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TPG reader Matt tweeted me to ask:
@thepointsguy – “I’m going to Princeville in Kauai, Hawaii in May! What excursions do you recommend?”
I just got back from an incredible trip to Kauai, and I know how excited Matt must be for his trip. I’ve been to Princeville twice now, three years ago in February, 2012, and then my most recent trip just a couple weeks ago. I had an amazing trip (both times), and Kauai (more specifically, Princeville) is absolutely magical.
One of the reasons I like Princeville is because it’s a lot less crowded than the south side of the island, like Poipu Beach. One of the excursions I did on my first trip was the helicopter tour of the canyons and the Napali coast, which was actually a bit scary, because the weather patterns are unpredicatble. It can be brilliantly sunny one moment with black clouds rolling in the next. My friends did the excursion this trip (I opted out since I already went) and came back sheet white — they said it was extremely bumpy and were very happy to be back on the ground.
So if you have a strong stomach and aren’t scared of heights, you might like the helicopter ride, but I think the best way to see the Napali coast is to hike it. You can do two miles through the Napali coast ending in a beach, and then another two miles to some beautiful waterfalls. The hike is about eight miles there and back, and it’s rocky so you should definitely wear hiking boots (I saw some people in flip flops and have no idea how they did it). I actually slipped and fell in a stream; I was fine, but I highly recommend bringing appropriate gear if you plan on doing the hike. It’s a great workout and the waterfall is just gorgeous, especially jumping in that ice cold water after a strenuous trek. If you need to participate in some serious carb-loading afterwards, a burger at Bubba’s Burgers will hit the spot.
Another amazing activity is to see the sunset at Ke’ee Beach. It’s absolutely unreal, truly stunning, and about a 30 minute drive from the St. Regis in Princeville. In fact, I love the whole town of Hanalei Bay. We went to a wonderful tapas-style restaurant there called BAR Acuda, which I would highly recommend, followed by a drink at Tahiti Nui.
The St. Regis Hotel itself is gorgeous, though a bit dated. It’s not the most modern or chic of St. Regis Hotels, but it has a great pool, which is wonderful for relaxing if you need a break from excursions.
If you want to escape to the beach, a day tour at Poliholi beach is just stunning. Rent an SUV to get there because the road is bumpy. We rented a Jeep Wrangler and loved it.
Kauai is spectacular, and I anticipate heading back many times (though there are still so many more places I need to go!). Don’t expect Princeville to be sunny and perfect every day, as there are so many weather patterns. However, even in the rain Kauai is sexy and beautiful.
TPG readers, please share your tips for Kauai, especially Princeville and Hanalei below.
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