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Kauai:The Garden Island of Hawaii
A Lesson in Simplicity
Tips for Keeping Kauai Travel Cheap!
By Bev Brock-Alexander
Jun5 25, 1998
There is one simple word to describe Kauai: beautiful. Even when there is rain there is beauty because the sun gently passes through the Kauai precipitation creating an enormous and vibrant rainbow that can easily fill the sky. The wind is constant and welcoming, fore without it visitors would be miserably hot. The mountain scenery is filled with lush, bright greens. The water is vast with a multitude of colors and clarity. One can’t help but embrace the beauty and gain a sense of gratefulness for living.
We managed to do a lot, relax a lot and allow all our stress to go by the wayside. The first day we simply took a ten minute stroll to the beach and flew a kite. My girlfriend is an exceptional kite operator. If you have never seen a skilled kite flyer then you are in for a treat. It was amazing to watch this little kite scream across the sky and twirl with ease. This is an example of what Kauai will give you: an appreciation for simplicity. While trick kite flying takes skill, watching and being exhilarated takes simplicity.
Day two we hiked a slightly challenging trail called the Kalalau Trail on the Na Pali coast which led to wonderful beach with amazing surf. The people you will meet on this trail are diverse. From locals to newlyweds to basic tourists like us. Day three we rode rented bikes to a vista point in Waimea Canyon which is considered the Grand Canyon of Hawaii. There we witnessed nature’s awesome creativity and a very cute pigmy goat. Day four we kayaked the Hanalei river. Day five was an exceptional morning of snorkeling in Puipu where we saw dozens of unique sea creatures with amazing neon colors. Day six was a trip to a local monument called Spouting Hole. A vista point where visitors watch water spray violently through a natural hole in the lava rock. Another case of simplicity. As each wave was thrust though the hole and sprayed sometimes 15 feet in the air there was an enormous sound, almost like a whale blowing air through its air hole, only louder. As onlookers to nature’s simplicity, we would all cheered in excitement with each spray.
Every evening we feasted on wine and gourmet food in our rented home. Kauai offers many unique seafood delicacies such as: Ahi, Mahi-Mahi and Opakapaka, or pink snapper. A wonderful treat because these types of fish are difficult to find on the mainland. In addition, you will have access to many unique and flavorful fresh fruits such as pineapple, mango and papaya.
If you are one to avoid exercise while on vacation then you would do well for shopping and dinning action in the town of Hanalei. There you will find several big name resorts such as the Sheraton which offer many non-exercise activities on site. In addition, Hanalei offers many other activities, for example, a helicopter flight through Waimea Canyon or a dinner cruise around the island.
Kauai has something for everyone. It’s not Waikiki, as it is much slower and there are virtually no big cities. Kauai is also not as crowded and yet not desolate either. So if you are looking for beauty, simplicity and paradise then visit Kauai.
Tips for Keeping Kauai Travel Cheap!
I found there are many options for keeping the spending down in Kauai. The total cost for my seven day trip to Kauai was $553.00. This was inclusive of air faire; house, car, bike and kayak rental; food; wine and miscellaneous. With a little forethought, you can do it to. Here’s how:
We flew stand-by on a companion pass because my cousin works for the airlines. The cost is 10% of a full faire coach ticket for that day, thus my round trip air faire was approximately $100.00 total. Flying stand-by is a double edge sword because on one hand you could be bumped to the next flight, yet on the the other hand you can be bumped to first class. In fact, we flew first class both ways because we chose flights that were not full and flew during off season. Thus increasing our probability of being bumped to first class.
- You can also save up those frequent flyer miles for a free ticket. If you are a business traveler this is not too difficult. For us cheap average civilians, accumulating frequent flyer miles is somewhat of a challenge. However, it can be done through the use of any major airline frequent flyer credit card. Use your credit card whenever possible. The trick is to pay it off at the end of every month. I have a girlfriend who was able to purchase a round trip ticket to Sweden by using her airline frequent flyer credit card for all her purchases for one year. I’m talking everything from a mocha to an oil change.
Choose to fly either at the beginning or end of the an off season. Then you will still be able to enjoy the tail end or beginning of lower air faires.
- Rent a house instead of staying in a hotel
Rent a house and invite several of your fun friends and split the cost. My group of six each paid $170.00 for the entire week. With two couples and two single people, we each had our own beds in our own rooms (the two single people shared a room). One could easily pay $170.00 each night in a hotel in Kauai or anywhere in Hawaii. I suggest you call Kauai Vacation Rentals at 800-367-5025. Ranging from $600.00 to $3000.00 per week you can see pictures of their properties via their Web site. The house we rented was huge and comfortable. It had a lovely view of the ocean and Waimea Canyon from the living room, kitchen and the lanai (a Hawaiian deck). This house was a ten minute walk to the beach and we paid only $800.00 for the week-much cheaper than a hotel.
It’s well worth the extra effort to buy a case of wine and lug it on the plane. Remember, you won’t have to take it back. You will pay about $10.00 more per bottle in Kauai and your selection will be very limited. In fact, all food and wine is more expensive in Hawaii because they must ship the majority of it in from the mainland. So vacationer BE AWARE.
Eating out is very expensive in Kauai or anywhere in Hawaii for that matter. For example, a simple hamburger, no fries, will cost you about $8.50. Cooking your own food as much as possible will save you a ton of money. You can cook simple or elaborate depending upon your preference. The fun part of cooking in Kauai is having access to unique seafood and fruits that are not readily available on the mainland.
- Choose activities that don’t require a guide
You can save a lot of money by doing your own thing. For example, we spent the day kayaking for a $20.00 kayak rental fee. The gentleman at the rental place gave us suggestions of where to go, how long it would take and the level of skill required for each destination, and a kayak rack for our car for no extra charge.You can hike, walk, sit on the beach, snorkel, or visit breathtaking vista points all for free.
With a little planning you can cut your vacation costs tremendously.
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