Hawaii Trip Notes: Part 2, Kauai.

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Shaloha Folks!
Hawaii Trip Notes: Part 1, Oahu.

-There are 4 main Islands in the state of Hawaii: Kauai, Maui, Oahu, and the Big Island of Hawaii.  Oahu is by far the most populated with the capital of Honolulu and touristy.  If you are going to Hawaii you need a minimum of 5 days on any Island, but a week is ideal.  In order of importance my opinion would be Kauai, Maui, the Big Island, and finally Oahu.

-We just finished an amazing week on Kauai.  Kauai is just incredible, my favorite Hawaiian island. It’s hard not to gush about it. The air is deliciously fresh with greenery abound. It’s just a stunningly beautiful island without any of the touristy kitsch that permeates Oahu and to a lesser degree Maui. From the depths of Waimea Canyon to the sheer and awe-inspiring cliffs of Na Pali it’s hard to not lose your breath…

-We stocked up on some of our kosher favorites in Whole Foods in Oahu before flying to Kauai. Got some ZenSoy Chocolate/Vanilla pudding ($3.99 vs. $2.99 in Cleveland), Corn and bean salsa ($3.69 vs. $2.99 in Cleveland), Whale Tales corn chips (never seen these in Cleveland), and Fat free soy milk ($5.69 vs. $3.29 in Cleveland)

-Groceries and gas are generally insanely expensive in Hawaii.  Except at Costco.  I confirmed on a number of items that Costco’s prices here are the same as on the mainland.  Even on frozen and refrigerated items like frozen salmon and Tropicana Orange Juice that can be double the price at other stores.

-Also before we left Oahu I picked up some of the great Aloha Hawaiian Kippot from Chabad of Honolulu. If you’ve never seen them they have double sided aloha prints in a myriad of unique designs and colors. They are great to wear around (you’ll get tons of compliments!) or to bring back instead of some tacky wooden gift. They’re $8 and help support the great work of Chabad of Honolulu.

-On our way to Honolulu we flew on Continental which allowed 70 pound bags, but from Honolulu to Kauai on Hawaiian we were only allowed 50 pound bags…which is where Skycaps come in handy 😉

-A convertible is definitely the way to go in Kauai!

-Tabi’s are awesome! I’d never heard of them before reading about them in the Hawaiin guidebooks.  They are a Polynesian hybrid of a beach shoe/boot with felt bottoms that grip onto slippery rocks.  They are perfect for hiking on slippery trails or for the beach.  Walmart in Hawaii sells them for $15-$20.

-This past week we stayed at the Grand Hyatt Kauai down in dry and sunny Poipu. How awesome is Kauai? You have to go through a “tree tunnel” just to get down to Poipu! Anyway the hotel is absolutely incredible. When you walk in the lobby there is an open wall where you can see straight to the Ocean.  There are dozens of pools, hot tubs, and lagoons that never seem to end. Exotic landscaping, talking parrots, and tons of free entertainment. You could literally spend a week here without leaving the hotel and never be bored for a minute…but that would be a crying shame.

-The Grand Hyatt put us in a ground floor suite when we arrived.  It was nice but I didn’t care for it.  There was no balcony, no ocean view, and no cell phone reception.  They let me take a look at a few other suites and I settled on a 1,400 square foot beauty with a separate living room, dining room, bedroom with walk-in closet, a bathroom with a jacuzzi and separate shower room, a 40 foot ocean-view balcony, 3 LCD TV’s, 4 phones…Total cost: $0.

-At 4am on Tuesday morning the Hotel fire alarm system malfunctioned.  It told everyone to evacuate the building.  After we left we were told it was a mistake, but they couldn’t get the alarm turned off for half an hour.  In the morning they sent out an apology letter offering everyone a $50 resort credit.  I don’t think so! I negotiated a more fair response with a manager over the phone, 18,000 Hyatt points (enough points for a free night at any Hyatt) and a $100 resort credit…which bought a nice pair of Naot’s for my wife!

-Wi-fi for 2 computers for the week came out to $200…waived of course for Hyatt elite members.

-The resort fee ($18/day) was waived as it was an award stay. Parking was free.

-The hotel offers a daily Scuba lesson in their expansive saltwater lagoon for free!

-They have these great sized Heinz ketchup packets at the self-service bar by the pool.  You know those regular Heinz packets that you need to open 7 of to cover your burger? Well 1 of these babies and your burger is covered!  Why haven’t I seen these anywhere else???

-We brought some self-heating La Briute meals with us (Cheese Ravioli and Meatballs and Spaghetti). These flavors are actually pretty good, and it’s great to have a nice piping hot meal in middle of a long hike!

-We were able to freeze the food that we needed for Maui upon arrival and get an extra fridge in the room for our food for the week in the hotel.

-Times Supermarket carries a complete line of Jelly Belly products and confections, including some super fresh candy corn! Yum!

-On Wednesday night we went to the “Tiki-Torch” menorah lighting at Chabad of Kauai which was nice. Rabbi Goldman brought down Zvi Bielski, the son of “Defiance” World War 2 hero Zus Bielski. At Chabad I ate the only Latke that I would have all Chanukah long!

-It hit me when we brought in Shabbos at the Hyatt that we were among the last Jews in the world to bring in Shabbos. With Kauai being the westernmost part of populated Hawaii and with sunset at 6pm local time/4am GMT and us being located further west than the local jewish community I think it’s entirely plausible that we were the absolute last people in the world to bring in Shabbos…kind’ve cool!

Some of the activities I’ve done on Kauai on this and past trips (5/5 = must do , 0/5= don’t bother):

-A Helicopter tour of Kauai with Blue Hawaiian (Kauai Revealed, Pg. 134), as recommended by the Kauai Revealed book. This trip is AWESOME!!! They have first class helicopters with comfy seats, 2 way noise canceling headphones, and huge windows for incredible views. The biggest problem with Kauai is that so much of it is inaccessible. With a helicopter tour you can go right up to sights that seem impossible…into the canyon, over Na Pali, and it ends of with Mt. Waialeale, one of the wettest spots on earth with some 500 inches of annual rainfall and dozens of waterfalls gushing down: 5/5

-Kayaked to Fern Grotto and Secret Falls (Kauai Revealed, Pg. 163). Both sites are very impressive! It is a little tricky to dock at Fern Grotto and to actually find the beautiful Secret Falls with its swimmable pool…but well worth it. We started from Hawaiian Village where it’s just a short 5-10 minute kayak to either site. We ran out of time and couldn’t find Secret Falls before they closed, but they let us come back a couple days later and try again for free-and we made it! Bring Off or you will get eaten alive. : 4.5/5

-Polihale Beach (Kauai Revealed, Pg. 88). 13 miles of uninterrupted and deserted beaches in the remote westernmost part of the United States. It’s mostly unswimmable in the winter due to waves up to 25 feet tell. However standing in Queen’s Pond where the massive waves are taken down by the reef just feet in front of you makes for a surreal experience. Watching the sunset over the “forbidden island” of Niihau at Polihale is breathtaking: 4.5/5

-Snorkeling at Poipu Beach (Kauai Revealed, Pg. 112). I snorkeled right on top of a green sea turtle that was bigger than me! Monk seals often park themselves at this beach which is just a few minutes from the Hyatt. 4.5/5

-12 Mile Hike in Waimea Canyon Nualolo/Awaawapuhi loop (Kauai Revealed, Pg. 144). I’m not sure what I was thinking here. This hike included half a mile of altitude change, some very scary cliffs (don’t make a false step or it’s miles till the next one!) and was way too strenuous for my taste. The views of Na Pali were shockingly beautiful (which is why I did the hike in the first place) but I was nice and sore for a day or 2 after this hike.  If you do this hike don’t forget lots of water-I went through 4 liters myself easily: 2/5

-4WD Miloli Ridge Road (Kauai Revealed, Pg. 196) Stunning view of Na Pali without the 12 mile hike. 4WD car is required though…4/5

-Liko Kauai Cruise of Na Pali. (Kauai Revealed, Pg. 168) These are supposed to be great in the calm summer seas…don’t bother in the winter. It was so nauseating that half the boat was throwing up. There are better ways to see Na Pali than this. 0/5.

If nothing else, just drive around Kauai, there is beauty everywhere. The drive up to the quaint North Shore with its 1 lane bridges and into Waimea Canyon is just awesome.

We’re off to Maui now…catch ‘ya later! Oh, and thanks for all of the comments on the last trip notes posting!

Waimea Canyon

Na Pali, from a helicopter

Sunset at Kekaha Beach

Na Pali, from a helicopter

Hanalei Lookout

Mt. Waialeale, from a helicopter

Grand Hyatt Suite Living Room

Grand Hyatt Suite Dining Room

Grand Hyatt Suite Bathroom

Grand Hyatt Suite Balcony View

Pools At Grand Hyatt Kauai

Menorah on balcony

Grand Hyatt Suite Balcony View

Na Pali, from Waimea Canyon loop hike.

Na Pali, from Waimea Canyon loop hike.

Waimea Canyon loop hike.

Na Pali, from Waimea Canyon loop hike.

Menorah Lighting at Chabad of Kauai

Grand Hyatt Kauai Restaurant

Grand Hyatt Kauai

Pools At Grand Hyatt Kauai

Message left at Polihale

Sunset at Polihale

Sunset at Polihale (Background: Ni’ihau)

Grand Hyatt Suite Balcony View

Wild Peacock

Secret Falls Kayak/Hike

Secret Falls (Partial view)

Monk Seal Tanning At Poipu Beach

Sunset at Polihale

Sunset at Polihale

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47 Comments On "Hawaii Trip Notes: Part 2, Kauai."

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I wish i had time for this. Enjoy!


Beautiful GH Suite! Nicely done….Looking forward to seeing you guys in NY this weekend….which is presently frozen over in 3 inches of snow 🙁


Dan! You make an at least $35,000 trip look inexpensive. How much is this all (including trip itinerary) actually costing you?


is this more fun single or married? Honestly!


Lovely pics. Now I know where I want to spend my next vacation.


Hey Dan!
My wife and I are coming to Hawaii this week and would love to see what you guys are doing in Maui. We will be in Maui for 5 days and then Kauai for 5 days. Please keep the info coming!



Dan, thanks for taking the time out of your vacation to post these!
Question re the suite at the Hyatt: I a ssume you are using your free nights from the Next Big Thing promo. I am under the impression that the confirmed suite upgrades only work for paid stays and the diamond upgrade doesn’t get you into a suite. So what’s you method?


I now understand why people talk Kauai up so much.Thanks for the pics

As for LaBruite what did you do pour a bottl;e of Scotch into each.I never ate food so Disgusting and tasteless in my life and I tried them all! and would rather eat plain bread then that JUNK

what I do is go into BP and Schicks on 12 Ave sells meals in a can , they arent cheap but Yossi basically vaccum packs his normal take-out food in a can. Just open with a can opener its already cooked, to warm up leave it for a while under the hot water. I usually go with the grilled chickhen with rice or farfel or potato


Enjoy the vacation, becuase once you have kids IM”H, the nxt time you’ll be able to take a vacation like this is in 30 years!


Also, it would be useful to post the prices of your activities.


Hey dan!
you look like your livin it up!
have fun
Thanks for these awesome trip motes!
The pictures are stunning


Glad you guys enjoyed the report and pics!

One thing I forgot to mention was the amazing Grand Club at the Hyatt.
It had an entire library of books, games, and worldwide newspapers that you could borrow. Plus free food and drinks all day long. As we couldn’t eat the food they even made that up to us! The Grand Hyatt Kauai is truly a class act!

I spent 48 hours in Hawaii on my first trip and had an absolute blast! Granted I was in relatively nearby LA at the time though…

Definitely worth saving up miles for when you’re married. Ahem, Levi..

Hawaii really is amazing. There’s just so much to do without even going near the beach if that’s not your thing.

Great plan-5 days at each should give you a great taste to 2 amazing islands!

The hotel had under 50% occupancy when we arrived. Jus ask nicely!

Most of the La Briutes are disgusting. The 2 flavors I mentioned in the post are not bad at all (altough with the cheese ravioli I do bring my own sauce and parmesean to put on top of it but it’s fine without that)
I wouldn’t eat them for a regular meal, but when you’re in middle of an 8 hour hike it’s awfully nice to eat a nice piping hot meal!

How much are those meals you buy in Boro Park?

@Mordy: @jack:
I generally find activity prices to be fluid-even when they say it’s not. I didn’t write prices because I never paid the asking price…just counter with your own offer and go from there!
Also some of these activities were done on previous trips. The kayaking was the only thing I paid for on this trip. It was supposed to be $70 but I paid $50. And they were still nice enough to offer to let us come back and do it again for free 2 days later!




Schicks has a few options some are frozen diners but I like the Cans since they are vaccum packed and dont need to be kept in a fridge, theres even Cholet (never tried that as I would want it unless boiling hot)

Its been awhile since lately either I go where theres a restaurant or Chabad meals. But the last time I think the chicken was $16 and meat a couple of bucks more

He (Yossi) tole me he ships them all over (of cause the buyer pays) but alot of people who travel around the World in the Kashrus biz have him ship it for them so they will have what to eat, especially if they wont be able to make it to say HKG or PVG and will be in the boondocks of China for a couple of weeks

call them its Schicks 12th ave & I think 49th & 50th ask for Yossi as he is the only 1 that handles the cans.



I find the Amazing Meals from Meal Mart quite useful on the road. The chotent-potato kugel-kishke combo was good as well as the Shwarma-chickpeas. The eggplant parmasan I heard is good as well, and they all cost about $5, and you just need a microwave


My wife made all of our regular meals (burgers, calzones, blintzes, soup, deli roll, etc.) back home and froze them. We brought 2 cheap burners and heat everything up on them.

The La Briute’s are good because they heat themselves up without needing a microwave/hot water when you’re doing an activity for the day.


Yeah labruit is really interesting. Thats what they use in the army for those who keep kosher (i heard)

You dont need anything (freezer/burners/fire/microwave ect.) they are just good straight out of package.
I always wondered if they were good…


How did you get all these free nights?


@Dan/Ctownbochur: Just like Pesach…

Awesome trip notes! Cant wait to see more.

Avid Reader

Thanks Dan for taking out the time to write this amazing trip report, especially the pics. Although I don’t travel much, I think I know where I’ll be going next.


cute pic of the 2 of you and awesome report and pics all around!


just wondering which camera you are using? the pics look gr8!


Thanks Dan!! Awesome Trip Report!! Keep them coming!! Got the miles…gata get the wife 🙂


So. Dan lights his Menorah, makes the fire alarm go off, and gets 18,000 and a $100 resort credit! I like 🙂


Canon SD890IS, Thanks!

Lol, get crackin!

Hahaha! Nice try, but the alarm went off at 4:30am…long after the menorah went out.
Also it was a really bizarre alarm, seemed more like a malfunction than anything else as they couldn’t get it off.


dan: where u get the canon 890is for cheap? lookin for a good deal on canon camera . thnx


Dan, how do you get the skycap guys to let overweight luggage?


Just go with the sd1200 for $149:

Many will let you get away with it.


Dan, what did you do about observing shabbos in hawaii?


y’know these pictures are so glorious, that i made the pic of na’pali the background of my computer, and so pretty to look at, especially in the winter when all i see out the window is snow!!!


Thanks so much for posting your trip notes!! The pictures are fantastic. Enjoy


How much did you pay for the helicopter tour and how long was it?

BTW, great updates. I feel like I need to go there now. You should be their spokesperson!


Dan, how much did you spend on tips for hotel staff?

Did you have any other little expenses – e.g. taxi rides, etc.?


We’ve been through this discussion before extensively…My Rabbi told me to observe it like the locals in Hawaii.

The pictures do Na Pali no justice. The in-person views are jaw dropping.

I did the helicopter tour on my last trip. It was very expensive-somewhere in the ballpark of $170 plus $20 for a personal DVD of your ride. It’s something not worth doing on Oahu and Maui because those islands are so much more accessible in person, but for Kauai it’s practically a must-do if it fits into your budget.

When do you need hotel staff? I usually like taking up my own bags. And I’m renting a car so no taxis.


I see Alamo car rentel showing the weekly rate on a convertable at $200. What are you paying?


how did you find a ‘copter ride for $170? when i was in kauai (a month ago) i called all the guys advertised in the phone book and none were a penny under $200. most wanted $220. there was one place that charged less, but it was an airbus or airvan, don’t remember and that sounded a bit off. also my native hawaiian friend said not to go out too late in the afternoon as the clouds settle in and obscure the view. and the airbus went out for that price at 4pm.

Island Car Rental is a great place to rent. they offer used cars, very cheap, no frills. as long as you bring back the car in working condition, they don’t even check it over! their number is (808) 246-6000. highly rec. they were really nice to me.


Are we getting part 3?

Boca Raton Vacation Rentals

Headed to Hawaii for my first time – I am so excited. Really enjoyed your blog and photos. And a convertible – definitely a good idea.


My wife and I are heading to Kauai in August. 2 free nights at the GH and 5 nights on points at St Regis. 2 questions:
– what did you do about a rental car? Any local deals in Kauai?
– Any room # recommendations at the GH or St Regis? I have Hyatt Diamond and SPG platinum.


Is there any way to book island to island flights with awards?


Sure, just call.


Call who?

Anyway I just booked flights with BA to Hawaii! Thanks Dan! As of now we’re in and out of Oahu, but if I can get to other islands for cheap then maybe I wont feel so bad by not going to Kauai like you and everyone else obsesses about…


“-The resort fee ($18/day) was waived as it was an award stay. Parking was free.”
Dan does this mean that all reward stays at any Hyatt waives parking? I am at Hyatt regency waikiki resort right now and they never heard of it! help!?! they said produce something written to prove!


Call Hyatt Gold Passport for help. There are no resort fees on award stays.


Hey Dan, yes the resort fee was waived but they charged for parking. But then my wife smooched up free parking so we’re all good, just got back to NY this morning, thanks Dan, ps chabad oahu now has a kosher restaurant.


What room did you reserve from the beginning on this stay in the Hyatt Kauai? Were you ‘upgraded’ to a suite?


Dan, we are planning to use the Hyatt card 2-free-nights for this GH. Ideally, we like to use the Grand Club. I don’t think we qualify as Platinum. Do you know of ways to get that? I have a Regency Club cert but it’s going to expire just 7 days before I can go 🙁 I don’t seem to be able to use points (at least not on the website)…I could ask the hotel, but reps haven’t been very knowledgeable (Hyatt should pay you for giving more knowledgeable answers!)



What is the best hike for this island?