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Frequently Asked Questions
North vs South vs East

In this page we've tried to answer questions commonly asked about the  3 island locations.  Scroll the page or jump directly:

 - Does my cell phone work?
 - How much rain falls?
 - Where is the best shopping?
 - What's is the best Golfing?
 - Where are the best tours -- boat and helicopter?
 - Where is the good dining?
 - Where are the waterfalls?
 - Where do you get the best kayaking?
 - What kind of hiking is in each region?
 - What is the scuba and snorkeling like?
 - What can I expect from the beaches?

As always, when you read this information if you need a quick map of Kauai, click the instant map menu to the left


Probably 95% of the cell phones from the continental 48 states work in Princeville.  This situation is improved from the early 2000's. The exact situation still depends upon your carrier and plan.

Cingular & ATT-- Thanks to the merger of  Cingular and ATT Kauai has equivalent GSM and TDMA service  with good coverage along all major roadways.  Cingular/ATT cell phones work at the Cliffs Resort.  

Sprint  -- Sprint's CDMA service is primarily designed for Lihue and Kapaa.    Their map shows secondary analog roaming coverage to the edge of Princeville.  Your phone must be equipped with analog capability and you may be subject to roaming charges in Princeville

Verizon -- Verizon was once the local telephone carrier in Kauai.  They have excellent coverage on all major roadways -- and from many beaches.  Verizon Cell phones work at the Cliffs Resort.

Nextel -- Nationwide plans have coverage in Lihue, Kapaa, Poipu, and Princeville.

T-Mobile [Voicestream] -- There is a new GSM cell near the airport and one in Princeville, so coverage is available at the Cliffs Resort.  Coverage on the rest of the island is spotty.

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SHOPPING.  Kauai is not the same paradise for shoppers as it is for outdoor enthusiasts.   Poipu and Princeville hotels both have pricey resort shops with typical resort-ware selections. You either like their styles or you don't.  Most of the smaller boutiques are near Kapaa on the east coast and are  a slight bit closer to Princeville than to Poipu. You can find a few nice island novelties in these boutiques.  If you just want souvenirs, of course there are shops everywhere. And if you need a Kmart or Walmart these stores are in Lihue and therefore closer to Poipu.  Hanalei, Kapaa, Princeville, and Poipu all have good tourist and necessity shops to fill most needs.

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GOLFPrinceville and Poipu are anchors for golfing with 45 and 36 holes respectively.  There are 3 18 hole courses convenient to the east coast.  Obviously, you can enjoy golf wherever you choose to stay -- north, south, or east.  Click here for a listing of courses with more links to phone numbers, personalities, and costs. 

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HELICOPTER RIDES. depart right from Princeville Airport just a few miles from the Cliffs Resort.  Alternatively, you may drive 45 minutes to Lihue Airport and have your choice amongst a number of operators.  No Helicopter companies fly right from Poipu [there is no Airport], instead visitors drive 20-30 minutes to Port Allen where one company operates. 

TOUR BOATS. most popular destination is the NaPali coastline.  From the Cliffs resort on the North Shore, you are a 10 minute drive to Hanalei where a large  number of operators are based.  Visitors staying in Poipu drive to Port Allen [where there are also a large number of operators providing equivalent tours and experiences.  Visitors staying on the East Coast must make their way to Port Allen or to Hanalei to participate in a boat tour.

Note: Both Helicopter rides and Boat tours are completely weather dependant.   There are times when the North Shore and NaPali coast routes can be too rough.  And on the same day, the South Shore may be fine.  Or vice-versa.

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DINING. Of course Poipu and Princeville both have excellent dining. Our experience in Poipu is pretty limited. We thought the non-hotel restaurants in Poipu were more expensive, louder, plastic, and had a cookie-cutter restaurant-chain motif. We did not try the Poipu hotel restaurants. The restaurants in the Princeville Hotel are also expensive and have a quiet elegance; yet we always visit -- despite the cost. The majority of the non-hotel restaurants on the north shore are in Hanalei and are pretty much a down home laid back collection. And, there's a wonderful restaurant in Kilauea that we visit every trip.  If you're staying along the east shore, you also have a wide assortment of casual restaurants.  The east shore also has a few fine dining establishments but you must choose carefully.   Elsewhere in our website, we describe the major North Shore restaurants.  And we offer hyperlinks to several restaurant directories covering the entire island.

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WATERFALLS. The highest concentration of waterfalls you can visit are between Lihue and Kapaa and separately along the North Shore.  So staying in Princeville or the east shore are the is top locations.  See our special web page for more information on waterfalls. These waterfalls may be visited from parking lot viewing areas and/or may involve some rather intense hiking.  To the south and west of Lihue -- including Waimea Canyon -- the waterfalls are much smaller.

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KAYAKING.  The best place for beginning kayakers is probably best on the Wailua river [outside Kapaa and half way between Poipu and Princeville]. After Kayaking a few miles, you get a nice hike to pretty [but not very private] waterfall. There is also good easy kayaking inside the several mile long reef along the North Shore.  There is also some nice ocean kayaking in the south from Poipu to the beaches [reachable only by horse or kayak] to the east of Poipu. The seas have to cooperate to make this journey.  The trophy kayaking trip is along the NaPali coast.  All trips leave from Kee Beach on the North Shore, making  Princeville lodging a wise choice.  Obviously, the seas have to cooperate to make this journey too.  Several other east and north rivers are kayak-able, but the trips are shorter. 

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HIKING.  is widely available in the north, northeast, and western parts of the island. Most hikes are in lush tropical settings. The NaPali coast trail is probably the most famous; it is reached from the road's end on the North Shore. A most bizarre trip is the hike to the wettest spot on the earth which is reached up Waimea Canyon.  For simpler trips, the lava rocks below the north shore cliffs have some interesting hiking from inlet to inlet.  We have a few favorite waterfalls, sea-caves, and baths in this section.   The Poipu area is not a popular hiking area.  However, Poipu is 45 to 60 minutes closer to the hikes in Waimea Canyon.  If you are looking to take several day hikes in the Waimea Canyon forests, we would have to recommend Poipu lodging.

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SCUBA & SNORKELING.  Kauai is not much of a dive or snorkel island.  Prices are high and sea life is meager. There are a few resident docile turtles, but swarms of tropical fish are absent and sponges and corals are disappointing. Consequently, we have not done much diving or snorkeling.  Still, we have a web page with references to dive shops and dive pro's.   Poipu is reported to be better than Princeville.

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BEACHES. Kauai is blessed with  Hawaii's best beaches probably due to strong surf pounding the corals and shells into wonderful sand.  We have more information in our web page devoted to Kauai Beaches.

There are 10 miles of uninterrupted and undeveloped beach on the western shore along with a very very dry desert landscape. No palm trees there. Poipu beaches are backed by spartan and dry landscape.  By North Shore standards, the Poipu beaches  are smallish with rocks and shells.  On the plus side, the south shore surf is milder so there is more opportunity for regular swimming.

The North Shore has the most wonderful white sand beaches ringed with palm trees and/or breathtaking cliffs. Several have small waterfalls or streams running right into the ocean.  However, the surf is strong and swimming is dangerous.  [Tunnels and Key Beaches are almost always safe bets].   From the Cliffs Resort we frequent any of 6 to 10 beaches no more than 10 miles away depending on the surf, the weather, and our mood [swimming, snorkeling, body surfing, reading, sunning, exploring, etc...].  Crowds at a North Shore  beach -- even on a sunny day -- can be from 1 person every 10 feet to 1 person every 1000 feet, it just depends on the beach.

The beaches on the East Shore are very popular with the locals especially when there are big surfing waves.  While never crowded, East Shore beaches are more typical of what's found in urban beaches along the mainland states costal areas.  And because there is adjacent commercial development, East Shore beaches are the least scenic of any on Kauai.



We hope you can found answers to your questions on this website.  If not we are happy to spend time with you on the phone.  Feel free to contact us, it's part of the service included in renting condo 9302.

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