If this is your first time to the island there are some things you need to see and do while you are here!!! Some of the things you will need to familiarize yourself to the island are as follows:
1. Tour Guide Book - One of these books is really all you need for your first time here! It has maps, pictures, and directions to all the must sees.
-Our favorite is "The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook". Don't worry if you don't have one until you get here. You can pick one up at any main store on the island for a reasonable price.
-Kauai Underground Guide is a second favorite,
-Explore Kauai is our least favorite.
2. Map of the Island - Usually in the guidebook. The island only has one Main highway that goes from far West all the
way to far North. There is no highway that circles the island. The Na Pali coast prohibits a full circle of the island. If you
decide to go to the North Shore from our condo, make it a day because even though its only 26 miles to Hanalei, it takes
roughly an hour and ten minutes one way. Its well worth the drive but utilize your guide book to see as many sites on North
Shore as possible. Keep in mind its green and lush on the North Shore as it rains there a lot.
Have an idea of things you want to do and plan accordingly. Keep in mind that the island is very diverse in geography. It
may rain on certain parts of the island for ten minutes then be sunny the rest of the day. It also might rain in a certain area but not be raining ten miles
away. Don't let rain dictate what you do or where you go because it may be sunny at the place you want to go and usually the rain disappears as soon as it came.
If you want souveniers, you can pick up inexpensive things at Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Hilo Hatties, or ABC stores in Lihue but for more unique, personalized and slightly more expensive things, please explore all the small shops and markets throughout the island.
Restaurants are very diverse here as well. Everybody might have an opinion on what's good or what's bad. We try to eat somewhere new everytime we are there so we can experience it for ourselves. Most of the time you cannot go wrong with seeing a place that is "packed" and the locals are eating there. Also, the guidebooks have pretty good advice and selecting something from their "top" or "ono" picks usually pays off also. Don't rely solely on these books as their tastes might be different. Although, there are three staple fast food restaurants on the island, there are no "chain" type restaurants such as Chili's, Red Lobster, TGIF's, etc... This really is a unique island that somehow keeps the commercialism in check for the most part.
3. BE SAFE !!! - The ocean here is incredible! Its also incredibly dangerous if you don't heed warnings and use some common sense.
There are numerous beaches on Kauai and the major ones all have life guards on duty during business hours of the day, 7 days/week (See our links). Try to frequent these beaches if you have small children and you want to have safety as your friend. If you choose to go to some of the more "out of the way" beaches, just take time to observe the conditions and notice if numerous others are in the water (not just the locals).
4. Beware of the Sun - Use the proper amount and strength of sunscreen!!! The sun in Hawaii is a scorcher and may require more in quantity and a higher strength than you might be used to back home wherever that may be!!!!
5. Obey the Speed Limit!! - Everytime we are there, we see Kauai Police hidden in inconspicuous hiding spots waiting to hand out tickets to the tourists. Its hard not to want to go fast but just like island life, it's a SLOW pace!!!! Please slow it down and be safe!!
6. Crime is RARE but NOT Non-Existent!! - We have never had anything stolen but have read reports that thieves (just like anywhere else) like to prey on tourists by breaking into cars for quick cash items. ADVICE: Don't take anything with you to leave in the car. This includes the trunk as most rentals have a latch to open the trunk from inside the car. Also don't leave things unattended at the beach. Leaving that stuff that you can't protect or watch is much safer at the condo and you will be much happier! Be smart and don't let anybody ruin your vacation!!