Waimea Canyon Lookout is another must see when you visit Kauai. This lookout of the Grand Canyon of the Pacific is beautiful. It will take an hour and a half to two hours to drive there from The Pono Kai but it's worth it. The drive is very curvy and you can't drive very fast once you start the climb to the lookout. Once you get to there you will be rewarded with breathtaking views. Here's a tip, bring a coat. It can be cold up there and it's always windy, so it makes it seem even cooler. And yes, the Kauai chickens are even up that high and are running around the lookout parking lot.
One tour that I sometimes forget to mention is the "Kauai Photo Tour". The tour is great if it's your first time on the island. They take you to some places that not everyone knows about. You don't have to be a semi pro photographer either. This is an all around great tour of the island and the helpful staff will make sure you get some great pictures to show also. These are two photos my daughter took while on the tour this February. She's been taking photos for years and she has some really nice equipment but don't think that's needed for this tour. If anyone has any questions about this tour or if you want more information, just post a comment or use the "Contact Us" form.
On our last trip to Hanalei, my wife had to stop at the Tahiti Nui. It's the Restaurant/bar that is in the movie "The Descendents". It wasn't too crowded and we recognized the inside from the movie. There wasn't anyone sitting at the bar where George Clooney and Beau Bridges sat in a scene in the movie, so we sat there and had our picture taken. We just had some drinks but the food looked good and was reasonably priced. We recommend stopping here if you're in the area. Everyone was nice and friendly and eager to start a conversation. It's a very laid back place.
Another common question is always about how much things cost in Hawaii. Yes, things are more expensive but if you shop smart, just like you do while your at home, most things aren't too bad. As you can see by the photos, there are some brands that are more expensive than others. While I stay at the Pono Kai, I shop at both the Safeway and the Foodland. If you give your phone number at the checkout, you will get the Foodland discount prices. At the Safeway, you can use your Safeway card from home or you can ask for a card right at the store. Use can use it right away to get the Safeway prices.
I also go to the Costco in Lihue. I only pick up a few items there because the pack sizes are large on most items. I usually stay for two to three weeks so it works a little better than if you are only staying a week.
If you do have any left over unopened food, you can donate it to help some locals in need. There is a box in the lobby of the Pono Kai where you can place these items to be picked up.
_Here's the pictures of the boards at Ono's Shave Ice. The choices are endless. You'll end out going here many times during your stay. It's the perfect way to cool off during the hotter part of the day. We were disappointed a couple of days because we didn't make it back in time to get a shave ice at Ono's.
I get this question a lot. Yes, gas prices are high in Hawaii. One thing about Kauai is that it's a small island and with a smaller car you won't have to fill up often.
This picture is from February. Prices are a little higher today, $4.49. On our last trip we rented a Ford Fusion for almost three weeks and only had to fill up once and we traveled all over the island a few times.
Only in Hawaii will you find a music book for playing AC/DC on the ukulele. There's a ukulele shop a block from the Pono Kai that had this book in the window. My son plays the guitar and had to snap a picture of this.
Just a couple more fast food photos from Kapaa. You can walk to both McDonald's and Burger King from the Pono Kai. BK is closer. Next post I'll show a few pictures from grocery shopping. Eating out is notoriously expensive in Hawaii but because you have a full kitchen and BBQ's at the Pono Kai you can save quite a bit of money. You'll still want to go out and try some of the local food but you can eat leftovers comfortably at your condo. If you shop the sales at the grocery stores, you can eat very well and fairly cheaply on Kauai.
My son's first job was at a Burger King, so we had to stop at the one in Kapaa when he was there. He got a kick out of the garbage cans that said Mahalo, so he had to get a picture. There's also a McDonald's in Kapaa if you need a fast food fix. The prices are about the same as any other McDonald's in a tourist area. But where else can you get spam and eggs or Portuguese sausage and eggs for breakfast? McDonald's even had a taro pie!!
This is the nice covered area by the pool at the Pono Kai. This area is right next to the pool and hot tub in the fenced in pool area. To get in this area you have to scan your room key. This building also houses the restrooms and both saunas. This is a great area to take advantage of the free WiFi.
On Sundays and Thursdays this is the area where the concierge holds their island orientations. These are great. There is no pressure to buy anything. They hold drawings for two for the price of one excursions. All the vendors come in and give a presentation telling you about their activity. They have all the popular activities on the island. You get one ticket per room and there is ussually seven to ten drawings. They have juice, coffee and pastries. The hour goes by quickly. They are held rain or shine.
Jeff & Kim Silvers