi resisted the invasion (although Kamehameha's two major failures were largely down to a storm and a widespread epidemic). Eventually, Kaumualiʻi decided the island could not face the threat of invasion any longer so joined Kamehameha's kingdom amicably and became the ruling king's vassal - he passed on Kauai fully to the Kingdom of Hawaii upon his death in 1824.

In 1941 the Japanese attacked Hawaii's Pearl Harbour (Hawaii was annexed to the United States by this time) which propelled the USA into World War II; in 1959 it officially became the 50th state of the USA. Since then, Kauai has grown in prosperity and wealth - building sugar mills, infrastructure and developing tourist resorts for the growing number of visitors who travel to the island. Today, it is one of Hawaii's most popular destinations for outdoor sports enthusiasts.


Aloha | Hello
Mahalo | Thank you


The state of Hawaii has two official languages; English and Hawaiian. Hawaiian is a unique Pacific ocean language, with Polynesian roots. Everyone speaks English but if you want to try the local (and fascinating) language, the following might help:

  • Bye: Aloha
  • Please: E ’olu’olu
  • Excuse me: E kala mai iaʻu!
  • Do you speak English: ʻŌlelo anei ʻoe i ka ʻōlelo Pelekāne?

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Need to know

+1 808 Dialling Code
911 Emergency Services

Get The Low-Down

  • If you're planning on visiting Waimea Canyon and Koke'e State Park go on a clear day, after mid morning for the best, non-cloudy views. 
  • The island's famous red dirt tracks are very slippery and can be dangerous when wet - avoid those with steep drops. 
  • Don't swim where streams open into the sea; Leptospirosis, a serious bacterial disease spread by animals, is often found in the island's streams - it dies off in salt water. 
  • The best way to explore is by hiring a car (although the roads are small) as public transport is virtually non existent. 


Find out about the visa requirements for the United States here.

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Travioor Recommends


Dramatic cliffs, velvet green foliage and golden beaches make the Na Pali Coast State Park a must-see (keep an eye out for rare birds).

2. Snorkel or Scuba

Spot whales, green turtles, seals and more in the turquoise waters off Kauai; Makua Beach is home to a huge reef.

3. Get Active

Waimea Canyon offers jaw-dropping views. For a full on explore, hike, bike or camp. There are dozens of routes and trails available.


The small town of Koloa offers an interesting heritage trail which includes a trip to Kauai's old sugar mill - it's only three miles from Poipu.

5. Dine with a View

The resort town of Poipu has several excellent bars and restaurants that serve freshly caught seafood, ice-cold beers and fruity cocktails - most have beachfront views.

See What's On In Kauai  

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