Best Honeymoon Destinations: Kauai

18.06.2012 In: Travel destinations

Honey-dipped sunsets, chocolate-sand beaches, aquamarine skies -- Kauai Kaua'i has mastered seduction. But the oldest island in the Hawaiian chain doesn't have to resort to over-the-top luxury or tourist traps to entice; instead, it appeals to a no-fuss type of traveler. You want rural? Kaua'i's got it -- there are only two major highways. Some remote regions can only be explored on foot. Resorts are no taller than a coconut tree (literally).

Some would say that you need little more than a good pair of hiking boots, an umbrella, and an adventurous spirit to visit. But we should warn you; you might also need a little cash. Kaua'i has put a premium on its natural beauty and prized hiking trails, and room rates during the winter can peak around $500 a night. To get the most and save the most, consider visiting in fall.

How To Save Money in Kauai

Consider a package deal
Many travel agencies offer cost-effective packages to all parts of Hawai'i. You should even check with the airlines -- American, Continental, Delta and United are just some of the companies who've provided incentives in the past.
Ditch the convertible
We hate to deflate your dream of having the wind in your hair, but there's a greater chance that your top-down driving will be plagued by rainy weather or an 80-degree sun barreling down on the top of your head. Check out a sporty compact car instead.
Re-read your car-insurance policy
Some car rental agencies will try to sell you collision insurance. (Hawaii is a no-fault state and you'd have to pay for any accident damages before you leave). But many people's personal insurance policy already covers this. Double check before you book.
Kauai Culture & Customs

Kauai is an excellent place to explore the history and significance of Hawaii's culture and traditions. Be sure to check out the Kauai Museum, Kokee Natural History Museum and the Grove Farm Homestead, all of which exhibit the traditions, material culture and natural origins of the Hawaiian Islands.

Travelers used to a fast-paced life should take it easy in Kauai and elsewhere in Hawaii, where life is considerably slower than on the mainland. While Kauai's laid-back attitude might aggravate some less patient travelers, it tends to suit most vacationers seeking relaxation and solace in one of the United States' most beautiful travel destinations.

It's also important to realize Hawaii's place as beautiful Pacific island that is also proud of its American statehood. It's usually impolite to refer to Hawaiian citizens as "native Hawaiians" or "islanders."

Kauai Dining

Kaua'i restaurants range from your average American fast-food joints to top-notch luxury establishments. You're also guaranteed to find an assortment of restaurants catering to every craving you might encounter, from Asian and Polynesian cuisine to Mexican and European dishes. Rice, meat and seafood are staples on Kaua'i, and you should also make sure to sample some of the island's fresh produce.

Tips on What To Do in Kauai

Kaua'i is the place to be if you're looking for an active getaway, especially if you like to swim, hike or play golf. Kaua'i's miles of hiking and horseback riding trails lead to breathtaking natural attractions, such as Waimea Canyon. If you're more interested in spending time on the water, take a kayak down the Wailua River or hop in a zodiac raft and visit the Na Pali Coast.

While some of Kaua'i's most amazing sights can be seen from a major highway just by pulling over at the designated mile marker, others are reached only by kayak or on foot. A few of the best attractions are best viewed from the vantage point of a helicopter or catamaran." -- Travel Channel
Yes, Kaua'i has the best beaches in Hawaii, but don't forget the rest of this beautiful island. Get out and explore what makes Kaua'i the 'Garden Isle.' Walk back in history in the capital of Lihue." -- Frommer's
Forget coddling resorts, decadent shopping or bustling nightlife. Come to Kaua'i for its heavenly art gallery -- the one you find outdoors." -- Lonely Planet
Hiking
One of the most spectacular hiking opportunites in all of Hawaii is the 11-mile trail along the Kalalau Valley, a scenic and often arduous, adventure that takes you through some of Kaua'i's most beautiful landscapes.

Coastline, cliffs, waterfalls, streams, and Eden-like forests comprise the sprawling 6,175-acre park where you can hike a segment or all of the 11-mile trail to Kalalau Valley. It's Kauai's ultimate camping trip." -- Sherman's Travel
"This oft-described Garden of Eden awaits the intrepid hiker who traverses 11 arduous miles along sea cliff faces, through muddy coastal valleys, and across sometimes raging streams -- all the while schlepping food provisions and camping gear in a backpack. ... With serious planning and preparation, the effort is worth it." -- Fodor's
"For hikers, a great alternative to hiring a private guide is taking one of the guided hikes offered by the Kauai chapter of the Sierra Club" -- Frommer's
Beaches
There are many beaches on Kaua'i, but few with waters calm enough for swimming. Kalapaki Beach on the windward side is an excellent choice for cautious swimmers or families with small children. The beach is protected from rip currents by a jetty, making it one of the safest beaches on the island.

"There are tons of activities [in Kalapaki], including all the usual water sports -- beginning and intermediate surfing, body boarding, bodysurfing, and swimming -- plus, there are two outrigger-canoe clubs paddling in the bay and the Nawiliwili Yacht Club's boats sailing around the harbor." -- Fodor's
"More room to stretch out on the beach, better deals and availability at hotels, and a spotlight on native culture. Welcome to Kauai in September." -- Smarter Travel
Sightseeing
An abundance of outdoor adventures awaits you in Kauai, including the marvelous Sleeping Giant ridge and the famous Kalalau hiking trail.

"Sleeping Giant -- If you squint your eyes just so as you pass the 1,241-foot-high Nounou Ridge, which makes a dramatic backdrop for the coastal villages of Wailua and Waipouli, you can see the fabled Sleeping Giant. … His head is Wailua and his feet are Kapaa." -- Frommer's
"The Kalalau Trail is reached via the Kuhio Highway (Highway 560) and begins at Ke'e Beach. For the day hike, take at least two quarts of water per person and plenty of food." -- New York Times
Surfing
Expert surfers will love Kauai's North Shore, but even beginners can hang ten and live to tell about it at some of the island's calmer beaches, such as Poipu Beach.

Hanalei Bay's winter surf is the most popular on the island, but it's for experts only. Poipu Beach is an excellent spot at which to learn to surf; the waves are small and -- best of all -- nobody laughs when you wipe out." -- Frommer's
We highly recommend taking a lesson. Not only will this ensure you're up and riding waves in no time, but instructors will provide the right board for your experience and size, help you time a wave, and give you a push to get your momentum going." -- Fodor's
Kayaking
Kayaking is one of Kauai's specialties, and is a worthwhile and safe endeavor for beginners and experts alike.

"The best part about kayaking Kauai's rivers is that you don't have to be experienced. There are no rapids to run, no waterfalls to junp, and therefore, no excuses for not enjoying the scenic sights from the water" -- Fodor's
"You can take the Huleia River into Huleia National Wildlife Refuge (located along the eastern portion of Huleia Stream, where it flows into Nawiliwili Bay). It's the last stand for Kauai's endangered birds, and the only way to see it is by kayak" --Frommer's