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Driving and Discovering Hawaii: Kauai: Your budget - to - deluxe Kauai guidebook to Kauai’s coolest restaurants and accommodations, awe inspiring terrain, best bargains and sightseeing, and the world’s most stunning beaches.

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Hawaii travel and virtual Kauai guidebook to the Hawaiian island that lingers longest in the hearts of all who visit. Princeville and Poipu resorts luxuriate; breathtaking Waimea Canyon and Na Pali mesmerize... while amazing foods at bargain prices tantalize and Kauai's stunning beaches hypnotize.

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KAUAI. Its many fans show no hesitation when asked, "What's your favorite island?"

"Kauai", they say.

Every Hawaiian island has its own "feel", its own mystique and personality, and to these people, Kauai feels just right.

It is said that Kauai has more beautiful beaches for its size than any other island. It is jam packed with a wondrous variety of topography, from the cool forests of Koke`e at 4000 feet to the nearby breathtaking Grand Canyon of the Pacific, Waimea Canyon. From the deserted 15 mile long wonder of Hawaii's longest beach at Polihale to the comparably crowded strand of Ke`e Beach at the end of the road on the North Shore. From the Na Pali cliffs with their humbling beauty, to homely Lihue, the island's capitol. From the plush resorts at Poipu to the tiny B&Bs of Anahola and Kilauea. The list can go on and on.

There are hidden pockets of beauty everywhere, such as perfect beaches, huge and uncrowded --or even deserted. Amazing hiking trails; challenging ones through Waimea Canyon and along the Na Pali Coast, and gentle treks across the hill country of Kawaihau, (above the Kapaa and Wailua town areas), short and easy ones, like the 15 minute stroll through cane fields to fabulous Donkey Beach south of Anahola at mile marker 11, and Maha`ulepu Beach near Poipu.

You can stay in a hotel that meets your needs; the out-of-the-way Waimea Plantation Cottages, built in a coconut grove, for quiet, solitude and a true Hawaii feel; the Tip Top Motel in Lihue for rock bottom prices; the Princeville Resort for North Shore opulent luxury; or the Koke`e Cottages for cool mountain air and roughing it at bargain rates. The Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort is the standout luxe property on Kauai’s beautiful, sunny Poipu South Shore, with fabulous beach hiking close by.

For larger accommodations and spectacular views, stay at a timeshare unit within the beautiful Marriott’s Kauai Beach Club Resort. Enjoy the inexpensive grandeur of a 2 bedroom, 2 bath suite overlooking sparkling Kalapaki Bay. There are also timeshares for sale available at this resort for visitors wanting to return each year at a discounted rate.

There's some great shopping to be done at the large shopping Centers, like Coconut Marketplace, Waipouli Town Center, Kauai Village, and Kukui Grove, and at unique little stores in small towns like Hanapepe, Kapaa and Hanalei.

Eating well is no problem. You can find a gourmet lunch in luxurious surroundings at a bargain price at Gaylord's (dinner is expensive, though), the latest up to the minute high-priced Pacific Rim cuisine at A Pacific Cafe, creative, fresh and great tasting healthy fare at Papaya's, great Japanese or Chinese food and unforgettable atmosphere at the Hanamaulu Restaurant and Teahouse (make sure you ask to sit out back; sushi

available only after 5:30 PM).

Kauai's North Shore packs a week's worth of activities and sights into a 14 mile stretch of coast that winds its beautiful way from Kilauea and its landmark lighthouse to Ke`e Beach at the end of the road --and the beginning of the tortuous and world famous Kalalau Trail. In between Secret Beaches (one of them is even called Secret Beach), roadside waterfalls, a guava plantation, hidden hamlets (Kahiliwai), a super luxury resort, a fabulous "tourist" town with great shopping, lots of charm and great food (Hanalei), a magical and inspirational lookout point (Hanalei Lookout), superb snorkeling (Tunnels), a dry cave and a wet cave, and warm, crystalline jewel like Pools at the edge of the sea (Queen's Bath and Prince Albert's Bath).

Kauai? Kauai is Lappert's ice cream, Kauai Kookies, Red Dirt Shirts, beautiful Hawaiian items at the Yellowfish Trading Company in Hanalei, the view from the beginning of the Kalalau Trail, an easy, mosquito-free hike to Waimea Canyon's Cliff Trail, sunning naked on Donkey Beach, the endless spaces of Polihale Beach, the Kauai Museum, Hawaiian legend Israel Kamakawiwo`ole singing Kauai Beauty on the radio...and so much more.

    But, you'll find all that out for yourself, soon.

    When you visit Kaua`i, you live Kaua`i.

Hawaii Kauai Waikanaloa Cave copyright discoveringhawaii.com

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9 Fantastic Kauai Restaurants, Under $20!

1. Red Hot Mama's / Hanalei

5-6607 Kuhio Highway, Halalei; (808) 826-7266

Price: $5 to $11.50

This petite Mexican taco hole-in-the-wall is located about a mile after the Hanalei Bridge, right before you enter Hanalei Town, next to Wainiha General Store, and features organic foods. Burritos are fat with big chunks of beef and chicken.

2. Polynesia Café

Ching Young Village Shopping Center, 5-5190 Kuhio Highway, Hanalei; (808) 826-1999

Polynesia Café, features salads, sandwiches and huge burgers,. We love the macadamia encrusted ahi. Portions are large and accompanied by steamed veggies and choice of white or brown rice.

3. Kilauea Fish Market

4270 Kilauea Lighthouse Road, Kilauea; (808) 828-6244

Price: $9.99 to $14.99

Healthier Hawaiian food: get the ahi wrap or teriyaki chicken.

4. Kilauea Bakery / Kilauea Bakery, Kong Lung Center, 2484 Keneke St. at Kilauea Lighthouse Road, Kilauea; (808) 828-2020

Price: $3.05 to $11.95

Still going strong since the early 90s. Terrific baked goods and unusual offerings. The breads are wonderful.

5. Duane's Ono Char-Burger 44350 Kuhio Highway, Anahola (midway between Lihue and Princeville, next to Whaler General Store); (808) 822-9181

Price: $4.40 to $7.25

The local favorite, hands down. The burgers are great, but the surroundings are untidy, so opt for take-out.

6. Hong Kong Cafe

4361 Kuhio Highway, Kapaa; (808) 822-3288

Price: $7.95 to $19.95

A healthier kind of Chinese food, inexpensive, and a favorite with locals -- it was voted Best Chinese food in Kauai in the local paper's annual reader survey.

7. Monico's Taqueria

4356 Kuhio Highway, Kapaa (in the Kinipopo Shopping Village), (808) 822-4300

Price: $10.95 to $16.95

The best taqueria outside of east LA. Everything is authentic, and good. Good Mex Food is hard to come by in Hawaii: this is an exception.

8. Kauai Community College

31901 Kaumualii Highway, Lihue; (808) 245-8311

Price: $6.50 to $8

If you happen to be in Kauai during the school year visit Kauai Community College, where chefs in the Culinary Arts Program rustle up some of the finest budget meals in Hawaii. Lunch is served 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. daily with entrees such as Korean barbecue, teriyaki chicken, kalua pork, salad bar or sandwiches. Elaborate three-course meals are also offered ($15 to $20), but call ahead for reservations: (808) 245-8365.

9. Koloa Fish Market

5482 Koloa Road, Koloa; (808) 742-6199

Price: $6.75 to $9.75

If you're searching for FRESH fish either to grill or eat right now, Koloa Fish Market is the place. The menu varies daily. Sautéed ahi cost us $7.75.

Hawaii Kauai Kahiliwai Bay Beach copyright discoveringhawaii.com

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Waimea Canyon From Trail

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Na Pali

Kalalau Beach

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Kahiliwai Bay’s

Secluded Beach

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Waikanaloa Cave

Free WiFi on Kauai

AlohaFreeWiFi - 5-5131 Kuhio Hwy - 808-826-1190 - HANALEI

Camp House Grill - Kaumualii Hwy - 856 854 6637 - Kalaheo

Tradewinds - Coconut Marketplace, 484 Kuhio Hwy - 808-822-1621 - KAPA`A

Small Town Coffee - 4-1495 Kuhio Hwy - 808-821-1630 - KAPA`A

Aloha Beach Resort (Kuhio Lounge) - 3-5920 Kuhio Hwy., KAPA`A

Hotel Coral Reef - 1516 Kuhio Hwy - 808 822 4481 - KAPA`A

Kukui Grove Center - 3-2600 Kaumualii Hwy - 808-245-7784 - LIHUE

Waimea Brewing Co. - 9400 Kaumualii Highway - (808) 338-9733 - WAIMEA

Grinds Cafe - 4469 Waialo Road, ELEELE

Waimea Plantation Cottages - 9400 Kaumualii Hwy - WAIMEA

Courtyard Marriott Kauai - 4-484 Kuhio Hwy - KAPA`A

Hawaii Kauai Lawai Bay Beach Poipu copyright discoveringhawaii.com

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LAWAI BAY is the home of the National Tropical Botanical Garden, cradled in a gorgeous incomparable setting. Call (808) 742-2623 for reservations. GPS: +21° 53' 8.67", -159° 29' 33.04"

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Polihale Beach is one of Hawaii’s longest and most beautiful strands, located on the west side of the island of Kauai. Polihale State Park had been closed since severe flooding destroyed an access road to the park and damaged facilities in December 2008.
Devastating to the local economy, island residents decided in April 2009 to take matters into their own hands when the State of Hawaii claimed it would be a few years before they could get around to fixing it. The Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources estimated the damage would cost $4 million to fix, and that the agency didn’t have the money.

Kauai citizen volunteers rolled up their sleeves and enlisted the help of friends and local businesses to complete the job the government wouldn’t —and in record time. Click the CNN logo to read their story with photos.

Hawaii Kauai Polihale Beach panorama copyright discoveringhawaii.com

POLIHALE BEACH was cut off from visitors when the bridge was washed out. Rather than wait “years” before the state could fix it, Kauai residents have engaged in a little take-charge grass roots DIY. See the story above.

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Into Hanalei Valley: Today, and 100 YEARS AGO

The view from the Hanalei Valley Lookout along the highway is famous. Seen in the top photo taken in the present day, the camera looks south. In the bottom photo, taken in the early 1910s, the camera looks west. Color photography arrived for the masses via the French Autochrome process in 1907 was but so expensive that only the wealthier could afford it. National Geographic Magazine was one of the earliest pioneers of reproducing autochrome color photographs in print.  Adventurous visitors might try and explore verdant Hanalei Valley itself. Hike the Hanalei Refuge Trail, or make your home in the valley for a few nights at Taro CottagesAutochrome courtesy Sullivan Famlly Trust Archive.



starring George Clooney and winner of the 2012 Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay was filmed extensively in the Hanalei area.  The restaurant in the film is Tahiti Nui in the heart of Hanalei, where we always settle in for a mahimahi sandwich and a beer whenever we’re on Kauai’s north shore.

Only an ATV Tour can get you up to the spectacular overlook at Kipu Kai, but many outfits conduct movie locations tours on Kauai including Roberts and Kauai Eden.

at the