Photo by Karsten Winegeart on Unsplash

Photo by Karsten Winegeart on Unsplash

The Ultimate Kauai Travel Guide, Updated 2024

Amy Fujimoto

How To Use The Ultimate Kauai Travel Guide

This Kauai travel guide has been divided into 10 sections to make it easier to navigate. Start by choosing one of the categories below to explore the best of Kauai and useful travel tips to help you make your trip an enjoyable and memorable vacation.

About Kauai

green mountains in kauaiHeath Cajandig, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Kauai is known as the Garden Isle, and for good reason - its lush greenery and rugged coastline make for some of the most scenic spots in the world.

If you love to hike or backpack, few destinations can match the magnificence of Kauai’s abundant trails and footpaths.

The Kalalau Trail and Na Pali Coast offer some of the best exploratory experiences in the world.

Their attractions stem from the unique coastal geography, tropical vegetation, and resounding sense of adventure.

We’ll cover trails and many other adventures in this guide, as well as everything else you might need to plan your trip to Kauai; from the best places to lodge and eat, to budget planning and money-saving tips.

And, if you’re looking for further guidance, Shaka Guide offers four audio driving tours in Kauai covering every corner of the island. 

Regions in Kauai

kauai island map

There are five distinct regions of Kauai:

  • West Side: Including Waimea Canyon and parts of the Na Pali coast.
  • North Shore: Home to Princeville and Hanalei and the beginning of the Na Pali coast.
  • East Side and Lihue: Where most shops and restaurants are located.
  • South Shore: Home to beachy neighborhoods like Poipu and Koloa Town.

Kauai’s east side and Lihue can be considered two distinct regions; however, we’ve decided to combine the two in order to make it easier for you.

West Side

kokee state park signboarddronepicr, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Kauai’s western shore and inland are largely protected wilderness and natural reserves like the Alaka'i Wilderness and Halele'a Forest Reserve, parts of Na Pali Coast State Wilderness Park, and Kuia Natural Area Reserve.

It’s a beautiful place to explore lush greenery through hikes and trails. Accessible beaches are limited since this section of the island is mostly parkland. 

RELATED: Waimea Canyon Travel Guide

Some things to do on the west side of Kauai:

  • Koke'e State Park: Check out the views of Waimea Canyon and the Kalalau Lookout.
  • Waimea Canyon: Nicknamed the ‘Grand Canyon of the Pacific’, Waimea Canyon’s panoramic views are incomparable.
  • Awaawapuhi Trail: A popular trail that is highly rated for its amazing views.

If you’re looking to discover this rugged region of Kauai, check out Shaka Guide’s Waimea Canyon & Na Pali Tour. It features 19 stops in this area including Waimea Canyon, Waipo?o Waterfall, and Hanapepe Swinging Bridge.

 waimea na pali download

North Shore

The iconic photos of Kauai you’ve probably seen on the internet are often from Kauai’s North Shore.

The two most popular resort and restaurant hubs - Hanalei and Princeville - can be found here and it’s a convenient place to stay if you want great access to Kauai’s wilderness and reserve areas.

Some things to do on the north shore of Kauai:

  • Kalalau Trail: The most famous trail on Kauai that takes you through the Na Pali Coast.
  • Wainiha Valley: Great access to some of West Kauai’s best trails.
  • Hanalei: Picturesque town with a crescent-shaped bay.

RELATED: Princeville, Kauai Travel Guide and Hanalei Travel Guide

Want to visit the North Shore of Kauai? Take Shaka Guide's North Shore Kauai Tour. It features 16 unforgettable tour stops and will let you see the authentic side of Kauai's North Shore.

 north shore kauai download

East Side And Lihue

If you’re looking for a little bit of everything, East Kauai is a great place to consider because you’ll have access to beautiful beaches, adventurous hikes, and fun tours and activities.

There are also many places to shop and eat at so you won’t run out of things to do on the east side of Kauai.

It’s an extremely convenient location if you need to run to the store or are looking for something to do to fill an hour or two of downtime. Lihue Airport is located here, too.

RELATED: Kauai's Waterfalls Guide

Some things to do on the east side of Kauai:

  • Explore Lihue: Kauai’s main business district with plenty to do.
  • Sleeping Giant Trail: A fun hike with a neat legend behind it.
  • Wailua Falls: Triple falls that tower at 173 feet.

Want to explore this lush region? Check out Shaka Guide’s Wailua Valley & Waterfalls Tour. It features 84 audio points and visits historic sites, beaches, hikes and waterfalls. 

wailua valley download

South Shore

Head south on Kauai and you’ll discover the quiet and peaceful towns of Poipu and Koloa.

The beaches here are lovely and there are actually a bunch of great surf spots right on Poipu’s coast.

You have relatively easy access to Lihue if you need to do a shopping run, but you’ll still be far enough away that you won’t feel trapped.

Go a little further and you’ll come across the even smaller town of Waimea, where you can truly get some peace and quiet if you’re looking to get away from it all.

Some things to do on the south shore of Kauai:

  • Kauai Coffee: The largest coffee plantation in the U.S.
  • Poipu Beach: Beautiful sunny beaches backed by luxurious hotels.
  • Old Koloa Town: A quiet town with a variety of activities such as botanical gardens and the Koloa Heritage Trail.

RELATED: Koloa Travel Guide

If you want to visit the famous area of Poipu and Koloa, check out Shaka Guide's Poipu and Koloa Tour!

poipu and koloa download

Accommodations in Kauai

Kauai tends to be one of the more expensive islands to stay on in terms of accommodation.

While there is a decent number of affordable rentals and inns, demand is high and Kauai does not have a large population or housing to support many people.

Therefore, it's important that you book your lodging as soon as possible in order to avoid scrambling and paying a high price for a place to sleep.

Hotels And Resorts

entrance to hotel in kauaidronepicr, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you're looking for luxury hotels, head to the north and south shores of Kauai.

Princeville in the north is especially classy with two champion golf courses at your disposal.

You'll mostly find high-end hotels and villas in this region. Down south, visitors flock to the hotels in Poipu as they are blessed with sunny weather and gorgeous beaches.

For those who need a budget hotel option, stick to the east side of Kauai near Lihue.

You'll find a wider range of prices here, especially near the Lihue Airport.

This is a convenient and affordable region to stay in as it's the island's main commercial hub, which gives you great access to necessities, shopping, and affordable lodging.

If you are looking for even more cheap accommodation, check out some of the hotels and inns in Waimea (west of Kauai's south shore).

It's far from town, facilities, and city attractions, but it could be what you're looking for in terms of lodging price.

Luxury hotels and resorts on the north and south shores of Kauai:

Hotels on the east side of Kauai:

Hotels and inns in Waimea:

download shaka guide

Short-term Vacation Rentals

You'll have the most success with short-term vacation rentals on the east side of Kauai.

You'll find a wide range of accommodations including homes, rooms, and even discounted hotels at almost any price point.

If you're looking to stay near Lihue Airport, Nawiliwili Bay and Downtown Lihue are beautiful and conveniently located.

Further north, you can also find a few discounted hotels, resorts, and condo accommodations.

Papaloa Road and Aleka Loop are particularly saturated with awesome deals.

The next area to look for short-term vacation rentals is on the south shores of Kauai.

You won't find many on-the-beach rentals as those areas have been claimed by the hotels and resorts, but the area is still very pretty.

Check out the area near Koloa if you still want to have the convenience of running to town should you need something.

Other places to look for short-term vacation rentals:

  • Wainiha (west): Best for those looking to explore the western wilderness and reserve areas protected under local, state, and/or federal law.
  • Waimea and Kekaha (south): A wide range of rentals in various styles. Also a great spot for access to Kauai's wilderness and reserve areas.
  • North Shore: Although better known for its resorts, there are high-end rentals here that may match what you're looking for.


Right now it seems that the only hostel in business is the Kauai Beach House Hostel in Kapa'a.

The oceanfront view here is spectacular and the family that owns this hostel is extremely nice and welcoming.

Book your stay early though. As you can expect, rooms and beds run out quickly!


campground with picnic table in kauaiKoke'e State Park Campground /  Rick McCharles, Flickr,  CC BY 2.0

Camping is a wonderful way to see the outdoors and will potentially save you a good chunk of money, too.

Luckily, Kauai has plenty of choices when it comes to camping.

You will need a camping permit for most state-run campsites.

These run out fast so reserve your dates as soon as you can.

RELATED: Kauai Camping Guide

West Kauai Campsites

On the west side, there are very few choices for lodging so many visitors planning to spend most of their time outdoors opt for camping since development has been kept to an absolute minimum.

This makes it one of the greatest places in the world to camp if you are really looking to get away.

However, since these campsites are the most remote on the island, you shouldn’t expect a ton of facilities.

Places to camp in West Kauai:

  • Koke'e State Park Campground: There are a few shower and bathroom facilities, but they aren’t the cleanest or best maintained among Kauai’s drive-up camping destinations. Campsites are spacious with a BBQ pit and picnic table.
  • Kawaikoi Camp: Located close to Koke'e State Park Campground, it’s only a short drive (or 2-mile hike) away.
  • Camp Hale Koa: Privately run campground with beautiful views.
  • Camp Sloggett: Run by the YWCA and is great for a multi-day camping trip.

If you don’t want to pack your own gear, don’t worry, Kauai has several companies that offer camping rentals. 

download shaka guide

North Shore Campsites

Camping on the north shore is a fantastic idea if you plan to hike the Kalalau Trail or any of the many beautiful trails to the west.

YMCA’s Camp Naue is located on Haena Beach with decent facilities.

One popular camping location is in Na Pali Coast State Park.

If you’re into backpacking, you cannot skip the 11-mile journey along the remote northwestern Na Pali Coast.

The camping areas inside Na Pali Coast State Wilderness Park are about as far from civilization as you can get in Hawaii.

Pack everything you’ll need for your stay. Water is accessible near the campsites on Kalalau Beach; however, you should bring iodine tablets or a filtration system since you’ll be collecting water from a waterfall that's inland from the camping beach.

There are no restrooms or facilities in the park. No cell service. No on-duty staff. Just you, anyone you bring, and a big, fat slice of paradise.

Please note that anyone who enters the park needs to make reservations ahead of time. Only 900 people are allowed in the park and this includes backpackers and day hikers.

East Kauai Campsites

There are a few great drive-up campsites on the eastern shore of Kauai.

Lydgate Park has excellent beach camping just a few miles north of the airport and the bathrooms and facilities are extremely well maintained.

There is also a privately run campground further north called Kumu Camp.

Private campgrounds are nice as they often have amenities you might not be used to in public, government-run campsites.

At Kumu Beach, there are hot showers, electricity at pavilions and bathrooms, as well as a range of camping styles to choose from including tent camping, yurts, bungalows, and cottages.

Activities in Kauai

white sand beach in kauaiLydgate Beach / Grace808, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

While many people promote Kauai’s rugged beauty, there is plenty to do here that doesn’t require a difficult hike or an adventurous personality.

There are many low-key activities held both indoors and outdoors that you’ll be able to enjoy. In this section, we’ll discuss activities to help you start planning your trip.

RELATED: The Best Kauai Luaus


Beaches in Hawaii are generally fantastic and Kauai is no different.

There is a wide variety of beaches suitable for surfing, snorkeling or just lazing about as you work on your tan.

1. Anini Beach Park

Several miles of white sand where the waters are calm and perfect for swimming or snorkeling along a protected reef.

2. Hanalei Bay

Convenient if you’re on the north shore. The famous crescent-shaped beach is called Waioli Beach Park, which is accessible from two points along Weke Road.

This two-mile stretch of beach has a gorgeous mountainous backdrop and the curved bay creates calm waters perfect for swimming and other watersports.

3. Tunnels Beach

Typically housing a smaller crowd, the snorkeling here is gorgeous with the shallow waters and live reef.

4. Ke’e Beach

Located right at the Kalalau trailhead, the views of the Na Pali Coast are incredible.

The waters can get a bit choppy (lifeguard on duty), but on calm days it clears up for some excellent snorkeling.

download shaka guide

5. Shipwreck Beach

A beautiful beach that is also the trailhead for the Mahaulepu Heritage Trail.

6. Kealia Beach Park

If you’re looking to surf, paddle past the sand bar to find a nice break.

This is also a great area to do some boogie boarding or other water recreation as there are lifeguards on duty.

7. Lydgate State Park

The saltwater pool in Lydgate State Park is a neat destination for families as the waters are some of the safest for swimming in all of Hawaii since it’s largely cut off from the ocean.

8. Kalapaki Beach

Just south of the airport, this is a lovely cove for swimming. The crescent cliff protects the cove from rough waters, so you can take a relaxing dip in the ocean.

9. Poipu Beach

One of Kauai’s most popular beaches both for its convenience and beauty.

With its wide range of amenities and facilities, this is one of the best family beaches on the island - there’s even a natural pool that’s great for children!

RELATED: Poipu Beaches for Morning, Noon and Night

Want to explore these vibrant neighborhoods? Check out Shaka Guide’s Poipu & Koloa Town tour. It features 62 audio points and visits multiple beaches, Hawaii’s largest limestone cave, and a botanical garden.


trail in the forest in kauaiKalalau Trail / California Cow from Seattle, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Hiking is extremely popular on Kauai due to the amount of rain it gets.

The rain keeps everything fresh and green and even the geology of Kauai is different compared to all of the islands.

Kauai is significantly older than the rest of the Hawaiian Islands, which has given it time to create canyons, valleys, and rivers.

1. Kalalau Trail And The Na Pali Coast State Wilderness Park

The most famous hike on Kauai by far is the Kalalau Trail.

This 22-mile backpacking journey takes you along the world-renowned Na Pali Coast - one of the best backpacking experiences that Hawaii has to offer.

There are no facilities available for the entirety of your stay in Na Pali Coast State Wilderness Park.

You’ll need to pack everything you need including food, shelter, and a water treatment system (iodine works, but a filtration system is preferable).

If you’re just going for a day hike along the trail, bring plenty of water and sunscreen. Light boots or hiking sandals are a must. 

The trail becomes steep and is rated difficult at various points, but the experience is surreal.

The uniquely gradient land created by millennia of constant weathering is quite possibly one of the most beautiful things you’ll see in your life.

At various points, you’ll find yourself in valley jungles, dry deserts, and lush mountains as you traverse through the Na Pali Coast.

You’ll pass by the two main beaches, both of which you are able to camp at.

Most people choose to camp at the end of the trail on Kalalau Beach.

Keep in mind that you’ll be an 11-mile hike from civilization, so be careful and don’t take any chances.

Even a minor injury could spell real trouble since there is no cellular service. Even inter-network “emergency calls” may not connect.

Reservations are required to hike the Kalalau Trail.

RELATED: Kalalau Trail Travel Guide

2. Hanakapi'ai Trail

rocky riverHanakapi'ai Trail / Robert Linsdell from St. Andrews, Canada, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you want to hike the Kalalau Trail but aren’t looking for an 11-mile, multi-day adventure, the Hanakapi'ai Trail follows the same initial pathway along the Na Pali Coast.

The trail starts with a steep elevation gain, but the rest of the two-mile trip to Hanakapi'ai Beach is relatively easy.

Keep in mind, that you are no longer allowed to enter the park for hiking without a reservation, even if you don’t plan to stay overnight.

Crowds grew too large before the park closed for 14 months. The park has reopened but henceforth only 900 hikers, backpackers, and beachgoers are allowed into the park daily. 

3. Awa'awapuhi Trail

One of the more difficult trails on the island but it’s well worth the effort.

If you want to do the entire trail, plan to complete 10.5 miles in a single day, across steep terrain.

The views are amazing, making this hike particularly popular despite the difficulty.

4. Waimea Canyon Trails

There are 3 main trails all with very different views of the canyon.

The Cliff Trail is short and easy and takes you around a portion of the canyon rim.

The Canyon Trail is intermediate and takes you 3.4 miles down into Waimea Canyon.

The Kukui Trail is the most difficult hike that takes you around the canyon walls for views of the river and swimming holes below before descending all the way to the bottom. 

download shaka guide

5. Powerline Trail

If you’re looking for a great hike near Princeville, head all the way to the end of Kapaka Street off Kuhio Highway.

The trail stretches 13 miles to Arboretum, so you can walk this trail as far as you wish - just be sure to leave yourself enough time to get back and watch out for mountain bikers.

This hike is rated difficult as it is both physically demanding and hard to correctly navigate due to overgrown conditions.

6. Sleeping Giant Trail

Sleeping Giant, also known as Nounou East, is the perfect hike if you are looking to jump right into Kauai’s unique topography and vegetation.

This two-mile hike takes you up into the Kauai mountains through the lush Hawaiian jungle.

You’ll get awesome views of the surrounding area, all the way to the ocean. Conveniently located in Wailua on east Kauai.

This is a short but steep intermediate to difficult hike. 

7. Ho'opi'i Falls Hike

If you want to tour Kauai’s waterfalls, Ho'opi'i is a great place to start.

This two-mile hike takes you through two picturesque waterfalls.

This is a relatively easy trail, however, it’s best to go on a dry day as the mud can make the hike significantly more difficult.

The trailhead can be found near the end of Kapahi Road in Kawaihau.

8.Mahaulepu Beach Trail

If you’re looking for a hike on the southern part of the island, Mahaulepu Beach Loop is just outside of Koloa.

You’ll trek past several awesome beaches, historical sites, and geological formations on this 6-mile coastal adventure.

Crossing beach sand with a daypack can exhaust you quickly, however, we’ll still rate this one as easy since it’s mostly flat.

With an elevation gain of just 95 feet, almost anyone can safely complete this hike with enough breaks. 

Whale Watching

whale that appeared from the seaHenrik Dreisler, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Among all the other surreal attractions, Hawaii is also a world-class whale-watching destination.

You have several options for whale-watching boat tours available just off of Kauai’s coast.

You might also spot a random whale from land or while driving the northern coast. The whale-watching season starts in late winter and ends in early March.


Skydiving is also quite popular on Kauai. There are a variety of companies to choose from and each has several packages.

If this is your first time, you’ll need to book a tandem jump, which can be a bit more expensive.

download shaka guide


If you’re looking for a river kayaking experience, the island has loads of jungle flows to choose from.

Of course, you might also consider ocean kayaking since you are positioned along one of the most scenic coastlines in the world.


Kauai has plenty of great snorkel spots. Many of the beaches we mentioned earlier have vibrant reefs with an abundance of tropical fish and sea turtles.

If you happen to spot a monk seal, count your lucky stars, but give them plenty of room.

Changing a monk seal’s course even slightly can have far-reaching environmental impacts since these seals are critically endangered.

You can also get thousands of dollars in fines for disturbing these wonderful creatures!

RELATED: Nine Kauai Snorkel Spots


surfer swimmming in the seaU.S. Geological Survey from Reston, VA, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In case you didn’t know, Hawaii is one of the world's premier surfing destinations. For Kauai’s part, there are plenty of great surf beaches to choose from.

If you’re a beginner, consider Hanalei Bay or Kalapaki for gentle, long rides.

Give Kiahuna Beach a go if you’re looking for something more intermediate.

If you already know how to surf in Hawaii, try:

  • Tunnels Beach
  • Rock Quarry Beach
  • Secret Beach
  • Kalihiwai Beach, or
  • Kealia Beach

Boat Tours 

If you aren’t into hiking but love a pristine view, you might consider a boat tour.

Boat tours of the Na Pali Coast are particularly incredible and offer a uniquely complete perspective that you would not see along the Kalalau Trail.

The view of the rugged Na Pali Coast from the sea is truly unforgettable. 

Driving Tours

If you really want to get to know Kauai, you’ll need to find yourself a guide who understands the island inside and out.

But don’t stress it - Shaka Guide’s got you covered for the whole island with our audio tours.

Download the Kauai app for turn-by-turn directions and expert advice with plenty of cultural, historical, and geographical intrigue along the way.

Shaka Guide offers four driving tours of Kauai including North Shore Kauai, Waimea & Na Pali, Wailua Valley & Waterfalls, and Poipu & Koloa

RELATED: Things to do on Kauai

Bars And Restaurants in Kauai

The best place to get a taste of Kauai’s culinary scene is on the east side near Lihue.

This is where most of the population lives and works so you’ll have a variety of bars, restaurants, lunch wagons, and snack shops to choose from.

There is also a decent selection of places to eat and drink on the north and south shores.

Keep in mind that these areas have a lot of accommodation for wealthier visitors. Wealthier visitors can afford to pay more for their meals.

Since the west side is mostly made up of wilderness, it’s best you bring your own food and drink if you’re going to be out and about all day.

RELATED: The Best Farmers Markets In Kauai

Best Times To Visit Kauai

white sand beach in kauai at sunsetdronepicr, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Kauai is great any time of the year. It is less visited than the other islands, so you don’t have to worry quite as much about crowds.

That being said, lodging and airfare are still significantly less expensive during the slow months.

Certain months are also better if you’re looking to avoid the rain as the island tends to get more rainfall than the other Hawaiian Islands.

Kauai gets the most tourists in June, July, August, and December.

The off-season months are January, February, April, September, October, and November.

Temperatures are relatively stable throughout the year in Hawaii.

As a tropical destination, it really only has two seasons: a dry summer from April to September and a wet winter from October to March. 

RELATED: When is the Best Time to Visit Hawaii?

Getting To Kauai

Most likely you’ll be flying into Honolulu Airport on Oahu and then transferring to another flight to Kauai’s Lihue Airport (LIH).

Although there are some direct flights to Kauai from the mainland, there are fewer flights headed to and from the island compared to Oahu, Maui, and Big Island. 

RELATED: Hawaii Airports Guide: Everything You Need To Know

Transportation in Kauai

Kauai doesn’t have as many options for getting around compared to the more populated islands such as Oahu.

For instance, you won’t have as many rideshares at your disposal and the few Uber/Lyft drivers out there are most often servicing the east side of Kauai near the Lihue Airport.

However, there is still a bus system. Buses cost $2 per ride or $40 for a monthly bus pass.

Seniors and children pay $1 per ride. You can find a map of all the island’s routes here.

If you really want to explore, you’ll want to rent a car. Most major agencies have locations near Lihue, so you won’t have any trouble finding a car near the airport.

Poipu and Koloa also have a couple of agencies if you find yourself in need of a rental in that area. 

RELATED: Hawaii Uber and Lyft Guide

Want to explore this vibrant island? Check our Shaka Guide’s North Shore Kauai tour. It features 84 audio points and visits multiple beaches, Princeville and Hanalei. 

download shaka guide

Travel Costs And Budgeting

In general, the Hawaiian Islands are an expensive destination. And, even among the islands, Kauai stands out as a particularly pricey place to visit.

Here are some costs you should be aware of and budget tips to help you make this a worry-free vacation.

Food Costs

Food is a major consideration when traveling to the Hawaiian Islands since prices are so steeper in the middle of the Pacific Ocean than most other destinations.

You can expect to pay marked-up prices due to the island's remoteness.

For instance, you might find milk for $7-$10 dollars or a dozen large eggs for $6-7.

Restaurants are also going to cost more than you are likely used to.

When eating out, you’ll probably spend around $20 per person per meal for a casual restaurant, not including tips and taxes.

Lodging Costs

If you are flexible, you can save a lot on lodging in Hawaii by avoiding the luxury hotels and resorts.

While they can be a great experience, they are also usually pretty expensive.

Vacation rentals or campsites are a much better option for saving money while maintaining your comfort level. 

For a hotel, you can expect to pay anywhere from around $150 to $800 a night.

If you are diligent about finding discounts, you can potentially find a budget hotel for around $100 a night. 

For vacation rentals, you can expect to pay anywhere from less than $100 to $1000s per night.

Keep in mind that many hotels on Kauai charge “resort fees” which will not be included in their stated price.

Expect to tack on an extra $25-$50 onto the list price for resort fees.  

Ticketing and Airfare

wing of an airplane

Kauai is one of the more expensive islands to fly to. But with any destination, you can save a lot by visiting during the slow season and by buying tickets early.

If you’re looking to save, the best months to fly to Hawaii are:

  • January
  • February
  • April
  • September
  • October, and
  • November

Ticketing from Portland or Seattle International Airport might cost anywhere between $450 to $1,000 for a standard seat.

For flights from Dallas or Chicago International Airport, you might spend somewhere between $600 to $1,200 depending on the time of year and how early you purchase your ticket.

Direct flights from airports in California cost around $500. Flights from East Coast cities like New York and Boston can cost between $600 and $1,700 depending on the time of year. 

Other Transportation Costs 

You can find rental cars for as little as $40 a day on Kauai, which is probably going to be your best bet for getting around the island quickly.

Book your rental car in advance to save because renting a car at the airport can cost you.

Buses are $2 per ride or $40 for unlimited rides per calendar month.

Most hotels offer free parking, however, some state parks charge non-residents an additional parking fee. 

Kauai Entertainment Expenses

The great thing about the Hawaiian Islands is that once you’ve accounted for travel, transportation, food, and lodging, much of your entertainment is free.

When you’re on Kauai you can visit every beach and hike you wish, as many times as you want. 

Of course, you might also be interested in some paid experiences.

To help out we collected a few price tags for adventures you might be interested in purchasing. 

RELATED: Family-Friendly Activities On Kauai

download shaka guide

Money-Saving Tips in Kauai

If you are looking to save everywhere you can, we’ve got a few more tips you might consider. Mix and match as you see fit!

  • Stay in an Airbnb: You’ll almost certainly get more for your money as some Airbnbs on Kauai are far less expensive than hotels.
  • Plan with a friend or group: Traveling with a group can bring down your cost quite a bit. You can split your accommodation expenses, car rentals, and rideshares. Some activities will even have a discount or added bonus for groups.
  • Alternatively, travel alone: If you are a minimalist traveler and enjoy seeing the sights rather than booking tours, then traveling alone might be a better option for you to save money. Eating out, standby tickets and waiting lists are also much easier to navigate alone.
  • Package deals: Figure out what you want to do in advance and search for a package deal online or with a local travel agency. You might be able to save big by booking several or all of your adventures through a single company.
  • Military, senior, resident, and children discounts: There are several different types of discounts you might be eligible to receive depending on your situation. Almost every activity will have military, senior, and discounts for children. If you happen to be traveling from another island, there’s also the kama'aina discount for residents of Hawaii.

Kauai’s COVID-19 Requirements

Currently, there are no pre-entry requirements if you are visiting Hawaii.

However, if you've been to Kauai before, please note that many of your beloved restaurants may have closed and many attractions may still be closed or have modified hours.

Make reservations in advance if there's something you'd really like to do or a restaurant you'd love to try.

Also, please remember to practice aloha on your trip. Understand that Kauai is an isolated island with limited medical resources.

Respect the local residents by adhering to local mask mandates, social distancing, and following all state protocols.

For more on the latest Covid-19 travel updates for Hawaii, click here. 

RELATED: 12 Ways to Be a Respectful Traveler to Hawaii

Travel Responsibly

leaf in kauaWmpearl, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Planning a trip to Kauai is going to take some time, but hopefully, this guide will help make things easier for you.

Keep in mind that although it is great to have a plan, plans don’t always pan out. 

If you wake up to rain or bad conditions one day, don’t sweat it - there are a ton of other great activities and adventures to find.

Some of your best days on Kauai might be when you go where the island took you.

During your stay on Kauai, we ask that you act respectfully towards the locals, land, and wildlife.

Please pick up your trash, never touch any marine life, plants, or other animals, and avoid spots that are unsafe.

Hawaii’s natural resources are precious and it’s up to all of us to help preserve them.

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We hope that we’ve given you all the information you need to make the most of your day. Your vacation is extremely important to us so if you have any questions feel free to reach out at aloha@shakaguide.com.


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