West Bloomfield Township, Michigan
Considering going to Kauai with my wife in January. Want to stay at Poipu Sheraton (using Starwoods points). We've heard of certain hikes at Napoli Coast and helicopter rides over there.
Anyone have specific recommendations on which hikes and which tourist / helicopter companies to go with. Is a 4x4 Wrangler a must do? Or can we live with another car?
Any other must dos? We are adventurous...but also want to relax. Typically we like shorter day hikes that are in the 2-3 hour range...but could go longer for the right hike.
(Also considering Oahu for a few days...any thoughts there)?
I also recommend Jack Harter for helicopters, and without the doors. I recommend the app or the book The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook. It's all you need. The Kalalau Trailis famous and you don't have to do all 11 miles. Definitely hit Waimea Canyon State Park. Dress in layers as it can get cold there in Jan. We have rented a regular car and gotten around everywhere we needed to go. The book I mentioned has very detailed information on all kinds of fun hikes and we have found it to be very reliable. The Poipu Sheraton is in a great location. If you keep driving on Poipu Rd. until past the Hyatt and the golf course, it becomes a dirt road and if you drive to the end of that, it's a pretty neat area of lithified sand dunes and rocks. We did this no problem in a regular car, just go slow. I've been to Kauai in January and we were able to hike, especially at Waimea Canyon, down by Poipu, and in the center east. We had no trouble in January. The North can get choppy and trails can close but ask around. Kauai has so much to do!
I've never been to Oahu. I've been to Kauai several times so if you have any other questions please feel free...
Hello Zach! January in Kauai will limit how you do some activities, mostly involving the Na'Pali Coast State Park. You probably won't be able to get out on the water as it will be too rough, and if the cloud deck is too low, or it's too windy, you won't be able to take helicopter tours either. If you can take a helicopter tour, I would go with Jack Harter Helicopters. It will also most likely be more difficult to hike, since it is often wet, or raining. .and trails can become treacherous. Poipu, should be nicer and have more water access. I would set out relatively early, 8:00ish for Waimea Canyon State Park, and be patient, as it may be cloudy, but usually is intermittent. Go as far as the road will take you on the North shore past Princeville and it will dead end at the state park. There should be huge waves and some seals bathing on the beach. It's also a good time to see waterfalls and two good ones are, Wailua, which can get to from a kayak up the Wailua River, and Opaeka'a Falls. Check out the rock formation they call the Sleeping Giant In Kapaa and have lunch at one of the food trucks. My wife and I did not find a 4x4 at all necessary on our trip. Hope that helps and safe travels!
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Aloha! There is now a shuttle from Princeville which will take you to Koke`e State Park the end of the road on the North Shore (about where the 560 appears on this sidebar map - some of these pointers are not correct), which helps the limited parking situation. While 560 is a magnificent cliffside road to drive (and we drove it daily into town and home again), if you are not familiar with it you may be surprised at the lack of guard rails and potential landslides. You can also access this state park at the end of Waimea Canyon Road, which is a nice, paved drive. There is hiking around the lookout over Na'Pali Coast State Park, but these are narrow ridge tops and very slick during winter rains. Hiking the Kalalau Trail along Napali even if only to Hanakapiai is treacherous in winter. Heed the trail and high surf warnings; as well, high water may close the Hanalei River bridge, leaving you stranded. We lived in Wainiha west of Hanalei and there were regular tragedies because people think bad things don't happen in paradise. For local winter flavor, you may enjoy the scene at Polihale State Park which you can easily reach from the south side where you will be in Poipu, but you will want a 4x4 to drive on the beach. If there's lots of water (and on Kaua'i in winter, there generally is), you may feel better with a higher profile Jeep. Locals will know you're a tourist no matter what you get from a rental agency, so why not? January is whale season, so consider a snorkel or watching excursion. We always took guests out with Blue Dolphin Charters, but Captain Andy'sis just as good.
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You can take a kayak tour up the river ... it passes a lot of movie scenery - most notably, the opening sequence of Raiders of the Lost Ark.